ST. LOUIS – New research shows Missouri has room for improvement when it comes to its overall experience for bicycling, and the group behind it urges change.
The League of American Bicyclists recently released its 2022 Bicycle Friendly Report Card, evaluating states based on how infrastructure, education and laws factor into the overall biking experience. Missouri ranked 45th of 50 states in the report, a drop from 32nd overall in 2018.
The latest report card gives Missouri a C+ grade in infrastructure and funding. The Show-Me State received a D grade in several other subcategories, including education and encouragement, traffic laws and practices, policies and programs and evaluation and planning.
According to the League of American Bicyclists, Missouri ranks among the lowest ten states in bike ridership (0.21% of people commuting to work) and FHWA investments into biking and walking programs ($1.94 per capita). The state also has 9.3 bicycle fatalities per 10,000 biking commuters, which ranks near the middle of U.S. states.
The League of American Bicyclists suggests the following actions to improve the experience for bicyclists in Missouri:
- Adopt a safe passing law with a minimum distance of 3 feet to address bicyclist safety. (Missouri is one of 11 states without a safe passing law to protect bicyclists)
- Adopt a statewide bike plan or active transportation plan that provides a blueprint for safe bicycling networks in the state and lays out the funding needs of building those networks. (Missouri is one of eight states without a statewide bicycle plan)
- Spend at least 2% of federal transportation funds on biking and walking improvements.
- Update the state’s Complete Streets policy and encourage metropolitan planning organizations, regional planning commissions, and municipalities to do the same.
- Promote a culture of safe, non-distrcacted driving (Missouri is one of few states without a law that prohibits texting while driving)
- Work with communities to provide networks that allow more people to safely bike to work
A progress report released by the nonprofit in 2018 also hinted that Missouri scaled back on federal funding into biking and pedestrian programs, and that a comprehensive statewide plan could help the state invest more into safety programs.
Illinois was named the 15th-friendliest state for bicyclists. The report card ranked Massachussetts as the top bicycle-friendly state, while Wyoming was ranked at the bottom of the report card. For the full 2022 rankings, click here.