Explorer file photo, Arizona scores well as a state, and Tucson as a city, in the eyes of the League of American Bicyclists.

Among states, Arizona takes the bronze medal when it comes to being bicycle-friendly.

Tucson wins a gold among cities and towns, according to the League of American Bicyclists.

As National Bike Month begins, the league has honored Arizona for the state's "commitment to actively supporting bicycling and encouraging cycling among riders of all ages," a release said.

Six states won awards, including Arizona. The Arizona Department of Transportation applied for the award. The state was evaluated for legislation, policies and programs, infrastructure, education and encouragement, evaluation and planning, and enforcement.

"We are proud to have Arizona recognized as a leader in efforts to enable and encourage bicycling for recreation and as a transportation choice," said Michael Sanders, a transportation planner for ADOT's Bicycle and Pedestrian Program. "There are many people in Arizona who have worked hard to improve safety, education and facilities for cyclists across the state. All cyclists – children, recreational and commuters – benefit as a result of these efforts. The designation is also an incentive to continue to refine and develop projects, policies and priorities to take the state to the next level."

According to the bicyclists' league, Arizona scored high for being one of a few states that promotes protection of cyclists through a three-foot minimum passing law. The ADOT Bicycle and Pedestrian Program produces a "Share the Road" guide to help educate bicyclists and motorists on legal and safe ways to share a roadway. ADOT policies attempt to accommodate bicycle travel on most of the state highway system and provide shoulder space for cyclists where rumble strips are applied as a driver safety measure.

Tucson is the lone Arizona city earning gold status. Other recognized bicycle-friendly cities in Arizona are Scottsdale and Tempe, silver, and Chandler, Flagstaff, Gilbert and Mesa, bronze.

The League of American Bicyclists promotes bicycling as an effective way to address the challenges of climate change, environmental protection, traffic congestion, rising obesity rates and rising fuel costs. More information is available at www.bikeleague.org.

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