Wednesday, May 27 2009 @ 11:24 PM UTC
Contributed by: B' Spokes
The League Of American Bicyclists Highlights Maryland As One Of Six Bicycle-Friendly States
Making Key Initiatives To Improve Conditions For Bicyclists
HANOVER , MD – The League of American Bicyclists named Maryland as an Honorable Mention in its Bicycle Friendly State program. Maryland is one of six bicycle-friendly states recognized for state initiatives to improve conditions for bicyclists. This year is the first year the organization expanded its program honoring bicycle-friendly communities to highlight states making government efforts for bicyclists. The Bike Friendly State program links the League’s work with federal level and community advocacy throughout the nation by recognizing states that actively support bicycling.
“The League is delighted to recognize Maryland as an Honorable Mention for its efforts to welcome bicyclists and make bicycling safer and more enjoyable,” said League President Andy Clarke . “We applaud Maryland and our other Bicycle-Friendly State winners for their willingness to invest over the long-term in creating a better, more livable environment for their citizens.”
As part of Governor O’Malley’s Smart, Green and Growing Initiative, Maryland has taken a number of steps to improve access and to provide safe bicycling for residents and visitors. These efforts range from implementing a 20-year Bicycle and Pedestrian Access Master Plan and adding bicycle racks to buses to producing comprehensive bicycle safety materials. A key focus has been on creating materials aimed at encouraging adults to bicycle safely on Maryland roadways and trails. The Smart, Green and Growing Initiative is geared to help Maryland achieve a more sustainable future by linking: community revitalization, transportation improvements, economic development, smart growth and environmental restoration efforts.
“Being recognized as one of six Bicycle-Friendly States nationwide shows how Governor Martin O’Malley’s Smart, Green & Growing initiative is working to put families first,” said Transportation Secretary John D. Porcari. “In addition to a number of efforts here in Maryland , our next step is to launch our Maryland Trails Strategic Implementation Plan that will link 800 miles of existing transportation trails in Maryland . The goal is to provide trails without borders, by filling in the missing links regardless of city, county or State lines.”
One of the key missing links to be completed in June is the bicycle trail on the new Woodrow Wilson Bridge that connects Virginia and Maryland . This trail will provide an alternative commuter route and a great recreation option with an incredible view of the Potomac River and our Nation’s Capital.
The League of American Bicyclists cited a number of specific efforts Maryland is making that made them stand out including:
- coordination with other states;
- reach and breadth of education efforts by Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT), Washington Area Bicyclist Association and One Less Car;
- bike patrol certification;
- creation of a Director of Bicycle and Pedestrian Access position at MDOT;
- creation of popular Competence and Confidence adult bicycle safety video specific to Maryland ; and
- establishment of a 20-Year Bicycle and Pedestrian Access Master Plan that provides a detailed perspective from the State's vision of becoming the best State for bicycling by 2023 and the 66 action items needed to get there.
Both Maryland and Delaware were given honorable mention awards, with silver awards going to Washington and Wisconsin and bronze awards going to Arizona and Minnesota . Applicants completed a detailed, online form, and scoring was based on a 75-item questionnaire evaluating a state’s commitment to bicycling and covering six key areas: legislation, policies and programs, infrastructure, education and encouragement, evaluation and planning, and enforcement.