GREENBURGH, N.Y. – Bikers beware: the Empire State isn’t your friend.
New York coasted into 42nd place in the League of American Bicyclists annual rankings of biker-friendly states (BFS), low enough to be the least welcoming state for cyclists in the northeast.
“The goal of the BFS program is not to punish states that perform poorly, but rather to recognize those that support bicycling and use them as models for the rest of the country,” the League of American Bicyclists wrote in the study.
Based on questionnaires sent to each state’s bicycle coordinator, the group ranked states in five categories ranging from policies and programs to infrastructure and spending. New York City was the state’s lone bright spot, earning a silver medal in the community rankings.
Still, area cyclists have said the state’s ranking isn’t a reflection of Westchester County. David Wells, member of the Westchester Cycle Club, said he has biked all over the United States – and Westchester is on par with anywhere he’s been.
“The cycling in Westchester is some of the best in the country,” he said. “Fairfield County and Westchester have some of best roads in county.”
Westchester officials said they are working to improve county biking with several trail projects underway, including the Riverwalk Trailway, a 51-mile multi-purpose trail running parallel to the Hudson River.
“We are accommodating what people want and trying to build trail ways that link to county parks and other trail ways,” said Westchester County Chief Planner Pat Natarelli, noting a 2008 survey of county residents showed a desire for more bike and pedestrian trail ways in county parks.
In Greenburgh, Supervisor Paul Feiner, a cyclist himself, continues to push for bike racks on county buses, a goal of his since the mid-1990s. The supervisor said the racks may encourage more people to ride bicycles and make it safer for them to do so.
“Bike racks not really that expensive but I feel they would have a major impact,” he said.