Bicycling, thanks in part to the rise of the eco-friendly movement, is becoming increasingly popular throughout the United States. State governments have noticed just how much the sport’s following has grown, and a number of have done their best to welcome cyclists with open arms by introducing bike-friendly laws and by adding more biking trails and lanes too. The League of American Bicyclists (LAB) recently released their list of the top 2015 bike-friendly states, and the states that made the top 10 are not only bike-friendly, but they also boast some of the best biking events, trails and routes in the country. Here’s a look at a few of the states that made the top 10.
Debuting at number eight on the list, California is definitely a cyclist’s paradise. Because the weather is rather mild year-round, cyclists can hit the open road whenever they feel like it. Some of the state’s cities are especially friendly towards cyclists. For example, San Diego is pretty well known for its beaches, and The Silver Strand (which runs along the San Diego Bay on the Coronado island) is a great cycling route that offers excellent views of the Pacific. If you feel like hitting the road, you can also cruise along the Pacific Coast Highway and check out the dozens of pristine beaches up and down the San Diego coastline. If you’d prefer to head somewhere a bit cooler, check out San Francisco. This coastal city has a population of roughly 500,000 cycling commuters, according to CNN, making it a perfect city for cyclists who like to ride to work. Furthermore, San Francisco also boasts tons of paths and trails with brilliant ocean views, making it a fantastic destination for the sightseeing cyclist too.
It’s no surprise that Oregon (which came in at number six) is on this list of the top 10 bike-friendly cities. Featuring over 106 kilometers of bike paths and 283 kilometers of designated bike lanes, Portland is one of the top bike-friendly cities in the nation. Plus, the city also hosts roughly 2,100 biking events each year, according to the League of American Bicyclists. Outside of Portland, the state is considerably rural, and its forests, mountains, waterfalls and lakes are sometimes best explored while on a bike. Cyclists can ride up to Crater Lake, explore the verdant Columbia Gorge or even trek along the state’s rugged but truly breathtaking coastline.
At number five on the list, Utah is fast becoming one of the top destinations for cyclists in the nation. Featuring some of the most magnificent mountain ranges and deserts in the country, cyclists can hit the trail and explore Zion National Park, trek deep into the canyons in Southern Utah or check out the ancient sandstone arches in Moab’s Arches National Park. The capital of Utah, Salt Lake City, is pretty bike-friendly too. In fact, according to City Lab, Salt Lake City will be the first city in the nation that will have a specially designed intersection to protect cyclists—not even New York City, which is often considered to be one of the best cities in the country for cyclists, has one of these intersections yet!
Debuting at number one on the list, Washington, home of Bicycle Adventures, is considered by the LAB to be the most bike-friendly state in the nation. Seattle, the state’s largest city, is especially protective of its cyclists. The city itself features 90 miles of designated bike routes, an additional 22 miles of bikes lanes (striped, and on-street) and another 28 miles of paths that are open to cyclists, foot traffic and so on. Additionally, Walk Score recently released a list of the top cities that feature the best “bike culture,” and of the 154 cities examined, Seattle featured at 13. The state, much like Oregon, is filled with lush forests, majestic mountains and beautiful beaches. So, if you’re looking to get away from civilization for a bit, you can take your bike and head out towards the coast to visit San Juan Island, or you can visit the state’s various volcanoes.
All of these bike-friendly states are worth a visit. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and see the sights!