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Bicycle Friendly Community by Lauren Community

39 CITIES AND TOWNS EARN AWARDS FOR EFFORTS TO DESIGN SAFER AND MORE CONNECTED PLACES FOR PEOPLE TO BIKE

BICYCLE FRIENDLY COMMUNITY
by Lauren Jenkins

In May, during National Bike Month, millions of Americans are inspired to pedal a little farther than usual. During Bike to Work Week, many more even park their car at home and try a pedal-powered commute. Today, the League of American Bicyclists is recognizing 39 cities and towns with Bicycle Friendly Community awards for their proactive efforts to make bicycling safer and more accessible to everyone.

“In a month when we see so many people going places by bike, we’re excited to acknowledge 39 cities and towns with our Bicycle Friendly Community award,” said Bill Nesper, executive director of the League of American Bicyclists. “It takes planning and far more than just paint on the ground to be a Bicycle Friendly Community. These awards are a testament to all of the work local bike advocates and officials are doing to build neighborhoods and communities that welcome people on bikes.”

Of the 39 awardees, four communities are brand new to the program, earning Bronze-level designations with their first application. Six other first-time applicant communities earned an “Honorable Mention” and will be invited to reapply next year after making progress based on feedback from the League. In addition to the four new Bronze-level communities, six communities upgraded to Bronze from previous Honorable Mentions and 16 renewed their status. At the Silver-level, four communities earned upgrades in their awards and six renewed. Three communities renewed their Gold-level awards.

A Bicycle Friendly Community award celebrates the people and places laying the foundations of building a more Bicycle Friendly America for everyone. Because the program is based on meeting higher thresholds to reach greater award-levels, the application process encourages local leaders to innovate and be creative in meeting the needs of their constituents across diverse communities.  This round of awardees ranges in size from Walker, Minn. (pop. 969), to Houston, Texas (pop. 2.3 million), both at the Bronze-level and both with aiming to get more people riding but with different paths to get there. 

“We know more people commute by bike in places that have earned a Bicycle Friendly Community award,” said Nesper. “We also know that when more people bike and walk in a community, the roads are safer for everyone. It’s why we’re always so eager to work with local leaders invested in building Bicycle Friendly Communities by using the BFA program’s comprehensive Five Es framework with key actions in education, engineering, encouragement, enforcement, and evaluation.”

The League’s Bicycle Friendly America program outlines ways communities, businesses, and universities can build places that encourage people to bike, implement policies that make bicycling safer and more accessible to everyone, offer educational opportunities for people interested in biking, enforce laws that create safe places to ride, and evaluate their efforts. The Bicycle Friendly Community award application acts as manual for how to build better places for biking and brings together bicycling advocates, agency staff, business stakeholders, and decision makers to take action.

Rather than simply compete against each other, Bicycle Friendly Communities are encouraged capitalize on their local strengths and learn from one another. Based on the more than 450 Bicycle Friendly Community awards earned through 2018, the League has compiled benchmarks that communities can target in their work to be more welcoming to bicyclists.

Download a PDF list of 475 Bicycle Friendly Communities or explore a complete breakdown of the Spring 2019 round of 39 Bicycle Friendly Community awards, eight Honorable Mentions, and all 475 active Bicycle Friendly Communities on the League’s website, including progress reports with the League’s feedback: bikeleague.org/community