Trail building has become a competitive sport. And there is much at stake. As America's communities continue to jostle for position in the annual League of American Bicyclists Bicycle Friendly State rankings, what they are really competing for is new residents, new businesses, a reputation for livability and to be at the forefront of smart transportation, health and recreation planning.
The LAB released its 2013 rankings today, and it reflected the determined effort of states to improve their active transportation networks. While Washington continues to lead the nation, a number of previously less bike-friendly states made big improvements - including Delaware, Illinois and Arizona - and were rewarded with a rise up the rankings.
Statements made by the leaders of those states that improved their bikeability demonstrate just how important it is for 21st century communities to make committed investments in active transportation.
U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-DE): "Creating more walkable and bikeable communities boosts air quality by reducing the amount of time cars and trucks idle on our roadways. Biking also helps decongest our transportation system, allowing individuals to spend more time working or relaxing with their families instead of wasting time and money sitting in traffic. The benefits of biking are countless, and that's why I'm proud to support dedicated federal funding for biking and walking infrastructure, as well as the efforts of the League of American Bicyclists and others to promote biking as an invaluable piece of the American transportation system."
Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper: "An important part of making Colorado the healthiest state is encouraging people to be more active in their everyday routines. We're proud that our bicycle-friendly policies have skyrocketed Colorado's rank up 20 places in just five years, and we are committed to being No. 1 in the near future."