LITTLE ROCK, Ar (KTHV)-- When it comes to bicycle-friendly states, you may be surprised to find where Arkansas falls on the list.
With more and more people taking to the trails, just how prepared is Arkansas for the ever-growing hobby?
The League of American Bicyclists ranks each state on certain criteria including legislation, education and funding. This year, Arkansas was 50th out of the 50 states.
You may be seeing more and more cyclists on the roads lately, with the hobby gaining momentum, and people wanting to make "greener" choices. It's a healthy option. It's recreational and no doubt, a cheaper way to get around town. But, if we want to ride with pride, we'll need to make a few lane changes. Because according to the League of American Bicyclists, Arkansas is 50th out of 50 when it comes to bike friendly states.
The bicycle world has many faces. Competitive rider John Kelly lives in Maumelle. He applauds the trails in Little Rock, but isn't surprised to hear Arkansas ranks low on the national list. He says to make a change, everybody must do their part.
Kelly says, "I mean, the riders have to be aware the cars are back and try to ride in single file. That's where sometimes I make mistakes. I'm chatting with my friend and I don't realize there's a car back and we're just kinda riding along."
League of American Bicyclists scores each state on the following criteria:
-Legislation and Enforcement
-Policies and Programs
-Infrastructure and Funding
-Education and Encouragement
-Evaluation and Planning.
Sharon Priest with the Little Rock Downtown Partnership says it's disappointing to see Arkansas at the bottom of this list, but some cities are making improvements.
"I think one of the things we need to think about too is Arkansas is more of a rural state and you see bicycles more often in urban areas. And clearly, we're seeing a whole lot more downtown."
Success areas for other states included commuting percentages and dedicated funding. Another way to improve the score is raising awareness.
Kelly says, "The more people that are on bikes and know what it feels to interact with automobiles and know how scary it is? Then you kinda go 'ya know? I don't want to do that to anybody, ever!"
Priest says, "Infrastructure is another thing; lack of funding. We'd all like to see dedicated bike lanes on our existing streets. That's really really hard to do because you need to create additional room to have dedicated space."
As more and more bikers speak up--maybe it can help our rank move in the same direction.