Missouri ranks No. 30 among bicycle-friendly states, according to the latest rankings released by the League of American Bicyclists.
The league released its sixth annual assessment this month, which marks National Bike Month.
While Missouri was ranked 30th overall, it ranked No. 6 in the Midwest.
Missouri's rankings were based on a number of key indicators, including infrastructure and funding that provide on-the-ground bicycle facilities, education and encouragement programs that promote cycling, and passage and enforcement of bicycle-friendly laws that make it safe and comfortable for people of all ages to ride.
The year's ranking of 30th is the lowest ranking Missouri has received in the six years of the assessment.
In 2008, the first year of rankings by the league, the state ranked 28th overall. In 2009, it rose to 17th place, but in 2010, it went back down to 28th place again. In 2011, Missouri ranked 26th and last year, the state ranked 28th.
Each state was ranked in the five evaluation categories. Below is how Missouri fared in each category, with five being the highest and one being the lowest:
• Legislation and enforcement — 2
• Policies and programs — 2
• Infrastructure and funding — 2
• Education and encouragement — 3
• Evaluation and planning — 1
The assessment also includes recommendations for Missouri. Among them are the following:
• Remove current restrictions on state transportation funds that disallow funding of bicycle facilities,
• Adopt and implement Complete Streets policies,
• Adopt a statewide bicycle plan, and
• Adopt statewide and local laws making it unlawful to harass, taunt or throw objects at bicyclists.
"Most of the recommendations in the report can easily be adopted by cities, metro planning organizations, or statewide — and these are things that really improve our cities and neighborhoods for bicycling," said Brent Hugh, Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation executive director.
Throughout the year, league staff will work actively with state officials and advocacy leaders to help Missouri identify and implement the programs, policies and campaigns that will improve conditions for bicyclists.
"We're seeing more people bicycling in Missouri than ever before," said Hugh, "and both cities and state agencies like MoDOT are gradually working to improve conditions for bicycling. But frankly, we've got to step up our game. Other states are improving faster than we are."
People may go to www.bikeleague.org/states to compare Missouri to other states in the rankings.