If you think riding a bike on the streets is dangerous, think again. Maryland's streets might actually be among the safest for bicyclists in the country.
The state was recently ranked No. 8 in the nation in terms of bicycle-friendly states, according to a statement issued last month by the League of American Bicyclists. The state is ranked third in the Northeast for bicycle safety, the statement added.
The League of American Bicyclists recognized Gov. Martin O'Malley's year-old Cycle Maryland initiative as one of the reasons for the state's strong bike safety rating. The initiative promotes "biking as a fun, healthy transportation alternative that is great for our environment," and which "provides technical assistance and grant support for a wide range of bicycle network development activities," according to the initiative's website.
“We are honored that people recognize Maryland as a leader in making bicycling a true transportation alternative,” Gov. O’Malley said. “Bicycling is a great way to get where you need to go, to see our beautiful [state] and to support our local economy. The end result is a cleaner environment and a healthier lifestyle for all Marylanders," the governor added.
The League of American Bicyclists' 2012 Bicycle Friendly States Ranking marks the launch of its updated and improved evaluation process. Based on public input, the Bicycle Friendly States Ranking points out a state’s accomplishments in creating bicycle-safe streets, as well as a state's next steps for becoming more bike-friendly.
"We are encouraged to see significant progress in top states like Washington, Minnesota, Colorado and Massachusetts," Andy Clarke, president of the League of American Bicyclists, said.
"But, as the scores clearly highlight, there's much work to be done in critical areas like infrastructure and funding. We look forward to working with Maryland to improve conditions for people who bike for transportation and recreation," Clarke added.
Maryland’s ranking was based on several key indicators, including infrastructure and funding that provides on-the-ground bicycle facilities, programs that promote cycling and the passage and enforcement of bicycle-friendly laws that "make it safe and comfortable for people of all ages to ride," the league's statement continued.
What do you think: Do you feel safe riding your bike on Maryland's streets? Tell us in the comments.