Report: Colorado ranks in top 10 of friendliest states for cyclists

Colorado ranks in the top 10 states for bicycle friendliness, according to a recent report from The League of American Bicyclists.

In 2015, 14 bicyclists were killed on roads in Colorado. According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, the same number of people on bikes were killed in 2016. Many more have been involved in accidents. The CDOT reports that in 2012, the most recent year they have data available, there were 757 crashes involving bicycles.

Despite these numbers, Colorado still remains in the top 10 friendliest states for cyclists, according to a report from the League of American Bicyclists. The reasons for that are multi-faceted. Anyone who rides a bike should understand why the state is performing well as well as where stands to improve.

The ranking

The survey bases the way it ranks states on the following five factors, each of which earns up to five points for the state:

  • Policies and programs: How states accommodate cyclists
  • Infrastructure and funding: How states invest in protecting cyclists
  • Legislation and enforcement: The laws that govern bicycling
  • Evaluation and planning: If and how the state incorporates cycling into annual planning
  • Education and encouragement: The existence of a share the road campaign, for example

Overall, Colorado ranks seventh in the country in terms of friendliness toward cyclists.

High points

Colorado earned four points for legislation, policies and education. The report noted that the state has a law in place that demands that motor vehicles leave 3 feet of space between the car and a bike when passing. Further, there is a "complete streets" policy that demands that bicyclists and pedestrians be included when transportation facilities are being designed.

In 2012, the state put in place a bicycle plan that aims to increase the safety of pedestrians and cyclists, and up the number of people who participate in such activities. Lastly, the state received points for having an active advocacy group.

Room for improvement

The areas where Colorado could stand to improve are concerning evaluation and infrastructure. The report outlined a number of ways the state could better these areas, such as dedicating state and federal funding specifically for programs concerning bicycle safety.

Additionally, the report suggested that Colorado implement a ban on cellphone use for drivers of all ages. Currently, only novice drivers are prohibited from using a cellphone while driving, though all drivers are banned from texting while driving. The report also suggested that all state-run buildings and parks should have bicycle parking, and the state should put in place a system of bike routes.

It is clear from the number of fatalities that Colorado has room to improve its approach to bicycle safety, whether in policy, driver attitudes or legislation. Anyone who has concerns about this issue should speak with a personal injury attorney in Colorado.