While Atlanta has made considerable efforts of late to improve and expand infrastructure for cyclists and other alternative modes of transportation, mobility advances aren’t often discussed at the state level.
According to a new report by the League of American Bicyclists, Georgia ranks No. 19 on the nationwide list of the most bike-friendly states.
In fact, bike infrastructure, it seems, has become a higher priority in every U.S. state, as many states have embraced at least one of the League’s five recommended Bicycle Friendly Actions.
- Enacting complete streets laws or policies;
- Creating a safe passing law allowing at least three feet for cyclists;
- Including bicycle safety as a main tenet of a state’s strategic highway safety plan;
- Adopting a statewide bike plan within the last decade;
- Spending 2 percent or more of federal trans transportation funds on bike and/or pedestrian-friendly projects.
Georgia, which has not adopted a statewide bike plan in the past 10 years, was granted a 55.8 score out of 100 by the League’s metrics, which, at first blush, might seem abysmal.
We earned Bs and Cs across the board in categories that measured a focus on infrastructure and funding, education and encouragement, legislation and enforcement, policies and programs, and evaluation and planning.
Georgia’s score doesn’t seem so bad, though, when you consider that the supposedly most bike-friendly state, Washington, claimed a mere 71.9 rating.
And Wyoming, the nation’s least bike-friendly state, earned a depressing 31.7, making even Georgia seem like a veritable biking haven.
Even as metro Atlanta embraces bike-centric initiatives, such as Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’s $5 million mobility action plan, there’s still plenty of work to be done intown and elsewhere in Georgia.
Additionally, help from the U.S. government on this front leaves something to be desired.
“There are reasons to be doubtful that states and the federal government are taking the steps necessary to ensure that our transportation networks prioritize people over cars and safety over speed,” the League report says, adding: “All too often, commitments to Vision Zero are not reflected in state goals, public health is not considered in project planning, data is not available about biking and walking, and proven safe infrastructure is not supported or built.”