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What does a BFC look like to you?

This story originally appeared in our Spring 2015 American Bicyclist magazine. Want it in your mailbox? Join the League as a member today!

Bicycle Friendly Communities come in all shapes and sizes. We work with community leaders in neighborhoods big or small, sprawling or compact, densely or sparsely populated, and everything in between.

While much progress has been made in the decade or so we’ve been running this program, we know there is still so much work to be done. There are ideas and innovations we’ve never begun dreaming up. This is where you come in. We want to know: What does a Bicycle Friendly Community look like to you?

We heard from our followers on Facebook, Twitter and other corners of the internet, and this is what they came up with. They shared essays, sketches and more…

“A bicycle friendly community is a place where I can let my five-year-old daughter ride her bike to school and have the infrastructure protect her and the motorists are alert and engaged.” — Michael McKisson, Tucson, AZ

Happily on our way! — Rick Bosacker, Maryland

“The most important signifier of a bicycle friendly community, to me, is the culture. Are people on bikes getting polar pops thrown at them from car windows? Are motorists purposefully trying to run over cyclists? These things happen in Bloomington, Indiana, despite our bike friendly rating. You can put in all the infrastructure you want, but it comes down to the culture of the community. What I look for after that are bike racks in appropriate places, people on a variety of different bikes, children on bikes, and innovative safety features when full integration isn’t possible (like flower pot protected lanes).” — Jessika Griffin, Bloomington, Indiana

“I’d like to be able to ride my bike anywhere in the city without having to worry about buses and cars. I’d also like for the bike lanes to be safe enough for children to ride on them, too. These systems should also work well with the other forms of public transportation to encourage more people to drive less. Basically, I’d like D.C. to resemble Amsterdam, Copenhagen, or Stockholm!” — Elizabeth Thomasson Washington, D.C

“In a bicycle-friendly community: 1. Everyone is well-educated regarding bicycling best practices and laws and treats bicyclists as equal road users. 2. Law enforcement and the rest of the justice system take crimes committed with automobiles seriously. 3. Bike-specific infrastructure is as safe and convenient as, or safer and more convenient than, the general travel lanes. 4. Public planning operates on a human scale, providing lowspeed bicycle-friendly streets, a compact layout, and good transit connections. And that’s just for starters!” — Scott Harriman, Maine

From Twitter: Amelia Neptune, @NepTuna, League Bicycle Friendly Business & University Program Manager: “My dream BFC smells like the bakery I bike past on a regular basis. You don’t get that in a car!”

@Aztec_Cycles: “Where motorists understand that we are people too #BikeChat”

Bill Nesper, @BillNesper, League Vice President of Programs: “It’s a place where bicycling is easy, safe and second nature. A real option for transportation and recreation. #bikechat”