Cape Gazette
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Delaware climbs bike-friendly list

League of American Bicyclists puts First State at No. 10
By Kara Nuzback | May 29, 2012
Photo by: Ron MacArthur Lewes Mayor Jim Ford is accompanied by other cyclists on Front Street for National Bike to Work Day, May 18.  Delaware earned the 10th spot on League of American Bicyclists' annual ranking of bicycle-friendly states.  Lewes took a Bronze award as a bicycle-friendly community.

Get on your bikes and ride: For the first year ever, Delaware towered over 40 other states in a national list of places where bicycling is smiled upon.  The League of American Bicyclists ranked Delaware the 10th most bicycle-friendly state in the nation.

According to a May 22 press release from the league, Delaware achieved a higher rank this year thanks to plans for a multimodal transportation system, led by Gov. Jack Markell, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and Delaware Department of Transportation.

On May 12, 2011 state legislators passed a resolution to improve the health of their constituents and reduce transportation costs by asking DelDOT to fund a network of walkways and bike paths within and between towns in Delaware.

The state unveiled a plan for 25 new trails or trail extensions throughout the state, May 17 in Lewes.  The projects, including eight in Sussex County, will be funded through DelDOT and DNREC to the tune of $13 million.

“Trails and bike routes are a part of a vision for a state with interconnected communities,” Markell said.  “We will continue working to make Delaware an attractive place not only to bike but to live and work.”

The Wilmington Grand Prix was held May 18-20.  On the final day of the race, Markell led hundreds of other bikers on the Governor’s Ride, a 15-mile tour of Brandywine Valley attractions, including Delaware Museum of Natural History, Rockford Park and Delaware Art Museum.

Bike Delaware Executive Director James Wilson said, “If you look across the country, no governor is more committed than Gov. Markell to improving their state’s quality of life, health and tourism by promoting walking and bicycling.”

The League also gave Lewes a Bronze award for being one of the most bicycle-friendly communities in the country, May 14.  Lewes Mayor Jim Ford led 25 other cyclists down Savannah Road May 18, in celebration of National Bike to Work Day.

Delaware rose from the 18th spot in last year’s state ranking and the 31st spot in the League of American Bicyclists’ first list in 2008.

This year, the First State beat out Pennsylvania, which came in 15th, and Virginia, which came in 17th, but it fell short of Maryland, at eighth, and New Jersey, at seventh.

Rankings are based on five factors, including legislation and education, both of which the first state scored in the top percentile.

For more information on bicycling in Delaware, go to bikede.org.

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