Safest States for Cyclists
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Where Your State Ranks for Bicycle Safety

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Safest States for Cyclists
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As the weather warms and lockdown-weary Americans look for ways to enjoy the outdoors safely, biking will be on many people's minds. But when it comes to bicycle safety in America, not all states are created equal. The League of American Bicyclists issues annual report cards for each state on the topic of bike safety. Based on more than 100 data points, the report cards grade each state in categories such as bike-safety laws, traffic deaths, ridership rates, spending per capita, and more. Below are the organization’s rankings for 2019. (Looking for fun places to ride? Here are the Best Bike Trails in All 50 States.)

50. Wyoming
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50. Wyoming

Wyoming ranks at the very bottom as America’s least safe state for biking, earning a failing grade on state transportation funding. “Every federal data indicator for Wyoming suggests that bicycling is getting worse,” states the report, “and the core reason is a lack of state investment and a lack of using federal funds for bicycling and walking projects.”

49. Nebraska
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49. Nebraska

While Nebraska ranks dead last in the category of infrastructure and spending, the Cornhusker State receives a solid B- for legislation and enforcement thanks to its bike-friendly laws, though the report card noted room for improvement. “Nebraska currently prohibits the automated enforcement of speed limits and has statutory speed limit laws that may make it difficult to reduce speeds for safety,” the report states. “These speed-related policies should be changed to promote slower and safer speeds in urban areas.”

48. Mississippi
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48. Mississippi

Not only does Mississippi rank dead last in bike ridership, with just 0.1% of commuters biking to work, it is also first in traffic accidents, with a whopping 62.7 fatalities per 10,000 bike commuters. “Mississippi should adopt a statewide bicycle plan,” the report states. “According to our records, Mississippi is one of less than 12 states that have never adopted a statewide bicycle plan.”

47. Montana
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47. Montana

Montana has a lot going for it, ranking as America’s least deadly state with just 2.9 fatalities per 10,000 bike commuters and ranking second in the nation in both ridership (with 1.3% of commuters biking to work) and spending ($9.68 per capita spent on biking and walking). Yet it receives failing marks for its bike-safety laws and its engagement with the biking/walking community.

46. North Dakota
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46. North Dakota

The one bright spot in North Dakota’s report card is an A for its state education efforts. Unfortunately, the rest of the state’s report card is littered with Cs and Ds, as well as failing grades in the categories of state transportation funding and bike-safety laws. It did, however, receive congratulations in the report for adopting a statewide bike plan in 2019.

45. Alabama
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45. Alabama

Behind only neighboring Mississippi, Alabama ranks second-worst in traffic accidents (35 fatalities per 10,000 bike commuters). While the report notes that Alabama “has significantly increased its use of federal funding on bicycling and walking projects in recent years,” it recommends the state allow photo enforcement of speed limits in areas such as school zones.

44. New Mexico
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44. New Mexico

The Land of Enchantment receives failing marks both for its bike-safety laws and its outreach to the biking/pedestrian community, yet earns a solid B+ for its bike-safety plan. The report recommends enacting a safe-passing law with a minimum distance of 3 feet and to reconsider its current ban on speed and red light cameras on state and federal roads.

43. Kentucky
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43. Kentucky

The Bluegrass State receives an F for its bike/pedestrian facilities, while the report notes that the state’s “history of car-first road development has created communities that are segregated from jobs and community resources.” The report recommends the state adopt a law prohibiting motorists from opening car doors unless it is safe to do so and “consider investing more in active transportation where communities have high rates of physical inactivity.”

42. South Carolina
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42. South Carolina

South Carolina is the fifth-worst state for traffic accidents, with 29.7 fatalities per 10,000 bike commuters, and receives a failing grade for its bike/pedestrian facilities. Yet it does receive one A on its report card (for community engagement) and is congratulated on dedicating $5 million in safety funding to non-motorized transit. The report recommends the state enact new bike-safety laws and hold a bike/pedestrian education conference.

