California continues to shift higher in its statewide efforts to improve conditions for cyclists. Two years ago, the League of American Bicyclists (LAB) ranked California as the eighth most Bicycle Friendly State℠ based on the amount and effectiveness of the state’s activities toward creating a safer and more welcoming space for bicyclists. California has now risen to number three in the national ranking.
California was recognized by LAB for getting more serious about biking and walking, citing the state’s first-ever bicycle and pedestrian plan being adopted three years after a report calling for radical reform at Caltrans. LAB’s Bicycle Friendly State Report Card said, “With a state DOT [Department of Transportation] that is increasingly committed to ensuring the safety and comfort of people who bike rather than maintaining a status quo, the state seems on the verge of establishing new standards and practices that will be a model for other states, both through its size and its efforts. In particular, watch for California’s actions on bicycle-related data including facilities, crashes, and counts to be potential models for other states.”
Another key factor in the leap in ranking cited by Streetsblog California “is the increase in funding for the Active Transportation Program, S.B. 1, the new gas tax, almost doubled the size of that program, from $130 million to $230 million annually. This is still a puny portion of the state’s overall transportation budget, but nevertheless California is doing better than most states: the League ranks California sixth out of the fifty states in terms of dedicated bicycle funding.”
There is still much work to be done in order to make California a safer place to bike and walk. A larger emphasis on data research, a repeal of California’s mandatory bike lane law, and the general establishment of safer, more inclusive infrastructure are some of the ways California can try to nab that number-one spot next time!
Just as our state has become more bicycle friendly, you may recall UCLA in recent years has moved up in its ranking as a Bicycle Friendly University.
For more information about how California got to where it is now and where it’s going in the future, check out this article. Let’s keep going, California!