Wyoming drops to #42 in annual Bicycle Friendly State Report

Report link: http://bikeleague.org/content/state-report-cards

Today, the League of American Bicyclists released its 2017 Bicycle Friendly State ranking. This is the League’s ninth Bicycle Friendly State ranking and first since 2015. Wyoming was ranked #42 of the 50 states. This represents a drop of 7 places since the last report. Wyoming is ranked #10 of 13 Western Region States.

According to Ken McLeod, Policy Director for the League, “By working with our stakeholders at state Departments of Transportation and statewide advocacy associations, the 2017 Bicycle Friendly State ranking provides a new level of transparency for policy and programmatic comparisons between states. Our hope is that this ranking will provide important feedback and competition for states as they adjust to the FAST Act and pursue innovative bicycling-related actions that will inform future federal policy.”

Washington led the state rankings, as it has each year since 2008, while Minnesota comes in again at second. In this latest ranking, California moved up from eighth to third on the strength of its new statewide bike plan. Virginia makes its first appearance in the top 10 in 10th place. Two states made their way to the top 20 for the first time: Vermont (14th) and Georgia (19th).

The League launched its Bicycle Friendly State program in 2008 in order to better understand state efforts related to bicycling and provide a comparative framework that allows states to easily identify areas of improvement. Most of the League’s focus is on the behavior of state Departments of Transportation and state legislators. These two groups are powerful policymakers and implementers who have significant impacts on conditions for bicyclists in each state.

The League’s report highlights these five feedback Points for Wyoming:

Adopt a statewide Complete Streets policy. The National Complete Streets Coalition has a model state policy and a variety of other resources to ensure adoption and implementation.

In 2016 the Wyoming legislature created a Bicycle and Pedestrian System Task Force. This Task Force is in the process of publishing a report with recommendations on improving bicycling in Wyoming. The creation of this Task Force is a strong sign that the state legislature is aware of the need for better long-term actions for bicycling and the League looks forward to the report and actions taken based on its recommendations.

Wyoming should spend more federal funding on bicyclists and pedestrians. Wyoming has one of the 10 lowest rates of investment in bicycling and walking as a percentage of federal transportation funds. Adopt project prioritization criteria for federal funds that incentivize bicycle projects and accommodations.

Update Wyoming’s state bicycle master plan. Wyoming’s last bicycle plan was adopted in 2002. There is a statewide bicycle plan study done by a consultant for the Wyoming DOT that has been published, but it is not yet adopted. While a study can have an effect on long-term actions, adopting a plan and implementing it in a transparent way is more likely to provide direction to employees of the Wyoming DOT and localities that work with the Wyoming DOT.

Allow the flexibility for all units of government statewide to use NACTO and AASHTO standards as well as the state’s own design standards. Or, alternatively incorporate NACTO and AASHTO standards into state design standards and guidance.

Provide specific training to engineers and planners on how to plan, design, and implement bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, including protected bike lanes, safe rural bicycling routes, and other facilities that have become more widespread in recent years. Significant changes in best practices have occurred recently and training is essential to ensuring that communities in your state have access to the best possible solutions for their bicycle and pedestrian safety and mobility issues.

The Bicycle Friendly State ranking seeks to rank each state according to its current conditions and efforts related to bicycling. Each state receives a report card that showcases:

  • Federal data on bicycling conditions
  • Five Bicycle Friendly Actions chosen by the League of American Bicyclists as important indicators of state efforts related to bicycling
  • Rankings and scores in five categories analyzed to create the state’s ranking:
    • Categories- WY Rank out of 50
    • Infrastructure & Funding 48
    • Education & Encouragement 44
    • Legislation & Enforcement 22
    • Policies & Programs 50
    • Evaluation & Planning 50
  • A state summary with key points of emphasis
  • Feedback Points that provide guidance on improving the state’s ranking and the safety and mobility of bicyclists within the state

“Wyoming has dropped precipitously from a best of #11 in 2009 to #42 in 2017, and we need to make a concerted effort to do better,” said Tim Young, Executive Director of Wyoming Pathways. “The good news is several of the feedback recommendations are already underway, including the Bicycle and Pedestrian System Task Force Report the Wyoming Legislature called for in 2016, which is studying the ‘benefits and opportunities’ of bicycle and pedestrian modes,” Young said. “WYDOT is also taking steps to adopt a new plan and to improve the state’s bicycle and pedestrian program and to improve safety efforts to reduce crashes,” he said.

Bicycling is an increasingly popular activity around Wyoming for both locals and visitors, with significant community bike pathway networks springing up statewide over the past 20 years. Major cross-country bicycle tourism routes also cross Wyoming, including the flagship TransAmerica Route and the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route. On the recreation side, Wyoming State Parks has embarked on an award-winning trail building program in Curt Gowdy and Glendo parks, recognizing the value of trails infrastructure for Wyoming residents and visitors. Both Jackson/Teton County and Laramie have been recognized as “Bicycle Friendly Communities” in a separate ranking program by the League.

The Wyoming Bicycle and Pedestrian System Task Force Report is in final draft review, and should be published in the next several weeks. More information is available on the Wyoming Business Council website.


You can download the Wyoming State Report Card and Guide here:
http://www.wyopath.org/files/BFS2017_ReportCard_Wyoming-and-Guide.pdf

and the Historical Ranking Chart here:
http://www.wyopath.org/files/BFS2017_HistoricalRanking_Chart.pdf