41. Oklahoma
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41. Oklahoma

Oklahoma ranks third-to-last in spending, with just $0.88 spent per capita on biking and walking, and receives an F for its use of federal transportation funding. Yet the Sooner State does receive an A for its bike-safety laws and community outreach. The report calls for more funding toward bicyclists and pedestrians and to prioritize “criteria for federal funds that incentivize bicycle projects and accommodations.”

40. South Dakota
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40. South Dakota

South Dakota receives failing grades for its bike/pedestrian facilities, its bike/pedestrian design, and its community outreach. Yet the Mount Rushmore State’s bike-safety laws and state education programs receive solid B averages. The report recommends the creation of a system of state bike routes that are safe and “suitable for all types of bicyclists.”

39. Alaska
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39. Alaska

First, the good news. Alaska ranks No. 1 in the nation in spending, with a whopping $11.90 spent per capita on biking and walking. It also ranks high in bike ridership, with its 1% of commuters biking to work giving it the seventh-highest rate in the country. Yet its bike-safety laws, community outreach, and bike/pedestrian facilities all receive failing grades.

38. Hawaii
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38. Hawaii

The Aloha State ranks high in ridership (its 1% of commuters biking to work is fifth-highest in the U.S.) and its rate of 4.3 traffic fatalities per 10,000 bike commuters is the country’s seventh-lowest. Yet spending is near the bottom of the barrel, at just $1.52 per capita spent on biking and walking, earning it the fifth-lowest rate in America. The state’s bike laws do receive an A, but its community outreach scores an F.

37. Kansas
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37. Kansas

The Jayhawk State receives A marks for its bike/pedestrian facilities, with its bike-safety laws earning a solid B and its state transportation funding scoring a D. The report congratulates the Kansas legislature for dedicating state funding to biking and walking projects and programs for the first time, but calls the $2 million allocated for fiscal 2020 “a down payment … as the legislature works on longer term funding.”

36. New Hampshire
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36. New Hampshire

Its motto is “Live Free or Die” — and New Hampshire’s 15.3 traffic fatalities per 10,000 bike commuters is the 11th-worst in the nation. Yet the state receives a solid B mark for its bike-safety laws and an A for its community outreach. The report calls for the state to adopt “a vulnerable road user law that increases penalties for a motorist that injures or kills a bicyclist or pedestrian.”

35. Missouri
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35. Missouri

The Show Me State doesn’t have much to show for itself when it comes to its bike-safety laws, community outreach, and bike/pedestrian facilities. All of them earn failing grades. The report calls for Missouri to adopt “at least two laws that are commonly found in other states in order to combat distracted driving” including a texting ban for all drivers and a requirement for hands-free cell phone devices while driving.

34. West Virginia
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34. West Virginia

West Virginia’s bike ridership ranks near the bottom of the barrel with its rate of 0.2% of commuters biking to work. The report congratulates the state for its recent mountain bike trail development, while calling for “a vulnerable road user law that increases penalties for a motorist that injures or kills a bicyclist or pedestrian.”

33. Idaho
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33. Idaho

Despite earning an F for its bike-safety laws, its bike/pedestrian facilities and its bike/pedestrian design, Idaho’s traffic fatalities are quite low: with its rate of just 4.2 fatalities per 10,000 bike commuters good for third-best in the nation. And with 1% of commuters biking to work, it has the country’s sixth-highest ridership rate.

32. Arkansas
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32. Arkansas

Arkansas has some work to do when it comes to bike safety, with its rate of 25.1 fatalities per 10,000 bike commuters the third-worst in the nation. It also has one of the lowest ridership rates in the country, with 0.2% of commuters biking to work. While its bike-safety laws receive an A, it gets an F for community outreach.

