California has a national reputation for many things, but did you know that one of the most well-loved aspects of the state is how bike-friendly it is? Cyclists across the west coast reap the benefits of hundreds of miles of bike lanes, laws that promote their safety, and more. These are just some of the many reasons why California as a state and several of its cities often rank in the top of most "bikeable" places.
What Makes States Bike-Friendly?
The League of American Bicyclists ("The League") and other entities assess various factors to determine which states score well in bike-friendliness. Although each organization determines its rankings on different criteria, The League submits a survey to each state's Department of Transportation and analyzes federal data.
States receive a grade or other score based on how well they meet certain safety checkpoints. The categories that receive a 'grade' in these reports include:
- Infrastructure and funding
- Education and encouragement
- Policies and programs
- Legislation and enforcement
- Evaluation and planning
Additionally, "Bike Friendly Actions" and whether the state has implemented them are considered. These include:
- Passing a “Complete Streets” law that encourages safe roadway access for all users (bicyclists, pedestrians, motorists, etc.).
- Safe passing laws requiring three or more feet between a bike and a motor vehicle.
- Implementing a bike plan in the last 10 years.
- Spending 2% or more of federal funds on bicycle and pedestrian programs.
- Making bicycle safety an emphasis area in the state’s highway safety plan.
California is one of only eight states to implement all five Bike Friendly Actions (as of 2019 when the most recent report was released). Lastly, The League looks at the overall safety, spending, and ridership within a state. For these reasons, California is considered highly bike-friendly in terms of the analytical data assessed.
Local Implementation Matters Too
Other companies and organizations also release independent reports, giving a more local perspective on bikeability. In 2021, one report highlighted five California cities in the top 25 rankings, placing San Francisco as the #1. Similar to The League's report, this was determined from four main categories, Access, Community, Safety, and Climate.
These reports provide essential information on bicyclist behavior and how well-equipped cities are to handle the rise in cycling the U.S. has seen in the past few years.
As cycling increases, so does the possibility of being involved in a collision. Fowler | Helsel | Vogt is here to ensure that all road users have the right to safely operate. If you sustained an injury caused by another individual, call (559) 900-1280 to schedule a free consultation today.