Washington, DC and Columbia, SC---As a wrap up of National Bike Month, the League of American Bicyclists announced the fourth annual Bicycle Friendly State (BFS) rankings. South Carolina now ranks 39rd for bicycle-friendliness, with an overall grade of F. This is down from 33rd in 2010 and 26th in 2009.
The rankings are based on overall scores to a questionnaire that was sent to South Carolina Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator, Tom Dodds. The Palmetto Cycling Coalition also contributed to this questionnaire.
The BFS program rankings were first conducted in 2008 and now occur annually, with all questions and methodology remaining consistent to track states' progress. The BFS rankings are based on a thorough questionnaire that evaluates a state's commitment to bicycling and covers six key areas: legislation, policies and programs, infrastructure, education and encouragement, evaluation and planning, and enforcement. For 2011, South Carolina's progress in these six key areas received the following rankings by category:
C in Legislation
F in Policies & Programs
F in Infrastructure
C in Education & Encouragement
F in Evaluation & Planning
D in Enforcement
Additionally, the program measures the combined performance of legislators, law enforcement, and state cycling advocates and promoters. "It is when there is combined and consistent work of multiple agencies, legislators and advocate promoting bicycling at the state level that you start to see big gains," says League President Andy Clarke. "The states that have consistently ranked in the top five or ten have that going for them."
Despite the disappointing news, bicycle advocates remain optimistic of their current and ongoing efforts. "There is a tremendous amount of work that remains to be done, and the state ranking for 2011 is yet another reminder of this," said Rachael Kefalos Bronson, Palmetto Cycling Coalition Director. "We must maintain the momentum, continue to work together in our efforts, and forge onward."
According to Bronson, South Carolina does continue to be a stand-out state for its initiative and progress to become more bicycle-friendly, although the rankings may seem to indicate otherwise. Bronson referred to several projects currently underway, including the launch of their Safe Streets initiative, as evidence that the state continues to lead on statewide efforts to improve bicycle safety, educational opportunities, change. "But, change takes time, and that is one of the hardest lessons to remember."
Learn more about the League's Bicycle Friendly State program and view the 2011 BFS Rankings list, complete with BFS awards, and a breakdown of how the states fared in each evaluation category. For more information, e-mail Meghan Cahill at the League or Cait Costello at the Palmetto Cycling Coalition.