In 2018, more people were killed while biking in the United States than in any year since 1990. This continues a tragic trend. After several years of increasing bicyclist deaths, there is still reason to believe that cycling can be safer. The League of American Bicyclists notes that every US state is taking some action to make bicycling better… ‘Some, but not enough.’
First, the good news: the League’s newly released 2019 Bicycle Friendly State Ranking finds widespread progress by state Departments of Transportation. There are some positive trends:
- Every state has now taken at least one of our five Bicycle Friendly Actions;
- State legislatures are increasingly providing funding for biking and walking improvements and helping state Departments of Transportation ensure that the safety of all users is a core part of their work;
- Eight state-wide bike plans have been adopted since 2017 and nine are currently in progress; and
- There is more data available than ever on biking and walking, often thanks to federal and state collaboration.
But, despite these promising trends, there are reasons to be doubtful that states and the federal government are taking the steps necessary to ensure that US transportation networks ‘prioritize people over cars and safety over speed.’
To address the systemic issues of America’s transportation sector – which kills more than 30,000 people each year, has the highest emissions of any economic sector, and contributes to chronic diseases related to physical inactivity and vehicle emissions – requires structural changes. The League notes that this must be facilitated by state, federal and local leadership.
‘We hope that the 2019 Bicycle Friendly State ranking helps state, federal, and local policymakers understand the need for coordinated actions and the building blocks to address these problems that exist in actions that states are already taking.’