SC 32nd in Bicycle Friendly State Rankings
We are very pleased to announce that the League of American Bicyclists has ranked South Carolina 32 out of 50 in their Bicycle Friendly State rankings. While there is certainly plenty of room for improvement, this is a great improvement over last year’s ranking as 39th and marks only the second time that South Carolina has improved our standing in the list. Our best ranking, 15th, was achieved in 2008 right after our new bike laws were passed.
On a scale of one to five, South Carolina scored a one on the categories of both “Infrastructure and Funding” and “Evaluation and Planning,” and a two on “Legislation and Enforcement.” However, we really shone in the “Policies and Programs” and “Education and Encouragement” categories, scoring a four in both. Of their top 10 signs of success, the League notes our Share the Road campaign, bicycle education for police, bicycle safety emphasis in strategic highway safety plan, Complete Streets policy, and active state advocacy group (the PCC). One bicycle friendly success they called particular attention to is the strong partnership between SCDOT and the PCC. Neighboring Georgia and North Carolina were ranked 23rd and 24th on the list, respectively.
“We are very happy to see an improvement in our ranking this year and to have the hard work done across the state by many people, including our partners at SCDOT, acknowledged,” said Palmetto Cycling Coalition executive director Rachael Bronson, “but we are looking forward to continuing our work with SCDOT to push us even further up the rankings to join our neighbors. South Carolina is a great place to ride a bike, and we want these rankings to reflect that.”
The League uses the state rankings not only to show where each state falls, but also to suggest improvements. Their top tip for improving our ranking is to establish a state bicycle advisory committee including representatives from health, economic development, and community groups. Tracking the number of state employees bicycling to work and providing incentives would help increase our ranking, as well as adopting federal funding project rating criteria to incentivize bike and pedestrian projects and increase the state’s spending on biking and walking. They would also like to see policies more consistently applied and a statewide bicycle plan that addresses each of the five “E’s” and has clear implementation actions and performance metrics to gauge success.