- Bicycle Friendly America
- BFA Awards Database
- Local Resources
Read through these FAQs to learn more about the program and how to apply.
General BFC FAQs
Simple steps to make bicycling safe and comfortable pay huge dividends in civic, community and economic development. Given the opportunity to ride, residents enjoy dramatic health benefits, reduced congestion, increased property values and more money in their pockets to spend in the local economy. When your community welcomes bicycling, tourism booms, businesses attract the best and the brightest, and governments save big on parking costs while cutting their carbon emissions.
A community recognized by the League as a BFC℠ is one that encourages people to bike for transportation and recreation through the five Es: equity, engineering, education, encouragement, and evaluation.
The popularity of the program speaks for itself: As of 2022, more than 1,900 communities have applied, and 501 are currently awarded a Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum BFC designation. But, even if your community doesn’t quite make the grade yet, applying is well worth the time. The application process will help your community create new partnerships and momentum for bicycle improvements, allow you to gather essential bicycle-related data in one place, and the result will show your political leadership how their community stacks up against similar communities all over the nation. In addition, each applicant receives customized feedback and technical assistance.
The Bicycle Friendly Community Resource page contains several reports on the benefits of cycling, design guides, case studies and other useful information to aid your application to become recognized by the League as a Bicycle Friendly Community.
Each community that applies to be recognized as a Bicycle Friendly Community completes a thorough application. This application gives the League information about bicycling conditions and efforts to improve those conditions. The report card created for each community features key data from the application and some federal data to provide context for each community. To find explanations of each data point on the community report card, please read our Guide to the Bicycle Friendly Community Report Card.
BFC RELAUNCH FAQS
The BFC program is both a recognition/awards program AND an advocacy tool. As bike advocates, we have a responsibility to all people who ride bikes (or who want to ride bikes) across the U.S. to make sure that our standards for communities reflect the latest guidance and best practices that create safe, cohesive, low-stress bike networks and foster inclusive and representative biking cultures in communities of all shapes and sizes. In 2022, the League updated the BFC application and awards criteria to reflect a number of changes, including:
- Adding a new Equity & Accessibility section to the application, as well as new and updated Equity- and Accessibility-related questions throughout each of the other "E" sections of the application.
- Updating the Engineering section of the application to reflect our priorities around low-stress, well-connected bike networks.
- Reflecting updated guidance, best practices, and standards from a number of national sources.
- Adding new topics such as regional coordination, community outreach and engagement, and funding sources.
- ...and more!
Learn more about the updates here.
The Fall 2022 BFC submission deadline was September 29, 2022, with awards announced in December 2022.
The Spring 2023 BFC submission deadline will be February 15, 2023, with awards announced in May 2023.
The Fall 2023 BFC submission deadline will be August 30, 2023, with awards announced in December 2023.
To ensure renewing BFCs have ample time to submit their applications, all current BFCs who are currently due (or overdue) for renewal in 2022 are welcome to apply in either the Fall 2022 or the Spring 2023 submission rounds, with no lapse in their current award status.
Yes, applicants whose most recent submission was from April 2016 or later can still duplicate their most recent submission into the current online application form, but only the questions and answer options that haven’t changed since that last submission will carry over. This update included many small word changes and new answer options, even on existing questions, so if your community plans to use the “duplicate submission” feature, we strongly encourage you to review every question carefully to ensure your answers are current and accurate.
New BFC Report Card, updated Quick Assessments for all BFA programs, and other new and updated resources will be coming throughout the Fall of 2022 and into the future.
We will also continue to listen and learn from BFC program participants and expect smaller iterative application changes to continue to happen with each new submission round, as has always happened in all the BFA programs. In the summer of 2022, we partnered with an academic group to conduct focus groups with BFCs about their equity work to further our understanding of the barriers and challenges faced in creating more equitable and accessible BFCs, to inform the resources and guidance that we offer applicants and advocates through the BFC program in the future.
We welcome your questions, comments, and feedback about the updates, preferably via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FAQs for Applicants
Thanks to the generous support of League Members and BFC program sponsor Eco-Counter, there is no fee associated with the BFC application at this time.
Any municipality, county, Census Designated Place, military base, regional planning agency or Indian Country can apply to the BFC program.
Usually, a community official responsible for bicycling issues completes the application. However, much of the application can be completed by anyone familiar with what a community has done for bicycling as long as the community’s governing body approves its final submission.
Often, the most complete applications come from communities where city officials, public agencies and local cyclists work on it together.
