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Equity & Accessibility Updates to the Bicycle Friendly Community Public Survey

How the Bicycle Friendly Community program evaluates progress has evolved over the years. As our understanding of what makes a place great for people who bike has deepened, our standards and expectations have raised. These increasing standards are particularly reflected in the number of changes over the last several years to incorporate Equity & Accessibility as the new 5th E of the BFC program’s ‘5 E’ Framework and criteria by which all BFC applicants are evaluated.

Watch the Summer 2022 BFC Equity Updates Webinar

To better incorporate Equity & Accessibility across the program, that had to include changes to the BFC public survey, too. In 2020, we added demographic questions to the survey to help us better understand who has provided input and how well the survey responses reflect and represent the diversity of people who ride, or would ride under better circumstances, in each community. In addition to race, gender, and age, in 2022 we’ve also added income and disability status to the optional BFC survey questions to capture both demographic and socioeconomic variables from survey respondents and compare to a community’s broader demographic and socioeconomic makeup. 

We know historical and present-day inequities exist in almost every American community, resulting in demographic and socioeconomic disparities in bicycling metrics including ridership, safety, barriers, and levels of comfort. Our hope in capturing this data from survey respondents is to better understand and discern to what extent demographic and/or socioeconomic disparities exist among respondents’ experiences and feedback and help communities better address these disparities through systemic and structural changes.

In 2021, we added a new page of questions specifically for respondents who indicate that they do not regularly ride a bike, to identify all the specific barriers that keep them from biking, and the specific solutions that would help them ride more often, or at all. The goal here is to make the survey more relevant for every level and type of rider so we don’t just hear from the “strong and fearless” or “enthused and confident” cyclists, but from anyone and everyone in a community. By expanding who we hear from in the survey, and explicitly asking about barriers to bicycling for non-riders, our hope is to provide communities with more data and feedback to support the kinds of investments that will break down barriers to bicycling for everyone. 

In 2022, in addition to expanding the reach of the BFC public survey to be open to all communities, another exciting equity update is that this year, for the first time ever, we’re able to offer BFC applicants a Spanish-language version of the BFC Public Survey to distribute in their community. Communities in the BFC program who request a Spanish-language version of the survey will be provided a custom link to a Spanish-language version of the same survey for their community, and they will receive both the English-language and the Spanish-language aggregate, anonymous survey results as part of their BFC feedback materials. Spanish-language translation work for the BFC survey was done by Fox Translation, and provided to the League by the Pennsylvania Downtown Center as part of their work promoting active transportation with the PA Department of Health. 

Do you have something to share about your community’s bicycling efforts or lack thereof? Fill out the Fall 2022 BFC Public Survey and encourage others to give their input so we can get the complete picture of the diversity of people who ride in your community and ways to improve riding for everyone. The Fall 2022 BFC Public Survey is open now through November 6th!

Want to know when YOUR community applies to become a BFC or renew their existing award? Join the League as a member and we’ll tell you. Communities can apply for BFC status in our Spring 2023 round of awards, open now through February 15, 2023!