Bike friendly rankings: WI & MN fall, IL & MI rise
Since ranking second-most bike friendly state in the U.S. in 2010, Wisconsin has dropped to eighth on the list maintained by the League of American Bicyclists.
The league's "2013 State Report Cards," released May 1, also indicated Minnesota has slipped from second last year to fourth this year, overtaken by improvements in the bicycling infrastructures in Colorado and Oregon. Washington state remains No. 1.
Illinois advanced two spots to rank ninth and Michigan jumped from 19th to 12th. Iowa continued it's descent in recent years from sixth to 16th to 21st this year.
"It will come as little surprise that the number one reason why we have dropped in the rankings is the continued cuts to bicycle funding," blogged Dave Schlabowske, communications director for the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin.
In his state budget, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has cut $5 million in state funding for biking and walking and also returned millions of federal dollars that had been allocated for similar infrastructure improvements.
And deeper cuts may be coming. "Proposals now being considered by the Legislature reduce the spending in three transportation programs from roughly $13 million per year to roughly $8 million, according to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau," reported Tom Held on his blog TheActivePursuit.com.
To improve it's bike friendly standing, the league had several recommendations for Wisconsin, including utilizing all available federal funds for biking and walking in all transportation projects, adopting a vulnerable user law, and creating a system of state bike routes suitable for all types of bicyclists.
Similar suggestions were made for Minnesota, Illinois and the other upper Midwest states. For more on the bike friendly state rankings and recommendations, go to www.bikeleague.org.