Editorial: Tennessee gets nice national, regional ranking for being bicycle-friendly

May. 05, 2013 @ 11:00 PM

Now here is a nice recognition for the state of Tennessee. The League of American Bicyclists has released its latest Bicycle Friendly States ranking. In the sixth annual report, Tennessee ranked second in the Southeast, while placing 17th nationally. Tennessee has improved its national ranking from 26th in 2012.

“With all the competing transportation needs we have, Tennessee is proud to be making gains in the area of bicycle friendliness,” said Tennessee Department of Transportation Commissioner John Schroer. “The network of bike lanes across the state is growing each and every year and we will continue to dedicate funding for important programs such as Safe Routes to School.”

 As people become more health-conscious and seek ways to exercise and stay active, many are looking to a childhood fixture to do so. Bicycling works so many muscles and improves endurance and a feeling of contentment. Wile Sevier County with its hills may not seem conducive to riding bikes for pleasure, in fact you can find areas to cycle that won’t overly tax you as you seek to get healthier.

Tennessee’s ranking was based on a number of indicators, including infrastructure and funding that provide on-the-ground bicycle facilities; educational programs that promote cycling, and passage and enforcement of bicycle friendly laws that increase safety for riders of all ages. The League of American Bicyclists commended TDOT for developing a statewide bicycle plan, and for including a bicycle safety emphasis in its Strategic Highway Safety Plan.

“We are making great strides in implementing bicycle features into our transportation planning and will continue to work with communities across the state on creating “complete streets” that encourage cycling and other modes of transportation,” added TDOT Chief of Environment and Planning Toks Omishakin. “These efforts will help us continue to improve our bicycle friendly ranking.”

Nice going, Tennessee. Now start pedaling.