Maine is the third most bike-friendly state in the country, the League of American Bicyclists state. This is the second straight year Maine has held that ranking, based on a League survey covering legislation, enforcement, education and encouragement, policies and programs, infrastructure, evaluation and planning.

The League released the state rankings during National Bike to Work Week. The Bicycle Coalition of Maine is joining with several other organizations to host a Maine Bike to Work Day celebration in May at Lobsterman Park in Portland.

The League survey rated Maine first in the country in infrastructure. During the past year, Maine’s network of shared-use paths has expanded rapidly with the opening of the first sections of the Down East Sunrise Trail and the Maine Mountain Division Trail. More than 60 miles of additional shared-use paths will be built this summer as part of those two projects and the Eastern Trail in York County.

“I’m very pleased that Maine is being recognized at this level for the second year in a row, and especially pleased that the League ranked Maine number one in infrastructure,” said Maine Department of Transportation Commissioner David Cole. “We continue to make real progress on a balanced, multimodal system that will meet the varied transportation needs of Maine people.”

“The Bicycle Coalition of Maine has advocated for policies such as paving shoulders on Maine roads and providing bicycle access on bridges that provide vital links between communities,” said Allison Vogt, the coalition’s executive director. “We partner with Maine DOT on a variety of programs to teach bicycle safety and to educate cyclists and motorists about sharing the road. Our state law that requires motorists to give at least three feet of clearance when passing cyclists has been a model for other states in the region.”

Vogt said Maine still has much to accomplish to improve bicycle safety and access. The coalition’s top priority is implementation of a state policy that mirrors the new federal policy calling for bicycling and walking to be treated equal to other modes of transportation.

“Creating bike-friendly communities will reap economic benefits by helping Maine attract residents, businesses and more bicycle tourism,” said Vogt. “Until every road is safe for biking, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine will continue to work as the voice of Maine’s bicyclists to make Maine a better place to bicycle through increased funding, better roads and by spreading the word to Share the Road.”

The League has conducted annual state rankings since 2008, with all questions and methodology remaining consistent to track states’ progress. Washington and Wisconsin are ranked first and second, respectively, in this year’s survey.

The League offers feedback and technical assistance to states in an effort to improve their ranking as well as overall conditions for bicycling. The rankings are used to create momentum among states and communities to continue to become more bicycle friendly. More information about the 2010 rankings can be found online at bicyclefriendlystates.org.

The Bicycle Coalition of Maine has been working since 1992 to make Maine a better place to bicycle. The coalition advocates for Maine cyclists at the Legislature and in Washington, D.C., teaches bicycle safety to thousands of Maine schoolchildren each year, partners with state agencies on a Share the Road media campaign and serves as a resource on local bicycling issues.

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