More than 500 Cities and Towns Across America Are League-Certified Bicycle Friendly Communities
WASHINGTON, DC — Today, the League of American Bicyclists honors 32 cities and towns with a Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) award, with an additional seven places earning an Honorable Mention. The Fall 2022 round of awards now makes a total of 501 Bicycle Friendly Communities spanning all 50 states, which means nearly 90 million people now live in places making an effort to be more welcoming to bicyclists!
These 32 new and renewing communities are the first to be evaluated following monumental updates to the Bicycle Friendly Community program’s application made in the summer of 2022. The updates expanded the application’s questions about equity and accessibility in a new section on the topic and placed a greater emphasis on the importance of building and connecting low-speed and low-stress bike networks. Alongside questions about a community’s efforts, the League provides ideas and resources for applicants to facilitate local engagement with the public as well as collaboration with regional leaders to expand and enhance efforts within and beyond the community’s borders.
The League of American Bicyclists’ Bicycle Friendly America program, which also evaluates states, businesses, and universities, has been setting the standard for how places build and benchmark progress toward better bicycling for more than 25 years, receiving over 1,900 applications to date.
“Being a Bicycle Friendly Community takes more than hosting a yearly event or building a few bike lanes,” said Bill Nesper, executive director of the League of American Bicyclists. “The best communities for people who bike are places where efforts to build connected bike networks are complemented by ensuring equal access to bike education and hosting inclusive community rides and events for all types of riders. They are places where embedding equity and accessibility into bicycling efforts is the rule, not the exception, making them truly better for everyone. This round of BFC awards is a testament to the community leaders and local bike advocates who recognize the importance of a whole-of-community approach to bettering biking.”
Among this round’s notable awardees is Fayetteville, Arkansas, which climbed the ranks from its previous Silver-level award to earn a gold designation, along with Oakland, California, and The Villages, Florida, which both renewed their Gold-level awards. Three communities renewed their Silver designations: Arcata, California; Bozeman, Montana; and Chapel Hill, North Carolina. This round also included five communities climbing the ranks from previous Bronze-level awards to Silver-level awards: Dublin, Ohio; Richfield, Minnesota; San Jose, California; St. George, Utah; and Walker, Minnesota.
For communities seeking to better understand equity and accessibility needs, the BFC application emphasizes seeking input throughout the bike planning process from people and groups with expertise and lived experiences that make the community a more welcoming, supportive, and inclusive place to bike. For example, the newly gold Fayetteville expanded its Active Transportation Advisory Committee to include a designated position for an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) advocate.
In Houston, Texas, which renewed its Bronze-level award, city staff and the Bicycle Advisory Committee developed a prioritization method for implementing the city’s 1,800-mile bike plan, in which equity is factored at a high level to ensure the city is “building bikeways where the need is greatest”. Points toward priority implementation are based on location in a low/moderate income census tract, location in a Complete Community, which is a designation given to 10 historically under-resourced Houston neighborhoods, and the percentage of households who don’t own a car.
Communities of all types and sizes can reach people of all ages and abilities with their bicycling efforts. Small-town Walker, Minnesota, trains bicyclists to take older adults on rides through its Cycling Without Age program and provides adaptive bikes for kids’ in-school on-bike education. Brownsville, Texas, a multilingual border town, offers all of its bike safety and encouragement materials in multiple translated languages to ensure equal access to bicycling resources.
Each Fall 2022 BFC awardee will also receive a Bicycle Friendly Community Report Card, which now highlights survey feedback from locals, key socioeconomic and demographic details, ridership and safety outcomes, as well as detailed information about how each community faired across the “5 E” categories and subcategories of the application, and recommendations for improvement from the League’s BFC reviewers.
“The BFC application emphasizes several new and expanded topics which we were excited to see some communities excelling on in this round,” said Amelia Neptune, director of the Bicycle Friendly America program. “Topics range from public art and placemaking as part of a community’s bike network to regional coordination to re-setting and designing for lower speeds on local roads. We hope that this first round of awardees since the update can serve as models for other communities joining our mission to raise the standards on what it means to be a Bicycle Friendly Community.”
If your city or town would like to join the League in building stronger communities for everyone across America, submissions for the Spring 2023 round of the Bicycle Friendly Community program are due on February 15, 2023, at 11:59 PM PT.
About the Bicycle Friendly Community℠ Program
Bicycle Friendly Community awards reflect local leaders’ ongoing work to build better places to bike and evaluate those efforts as part of a national movement. Each of the five levels of the Bicycle Friendly University award – diamond, platinum, gold, silver, and bronze, plus an honorable mention category – provide a clear path for cities and towns to continuously improve. Visit bikeleague.org/community to learn more about the BFC program.
About the League Of American Bicyclists
Since 1880, the League of American Bicyclists has been people-powered, with a goal to make bicycling safer and easier as a means of transportation and recreation. Today, the League continues to improve lives and strengthen communities through bicycling. We are more than 200,0000 members and supporters strong with more than 1,000 state and local advocacy groups and bike clubs as well as thousands of businesses, universities, and communities together leading the movement to create a Bicycle Friendly America for everyone.