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Creang a Bicycle Friendly America by Bill Nesper, Director, Bicycle Friendly America Program


he message is clear – give people the places and confidence to ride and they will. It’s not just planum Bicycle Friendly Communies who are experiencing a bicycling boom. In addion to the explosive growth in bike commung in Boulder, Colo. and Portland, Ore., places such as Tulsa, Okla.; Milwaukee, Wis.; Columbus, Ohio; and St. Louis, Mo. have all more than doubled their ridership in the last eight years (and a few tripled it). People across the country are seeing that bicycling is a fun, healthy and green way to get around. Businesses, communies and states have tapped into America’s growing demand for cycling

and responded with concrete acons to improve condions. The Bicycle Friendly America program is a resource for these groups to measure current condions, to get recognion for their work and to receive hands-on assistance to create even more safe and welcoming places for cycling. The most recent data from the 2009 Naonal Household Travel Survey show that bicycling’s share of all trips increased by 25 percent since 2001. This growth in cycling was echoed in the most recent data on work commutes in the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. This survey showed a 43 percent growth in bike commung over the last eight years and a nearly 70 percent increase in Bicycle Friendly Communies – communies that answer the underlying demand by beer accommodang and promong cycling.


After hosting a BFC workshop in the summer of 2008, the community of Greenville, S.C. went into high-gear to implement their action plan, and by 2009, Greenville had received a Bronze BFC designation.

It is inspiring to partner with folks across the country by providing assistance and resources to help communies reach their bicycle-friendly goals. In the past 12 months, the Bicycle Friendly Community program staff has given direct assistance to more than 500 new communies – averaging two per day. Through these connecons and partnerships we are able to share best pracces and empower cies to become great places for cycling. In the summer of 2008, for example, we led a BFC Workshop in Greenville, S.C. with an enthusiasc group of city staff,

2 American Bicyclist — Bicycle Friendly America 2010

In the past 12 months, the Bicycle Friendly Community program staff has given direct assistance to more than 500 new communities, and a recent survey shows a nearly 70 percent increase in commuting in Bicycle Friendly Communities – communities that answer the underlying demand by better accommodating and promoting cycling.

local cyclists, and business representaves. By the end of the day, there was an acon plan and goal to be recognized as a BFC in 2009. “Hosng the League’s Bicycle Friendly Community Workshop in 2008 was one of the most important steps in the City of Greenville’s efforts in becoming a BFC,” says Andrew Meeker, an urban designerwith the city of Greenville. “The community workshop built the crical polical and public support for the Bicycle Friendly Community iniave by assisng Greenville in recognizing our past accomplishments and future goals for designaon.” The community went into high-gear to implement the acon plan, forming a Greenville BFC Commiee, passing a Complete Streets resoluon and increasing the amount of bike parking in the community through a development ordinance. By 2009, Greenville had received a Bronze BFC designaon. They have since integrat-

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ed the feedback provided by the League to create a BFC Silver Acon Plan that points the city towards a higher designaon by 2013. Workshops like this one have been spreading throughout the naon from Sheboygan, Wis. to Charleston, S.C., from Grand Rapids, Mich. to Albuquerque, N.M. Aspiring BFCs like Dayton, Ohio and San Antonio, Texas are building community support by hosng local bike summits where city leaders hear how bicycling improves personal and environmental health, quality of life and transportaon choices for their cizens.

BUSINESSES BUILD BETTER BICYCLING Businesses across the country have also stepped up their efforts to make workplaces more bicycle-friendly. Our Bicycle Friendly Business (BFB) program has

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been helping to idenfy and encourage leaders since its launch in 2008. Currently there are 83 BFBs in 19 states that span a wide range of industries – everything from breweries and engineering firms to farms and hospitals. Applicants and award winners use the feedback we provide to set goals and allocate addional resources for bicycling. Immediately aer receiving their gold designaon in 2008, Quality Bicycle Products (QBP) took acon on the BFB review feedback. The company added a towel cleaning service to make showering more convenient for cyclists and designated a workplace bike fleet for employees. QBP became a Planum BFB in 2009; a good illustraon of their leadership in the bicycle industry. BFBs are also core partners in creang Bicycle Friendly Communies. In Anchorage, the Alaska Nave Tribal Health

Quality Bike Products took the advice offered in their 2008 BFB review and added improvements which raised the company to platinum status in 2009.

