Steve Clark in Portland last week. (Photo by Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)
If your city proudly proclaims its Bicycle Friendly Community designation, you might want to re-read your application and make sure you didn’t exaggerate. That’s because Steve Clark, the new staffer in charge of the program for the League of American Bicyclists, is on a three-year, 300 city tour to find out if they live up to the hype.[Read more…]
A woman lounges on the bike-frame bike rack outside Modern Times, Minneapolis’s answer to the New Deal Cafe. “Can I take a photo?” I asked. “Hell yeah,” she said. (Photos: M.Andersen/BikePortland)
Now, don’t get me wrong: Minneapolis is a great place to ride a bicycle.
It has lots of things that Portland can and should learn from. And yes, those things they do in the November snow and the August sweat are seriously impressive. But is Minneapolis a better biking city than Portland?
While no ranking system is perfect (and most of them are nothing but click-bait garbage) the League of American Bicyclists does have some credibility and they have a rigorous set of criteria that they use to weight a state’s success in integrating bicycling into transportation plans, policies, and projects. [Read more…]
Still, in a town where only 31 percent of people on bikes tend to be female (it’s about 25 percent nationally) we’ve got a long way to go until, as in Germany or the Netherlands, our biking population is evenly split by gender. Portland’s failure to change this ratio for 10 years can be discouraging to people who think everyone deserves to feel welcome on a bike.
That’s why there’s a lot to celebrate in a new report by the League of American Bicyclists that rounds up dozens of statistics about women and bikes. Culled from industry reports, political polls and academic studies, a few of the report’s figures are pretty surprising…
The League of American Bicyclists released their annual Bicycle Friendly States rankings today. Oregon came in third place, which is up from fifth place in 2012 and represents a significant improvement over our eighth place ranking in 2011. The top state in the 2013 rankings is our northern neighbor Washington (they were also #1 last year), Colorado came in second, and Minnesota and Delaware rounded out the top five.
The rankings, which first came out in 2008, are determined primarily through a questionnaire sent to each state’s bicycle coordinator (in Oregon that title belongs to Sheila Lyons at the Oregon Department of Transportation). Answers from the questionnaire are then fact-checked by League staff in collaboration with leaders from bike advocacy groups. The League scored each state on how well they performed in five categories: legislation and enforcement; programs and policies; infrastructure; education and encouragement; and evaluation and planning. Among those five categories, Oregon fared poorly in the “infrastructure and funding” category, earning just 20-40% of the total possible points.[Read more…]
In the current issue of their American Bicyclist magazine, the League’s Bill Nesper writes that they worked with none other than Andreas Rohl, head of the bike program for the City of Copenhagen, to help design the Diamond program. (You might recall Rohl from his appearance at the 2009 National Bike Summit.) Like the Copenhagen Bicycle Account, Nesper says Diamond eligibility will be, “based on tangible metrics and citizen satisfaction.” He also unveiled “Five key performance areas of he Diamond assessment”:
» Percentage of trips to work and school by bike. » Bicyclist safety. » Public perception of safety. » Public satisfaction. » Quality of bicycling network, programs and policies
The League will award points based on those five areas on a 100-point scale:[Read more…]
In case you haven’t heard, there’s a battle royale going on in the U.S. Congress over the transportation bill right now. Members of the House and Senate are in negotiations to come up with some sort of agreement about how to actually pass a bill, instead of just extending the current one for the umpteenth time.
Included in these high-level talks are, once again, threats to change how cities and states fund projects that improve biking and walking. House Republicans and some Senators say they want to take away local control over spending on key programs like Safe Routes to School, Transportation Enhancements and Recreational Trails.
Suffice it to say, League of American Bicyclists president Andy Clarke isn’t taking it well. He’s pressing California Senator Barbara Boxer to reject the Republicans’ “small-minded and vindictive attacks” against bicycling and keep her promise to maintain these programs and retain local control over them. In a blog post this week, Clarke listed his top 10 reasons why Congress should not mess with biking and walking programs.[Read more…]
“When we went back to figure out how the League got their low numbers, we discovered that they use a definition that is very narrow and doesn’t capture all funding.” — Travis Brouwer, ODOT federal affairs
In our coverage earlier this week we explored a few reasons these state rankings should be taken with a grain of salt (for instance, they don’t account for major things like our state-run Scenic Bikeways Program). And now, the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) says the numbers used by the League gives even more reason to question the validity of the rankings.[Read more…]