31. Nevada
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31. Nevada

Nevada has a few things going for it in the world of bike safety, including A marks for its bike-safety laws and community outreach. Yet its bike/pedestrian facilities receive an F, and its spending is the ninth-lowest rate in the nation at $1.65 spent per capita on biking and walking.

30. Rhode Island
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30. Rhode Island

Despite the sixth-highest spending rate in the nation ($4.09 spent per capita on biking and walking), Rhode Island earns a failing mark for its community outreach and a D for its bike/pedestrian facilities. “Leadership in Rhode Island should explore how to best coordinate interstate bicycle routes, paths, and other improvements with Connecticut and Massachusetts,” the report states.

29. Wisconsin
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29. Wisconsin

Wisconsin receives As for its bike-safety laws and community outreach, and is given particular accolades in the report for its bike tourism promotion and its community map of crash data “that can inform community efforts to improve traffic safety” and which is “not available in many states.” Yet its bike/pedestrian facilities score an F, and its spending is seventh-lowest in the nation at $1.59 spent per capita on biking and walking.

28. Louisiana
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28. Louisiana

Louisiana receives an A for its bike-safety laws, yet its spending is sixth-lowest in the nation ($1.52 spent per capita on biking and walking) and its traffic fatality rate is the country’s seventh-worst (19.5 fatalities per 10,000 bike commuters). “While there is a strong recent record of improvements in New Orleans,” the report states, “better organization statewide will be crucial for ensuring that laws, policies, and projects are improved throughout the state.”

27. Texas
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27. Texas

Texas is a bit of a paradox when it comes to bike safety. On one hand, its bike-safety laws receive an F, and its spending is 11th-lowest in the nation ($1.93 spent per capita on biking and walking). On the other hand, its bike/pedestrian facilities receive an A as do its community outreach efforts. It also has the country’s 12th-highest rate of traffic deaths, with 16.7 fatalities per 10,000 bike commuters.

26. Iowa
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26. Iowa

The report congratulates Iowa for adopting a Bicycle and Pedestrian Long Range Plan and for “making bicycle safety an emphasis in your state’s strategic highway safety plan.” It also calls for new bike-safety laws such as a safe-passing law with a minimum distance of 3 feet and a law prohibiting a motorist from opening a car door unless it is safe.

25. Tennessee
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25. Tennessee

Right in the middle of the pack is Tennessee, which earns an A for its bike-safety laws and an F for its bike/pedestrian facilities. Its ridership rate is among the lowest in the nation, with 0.1% of commuters biking to work. “Tennessee has a lower than average bike commuting rate and should make it a priority to provide a viable bicycle network system in its communities,” the report states.

24. Indiana
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24. Indiana

With $4.12 spent per capita, the Hoosier State is No. 5 in spending on biking and walking. Its bike-safety laws and bike/pedestrian facilities receive Bs, while it scores an A for community outreach. “Indiana is taking a number of exciting steps to improve conditions for people who bike and walk,” according to the report, including new bike-safety laws and bike trail projects.

23. Arizona
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23. Arizona

Arizona’s bike-safety laws and bike/pedestrian facilities both receive As, with its state transportation funding and community outreach efforts both resulting in Fs. Despite the eighth-highest ridership rate in the country (0.9% of commuters biking to work), the report suggests the state “adopt a goal to increase the prevalence of people biking.”

22. North Carolina
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22. North Carolina

Despite North Carolina’s “long history of bicycle and pedestrian planning,” the state “is unique in having a legislative ban on funding independent bicycle and pedestrian projects,” according to the report. “This severely limits the ability of the state DOT [Department of Transportation] to provide safe places for people to bike and walk. The North Carolina legislature should repeal the ban and provide funding for independent bicycle and pedestrian projects.”

21. Connecticut
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21. Connecticut

The Nutmeg State earns A grades for its bike-safety laws and community outreach, yet its ridership rate is the 14th-lowest in the nation at 0.3% of commuters biking to work. “Connecticut should take steps to encourage and increase bicycle safety education for all ages and abilities,” states the report, including “commitments to provide bicycle education for all students in at least one grade of school.”

