Massachusetts Rises To 3rd In National List Of Bicycle-Friendly States

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 22, 2012

CONTACT:
MassDOT Press Office (617) 973-8472
David Watson, MassBike (617) 542-2453

Massachusetts Rises to 3rd in National List of Bicycle-Friendly States

The Commonwealth continues to improve its “Bike-Friendliness” ranking from League of American Bicyclists

Boston – May 22, 2012 – In their recently-released annual ranking, the League of American Bicyclists promoted Massachusetts from 9th to 3rd   most “Bicycle Friendly State.” Last year the Commonwealth had vaulted into the Top Ten from 19th in 2010.

“Massachusetts has continued to advance through the ranks of Bicycle Friendly States,” said MassDOT Secretary Richard A. Davey. “MassDOT was recently lauded as a Bicycle Friendly Business, the first DOT in the nation to receive this recognition.  These accomplishments mark our commitment to the MassDOT mission of providing safe, healthy and efficient transportation, and the importance of our innovative GreenDOT policy.”

“When MassDOT was created in 2009, innovative policies like the Healthy Transportation Compact and Complete Streets were built right into the new agency,” said David Watson, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition (MassBike), the statewide bicycling education and advocacy group. “MassDOT’s growing emphasis on sustainability and its strong partnership with the advocacy community have led to rapid improvements for bicycling.”

The League of American Bicyclists compares states across a set of objective scoring criteria in the five categories: Legislation & Enforcement; Policies & Programs; Infrastructure & Funding; Education & Encouragement; and Evaluation & Planning.

The ranking highlighted MassDOT’s ambitious GreenDOT policy as contributing to its bicycle friendly success.  GreenDOT calls for MassDOT to incorporate sustainability into all of its activities, from strategic planning to project design and construction to system operation. The GreenDOT policy initiative includes promoting walking, bicycling, and public transit as one of its central goals as well as reaching the greenhouse gas reduction targets mandated under the Global Warming Solutions Act, signed by Governor Patrick in 2008.

Other accomplishments contributing to Commonwealth success includes sponsoring statewide Complete Streets Trainings, integrating bicycling throughout the driver’s license manual, a robust Safe Routes to School Program, the annual statewide Moving Together bicycling and walking conference, planning for the Bay State Greenway (a vision for a 788-mile network of bicycle facilities throughout the Commonwealth) and the reinvigorated State Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board.

This announcement follows another successful Bay State Bike Week. During the week of May 14-20, MassDOT, working in partnership with MassBike, and MassRIDES, the Commonwealth’s statewide travel options program, led a weeklong celebration of bicycling across Massachusetts.

For more information on the League of American Bicyclists and their Bicycle Friendly State ranking, please visit www.bikeleague.org/programs/bicyclefriendlyamerica/bicyclefriendlystate/.

MassBike is the Bay State’s only statewide bicycling advocacy organization, and has been working toward better biking for 35 years. MassBike promotes a bicycle-friendly environment and encourages bicycling for fun, fitness and transportation. For more information about MassBike please visit www.MassBike.org, “like” MassBike on Facebook or follow MassBike on Twitter at @massbike.

For transportation news and updates visit MassDOT at our website: www.mass.gov/massdot, blog: www.mass.gov/blog/transportation, or follow MassDOT on twitter at www.twitter.com/massdot.

Click here for 2012 LAB Massachusetts Report Card

Click here for 2012 LAB State Ranking Chart

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3 Responses to Massachusetts Rises To 3rd In National List Of Bicycle-Friendly States

  1. Laura Troeger May 22, 2012 at 12:57 pm #

    It doesn’t feel like the “bike friendliness” has changed so drastically in the past year. It CERTAINLY has not changed enough to supersede an extra 32% of the nation’s states in two years. Who paid for this interview and are we just trying to give cyclists the false security that its now suddenly OK to get out there and ride?

    Do I need to point out the ghost bike I ride by every day on my way to work? Greater Boston is rich with cyclists- true… and maybe that is where this “3rd” ranking comes from. People are more aware of cyclists because we ARE cyclists! Maybe the rank comes from the number of bike lanes that we have. Do motorists know that the only reason the bike lane is there is to bring to people’s attention that there are bikes on the road and they CAN be there (as in- not on the sidewalk, where one soccer mom suggested I ride just after honking her horn for a full five seconds and taking the time to roll down her passenger side window last week). Maybe we should explain this to Charlestown, a place where your tax dollar goes to the effort to scrape bike lanes OFF of the roads! Apparently, Charlestown would rather not be aware of cyclists… and they’re willing to pay someone to etch the paint off the road.

    Nope – I still feel like we have a target on our rear end in the eyes of urban motorists. Some of them seem to make a sport of it!

  2. Dan Shuman May 22, 2012 at 2:19 pm #

    Salem, MA recently received and Honorable Mention as Bicycle Friendly City. We are working on making changes so we can do better, but we have a come a long way.

  3. David May 22, 2012 at 2:27 pm #

    Laura, I am the first to agree that there is still a lot more work to be done for bicyclists in Massachusetts. But it is fair to say that a significant amount of progress has been made in the areas that the League evaluates when it does the state rankings. I am pretty sure that the League questionnaire does not really get at motorist attitudes.

    How all this translates to Massachusetts moving up the rankings in relation to other states, I suppose is a question for the League. You can see from the LAB Report Card that the League has identified several major areas where Massachusetts needs improvement, so this award is definitely not intended to mean that the state can stop working and rest on its laurels.