League of American Bicyclists Raises Standards For Bicycle Friendly Communities Awards

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Under the Enhanced Guidelines, Fewer Communities will Qualify for BFC Recognition

The League of American Bicyclists has updated and increased its standards for localities seeking recognition as Bicycle Friendly Communities (BFC) through an enhanced application process. The recently revised application makes major updates to add and integrate equity and accessibility, emphasize the importance of building and connecting low-speed and low-stress bike networks, all while providing communities with the resources and guidance to meet these higher standards for what it means to be a Bicycle Friendly Community.

Logan, Utah was awarded a silver level Bike Friendly City Award in 2017. Photo courtesy Logan City.
Logan, Utah was awarded a silver level Bike Friendly City Award in 2017. Photo courtesy Logan City.

“Encouraging and supporting the highest quality Bicycle Friendly Communities is an essential part of the League’s mission to build a Bicycle Friendly America for everyone,” said Bill Nesper, executive director of the League of American Bicyclists. “In updating and enhancing the application, our goal is to reflect the best practices in the field and raise the standard for what it means to be a Bicycle Friendly Community. We hope this new application will spur communities to embed equity in their processes and focus on building places where biking and walking is an easy and convenient option for everyone thanks to low-stress bike networks made up of low-speed streets and connected bike facilities combined with education, encouragement, and evaluation efforts.”

The League’s BFC application has been offline since September 2021 to allow for the first major overhaul of the application since 2016. Because the BFC program is both an awards program and an advocacy tool, the League used the revision period to listen, learn, and engage with communities and local advocates about what the new application should include. Over nearly six months, the League conferred with hundreds of local cyclists, advocates, and local officials who use the BFC program to improve conditions for cycling in their community about potential updates, in addition to conducting research and analysis on best practices and forward-looking standards.

“As bike advocates, we have a responsibility to all people who ride bikes, or who want to ride bikes, to make sure that our standards for communities reflect the latest guidance and best practices that create safe, cohesive, low-stress bike networks and foster inclusive and representative biking cultures in communities of all shapes and sizes,” said Amelia Neptune, director of the Bicycle Friendly America program at the League. “With this update, we wanted to make sure that the BFC application, the awards criteria, and the resources and guidance available to applicants and local changemakers who use the program, are all keeping up with the times and all reflect the current state of opportunities and challenges that exist in our evolving bike movement.”

The updated Bicycle Friendly Community application is online and available for communities and advocates to begin using. A new BFC Report Card, updated Quick Assessments for all BFA programs, and other new and updated resources will be coming throughout fall 2022 and into the future.

 

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