20. Maine
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20. Maine

While Maine spends the fourth-lowest amount on biking and walking ($1.06 per capita), it still manages to earn A grades for its bike-safety laws and community outreach efforts. The report congratulates Maine for recently adopting legislation that creates new classes of e-bikes under state law, while encouraging the Pine Tree State to adopt a statewide bicycle plan.

19. Georgia
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19. Georgia

Georgia’s traffic death rate is the eighth-highest in the nation, with 23.3 fatalities per 10,000 bike commuters, while its rate of ridership is also among the lowest in the country with 0.2% of commuters biking to work. It gets an A for its bike-safety laws, but scores an F for its bike/pedestrian facilities. The report calls for additional funding and for the state to update its bicycle master plan.

18. Ohio
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18. Ohio

Ohio’s bike-safety laws and sustainable transportation policies both earn B marks, while the state gets a B- for its bike/pedestrian facilities and a D for its bike/pedestrian design. The report congratulates Ohio for recently passing “common sense” bike-safety laws as well as its first statewide plan focused on biking and walking.

17. Vermont
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17. Vermont

Vermont spends the fourth-most on biking and walking in the nation ($8.92 per capita) and boasts the fifth-lowest traffic fatality rate in the country (4.3 fatalities per 10,000 bike commuters). Yet its bike-safety laws earn only a C+, with the state taking home Fs for community outreach and bike/pedestrian facilities. The report calls for a statewide bicycle advisory committee and an updated bicycle master plan.

16. Illinois
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16. Illinois

The Land of Lincoln receives As for its bike-safety laws and community outreach efforts, but its bike/pedestrian facilities suffer an F. The state spends the seventh-most on biking ($3.73 per capita on biking and walking), with the report calling the state’s annual allocation of $50 million for bicycle and pedestrian projects “a great step for the state towards creating a safer and more sustainable transportation system.”

15. Michigan
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15. Michigan

Michigan is No. 37 out of 50 when it comes to spending ($2.27 spent per capita on biking and walking) and 14th-worst when it comes to traffic deaths (15 fatalities per 10,000 bike commuters). Its bike/pedestrian facilities and bike/pedestrian design both receive C marks, with the report recommending the state adopt a law “that allows people biking to treat stop signs as yield signs.”

14. Maryland
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14. Maryland

In the areas of bike-safety laws, community outreach efforts, and bike/pedestrian facilities, Maryland scores As across the board. So why so low a ranking? The state spends the 10th-least on biking ($1.70 per capita spent on biking and walking) and has 10.1 traffic fatalities per 10,000 bike commuters (22nd-lowest in the nation). The report congratulates Maryland for convening a statewide task force of bicycle safety to address this issue.

13. New York
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13. New York

While New York’s bike-safety laws get a D, its bike/pedestrian facilities and community outreach efforts both take home As. The report calls out the state for having an updated bicycle and pedestrian master plan, yet also hails its funding of “The Empire State Trail initiative to create 750 miles of trail that cross New York State from east to west and north to south.”

12. New Jersey
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12. New Jersey

When it comes to spending, New Jersey ranks dead last — with just $0.63 spent per capita on biking and walking. And the state’s bike-safety laws take home an F. Yet helping the Garden State rise in the rankings are its A marks in bike/pedestrian facilities and community outreach. The report calls for new bike-safety laws and better funding.

11. Pennsylvania
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11. Pennsylvania

While Pennsylvania “has taken many steps to institutionalize the safety of people who bike and walk as a core part of the agency’s vision,” the report suggests there is still room for improvement. The state “should clarify the legality of e-scooters” and hold an educational state bicycle and/or walking conference, the report notes.

