Maine was ranked the 15th most Bicycle-Friendly State in a new study conducted by The League of American Bicyclists. The study includes data collected by each state’s Department of Transportation and considers these 5 categories to determine the ranking:
- Legislation and Enforcement
- Policy and Programs
- Infrastructure and Funding
- Education and Encouragement
- Evaluation and Planning
Maine’s 2015 ranking is encouraging, with high marks for progressive legislation and enforcement, as well as effective policies and programs. However, Maine also has areas where there is room for improvement.
Falling Short of Friendly
There were two categories in which Maine fell short in the 2015 study:
- Infrastructure and Funding, and
- Evaluation and Planning.
Infrastructure and Funding focuses on performance measurements specific to infrastructure, the number of facilities available, and spending amounts for bicycling initiatives. Specifically, this category looks at:
- Signed bike routes
- Recreational trail miles
- Highways with shoulders
- Number of bike-related projects
- Rates for available federal funding
Evaluation and Planning is concerned with how bicycling is incorporated into a state’s annual planning. It addresses how bicycling is included in state safety initiatives and public transportation plans. Further, it takes into account a state’s bike/car crash rates and bike commuting statistics.
These two categories must be addressed to boost our ranking and ensure safe and equitable transportation for all Maine citizens.
How Maine Can Become a More Bicycle-Friendly State
Here are a few suggestions on how Maine could improve bike-safety:
- Explore new construction plans for bike-specific initiatives, such as protected bike lanes and bike traffic signals.
- Include statewide adoption and endorsement of programs like the Urban Bikeway Design Guide introduced by the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO).
- Adopt a Complete Streets Policy—an initiative to provide street access for all users, including pedestrians, cyclists, motorists, and transit riders.
- Enact new performance measures to ensure programs, such as a Complete Streets Policy, are compliant and efficient.
- Integrate bike transportation needs into all transportation and land use policies and projects.
A Safer Maine for Everyone
Even if you don’t ride a bike on Maine’s public roadways, keeping our streets safe for bike riders and pedestrians is good for everyone. In 2015, there were approximately 30,000 car crashes in Maine, and more than 500 of those crashes involved a bicyclist or pedestrian. Bike riders and pedestrians are not enclosed within a vehicle and thus are more likely to be seriously injured in an accident.
Bike accidents often result in traumatic brain injuries, which can alter the life of an individual, as well as the lives of their loved ones. Moreover, individuals responsible for injuries of a bicyclist can also suffer significant consequences.
It is in everyone’s best interest to support safe roads for all users in the state of Maine.
At Fales & Fales, we strive to provide accident victims with compassionate legal service. If you or a family member has suffered a bike injury we want to hear from you.
To contact a Fales & Fales representative, please fill out the form on this page.