Boulder’s bicycle commuting share is 9.9 percent — 18 times the national average.

American Bicyclist — Bicycle Friendly America 2010


Wisconsin hosted the very successful Wisconsin Bike Summit in 2009.

SNAPSHOT The Programs: How to Apply, and Who to Talk to The applicaons themselves are designed to be part of the learning process, asking in-depth quesons that bring people from various parts of the community, business or state together to build a comprehensive picture of where the applicant is, and where they should go. Filling out the applicaon, receiving the feedback and talking to League staff members are all important parts of the process – separate from the actual award. Thanks to the generosity of the League’s sponsors, all Bicycle Friendly America applicaons, quesons and feedback are provided with no charge. It is free to parcipate in this program. Bicycle Friendly Business: Contact Alison Dewey,, 202-621-5443 Next Deadlines: 7/16/2010 and 1/14/2011 The Bicycle Friendly Business applicaon is designed to be filled out by a human resource person or a staff member who knows about the company’s work on behalf of bicyclists. Bicycle Friendly Community: Contact Bill Nesper,, 202-621-5444 Next Deadline: 7/16/2010 and 2/18/2011 Someone affiliated directly with the community, whether working for it directly or as an advocate working in conjuncon with a city staff member, fills out the Bicycle Friendly Community applicaon online. Bicycle Friendly State: Contact Jeff Peel,, 202-621-5445 State Ranking Deadline: 2/18/2011 Award Designaon Deadline: 2/18/2011 State bicycle coordinators from all 50 states fill out a 70-item quesonnaire. The oponal award applicaon and designaon is for states that want to apply for further recognion and in-depth feedback on their efforts.

Consorum has opened their employee cycling educaonal classes and events to the community as a whole. During Bike to Work Week 2009, they hosted free safety lectures, a bike tune-up day, morning coffee and food, prizes and a live bluegrass band pizza party for the enre community. Partnerships like this helped lead Anchorage to its Bronze BFC designaon in 2009 and serve as a model for businesses and communies across the country.

STATE MODELS In the past, states have been a missing link in creang a Bicycle Friendly America. Their influence on laws, funding and design standards cannot be overlooked. The standards set by the Bicycle Friendly State program are helping to change this. Statelevel bicycling summits and events have played an important role in these efforts over the past year. In 2008, the Bicycle Friendly State program ranked West Virginia last in the naon. With the League’s recommendaons in hand, advocates and state officials convened the first annual West Virginia Cycling Symposium at the governor’s mansion in April 2009. This event led to the formaon of a state advocacy group, a dra of a new statewide bicycle and

pedestrian plan, and increased funding for several projects across the state. Happily, West Virginia moved up eight spots to number 42 on the 2009 BFS list. Near the top of the list, Wisconsin hosted the very successful Wisconsin Bike Summit in 2009 which resulted in approval of all three proposed acons – a statewide Complete Streets policy, passage of dooring legislaon and $5 million in funding for bike projects. These and other summits have been used as models in the producon of a forthcoming guide on conducng state and local bike summits due out this spring.

GET STARTED TODAY! In addion to the hands-on assistance, workshops and applicaon reviews, we have made it easier for businesses, communies and states to measure themselves. Inserted in this yearbook are quick scorecards to measure businesses and communies, so you will know where you stand and what goals to reach for. Visit www. to learn more or print out your scorecard. Let us know how we can assist you in making your workplace, community and state beer. Thanks for your work creang a Bicycle Friendly America!

The Bicycle Friendly America program is generously supported by Bikes Belong and Trek’s One World Two Wheels Program. We also appreciate the vital, ongoing support of so many people who volunteer countless hours to bring the BFA programs to life.

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2010 Bicycle Friendly America Review  

The Bicycle Friendly America program is a resource for groups to measure current condions, to get recognion for their work and to receive h...

2010 Bicycle Friendly America Review  

The Bicycle Friendly America program is a resource for groups to measure current condions, to get recognion for their work and to receive h...