The League of American Bicyclists recently announced that Minnesota retained its spot as the fourth most bicycle friendly state in the nation. The ranking was first achieved in 2010, and Minnesota held the number five slot in both 2008 and 2009. Minnesota also received a silver-level designation in 2011 – up from the bronze-level received in 2009.
“This is a shared honor for bicyclists of all levels across the state,” said Dorian Grilley, executive director of the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota. “Minnesota has a great culture of being active, with a high percentage of people who ride bicycles.”
More than half of Minnesotans rode a bicycle last year, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation 2010 Omnibus Transportation Survey.
“We, along with our partners, are committed to designing, building and operating a transportation system that improves all users’ quality of life, including commuter and recreational bicyclists,” said Transportation Commissioner Tom Sorel.
This is the fourth year the League of American Bicyclists has awarded Bicycle Friendly State designations. The announcement coincides with preparations for Minnesota’s Bike/Walk Week activities June 4-12, 2011.
Bike/Walk Week events encourage bicycling and walking as healthy, environmentally friendly transportation alternatives for commuting to work or school. Many events are planned throughout the state including in Albany, Rochester, Sauk Rapids, Minneapolis and St. Paul. For a full list of events, visit www.bikewalkweek.org/.
“Improvements for bicycling in Minnesota aren’t confined to bike-friendly Minneapolis,” said Andy Clarke, League of American Bicyclists president. “The state continues to prove that bicycling is not just for coastal areas. If an upper mid-western state with notoriously tough winters can make great things happen for bicycling, then any state can.”
Minnesota received both designations because of many factors:
• Strong partnerships among several state agencies and local/statewide advocacy groups which are encouraging increased commuter and recreational bicycle use and leading the Safe Routes to School program.
• Minnesota is recognized as “Best Trails State,” which includes more than 600 miles of paved trails for bicycling managed by the Department of Natural Resources and thousands of additional trail miles managed by national, regional and local governments.
• Statewide Complete Streets policies and several local organizations and communities’ Complete Streets policies are in effect.
• Minneapolis launched the first large-scale bicycle sharing system in the nation with 1,000 bicycles and 80 kiosks, called Nice Ride Minnesota.
• The state has high rates of bicycle commuting and recreational use.
• For six years, the nationally recognized bicycle safety education campaign, “Share the Road,” has helped improve awareness of bicycle laws for both motorists and bicyclists.
To learn more about the League’s Bicycle Friendly State program visit www.bikeleague.org/programs/bicyclefriendlyamerica/.
The League of American Bicyclists promotes bicycling for fun, fitness and transportation, and works through advocacy and education for a bicycle-friendly America. The League represents the interests of the nation’s 57 million bicyclists, including its 300,000 members and affiliates. For more information, visit www.bikeleague.org.