The League of American Bicyclists released its annual Bike Friendly States rankings this week in honor of National Bike to Work Week, and Illinois came in 14th, down three spaces from last year’s 11th-place ranking.
The League decides its rankings based on responses to its Bicycle Friendly State questionnaire the covers legislation and enforcement, policies and programs, infrastructure and funding, education and encouragement and evaluation and planning. Illinois received 46 out of 100 total possible points. By comparison, Washington, which led the nation in bike friendliness according to the League’s rankings, earned 66.2 points.
Illinois, the third-ranked state in the Midwest, received its highest category scores in legislation and enforcement and education and encouragement, earning fours in both categories, with five as the highest possible ranking. Infrastructure and funding and evaluation and planning had the lowest scores, each earning twos. The ranking for infrastructure and funding improved upon last year’s score, when Illinois earned a one in that particular category.
In the state report card, the League noted that Illinois fulfills four of its top 10 signs of success: a safe passing law of three feet or greater, a complete streets policy, an active state advocacy group and, new for 2015, a state bicycle plan.
The League offered multiple suggestions for making Illinois more bike friendly, including hiring a full-time bicycle/pedestrian coordinator, changing current regulations and using resurfacing projects to create more bike lanes in both urban and more rural areas.
Since the League began ranking bike friendly states, Illinois has never placed higher than eighth nor lower than 22nd. The League has rated Washington as the most bike friendly state in the nation every year since scoring began.
For a complete list of national rankings and an in-depth look at any state’s evaluation, visit bikeleague.com/states.