New annual Bicycle Friendly Community deadlines
While the Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) program has gone through a number of changes over the last few years, there’s a big one coming in 2024: starting next year, we will shift from our historical schedule of two application and award cycles per year (typically every spring and fall), to only one annual submission deadline and awards announcement.
Starting in 2024, the annual BFC submission deadline will always be in the summer months, starting with June 25, 2024, and BFC awards will always be announced toward the end of the calendar year, most likely in early December.
This updated timeline will help communities set realistic expectations for how long they may expect to work on the BFC application by fostering partnerships, collecting data and information, and identifying the “low-hanging fruit” ideas to implement from the application itself. Our goal with the mid-summer deadline is also to allow communities to showcase their latest National Bike Month activities – often the busiest time for bike education and encouragement efforts in many communities across the country.
The extended review timeline of approximately five months will also give the BFC team ample time to fact-check application data, ask follow-up questions, and keep the BFC Public Survey open for longer in order to hear from more cyclists, potential cyclists, and other roadway users in the community. The BFC Public Survey will continue to be distributed through applicants and partner organizations, as well as directly from the League to our members and followers nationwide, immediately following each BFC submission deadline. Another benefit of reviewing all communities on the same annual timeline will be the consistency of the survey’s timing: historically, spring BFC applicants were sending out their surveys to residents in February and March, while fall applicants sent theirs out in August and September, resulting in widely varying interest levels depending on the place and winter/summer weather. The updated timeline will allow us to keep the public survey open from late June through late September for every applicant community, starting in 2024.
If your community is up for renewal in or after 2024, your renewal application will of course be due at the time of the annual deadline, regardless of whether your previous application was in the spring or fall round four years earlier.
Again, these updates will go into effect in 2024, so if your community was considering applying in (what would have been) the Spring 2024 round, you can either apply this year in our Fall 2023 round before August 30th, to have your results announced this December, or wait until June 25, 2024, to be a part of the first annual BFC awards announcement late next year. Either way, you are welcome – and encouraged! – to start your application online anytime, at https://apply.bikeleague.org.
Stay tuned here on our blog for more updates from the BFC program!