What is a Bicycle Friendly America?
The League of American Bicyclists Bicycle Friendly American program provides a roadmap, hands-on assistance and recognition for states, communities, universities, and businesses. The BFA program is a tool for everyone to make bicycling a real transportation and recreation option for all people.
A Bicycle Friendly Community, Business, or University welcomes bicyclists by providing safe accommodations for bicycling and encouraging people to bike for transportation and recreation. A bicycle friendly place makes bicycling safe, comfortable, and convenient for people of all ages and abilities.
Bicycle Friendly Community
The Bicycle Friendly Communities designation is an awards program that recognizes municipalities that actively support bicycling. A Bicycle Friendly Community provides safe accommodation for people who bicycle and encourages more residents to bike for transportation and recreation.
Encouraging bicycling is a simple way towards improving the quality of life and public health. With more people bicycling, communities experience reduced traffic congestion, improved air quality and greater physical fitness. This often translates into increased property values, business growth and increased tourism along with talent attraction and retention.
How to Apply
There are two application cycles a year – one in spring and one in fall. A new cycle usually begins the day after an application cycle closes, so applicants have several months to fill out the online application. Visit the League’s website to read through helpful tips on applying.
After a brief review of the general community profile, the applicant will continue to the reporting portion of the application, which asks questions about the community’s engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement, evaluation/planning, and equity efforts. We refer to these sections as the Six E’s. Most questions are multiple choice. This comprehensive questionnaire is designed to yield a holistic picture of an applicant community’s work to promote bicycling.
You and other bicyclists in the community can bring this program, particularly the application, to your mayor or county council to initiate positive change in your neighborhood. Click here for more information.
A committee reviews and scores the application and consults with local cyclists in your community. An award of diamond, platinum, gold, silver, or bronze status is designated for four years. The League and technical assistance staff will continue to work with recipients and those communities that do not yet meet the criteria to encourage continual improvements. See how Ohio and Dayton stack up.
Starting in 2016, the League implemented a public input process to provide the opportunity for additional public input on communities. As part of this process the following actions are taken:
- An optional public survey link is sent to all communities to be distributed by the community. This link is also sent to any bicycle and pedestrian advocates that a community identified and provided contact information for in its application.
- The League of American Bicyclists sends an additional survey that provides space for open-ended responses to bicycle and pedestrian advocates that a community identified and provided contact information for and bicycle and pedestrian advocates who are organizational members of the League.
- These surveys are typically distributed within 2 weeks of the closing of a deadline and are open for about a month.
The League of American Bicyclists recognizes newly designated Bicycle Friendly Communities with an awards ceremony, a Bicycle Friendly Community road sign, and a formal press announcement.
Renewing the Designation
You will complete a simple renewal form to compliment your original application so that the League of American Bicyclists can continue to recognize your progress. Renewals are due every four years after a community is designated or receives their renewal notice. The League will also require a short annual update. Award levels may change based on the renewal feedback.
About the League
The League of American Bicyclists promotes bicycling for fun, fitness, and transportation and works through advocacy and education for a bicycle-friendly America. The League represents the interests of the nation’s 57 million cyclists. With a current membership of 300,000 affiliated cyclists, including 40,000 individuals and 600 affiliated organizations, the League works to bring better bicycling to your community. If you care about bicycling, become a League member today.
Read more about the League…