The League of American Bicyclists is proud to announce 15 new Bicycle Friendly Communities (BFC) and three renewing BFCs. Notably, 10 out of the 15 new awardees are from the Midwest to the East coast, disproving the myth that building great cities for cycling only works in the West. Three new states, Arkansas, Louisiana, and South Dakota have their first BFCs with this designation cycle. Ã¢â‚¬Å“This round of applications had more communities in the east and Midwest than ever before that are investing wisely in bicycling,Ã¢â‚¬Â said League President Andy Clarke. Ã¢â‚¬Å“All areas of the U.S. are realizing the importance of bicycling.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Additionally, the American Community Survey (ACS) recently released their 2008 report, which includes community bicycle mode share percentages from 2000 to 2008. League BFCs had higher levels of bicycle commuting than cities not participating in the program. The average BFC bicycle commuter share is 1.5 percent, 2.5 times the national average.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“This strongly suggests that the efforts of the BFCs to improve bicycling conditions by investing in engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement, and evaluation and planning are paying off with larger increases in bicycle commuters,Ã¢â‚¬Â said League Policy Analyst Darren Flusche.
St. Louis, Mo., for example, is one of the 70 largest cities surveyed in the ACS and a new BFC. The community nearly doubled their number of bicycle commuters from 2000 to 2008. The city has completed several noteworthy projects within the past year, including 53 new miles of on-street additions to the bikeway system, a $10 million investment, and an expansion of bicycling education offerings for children and adults. Ã¢â‚¬Å“St. Louis like cities across the country, is making smart investments in building a welcoming community for biking that will inevitably lead to more, healthier and sustainable transportation options and increased recreational opportunities.Ã¢â‚¬Â stated Bill Nesper, League Director of the Bicycle Friendly America program.
The BFC program is revolutionizing the way states and 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 124 of the 318 total applicants have a BFC four-year designation. The renewal process and four levels of the award Ã¢â‚¬â€œ platinum, gold, silver and bronze Ã¢â‚¬â€œ 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 14 years it has evolved into the tool it is today Ã¢â‚¬â€œ evaluating, recognizing and improving cities, states and businesses. Read the LeagueÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s complete analysis of the 2008 ACS.
The Bicycle Friendly Community, Bicycle Friendly State, and Bicycle Friendly Business programs are generously supported by program partners Bikes Belong and Trek BicycleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s One World, Two Wheels Campaign.
Click here to view a complete list of BFCs (PDF).