10. Florida
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10. Florida

Florida’s bike-safety laws and community outreach efforts both receive As, with its bike/pedestrian facilities scoring a C and its sustainable transportation policies taking home a B+. Yet the state has the fourth-highest traffic death rate in the nation, with 23.7 fatalities per 10,000 bike commuters. The report congratulates Florida’s effort to install $100 million in LED lighting at intersections to improve bicycle/pedestrian visibility.

9. Virginia
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9. Virginia

Virginia has “one of the most comprehensive bicycle inventories in the country,” according to the report, which also urges localities to build on the state’s “many successful trails” such as the Virginia Capital Trail. It also recommends looking at “ways to improve bicycle and pedestrian safety at crosswalks by clarifying the duty of drivers to stop for a person crossing the road.”

8. Utah
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8. Utah

Despite spending the second-least on biking ($0.68 per capita spent on biking and walking), Utah still manages to crack the top 10 thanks to A marks in bike-safety laws, community outreach, bike/pedestrian facilities, and sustainable transportation practices. The report urges “more consistent funding” for the state’s “bold initiative” of building 1,000 miles of family-friendly trails over 10 years.

7. Colorado
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7. Colorado

Colorado ranks third-highest when it comes to ridership (1.2% of commuters biking to work) and sixth-lowest in traffic deaths (4.1 traffic fatalities per 10,000 commuters). Its bike-safety laws and bike/pedestrian facilities both earn A marks, with the state lauded in the report for holding more than 100 public meetings on its statewide transportation plan and for its $100 million commitment to improve bicycling in Colorado.

6. Delaware
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6. Delaware

America’s second-smallest state spends the third-most on biking, with $9.09 spent on biking and walking per capita. The state earns A marks for its bike-safety laws, community outreach, and bike/pedestrian facilities. Yet it suffers the 10th-highest rate of traffic deaths, with 19.9 traffic fatalities per 10,000 bike commuters. The report card also congratulates Delaware on the opening of its new Wilmington-New Castle Greenway.

5. Massachusetts
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5. Massachusetts

Massachusetts’ report card is mostly As and Bs … with one glaring exception: an F for its bike-safety laws. The state has the ninth-lowest death rate (3.3 fatalities per 10,000 bike commuters) and the 10th-highest ridership rate, with 0.8% of commuters biking to work. The report recommends new bike-safety laws while commending the state’s “strong recent history of investing in bicycling and walking.”

4. California
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4. California

California takes home A grades for its bike safety laws, bike/pedestrian facilities, and bike/pedestrian design, while boasting the fourth-highest ridership rate in the nation (1.1% of commuters biking to work). Its only blemish is its death rate of 7.5 fatalities per 10,000 commuters, which is just 21st-lowest in the nation. “California often has the most traffic deaths for people biking and walking of any state,” the report notes. “Reducing this number should be a priority.”

3. Minnesota
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3. Minnesota

“The Minnesota Department of Transportation has a well-deserved reputation for caring about the needs of people who bike and walk,” states the report, which also congratulates Minnesota for developing its first statewide pedestrian plan and for funding a “Safe Routes to School” program. The state has the fourth-lowest death rate (3.4 fatalities per 10,000 bike commuters) and spends the 10th-most on biking ($3.55 per capita spent on biking and walking).

2. Oregon
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2. Oregon

Oregon ranks No. 1 in bike ridership (with 2.4% of commuters biking to work) while boasting the second-lowest rate of traffic deaths in the nation (with 1.8 fatalities per 10,000 commuters). The state’s bike safety laws, community outreach, and bike/pedestrian design all receive A marks, with the state only having to spend $2.84 per capita on biking and walking (25th of 50 states) to achieve these results.

1. Washington
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1. Washington

Taking home the top slot in every year that the League of American Bicyclists has conducted these rankings (since 2013), Washington is “a long-time leader in bicycling and walking,” according to the report. The state’s bike safety laws, community outreach, and bike/pedestrian design all receive A marks, with its ridership rate of 0.9% of commuters biking to work clocking in at ninth-best in the nation.