At a time when Tucson and Pima County officials are trying to obtain a platinum level bicycle friendly rating from the League of American Bicyclists, the state itself has dropped seven spots in the most recent rankings — continuing a trend of sliding down the rankings.

In 2008, Arizona was ranked third, in 2009 Arizona ranked seventh. The 2011 rankings, which were released last month, dropped Arizona to the No. 16 spot from No. 9.

The rankings were broken down into six categories including; Legislation, Policies & Programs, Infrastructure, Education & Encouragement, Evaluation & Planning and Enforcement.

According to the report, the LAB gave a grade of F in the Infrastructure and Evaluation & Planning. The best grades Arizona received were Bs in the Legislation and Education & Encouragement categories.

The top 10 are:

1. Washington
2. Maine
3. Wisconsin
4. Minnesota
5. New Jersey
6. Iowa
7. Florida
8. Oregon
9. Massachusetts
10. Maryland

The least friendly states?

40. Georgia
41. South Dakota
42. Nevada
43. Oklahoma
44. New Mexico
45. Nebraska
46. Montana
47. Alabama
48. Arkansas
49. North Dakota
50. West Virginia

What do you think? Is the rest of Arizona pulling Tucson down?

Download the full report here.

7 thoughts on “Arizona drops seven spots in bicycle friendly ratings”
  1. Mike, could you get some concrete examples of the things that better ranked states are doing that Arizona is not?  For example, Az got an F in infrastructure, I’d like to see what the best ranked state’s infrastructure looks like.  Should I assume a state’s infrastructure is evaluated as much or more by the facilities that link it’s cities and towns as for the facilities within it’s cities and towns?  Also, is Az being dinged because it’s not possible to ride through the state without getting on a freeway?  You know you can’t ride from here to Yuma or even Nogales or Benson without getting on the freway for a stretch.  I don’t know if I’d want tax money spent to create an intrastate cycling system, but I have to admit I’d love to see it done.

  2. I’ve bicycled in all 50 of the United States and concur with the high rankings for WA, WI, MN, IA, and OR.

    One of the things that really makes Iowa stand out is RAGBRAI. That event’s been happening since the 1970s.  When I crossed Iowa in 1981, it seemed as if everyone invited me back to ride RAGBRAI.

    A big thing that RAGBRAI has in its favor: Iit’s for average Joe and Jane riders, not the super-athlete types who tend to gravitate toward events like El Tour de Tucson.

    I think this makes a big difference. People who might not otherwise consider themselves to be interested in sports or fitness can see themselves doing something like RAGBRAI. And, in Iowa, they certainly do!

  3. Martha, I wasn’t familiar with RAGBRAI so I had to do some research. It looks like an awesome event, thanks for mentioning it. I think there is a ride across Arizona each year, north to south, but it doesn’t have the following that RAGBRAI does by any stretch.
    You’ve ridden in all 50 states?! Wow.
    Take care.

  4. Bummer.  Perhaps this is due to the fact that we simply aren’t exuding enough happiness.  😉

  5. Greetings, after living in the Puget Sound region for twenty years, I am happy to say  “I’m Back Home” and I love the riding that I have done in and around Phx.  Every ride I come home or tell people that I meet on the road or in cycling shops “this is a great place to ride”.  I travel on a 2008 Raleigh Sport w/a Campy triple and a BOB trailer, the roads are generally clean and after about 40 hours of riding local in Phx. I have only encountered one “jackass” in a Big Black truck and only a mile or two of bad roads near 19th ave. & T-Bird.  The canal paths ROCK, I used to travel these as a kid with my family in the 70’s.  Going out to Cave Creek/Carefree was a blast and the folks on the road were beautiful.  I recently climed the pass between Jerome and Prescott, WOW.  Super nice road, great down hill decent, no debris. AZ ROCKS. Now to bash Wa.. Try going from Tacoma to Seattle via 99 – very doable but hell on your wheels, your lungs.  Try going Tacoma to Olympia. 3-5 miles on I-5 freakin horrible!  I took NPR’s cycling guru Willie Weir from Oly to Tacoma last spring.  Pounding rain, roaring trucks, pot holes … Willie lives in Seattle has traveled all over the planet and has never done Oly to Tacoma.  I doubt if he has ever done it again.  Thats’s my two cents worth.  I want a re-vote!

  6. Actually, no one gets a cumulative “A”.  So there is really no best state.  Looking at infrastructure as an example, everyone is failing that.  So we are no better than #1 on the list.  In terms of why Arizona is dropping in the ranks may have to do with a lack of cohesion in the state.  Tucson is trying to do things but are we learning from others in the state such as PHX or Flagstaff or are we sharing?  I think not…

    Rather to say if the other cities are pulling us down, we in Tucson have to worry about ourselves and make sure we are doing everything possible.  And we are not doing as much as we can.  We need to do more.  The BAC is the first place to start.  Make that body a more powerful position in the city and not just a meeting place for folks.  Give them the power to do what is right and help to influence more.

    SDMB ( was able to get together and secure a $50k grant.  The BAC should be able to do the same but since they are a governing body of the city they are held to certain standards.  SDMB showed that they can get things done.

    Just my 2 cents…

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