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How One Member’s Idea Has Transformed the Nation

In the March-April 2013 issue of American Bicyclist, we mark a major milestone for the League: the 10th Anniversary of the Bicycle Friendly America program. Since its inception, the initiative has boosted biking in more than 700 communities, businesses and universities. So who dreamed up the idea for this roadmap to bicycle-friendliness?

Well, the BFA program didn’t get its start here at the League office in D.C. It wasn’t launched in a city known for cycling or by one of our hundreds of advocacy affiliates, either. Nope, it started in Kansas — Overland Park, Kansas.

As Hamzat Sani, our Equity and Outreach Fellow, writes in this issue: “For Wayne Byrd, the Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) concept was a combination of his two passions. Byrd had his second date with wife, Anne, on a bike and worked as a public servant and elected official in Overland Park, Kan., for more than 16 years. In 1993, he was inspired by the Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree City program. ‘As an avid bicyclist,’ he says, ‘I wondered why there wasn’t a similar program to encourage safer bicycling in urban and suburban areas.’ So Byrd set out to create that program — an initiative that would recognize communities that were making strides for bicyclists and create clear criteria for others looking to get on the path to better biking.”

How did it evolve from one member’s dream to a national program with hundreds of designations? Read the full story below and make sure you get the next American Bicyclist delivered to your mailbox by joining the League today!  


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