Bicycle Friendly America℠
The League’s Bicycle Friendly America program provides a roadmap, hands-on assistance and recognition for states, communities, universities and businesses. The BFA℠ program is a tool for states, communities, business and universities to make bicycling a real transportation and recreation option for all people.
Much more than an awards program, the BFA program is making biking better for cyclists across the country.
- Sets standards for what constitutes a real bicycling culture and environment
- Affects decisions on how communities, businesses, universities and states grow
- Inspires action, involvement and coordination among people that want to improve conditions for bicyclists
- Guides progress by acting as a roadmap for what communities, businesses, universities and states should do next
- Rewards persistence as people respond to feedback, make changes and come back again and again to get recognition.
- Raises expectations as to what really is expected and involved in making a great place for bicycling
The 5 E's for a Bicycle Friendly America
The most visible and perhaps most tangible evidence of a great place for bicycling is the presence of infrastructure that welcomes and supports it. Survey after survey shows that the physical environment is a key determinant in whether people will get on a bike and ride. The most advanced Bicycle Friendly Communities and Bicycle Friendly Universities have a well-connected bicycling networks, consisting of quiet neighborhood streets, conventional and protected bike lanes, shared use trails, and policies to ensure connectivity and maintenance of these facilities. Secure, convenient and readily available bike parking is also a key component. For Bicycle Friendly Businesses, great bike parking in addition to showers and locker facilities are vital to promoting bicycling both in the workplace and wider community.
Offering a lot of ways for people to get the skills and confidence to ride is key to building great places for bicycling. At the community level this begins with bicycle-safety education being a routine part of public education. Communities, businesses and campuses can offer options for adults looking to improve their biking skills with everything from online tips, brown bag lunch presentations and in-depth on-bike training opportunities. The League’s Smart Cyclingprogram, and more than 2,000 League Cycling Instructors around the country, are a great resource in delivering high quality education programs. It is also vital to make motorists and cyclists aware of their rights and responsibilities on the road through public education campaigns that promote the Share the Road message.
Communities, businesses and universities play a critical role in encouraging people to ride by giving them a variety of opportunities and incentives to get on their bikes. This can be done through the celebration of National Bike Month℠ and Bike to Work Day, producing community bike maps, route finding signage, bicycle-themed celebrations and rides and commuter challenges. Many places are investing in public bike sharing systems and internal fleets, which are a convenient, cost effective, and healthy way of encouraging people to make short trips by bike.
Historically, Enforcement in the Bicycle Friendly America programs has focused on the laws that govern people driving and biking and how law enforcement works to implement those laws. It has long been our understanding that basic laws and regulations aimed at decreasing dangerous driving behaviors, along with good network design, are essential to ensuring safety for all road users. However, as we fight traffic violence and support our partners at the local level who are removing barriers to cycling, it has become clear at this time that we must pause our Enforcement section of applications and the promotion of policing as a safety solution.
As part of our anti-racist evaluation of the Bicycle Friendly America program, the League is considering completely removing Enforcement from our 6 E Framework. As we explore the future of how we evaluate street safety, it is likely that most program participants will continue to have traffic laws and police involved in traffic law enforcement. In reviewing our program, we are looking at how the League can contribute to policy and cultural changes that reduces the potential for police violence and discriminatory enforcement.
While we work on program updates, we invite participants to consider these resources on ending enforcement or making it more equitable:
- Center for Policing Equity: a national nonprofit organization eliminating bias in policing by measuring it
- Create Fair and Effective Policing Practices from The Opportunity Agenda: Transforming the System
- A Toolkit for Promoting Justice in Policing from PolicyLink and The Center for Popular Democracy
- Vera Institute of Justice: Ending Police Violence and Ensuring Accountability
- 8 Can't Wait Project from Campaign Zero
- Campaign Zero's Police Use of Force Policy Analysis
- Our Streets Minneapolis: Why we don't Support Traffic Enforcement
- Transportation Alternatives: The Case for Self-Enforcing Streets
- Changelab Solutions: Equitable Enforcement to Achieve Health Equity
Read how other national organizations are making similar changes:
Metrics are essential. A comprehensive bicycle master plan, in combination with dedicated funding and active citizen/organizational support is the foundation of a great bicycling community, business or university – indeed, progress without it is difficult. A successful plan focuses on developing a seamless cycling network that emphasizes short trip distances, multi-modal trips and is complemented by encouragement, education and enforcement programs to increase usage. A dedicated Bicycle Program Coordinator and an effective Bicycle Advisory Committee can play an important role in helping decision makers create, implement, and prioritize those bicycle programs and policies.
To truly achieve the vision of a Bicycle Friendly America for everyone, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) are the essential lenses through which all other elements must be viewed.
Throughout the Five E’s and in every BFA program application, you will find EDI-focused questions and multiple choice answer options that are designed to help BFA applicants consider the ways in which they can address and correct for historical disparities and systemic inequities across each of the Five E’s. These questions were first introduced to the BFA applications in 2014, and the League continues to review and track EDI-related responses to identify best practices that can be incorporated into BFA feedback reports and future iterations of the applications, with the ultimate goal of guiding communities, businesses, and universities toward more equitable, diverse, and inclusive bike planning and programming.
Examples of equity-related questions/answer options in BFA applications include:
B7. How do you ensure that your bicycle facilities and physical amenities are accessible and welcoming to diverse populations? │e.g. new and inexperienced bicyclists, non-native English speakers, women, People of Color, ADA community, LGBTQ, youth, seniors, etc.
C8. Do any of the above educational classes, resources, or programs for adults specifically target any of the following traditionally-underrepresented groups? Check all that apply.
❏ People of Color
❏ Non-English speakers
❏ Low-income populations
❏ University students
❏ LGBT+ community
❏ ADA community
❏ Homeless community
❏ None of the above
D9. Are any of the following cycling clubs/groups active in your community? Check all that apply.
❏ Recreational bike clubs
❏ Mountain bike clubs
❏ Cyclocross clubs
❏ Friends of the Trail groups
❏ National Mountain Bike Patrol
❏ Racing clubs or teams
❏ Kidical Mass, Family Bike Party, or other family-oriented groups
❏ Senior ride groups
❏ Women-only ride groups
❏ LGBT+ ride groups
❏ People of Color ride groups
❏ Bike polo/La Crosse clubs
❏ Slow ride group
❏ None of the above
BFC: EVALUATION & PLANNING
F7g. How are community planning staff reaching out to minority, non-English speaking, and/or low-income communities to ensure that they are included in the decision-making process?
BFU: EVALUATION & PLANNING
F4. Do you work with any of the following campus departments or groups to ensure that bicycle programming reaches all students on campus? Check all that apply.
❏ International Student Affairs or similar office or student group(s)
❏ Office of Diversity & Inclusion, Multicultural Affairs, or similar office or student group(s)
❏ Other (please describe)
❏ None of the above
F4a. If yes, please describe partnership.
The BFC program provides guidance to make your distinct vision for a bikeable community a reality.
Where does your state rank? Learn more about our annual ranking by clicking here.
Through our Bicycle Friendly Business program, employers are recognized for their efforts to encourage a more bicycle friendly atmosphere.
The Bicycle Friendly University program recognizes institutions of higher education for promoting and providing a more bicycle-friendly campus for students, staff and visitors.