The League of American Bicyclists is proud to announce 16 new Bicycle Friendly Communities (BFC), five renewing BFCs and 19 Honorable Mentions. As we have seen in the last few cycles, the majority of the new BFCs are in the East and Midwest – three quarters of the awarded communities are east of the Mississippi River. Additionally, two new states now have designated BFCs: Newark, Del. and Simsbury, Conn. “Communities from all areas of the country, climates and populations see bicycling as an integral component of building livable communities. The Bicycle Friendly Community program is recognizing those leading the way,” said Andy Clarke, League President.
The explosive growth of the BFC Program demonstrates how communities across the country see the importance of promoting bicycling to improve public health, improve quality of life, protect the environment and provide better transportation choices. Exciting work is being done to improve conditions for cycling countrywide, and the growth in the quality of bicycling efforts can be seen in the number of Honorable Mentions given out this round. “We are excited to see the level of interest and quality of programs. We look forward to partnering with these communities to improve conditions for cycling,” said Bill Nesper, Director of the Bicycle Friendly America program. “We want these communities to move up the ranks of the program, and our staff is dedicated to providing assistance to awarded and aspiring Bicycle Friendly Communities.” Every community that applies receives a bicycle-friendly roadmap, feedback on how to improve conditions for cycling. The roadmap is working. This round saw several communities returning after implementing previous feedback with good results. Rochester, Minn. moved from an Honorable Mention received in 2006 to a Bronze-level BFC, and two communities Salt Lake City, Utah and Flagstaff, Ariz. moved up from Bronze to Silver.
Under the leadership of Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker, a regular cyclist, the city has moved from their 2007 Bronze designation to Silver. “We have seen notable results of Salt Lake City’s commitment to increasing bikeways and creating solutions for alternative modes of transportation,” said Becker. They have used the program and now Salt Lake City has a comprehensive approach to accommodating and welcoming cyclists, and the city’s percentage of bicycle commuters continues to grow – 4 times the national average.
Flagstaff, Ariz. also moved up from their 2006 Bronze designation to Silver. The community is known for its commitment to investing in cycling and encouragement efforts, such as the citywide commuter challenge, the world-class Flagstaff Urban Trails System and 200 miles of singletrack.
The BFC program is revolutionizing the way communities evaluate their quality of life, sustainability and transportation networks, while allowing them to benchmark their progress and work toward improving their bicycle-friendliness. The application process to become a BFC is rigorous; currently only 140 of the 359 total applicants have a BFC four-year designation. The renewal process and four levels of the award – platinum, gold, silver and bronze – provide a clear incentive for communities to continuously improve. The new and expanded BFC program began at the League in 1995, and in the past 15 years it has evolved into the tool it is today – evaluating, recognizing and improving cities, states and businesses.
The Bicycle Friendly Community, Bicycle Friendly State, and Bicycle Friendly Business programs are generously supported by program partners Bikes Belong and Trek Bicycle’s One World, Two Wheels Campaign. To learn more, visit bicyclefriendlycommunity.org.
View the 2010 Bicycle Friendly Communities here.
League Director of Communications
Cahill joined the League in December 2008 and has a BA in Media Communications with a concentration in Italian Studies from the College of Charleston.