Bicycle Friendly Community
In all my travels, I’ve seen a lot of great things on the street, from green lanes to bike boxes. But those high-profile facilities are the result of something far less visible: words. For a truly Bicycle Friendly Community, before you can put paint to pavement, you need the laws and policies that legitimize and encourage safe cycling.
All eyes were on New York City last year, as they launched the nation’s largest bike sharing system. With strong female ridership in places like Washington, D.C. and Minneapolis, there were high hopes that bikesharing in the Big Apple would boost the number of women biking. So the release of data showing Citi Bike skews heavily male left some folks scratching their heads.
Yesterday, I talked about the “WOW” of Bicycle Friendly Communities. Perhaps the most important part of that “WOW” factor, is the “win-over projects.” I call them “win-over projects” because they tend to cause people to turn their heads (maybe even scratch their heads) and get them thinking that maybe bicycling could start working for them. The communities that are really seeing growth in bicycling have done something big and beautiful that people can’t help but notice. I’ve pulled together some of the best “win-over projects” I saw during my trips to Memphis and mutli-city tour of California.
At some point during nearly every Bicycle Friendly Community visit, I find myself saying, “Wow!” Sometimes it’s late into a visit and might have nothing to do with infrastructure or city policy at all — like seeing a carpenter hauling a load of lumber in a hand-built wooden trailer behind his bike, or witnessing an empowered cyclist take the lane on a high-speed state highway during rush hour.
Last week, we announced our latest round of Bicycle Friendly Communities, bringing the program to 303 BFCs in 48 states. Las Vegas, NV, is one of 18 new BFCs, receiving the Bronze-level award. We were struck by Las Vegas’s growth and blooming bike culture. Kristina Swallow, a program manager for the city’s Department of Public Works, wrote this story about Las Vegas’s rise as a Bicycle Friendly Community.
As we continue to celebrate National Bike to Work Week, the League of American Bicyclists today announced its latest round of Bicycle Friendly Communities (BFC). With nearly 40 million Americans bicycling in 2012 and U.S. bike commuting increasing more than 61% from 2000 to 2012, there’s growing consensus that making biking better is a key component of a healthy, livable community.
If you’re as passionate about bicycling as I am, my gig will sound like a dream: I get to travel the country, visiting cities to help them become more bike-friendly as part of the new expanded Bicycle Friendly Community program. And you can thank Trek and Trek’s retailers throughout the nation for making this possible.
A couple months ago, we welcomed Newport, R.I., into the ranks of Bicycle Friendly Communities. We were especially happy here at the League to see Newport make strides because it is the birthplace of our more than 130-year-old organization. The City of Newport held a ceremony to celebrate its new Bronze-level BFC status last month, with remarks from the city’s mayor; member of the police department; Bari George, executive director of Bike Newport; and John Siemiatkoski, a member of the League’s board.
The League is excited to announce a new member of our staff: Stephen Clark. A longtime bike advocate, Steve is our new Bicycle Friendly Community Specialist, and he’ll be traveling across the country visiting communities to help them become more bike friendly. So what’s Steve’s story? Here’s a quick Q&A on Steve’s biking background…
The Rust Belt’s revival appears to be pedal-powered. We know that bicycling is a cost-effective solution for many community problems. And many cities across the Rust Belt region — like Pittsburgh, Columbus, Cleveland, Indianapolis, South Bend, Morgantown — have shown they’re committed to making biking better in their communities. In our latest round of Bicycle Friendly Community awards, Buffalo, New York, was awarded a Bronze. Buffalo has a booming bike culture, a growing bikeshare system and nearly half of all of its schools have a Safe Routes to School program.