The League of American Bicyclists have released their Bicycle-Friendly State rankings. Minnesota has been ranked #4 nationally for cyclists.
The League also releases a breakdown of where each state ranks in key categories used to evaluate and rank the states. Minnesota’s ranking overall is a B, with breakout categories ranked as follows:
- Legislation: B
- Programs & Policies: A
- Infrastructure: D
- Education & Encouragement: B
- Evaluation & Planning: B
- Enforcement: F
I have written before about how categories for these kinds of awards can be very arbitrary — infrastructure, for example, is often measured based on designated bike lanes/bike routes. In some places, these bike routes can be narrow sidewalks with Bike Route signs — this is fine within the program guidelines, even if some of these so-called ‘routes’ are dubious as sidewalks, let alone bike routes. (I need to take pictures of one of the local so-called routes.)
Minnesota is doing well in the Programs department, and via the work of organizations like the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota the education/encouragement categories have been improving steadily. The state is also doing well in legislation — but dreadfully in enforcement, per this measurement system.
That this hodgepodge of grading puts Minnesota essentially on the honor roll among states shows how far cycling has to go both locally and nationally. Minnesota scores poorly on engineering (infrastructure) but is doing well in planning (the intent to do better). Minnesota has good legislation, policies and programs… that aren’t well enforced. And for this, we are ranked a veritable cycling paradise.