Cycling enthusiasts in Wisconsin could proudly cheer "we're number two" through the first three years of the League of American Bicyclists rankings. Not anymore.
The Badger State fell off the pace a bit and dropped to third in the League's 2011 bike-friendly state rankings, released Monday.
Maine passed Wisconsin into the second spot, behind Washington.
To come up with the rankings, the League gives each state a grade (A through F) in six categories: Legislation, Policies & Programs, Infrastructure, Education & Encouragement, Evaluation & Planning, and Enforcement.
Wisconsin took home As in policies and encouragement and planning; a C in legislation and Ds in infrastructure and enforcement.
That D in infrastructure - bike paths, bike lanes and signs that make cycling easier - was costly. Maine received a B grade for its biking infrastructure, the highest score of the 50 states in the rankings.
As the BikePortland blog explains, dozens of states gave ground on infrastructure by returning millions of dollars in unspent federal transportation enhancement funds.
Kevin Hardman, executive director of the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin, said the advocacy group would use the grades to focus its work.
The Share and Be Aware campaign launched this year to educate motorists and cyclists on the rules of the road should help boost that D in enforcement, he said. Ambassadors have been deployed to meet with local officials, law enforcement and community groups to promote safety.
“These are helpful tools, I would say," Hardman said of the League's report card. " When you’re all the way at the top, it’s not unreasonable to expect there are going to be some movements year-after-year.
"It underscores for me, we have a lot of work ahead of us. We’re working every day to get to number one.”