The Bicycle Friendly State Report Card focuses on efforts to promote bicycling state-to-state. Since 2008, they have published rankings based on a particular state’s commitment to being bicycle-friendly.
Various categories with specific values make up the overall scores. Those include:
- Infrastructure & Funding: 20%
- Education & Encouragement: 15%
- Legislation & Enforcement: 15%
- Policies & Programs: 20%
- Evaluation & Planning: 20%
- Discretionary Scoring: 10%
Challenges Facing the Garden State
New Jersey ranked 12th in The Bicycle Friendly State program’s annual rankings. The highest grades they achieved was a B+ for Policies & Programs and Evaluation & Planning. In the category of Legislation & Enforcement, they received a D+. The report card notes that challenges exist. Currently, they have $23 million in Highway Safety Improvement funds but have spent very little of that money, particularly in the area of bicycle and pedestrian safety.
The group also suggests that New Jersey invest resources in various forms of “active transportation” in communities known for significant physical inactivity, obesity, and diabetes, and other health problems.
In addition to suggesting a change in culture, The Bicycle Friendly State program suggests that the New Jersey legislature passes laws with the goal of zero serious injuries and fatalities. Suggested legislation includes sudden car door openings, safe passage with a mandated minimum of three feet, and increased penalties for motorists who injure vulnerable road users.
Bicyclists must adhere to the highest standards of safety while riding. However, their efforts are only as effective as their fellow travelers, not to mention government entities helping to pave the way to protect them.