League of American Bicyclists Rankings
My first thought when reading this after just returning from a ride from Hendersonville, TN to Kingsport, TN, was, "How can this be?" TDOT has effectively killed any realistic chance for a USBR 80 by rumbling the only unrumbled road, TN 62, to connect Wartburg to Oak Ridge. US 70 was already rumbled and other alternates reqire many miles deviation. TDOT was apprised of the critical nature of TN 62 several years ago but they have either forgotten, that TDOT division did not get the word, or they just don't care.
On further reflection, I must admit that Tennessee's major cities have all made significant progress. That is where most people cycle. One more reminder of how marginalized is the touring cyclist. Andy Clark, League President, had a reply to several howls of protest in the comments section. It further clarifies the process and admits that all states have a long way to go. My current thought is that the rankings are about right and Jessica Wilson deserves our thanks.
One more reminder of how important is our state wide advocacy.
Below are Andy Clark's remarks. Note, he will be at the TN bike summit. A chance for some of us to give him a piece of our mind. Just kidding, Andy.
Andy Clarke Says:
May 3rd, 2013 at 10:03 am
Wrapping up a few of these comments…
As a general rule States ARE a long way behind cities in terms of
looking out for bicyclists and if we used the same bronze, silver, gold
categories for the states as we do for cities there wouldn’t be a lot of
shiny metal handed out at all. So Washington is the best but we have a
long way to go everywhere. That’s especially true of the state DOTs.
Because we look at all 50 states (rather than the BFC program that is
an opt-in assessment) we have to ask questions and collect data that is
as objective as possible – if the state decides not to fill out the
form, we will do it ourselves and have to be able to get the data! So
the fact that there are some great places to ride in West Virginia and
some dodgy places to ride even in Washington is tough to capture. We ask
a lot of questions related to laws, policies, programs,facts and
figures that can certainly mask the reality of what is happening on the
We also ask about the culture of cycling – is there a statewide
advocacy group, are there major events and tours – across road, mountain
and trail riding. There is some credit for having Bicycle Friendly
Communities in the state, but we also know that progress can sometimes
happen despite the state rather than because of it (Austin, Texas,
New Jersey has a lot of good policies and programs in place –
hopefully the feedback we provide to each state will capture those
places where local advocates feel as if those policies are not really
being followed and there needs to be a little more accountability.