38 Places Recognized with a Bicycle Friendly Community Award
As more Americans turn to biking during the pandemic, the League of American Bicyclists honors the communities across the country making biking better for everyone
Today, the League of American Bicyclists is honoring 38 places with a Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) award in its Spring 2020 round of awards. An additional eight first-time applicants earned Honorable Mentions. These 38 communities, seven of which are new to the program, join 482 total BFC awardees in the movement to build a Bicycle Friendly America for everyone.
“Undeniably, during the pandemic more Americans are biking to get around and to experience the joy that comes with being on a bike ,” said Bill Nesper, executive director of the League of American Bicyclists. “The League is proud to recognize these Bicycle Friendly Communities where leaders, both in government and advocacy, have committed to building better places for people to ride, whether they are new or seasoned. Bringing the joy of biking to people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds is at the core of the mission of the League, and these Bicycle Friendly Communities are doing just that.”
According to Eco-Counter data, during the week ending June 7, 2020, there was a 37.5 percent increase in the number of people riding bikes over the same time in June 2019. With so many people using bicycling as a way to stay healthy, mentally and physically, during the covid-19 pandemic, many cities have explored slow streets and open streets options to allow people to stay active and remain socially distant. These people-focused innovations are enabled by the same type of planning, community engagement, and advocacy on display in Bicycle Friendly Communities.
The Spring 2020 round of awardees include first-time awardee Detroit, Michigan, which earned praise for its 51 miles of protected bike lanes and Slow Roll rides; Lawrence, Kansas, which judges noted has a high number of League Cycling Instructors who lead bike education programs and has recently completed a Bicycle Master Plan highlighting the Lawrence Loop and new bicycle boulevards; Asheville, North Carolina, which earned high marks for its in-school bicycle education programs and local advocate-led push for Bicycle Friendly Businesses; and Boise, Idaho, which stood out for its dedicated budget for bicycling and education programs for people biking and driving.
More than 850 communities have applied for recognition as a Bicycle Friendly Community since 1995. The 482 total communities, and the 38 honored today, meet criteria set by the League that provides a roadmap to making biking better for communities of all shapes and sizes. The program is used by both local government officials and local advocates to better understand best practices from across the country in making biking better.
The Bicycle Friendly America program is currently updating and reassessing its “Enforcement” section, please read our statement for more
The Bicycle Friendly Community award process considers a range of elements, including a community’s efforts to educate children and adults about how to bike, plan and build bike infrastructure, evaluate success towards getting more people on bikes, and encourage road safety all through the lens of equity. (See note at left) The application process is an educational tool in itself, laying out for communities what steps they must take to be considered award-worthy. As part of each review, the League and applicants also seek input from local bicyclists and active transportation advocates on their experiences and perceptions of bicycling in their community.
In addition to awarding new communities, the League is removing 14 communities from our list of current awardees as they have exceeded the four-year renewal deadline. Our Bicycle Friendly Community awards reflect local leaders’ ongoing work to build better places to bike and evaluate those efforts as part of a national movement. The League requires places to show they are improving across our measures of better biking, all through the lens of equity.
Each of the five levels of the Bicycle Friendly Community award – diamond, platinum, gold, silver and bronze, plus an honorable mention category – provide a clear path for communities to continuously improve. Awarded communities must renew their status every four years to ensure that they not only maintain existing efforts, but also keep up with changing technology, national safety standards, and community-driven best practices.