26 new Bicycle Friendly Communities join the ranks

Today, the League of American Bicyclists welcomed 26 new and 77 renewing Bicycle Friendly Communities (BFC). This is the largest application round in the BFC program’s 13 year history. In total, 140 communities applied for recognition, a 62 percent increase from the previous largest round. There are now 404 BFCs in all 50 states.

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Several communities stood out for the on-bike examples of their mayors and for their recognition of how bicycling can bring people together. Provo, Utah, moved from a Bronze to a Silver award. Mayor John Curtis has become an avid road cyclist and a regular bike commuter since he was elected mayor — committing to ride 100 days during the year. Through his commitment and the efforts of the Provo Bicycle Committee, there has been a sharp increase in political and community support of bicycling in Provo.

Betsy Price, mayor of new Bronze BFC Fort Worth, Texas, is noted for leading Rolling Town Halls. These family-friendly bike rides allow resident to join the mayor and share how they would like to improve the city.

Assembling a dedicated group of local leaders to create a Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC) is key for building a more Bicycle Friendly Community. New Gold BFC, Chico, California, has expanded its BAC to include pedestrians and disabled members of the community, changing its name to the Bike/Pedestrian Working Group. With the guidance of this group, Chico has made great strides in building connections and infrastructure.

As part of the BFC award process, communities reported over 700 local bicycling, active transportation and transportation equity advocacy groups working to improve conditions for people who walk, bike and need better transportation options. Over 300 of these advocates provided feedback on their communities, helping the League better understand this diverse round of 140 communities. Many applications showed a strong connection between the work of communities and advocacy organizations, particularly in bicycle education programming and bicycle promotion campaigns and events.

This round of Bicycle Friendly Communities has shown us once again that there is no one recipe for success and that communities benefit from a holistic approach to implementing the programs and policies across the Five Es (Engineering, Education, Encouragement, Enforcement, and Evaluation and Planning). Successful communities have a mixture of determined citizen advocates, visionary leaders and responsive staff each doing their parts to build a Bicycle Friendly Community for all.

The BFC program provides a roadmap to building a Bicycle Friendly Community and the application itself has become a rigorous and an educational tool in itself. Since its inception, more than 800 distinct communities have applied and the five levels of the award — diamond, platinum, gold, silver and bronze — provide a clear incentive for communities to continuously improve.

To apply or learn more about the BFC program, visit bikeleague.org/community.

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