AR ranks 38 among bicycle-friendly states

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT)- Arkansas ranked 38th among bicycle-friendly states.

A new report by the League of American Bicyclists shows Arkansas is still pedaling to catch up with other states after dropping to 38th in bicycle friendly states.

"We're just hoping to spread the word that it's a great health option, it's a great transportation option and it's an economic way to get around," said Bill Smith, executive director of Marketing and Communications at Arkansas State University.

Smith said there are ways to make the state a bit more bicycle friendly.

"The first thing we can do is understand you are not passing a bicycle, you are passing a person," he said. "When you come up behind someone on a road just keep in mind you might lose 10, 20 maybe 30 seconds making a safe pass of a cyclist."

Smith said the state has done a lot in the past to improve their standing, there is still more to do.

"There has been a lot of encouragement of paths and trails and safety around the state," he told Region 8 News.

And Smith said Arkansas State's role is to bring just that to northeast Arkansas. In coordination with National Bike Month, Arkansas State will soon make a big announcement

"We are going to begin the pack paths here on campus that stands for pedestrian and cyclists, it's a program to mark many of our campus roads and our campus mixed used paths," Smith said.

With an object called the share-row, a share the road arrow.

"There's certain paths they can ride on and there are certain paths they should avoid because of their width and that they need to share those mixed paths with pedestrians," Smith explained. "Here at Arkansas State we see an increasing number of cyclists taking advantage of these paths that are around time and to get from dorm to class from class to the union."

He said they want to encourage not only recreational riding but transportation riding.

"We have many members of our community that would like to have the option to use a bicycle for commuting back and forth to work," he said.

Smith encourages the community to attend Thursday's meeting with the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department to discuss the state's  bike transportation plan.

"The participation of the public is extremely important in how the Dept of Transportation and the state views that region," he said.

The meeting will be held Thursday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Cooper Alumni Center. The meeting is designed to get input from the community as they update policies and create a safer environment for bicyclists.

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