55 Communities Transforming Bicycling This Fall
As many look to a new year for inspiration, the League of American Bicyclists is proud to honor 55 places with a Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) award in its Fall 2021 round. Joining a grand total of 496 BFCs across all 50 states and the District of Columbia, these 55 new and renewing awardees and 7 honorable mentions are pedaling their way to a Bicycle Friendly America.
“Biking has the power to strengthen our nation economically, environmentally and socially and we are proud to continue honoring those who have laid the groundwork over several years to make biking a safe, accessible option for all,” said Bill Nesper, executive director of the League of American Bicyclists. “We are at a pivotal point in the movement to build a Bicycle Friendly America for everyone as we head into a year that could be transformational for investments in better biking and we’re grateful to have these 55 places making it possible for more people in their community to safely and easily choose bikes.”
|Family Bike Ride in Decatur, Georgia, a Silver-level BFC|
Of the 55 communities, many moved the needle on their award designation. Ann Arbor, Michigan, moved up to a Gold-level designation, while Decatur, Georgia; Alameda, California; Portage, Michigan; and Jackson, Minnesota, all moved up from Bronze-level to Silver-level. With this announcement, Ann Arbor is the first community to achieve Gold-level BFC status in Michigan, and Decatur has become the first Silver-level BFC in Georgia.
“The most positive outcome of the pandemic is more cyclists out and about as well as the variety of cyclists,” said Greg White, director of Active Living in Decatur, GA. “There are families cycling together to the park or sports, children biking to school, recreational cyclists, and those who bike for transportation. While we don’t have data backing this up, we have seen an increase and the demand for more cycling facilities.”
Many awardees also demonstrated a growing effort to make bicycling safe and accessible to riders of all ages and backgrounds, whether in working with advocates, local businesses and universities to reach underrepresented groups or spearheading programs to distribute resources themselves.
Both renewing Platinum Fort Collins, Colorado, and renewing Gold Tucson and Eastern Pima County Region, Arizona, are doing more to not only better understand how to help more people ride, but to engage them more meaningfully as well. Fort Collins is currently developing a public Equity Indicators Dashboard project that includes five indicators related to transportation, including community perceptions of ease of bicycling, transit use, and dependency on cars for transportation and shows current disparities using data disaggregated by race.
In Tucson and Eastern Pima County Region, the Pima County Health Department works with schools and community groups that have been underrepresented and underfunded in the bicycling community, such as by certifying 29 new League Cycling Instructors (LCIs) to increase the diversity of local instructors in the region. Other regional partners such as the Tucson Indian Center promote bike safety classes through community listserves and social media that reaches out to members of all Native American tribes in the region. The region also provides subsidized bikeshare through $5 Tugo-for-All Annual Passes for registered members of SNAP, Medicaid and Sun Tran Economy Fare plan holders.
“We want communities to be constantly improving and evolving and always considering EDI in their efforts to be better for those who bike — and we do our best to hold ourselves to that same standard,” said Amelia Neptune, Bicycle Friendly America program director at the League of American Bicyclists. “We hope that with the upcoming updates to the BFC program next year, which will include stronger integration of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI)-related questions and answer options to the application, feedback, and guidance materials, more communities will place EDI at the forefront of their work. It’s been inspiring to see places like Fort Collins and Tucson already leading by example in this work.”
The Bicycle Friendly Community application is currently offline to undergo several updates but will reopen for submissions in May 2022. Find the full list of current Bicycle Friendly Communities by state on the League’s interactive Bicycle Friendly America Awards Map.
ABOUT BFC & THE LEAGUE OF AMERICAN BICYCLISTS
The League of American Bicyclists leads the national movement to create a Bicycle Friendly America for everyone. With a history dating to 1880, the League is committed to engaging diverse communities and building a powerful, unified voice for change around protecting and promoting the rights of people who bike.
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. 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. Visit bikeleague.org/community to learn more about the BFC program.