There are typically two submission deadlines throughout the year - one in early spring and one in the fall.
The Fall 2022 deadline was September 29, 2022, and awards will be announced in December 2022.
The Spring 2023 deadline is February 15, 2023 at 11:59pm Pacific Time, and awards will be announced in May 2023.
The Fall 2023 BFC submission deadline will be August 30, 2023, and awards will be announced in December 2023.
Visit the Getting Started page to learn more about the application process.
No, new and renewing applicants fill out the same online application form.
Returning BFC applicants whose previous application was in Fall 2016 or later now have the ability to duplicate their previous submission into the current online form by following the directions here.
Renewing communities that use the duplication process linked above are still expected to carefully review their renewal application and update anything that has changed so that their renewal application reflects the current status of all bicycle infrastructure and programming in the community.
Once an application cycle is completed, surveys are sent to advocates and interested cyclists in the applying communities for local feedback as well as made available to the community for public circulation. After the local review period, the applications and the local feedback are reviewed by a panel of national bicycle professionals. Applicants will be notified of the result at least a week ahead of the public announcement to provide enough time to send out a press release and organize an award ceremony, if desired. All BFC-designated communities receive an award certificate, a digital award seal, and a public report card.
Applicants that just fall short of a designation receive an Honorable Mention. Communities that receive an Honorable Mention are being promoted on the League website for one year. However, they do not receive a certificate, seal or road sign. The names of applicants that do not receive any recognition are not published. All applicants that do not achieve BFC status still receive a detailed feedback report that can be used to work towards a designation next time the community applies.
The BFC award is valid for four years. A BFC needs to reapply in either spring or fall of the year the award expires in order to maintain its status. For example, if your 2017 BFC status expires in 2021, you will need to reapply in either February or August of 2021.
If you are a designated a BFC you may order additional BFC street signs and BFC promotional material in the BikeLeague Store.
FAQs for Residents and Advocates
If the mayor is a ride leader in the local bicycle club, your strategy is simple: show them the BFA brochure, website or BFC powerpoint presentation!
But, Most Communities Will Take A Little More Work. Here Are The Steps To Encouraging Your Community To Apply:
- You must identify the decision makers responsible for the policy changes you seek.
- Ask for a letter recommending the Bicycle Friendly Community program from any organization that might be inclined to support better bicycling in your community. The local bicycle club is a natural first choice, but local environmental groups, civic organizations, businesses and others will tend to cooperate if you make it easy enough for them. Draft the letter for them so they know exactly what you need to minimize the amount of work you ask of them.
- Set up a meeting with the decision maker(s) you identified and bring your best spokesperson and copies of the letters of support with you. Talk about the benefits that bicycle improvements as well as the benefits of a Bicycle Friendly Community designation. A good starting point is to ask if the person will submit the application for Bicycle Friendly Community status. One way the city can show its support for building a Bicycle Friendly Community is by adopting the Action Plan for Bicycle Friendly Communities available here.
- Following the meeting, write a thank you memo that spells out your understanding of what was agreed to. Lack of persistence is the downfall of many a bicycle advocate. Motivated people motivate politicians and their employees.
- The BFC, BFB, BFU, and BFS programs are described in one booklet.
- The digital BFA Booklet is designed to give advocates, elected officials, business leaders, students, and university administrators a comprehensive look at the BFA programs. A visual and written tour of the four programs, the small booklet also includes a brief self-assessment tool to evaluate the bicycle-friendliness of your community, business, or university.
- The booklet is available for download and print. Print your desired quantities and place a local organization sticker on the back of the booklet.
- Promoting the BFA programs on your website is a terrific way of highlighting the success stories in your area (i.e. awarded businesses, communities, and universities). Using your website as a connector for all your local or regional BFA awardees makes for a more robust bicycle-friendly network.
- Use this guide and download the logos here.
- Hosting a BFA presentation is a cost-effective and efficient way of distributing information about any of the four programs. This could be done onsite or through a webinar by a local advocate, League staff, or both. Organization of a BFA presentation is easy and is a great way to bring together various local partners and build momentum. Download an overview of the BFA program or a presentation specific to BFB, BFC, or BFU below or request a copy in PowerPoint format, email email@example.com. The presentations are each about 10-15 minutes in length with the script and can be presented at your convenience.
- BFA Overview Slides and Script (updated 10/6/20)
- BFC Slides and Script (updated 10/6/20)
- Organize a webinar for your region with a League representative by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.