103 Bicycle Friendly Communities Awarded
November 16, 2016/
Today, the League of American Bicyclists welcomed 26 new and 77 renewing Bicycle Friendly Communities (BFC℠). This is the largest application round in the BFC program’s 13 year history. In total, 140 communities applied for recognition, a 62 percent increase from the previous largest round. There are now 404 BFCs in all 50 states.
“The size, regional diversity and high quality bicycle friendly actions being taken within this group shows that building communities where bicycling is safe, comfortable, and convenient isn’t confined to a particular type of city or region, rather a broad movement nationwide,” said Bill Nesper, Vice President, Programs of the League of American Bicyclists. “It is clear that communities of all kinds in every corner of the country know that making bicycling a real option for transportation and recreation is vital in building vibrant, connected communities.”
“In this largest BFC round ever, we are excited to see the number of communities that have improved since their last application,” said Ken McLeod, State & Local Policy Manager at the League of American Bicyclists. Four communities who were previously awarded improved their award level, six moved from no award to an Honorable Mention, and 22 communities moved from an Honorable Mention to a Bronze BFC award.
Mayoral support moves communities forward
Several communities stood out for the on-bike examples of their mayors and for their recognition of how bicycling can bring people together. Provo, UT, moved from a Bronze to a Silver award. Mayor John Curtis has become an avid road cyclist and a regular bike commuter since he was elected mayor — committing to ride 100 days during the year. Through his commitment and the efforts of the Provo Bicycle Committee, there has been a sharp increase in political and community support of bicycling in Provo.
Betsy Price, mayor of new Bronze BFC Fort Worth, TX, is noted for leading Rolling Town Halls. These family-friendly bike rides allow resident to join the mayor and share how they would like to improve the city. According to Mayor Price, “We recognize that bicycling is a growing industry in North America, contributing to the economies of communities that provide bicycle facilities for its residents, visitors, and employees. As a community, we stand to benefit from this opportunity both economically and from the health and environmental related benefits of encouraging bicycle travel in Fort Worth.”
Community advocates contribute to changes
Assembling a dedicated group of local leaders to create a Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC) is key for building a more Bicycle Friendly Community. New Gold BFC, Chico, CA, has expanded its BAC to include pedestrians and disabled members of the community, changing its name to the Bike/Pedestrian Working Group. With the guidance of this group, Chico has made great strides in building connections and infrastructure.
New Bronze BFC Brookings, SD, is also proud of its work in building the Brookings Bicyclist Advisory Committee. “This extraordinary team of volunteers representing a cross-section of the community have made incredible advances for bicycling. The support has resulted in the the funding the development of a Bike Master Plan. The Plan will help to guide the community in improving facilities, programs, policies, and programs for to bicycle transportation.”
As part of the BFC award process, communities reported over 700 local bicycling, active transportation and transportation equity advocacy groups working to improve conditions for people who walk, bike and need better transportation options. Over 300 of these advocates provided feedback on their communities, helping the League better understand this diverse round of 140 communities. Many applications showed a strong connection between the work of communities and advocacy organizations, particularly in bicycle education programming and bicycle promotion campaigns and events.
This round of Bicycle Friendly Communities has shown us once again that there is no one recipe for success and that communities benefit from a holistic approach to implementing the programs and policies across the Five Es (Engineering, Education, Encouragement, Enforcement, and Evaluation and Planning). Successful communities have a mixture of determined citizen advocates, visionary leaders and responsive staff each doing their parts to build a Bicycle Friendly Community for all. With 404 recognized Bicycle Friendly Communities in all 50 states, there is a model for any community looking to improve. Explore our award database and learn more about these communities, and their business and university partners, today!
The BFC program provides a roadmap to building a Bicycle Friendly Community and the application itself has become a rigorous and an educational tool in itself. Since its inception, more than 800 distinct communities have applied and the five levels of the award — diamond, platinum, gold, silver and bronze — provide a clear incentive for communities to continuously improve.
To apply or learn more about the BFC program, visit bikeleague.org/community.
About the Bicycle Friendly America℠ Program
The Bicycle Friendly Community℠, Bicycle Friendly State℠, Bicycle Friendly Business and Bicycle Friendly University℠ programs are generously supported by program partner Planet Bike and members of the League of American Bicyclists. To learn more about building a Bicycle Friendly America, visit https://bikeleague.org/BFA
The League of American Bicyclists is leading the movement to create a Bicycle Friendly America for everyone. As leaders, our commitment is to listen and learn, define standards and share best practices to engage diverse communities and build a powerful, unified voice for change.