States’ work to make biking safer.

The good news on bicycling is that states are moving to make bicycling safer, according to a report in USA Today (available here) that describes measures that states are taking and links to a “ranking on bicycle friendliness” done by the League of American Bicyclists. (Top Five: Washington, Maine, Wisconsin, Minnesota, New Jersey)

Examples of state laws include:

  • “Georgia became the 19th state to enact a three-foot zone as the minimum safe passing distance for motorists overtaking cyclists. The bill, which Gov. Nathan Deal, a Republican, signed this month, is designed to eliminate “buzzing,” motor vehicles passing cyclists too closely, which is a factor in many bicycle crashes.
  • “Tennessee, which enacted a three-foot passing law four years ago, established a new traffic offense for motorists: failing to exercise due care when passing a bicyclist or failing to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.”

The bad news: “An estimated 51,000 bicyclists were injured in motor vehicles crashes and 630 were killed in 2009, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.” [pdf] The report notes: “The number of adults who commute to work by bike jumped 44% from 2000 to 2009, according to the Census Bureau.” [pdf]