Washington State Ranked Number One “Bicycle Friendly State” in the Nation for the 9th Consecutive Ranking

Washington State leads the League of American Bicyclists ranking, but there's significant work to do before more people feel the freedom to bicycle.

Today the League of American Bicyclists (League) released its 2017 Bicycle Friendly State (BFS) ranking. This is the League’s 9th Bicycle Friendly State rank and first since 2015. Washington State continues its reign as the one-and-only #1 Bicycle Friendly State in the nation since the inception of the League of American Bicyclists ranking.

Together let’s keep Washington State #1. Donate to Cascade Bicycle Club today!

“Washington State’s #1 Bicycle Friendly State ranking means more of our children can get to school safely, and more people have the freedom to get around by bicycle,” said Richard Smith, Executive Director of Cascade Bicycle Club (Cascade). “I’m pleased to see Washington retain its position as the most bicycle friendly state in the nation. Still, Cascade, our partners and decision makers have more work to do to make sure everyone from age 8 to 80 can bicycle safely and easily.”

While the #1 ranking highlights Washington State’s good work, the League notes that states like Minnesota are close on Washington’s heels and much more needs to be done in order for the Evergreen State to become truly bicycle friendly. The two most significant elements that led to Washington retaining its #1 status included Washington State Legislature’s historic investments in biking, Safe Routes to School and complete streets made as a part of the 2015 State Transportation Package, as well as the establishment in 2017 of an Active Transportation Division at the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT). View the full League Report Card for Washington State.

Together let’s keep Washington State #1. Donate to Cascade Bicycle Club today!

The League launched its Bicycle Friendly State program in 2008 in order to better understand state efforts related to bicycling and provide a comparative framework that allows states to easily identify areas of improvement. This nationwide ranking process helps state leaders and the public understand the relative strengths and weaknesses of each state’s efforts related to bicycling.

Most of the League’s ranking focus is on the work of state Departments of Transportation and state legislators, not local jurisdictions like Seattle, Tacoma, Walla Walla or Spokane.

Cascade priorities reflect some of the feedback and opportunities for growth in Washington State:

  • Safety: Recent data shows a slight increase in the rate of bicyclist fatalities on a per capita and per bike commuter basis. In response, Cascade will continue to work to build safer trails and bikeways statewide.
  • Increase mode share, by building safe and connected places to bike: Cascade’s campaigns to build Basic Bike Networks in Seattle and Bellevue are key components to this strategy.
  • State leadership and partnerships: The ranking emphasizes the leadership at WSDOT as the agency continues to evolve into a multimodal state transportation department. Cascade will continue to partner with the agency as this evolution continues.
  • Growing regional trail systems and protected bike networks that make it easier to bike around Washington: Projects like the Eastside Rail Corridor, expanding trail systems like the Guemes Channel Trail in Anacortes, the John Wayne Pioneer Trail and building on the vision of the Puyallup Watershed Initiative in Pierce County make it easier to bike around Washington. Growing the share of federal funding for trails and bikeways would accelerate these projects.

“This ranking reflects the hard work of many people and organizations,” added Smith. “Seeing the progress made by other states since the last ranking, we Washingtonians have more work to improve bicycling statewide. And that’s a good thing because when more people bicycle, it’s safer for everyone on our streets, our communities are healthier and business flourishes. We look forward to working with agencies, elected representatives and our supporters to make this happen so that we can continue call Washington the most bicycle friendly state in the nation.”

Together let’s keep Washington State #1. Donate to Cascade Bicycle Club today!

Blake Trask's picture
Blake Trask