PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Plenty of people prefer riding on two wheels instead of four in Oregon – and for good reason! The League of American Bicyclists recently ranked Oregon as the most bicycle-friendly state on the west coast, and the second-most bicycle-friendly state in the U.S. 

The report came out on April 19 and takes into consideration things like infrastructure and funding, education and encouragement, traffic laws and practices, policies and programs, along with evaluation and planning. 

“Through surveys, data collection, and analysis, the Bicycle Friendly States report and ranking demonstrates how states are — or are not — contributing to making biking safer, more comfortable, and an easier option for everyone,” Bill Nesper, executive director of the League of American Bicyclists, said in a statement. 

Oregon had exceptional scores across the board in all areas. It received three A’s, one A- and one B. Yet still, it was edged out from the top spot by Massachusetts, which scored three A’s, one A- and a D. 

When comparing reports for the two states, Oregon seems to have Massachusetts beat in all areas except spending per capita. 

According to the report, Oregon spends $3.30 per capita in Federal Highway Administration dollars and biking and walking. This means Oregon ranks 21st among states for its spending. 

Massachusetts spends $4.04 per capita, ranking it 14th among states. 

The report also points out the high number of traffic deaths in Oregon in 2019 that involved people outside of vehicles, 19.4%. The new Bipartisan Infrastructure Law requires any state where people outside vehicles make up 15% or more of traffic fatalities to spend 15% or more of Highway Safety Improvement Program funds on projects to improve non-motorized user safety. 

Susan Peithman serves as the policy and implementation manager for the Oregon Department of Transportation’s public transportation division. She said she’s pleased with the results of the report, but said more work needs to be done. 

She’s focused on the potential for improvements, especially with the $90 million in federal flexible funds ODOT has set aside for bicycle and pedestrian investments. 

“We have opportunities in front of us with the higher level of federal funding approved by our commission for Safe Routes to School and our new Pedestrian and Bicycle Strategic and Great Streets programs,” she said. “This is great – but more is needed to create a well-connected network of sidewalks, bicycle facilities and public transportation access across Oregon so people can move in and between communities without needing a car.” 

ODOT’s pedestrian and bicycle program recently took inventory of its highest priority areas to identify places for investments. It took into consideration things like crash history and risk factors, bicycle level of traffic stress, equity, access to transit and more. 

Peithman is proud of the progress Oregon has made in the last decade and looks forward to achieving more in the future. 

Washington state was ranked as the third most bike-friendly state in the U.S. This is the first time since 2008 that Washington has not claimed the top spot.