Today, the League of American Bicyclists honors 51 places with a Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) award in our Fall 2020 round. An additional 16 applicants earned Honorable Mentions. The 51 communities awarded today join 485 total BFCs in the movement to build a Bicycle Friendly America for everyone, where people of all ages and abilities have access to safe street networks and a local culture is fostered that encourages bicycling for everyone.
“During one of the toughest years in recent memory, we have seen so many Americans turn to biking during the pandemic as a necessary transportation option, as a vehicle for exercise, and as a way to find some joy on a bike. Today we’re proud to honor communities that are taking actions to make biking a safe, accessible option when we all need as much health and happiness as possible,” said Bill Nesper, executive director of the League of American Bicyclists. “A Bicycle Friendly Community award is the culmination of years of work to make biking better by community leaders and local bicycling advocates. The League applauds the 51 new and renewing Bicycle Friendly Communities in this round of awards for being part of the movement for healthier, more sustainable, and connected places. As we turn the page on 2020 and look ahead to 2021, we’re proud that communities are embracing bicycling as a solution in our collective recovery.”
Of the 51 communities earning awards, 12 demonstrated progress over the four years evaluated in an application to move up in award levels. Notably, Santa Monica, California, and Bellingham, Washington, moved up from Silver-level awards to Gold-level awards. For Santa Monica, the Fall 2020 Gold-level award is a result of continued engagement in becoming more welcoming to people who bike: the city first applied for an award in 2009 and was recognized by the League at the Bronze level, then moved up to a Silver-level Bicycle Friendly Community in 2013 (renewing at the same level in 2016), and advancing to Gold status this year.
Communities are encouraged to engage with the Bicycle Friendly Community program on a continuous basis to meet the standards set by the application process. The application for Bicycle Friendly Communities lays out what steps places must take to be considered award-worthy. As part of each review, the League and applicants seek input from locals leading the push for better biking and more livable communities, plus residents and visitors who bike on their experiences and perceptions of bicycling in the community. The Bicycle Friendly Community award process takes a comprehensive approach to judging awards, looking at a community’s efforts to educate children and adults about how to bike, plan and build bike infrastructure, evaluate success towards getting more people on bikes, and encourage road safety all through the lens of equity.
Communities like Schaumburg, Illinois, and Cary, North Carolina, which have both been Bronze-level BFCs since 2003, and Auburn, Alabama, and Orlando, Florida, which have been Bronze-level BFCs since 2004, show consistent commitment to enhancing bicycling in each of the areas examined by the BFC application: engineering, education, evaluation, and encouragement.
“This round of Bicycle Friendly Community awards is a reflection of the years of work so many places have invested in making biking better,” said Amelia Neptune, Bicycle Friendly America program director at the League of American Bicyclists. “From renewing Platinum-level BFC Davis, California, to new Bronze-level Beckley, West Virginia, there are small towns and big cities taking on the goal of changing our transportation system to be more welcoming to people who bike. It’s thanks to the local leaders, the city staff, and the local advocates who do the everyday work that gets us closer to that goal.”
About the Bicycle Friendly Community Program
More than 850 communities have applied for recognition as a Bicycle Friendly Community since 1995. The 485 total communities, and the 51 honored today, meet criteria set by the League that provides a roadmap to making biking better for communities of all shapes and sizes. The program is used by both local government officials and local advocates to better understand best practices from across the country in making biking better.
Each of the five levels of the Bicycle Friendly Community award – diamond, platinum, gold, silver, and bronze, plus an honorable mention category – provide a clear path for communities to continuously improve. Awarded communities must renew their status every four years to ensure that they not only maintain existing efforts, but also keep up with changing technology, national safety standards, and community-driven best practices.
To learn more about the BFC program, visit bikeleague.org/community.
About the League of American Bicyclists
The League of American Bicyclists leads the national movement to create a Bicycle Friendly America for everyone. With a history dating to 1880, the League is committed to engaging diverse communities and building a powerful, unified voice for change around protecting and promoting the rights of people who bike.