Downward trend not a good sign for Pennsylvania cyclists and their families
On the heels of the League of American Bicyclists awarding Pittsburgh a Bronze Bike-Friendly Community Status, the League just released their Bike-Friendly State Rankings. For the third year in a row, Pennsylvania dropped to a now paltry 42 on the list. As communities across the state and nation are becoming more welcoming to bikes, the state of PA has been consistently getting worse, despite their own stated goals to increase the amount of trips by bicycle. Following is a repost from a new non-profit that BikePGH and other cycling advocates from around Pennsylvania started in order to reverse this trend. PA Walks and Bikes is working in Harrisburg to help make Pennsylvania a great and safe place to ride.
To coincide with Bike to Work Week, the League of American Bicyclists announced the third annual Bicycle Friendly State (BFS) rankings. “We are delighted to report that states, and statewide bicycle advocates, are using this program to target legislative changes, adopt new policies and even start new advocacy groups in order to improve conditions for cyclists,” said Andy Clarke, League President. “Change at the state level is harder to see than in a community or business, but is no less important – and we are seeing real progress.”
That’s great, but what about Pennsylvania?
Our state placed 42 – and falling. The rankings were first conducted in 2008 and are conducted annually, with all questions and methodology remaining consistent to track states’ progress. After receiving an initial ranking of 38 in the first year, Pennsylvania slipped to 40 last year before settling in at 42 for 2010.
The reason for Pennsylvania’s slide in the rankings isn’t so much a result of what has happened. More-so, we need to focus on what hasn’t happened. While many states have worked hard on cycling issues, both the Pennsylvania legislature and PennDOT have missed opportunities to make Pennsylvania more bike friendly.
Legislation that would make our roads safer has stalled in the General Assembly, and PennDOT has cut its staffing for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. PA Walks and Bikes is committed to working with Pennsylvania’s decision-makers to ensure that we make progress toward becoming a bicycle friendly state.
The Bicycle Friendly State program links the League’s work with federal level and community advocacy throughout the nation and recognizes states that actively support bicycling. The BFS rankings are based on a 95-item questionnaire that evaluates a state’s commitment to bicycling and covers six key areas: legislation, policies and programs, infrastructure, education and encouragement, evaluation and planning, and enforcement.
Not a member of BikePGH? Join today! We need you to add your voice! Bike Pittsburgh works to protect cyclist’s rights and promote the vision of making Pittsburgh a safer and more enjoyable place to live and to ride. For more info, check out: www.bike-pgh.org/membership