Delaware is now the 5th most "bicycle friendly" state in the nation, according to a new assessment issued by the League of American Bicyclists.

The sixth annual ranking of bike friendly states shows Delaware's continued improvement compared to other states.  Delaware ranked #18 in 2011 and moved up to #10 in 2012.  Now as the fifth most bike friendly state in the country, Delaware has moved up in position year after year faster than any other state.  

The group Bike Delaware credits a combination of funding from the state and federal government that's resulted in $20 million in investments in a series of bike projects.  Those include the Michael Castle Trail at the C&D Canal, the Wilmington-New Castle Greenway project, which is in the final design stage, and the Georgetown-Lewes Trail which is also being designed.  There's also concept planning underway for a bikeway connecting Wilmington and Newark.

Delaware got high marks on its Bike Friendly report card in areas including the Legislation and Enforcement category, as well as the Education and Encouragement category.  The report card recommends that Delaware create "a distinct, visually powerful and uniform statewide bikeway network signage system" as a way to improve its bike friendliness. 

Delaware's ranking is the highest of all states east of the Mississippi River, but the state faces some tough competition to move any higher.  The top four states are Washington, Oregon, Colorado, and Minnesota.

Last week, state leaders broke ground on the Capital City Trail in Dover.  The trail will connect to the Silver Lake Park Trail and the Isaacs Branch Trail.  As part of the Walkable Bikeable Delaware 2013 Summit, state leaders are unveiling their latest plans to better protect bicyclists.  The "See It Both Ways" safety campaign is designed to educate both drivers and bicyclists to look out for each other and share the road.