Reports detail how Colorado supports bicycling
For the past several weeks, we’ve been working with the Colorado Department of Transportation to complete a rigorous report to the League of American Bicyclists and the Alliance for Walking and Biking about the ways our state government supports bicycling.
The League uses the report to determine its Bicycle Friendly States ranking, and the Alliance uses it in its benchmark report on bicycling and walking activities in the United States. We work with the transportation department to make sure that everything Colorado does for bicycling is included. In 2013, Colorado was ranked No. 2 on the Bicycle Friendly States list, and we’ve been commended particularly on bicycle-friendly laws. Washington was first.
We’re always excited to find out how Colorado ranks—the 2014 list will be announced later this spring and the League’s Andy Clarke speaks at our Colorado Bicycle Summit next week. Here’s what’s included in the report, including some of the things Colorado does well in each category.
Legislation and enforcement
Basic laws and regulations that govern bicycling. Colorado has state laws that allow cyclists to use the shoulder, signal turns with either hand and move away from the right-hand side of the road for safety reasons. We also have laws that require motorists to give bicyclists three feet berth when passing. (All good things.)
Programs and policies
The Colorado Department of Transportation requirements for accommodating cyclists. Colorado has a Complete Streets policy, which requires that all new state roads include a shoulder—an important element to a high ranking on the list.
Specific performance measurements for bicycling infrastructure (bike lanes, paths, trails, etc.) and how it’s funded at the state level. Colorado lags behind other states in state infrastructure funding.
Education and encouragement
How the state educates adults and kids about bicycling, educates individual and professional motorists about sharing the road and encourages people to ride bikes. Colorado’s drivers handbook includes a section about bicycle laws, safety and sharing the road. For the past nine years, the state has allocated federal transportation dollars to biking and walking safety education through the Safe Routes to School program, but funding is at risk. Colorado also promotes bicycling through the Colorado Tourism Office, produces bike maps and collaborates with state and advocacy groups (like Bicycle Colorado).
Evaluation and Planning
How bicycling is incorporated into the state’s yearly planning. This section measures results of state bicycle/car crash rates and bike commuting rates, and includes ways bicycling is included in highway safety, outdoor recreation and bicycle transportation plans.
This is just one example of how we work with state officials to keep bicycling top-of-mind. We’re proud to work together with the transportation department to promote Colorado’s bicycle friendliness.