Bicycle Friendly Community Program Reaches 450 Communities
Today, to close out National Bike Month, the League of American Bicyclists is awarding 41 new and renewing Bicycle Friendly Communities (BFCs). Fourteen communities are receiving Honorable Mentions. With today’s announcement, there are now 450 BFCs in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
“With each new application round, we see the growing ways that American communities are supporting and promoting bicycling as a health, economic, environmental and equity solution for their residents and visitors,” said Amelia Neptune, Director of the Bicycle Friendly America (BFA) program. “From piloting new bikeshare technology to incorporating bike safety education to elementary school curriculum, the standards for the BFA program continue to rise as our 450 awarded Bicycle Friendly Communities lead the way in innovating bicycling improvements for everyone.”
Atlanta, GA, applied to the BFC program for the first time this year and is receiving a Bronze award. Multimodal connectivity is key for Atlanta: “The City of Atlanta has taken the charge on improving bike access to transit by installing high-quality bicycle infrastructure connected to transit stations including the Proctor Creek Trail, the Westside BeltLine Trail, the Ralph David Abernathy bike lanes and others.”
Atlanta’s Westside Bikeshare Champions
Las Vegas, NV, is moving up from Bronze to Silver BFC status on the strength of its bikeshare, world-class transit center with end-of-trip facilities for bicyclists, road diets, path connectivity and a new Mobility Master Plan that identifies more than 180 multimodal projects as fundable over the next 20 years. “There has been an increase in community awareness and respect for bicyclists. Installing Complete Street amenities, which includes bicycle lanes and upgraded lighting, improves the aesthetics of the road, slows drivers and instills community pride. It is rare to hear negative comments from citizens after we complete a road diet or install buffered bike lanes. The community sees the value and is supportive.”
South Bend, IN, moved from Bronze to Silver BFC status in part due to its Complete Streets-like “smart streets” initiative and strong support from the mayor. “In 2016, Mayor Pete Buttigieg accompanied then-U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to Copenhagen, Amsterdam and Oslo. Foxx invited Buttigieg and the mayors of Austin, Texas and Portland, Ore. to study those European cities’ best practices for bicyclist and pedestrian safety.” Also moving from Bronze to Silver BFC status this round are Tallahassee, FL, West Sacramento, CA, and York, PA. Three first-time applicant communities are being awarded Silver-level status: Glenwood Springs, CO, Solana Beach, CA, and this round’s smallest awarded community, Provincetown, MA.
South Bend’s Main Street, before and after transformation
Washington, DC, was awarded Gold BFC status in a special presentation at the National Bike Summit in March of this year. DC earned Gold status based on a number of factors. According to the city’s BFC application, “The city’s investment in bicycling has been producing an increase in riders, and a consequent greater awareness of cycling as a serious means of transportation. Together with transit and the city’s popular Capital Bikeshare and new dockless bikesharing, residents have options to driving. Census data confirms that the percentage of residents who do not own a car has been increasing, as has the bicycling, walking and transit modes. … Today, developers come to DDOT having already planned for bike parking in their buildings. They know if a bike lane or trail is planned along their site.”
In Florida, The Villages is also receiving Gold BFC recognition. Since their original Silver BFC award in 2014, they have made many changes, including adopting a charter for a Bicycle Friendly Advocacy Council, preparing and adopting a bicycle plan and adding bicycle education using the League’s Smart Cycling program. In addition, “In response to suggestions from the Engineering section of the League’s 2014 Silver BFC Award Report Card, the following physical improvements have been completed: the addition of more bike racks, improvements to wayfinding signs, removal of many speed bumps … and improving the function and predictability of its many gates by installing instant open buttons on the entrance gates and light beams on the exit gates that trigger the gate to open when a bicycle breaks the beam. These improvements are lowering the number of accidents at the gates.”
San Diego, CA, the largest community in the Spring 2018 application round, is receiving a Bronze BFC award for the first time. San Diego previously received Honorable Mention status in 2015, and has improved in part because “community support has made cycling a necessity for meeting the Mayor’s Climate Action Plan goals as well as achieving more livable/active communities identified in Community Plan Updates.”
About the Bicycle Friendly Community program
Since the Bicycle Friendly Community program’s inception over 20 years ago, more than 700 distinct communities have applied for recognition. The program provides a roadmap to building a Bicycle Friendly Community for communities of all shapes and sizes. The rigorous application process is an educational tool in itself and includes an opportunity for local bicyclists to provide input on their experiences and perceptions of bicycling in their community.
The five levels of the BFC award — diamond, platinum, gold, silver and bronze, plus an honorable mention category and a no designation level — provide a clear incentive for communities to continuously improve. The League of American Bicyclists provides feedback and guidance to every applicant community, regardless of award designation, with the goal of helping every community to 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.
Bicycle Friendly Community Report Cards for awarded communities are available in the League’s award database and communities that receive an Honorable Mention have their report card available online for one year after its award. Explanations of each award level and key data from each report card are available here.
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 Eco-Counter and by League members. The Bicycle Friendly Community program was created in 1995 and has processed more than 1,200 applications since 2002. To learn more about building a Bicycle Friendly America, visit bikeleague.org/BFA.