Why Bicycle Friendly States Ranking Probably Doesn’t Matter To You

The League of American Bicyclists releases a ranking every year of how well states treat bicyclists. My state (California) ranks number 4 and that’s depressing.  If California is the 4th best state to ride a bicycle, then drivers in Wyoming (last place) must be running over cyclists on purpose or picking them off with shotguns. California coming in 4th shows the weakness in the league’s rankings.

Somis, California, where I live, is not a great place to ride a bicycle. There are roads that go from nowhere to not much else. Those are okay for recreational cycling. Not great because they lack a shoulder and are often used by drivers as shortcuts (meaning they drive at 60 miles an hour). Unfortunately, all the streets from my home that go somewhere (Camarillo or Moorpark) are not bicycle friendly. The shoulders (where there are any) are inadequate for cycling and I don’t remember the last time I saw somebody pulled over for speeding on either road. I would love to ride my bike to the library, gym or Rolling Pin Donuts but none of those locations are worth the risks.

I know California has some great cycling infrastructure but California is a big state. There are still too many places where bike paths are solely for recreation (that actually increases car use) and not optimized to help people skip driving their cars (to go to work or run errands). When I look over the League’s Bicycle Friendly States Report, I do see the best way to proceed. The only way cycling will get better for me (or you) is to get involved on the local level.

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