A report by the League of American Bicyclists says Missouri ranks 30th in most bicycle friendly states, down from previous years.
Executive Director Brent Hugh with the Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation says in honor of National Bike month, several categories determine how the states are ranked in terms of bicycle friendliness. He says everything from legislation, bicycling laws, bicycling policies and programs, and infrastructure (bike lanes, trails, and road shoulders).
This year, Missouri ranks 30th nationally and 6th in the Midwest. Hugh says prior to this year, Missouri has ranked as high as 17th. He says that this year’s rank is the lowest the state has received in the last six years.
However, he says Missouri did score the highest in education and encouragement which help push Missourians to stay active by bicycling. “Now that we have such things as Nationa Bike Month every year that we didn’t have 10 or 15 years ago,” Hugh said. “It’s also evaluated on whether the state is doing well on evaluation and planning for bicycling.”
Hugh says but one downside is other states are building more bicycle trails and adopting more bicycle friendly programs faster than Missouri. “They’re putting more resources towards it, they have dedicated budgets to do it, they’re interested in public help implications, and they’re interested in helping the environment,” Hugh said.
Hugh says the League of American Bicyclists have been ranking the best bicycle friendly states for the last seven years.
The report also lays out some key recommendations for Missouri: Remove current restrictions on state transportation funds that disallow funding of bicycle facilities; Adopt and implement Complete Street policies; Adopt a statewide bicycle plan; Adopt statewide and local laws making it unlawful to harass, taunt, or throw objects at bicyclists.
For more information about the League of American Bicyclists, visit www.bikeleague.org
For more information about the Missouri Bicycle & Pedestrian Federation, visit www.mobikefed.org
AUDIO: Mary Farucci reports. (1:01)