The League of American Bicyclists Bicycle Friendly Community Program (BFC) ranks communities across the United States as Gold, Silver, Bronze and honorable mention.
The BFC program provides incentives, hands-on assistance and award recognition for communities that actively support bicycling through a combination of infrastructure, programs and policies. There are currently eighteen Bicycle Friendly Communities in Wisconsin:
- Platinum Madison
- Silver Appleton, Fitchburg, La Crosse, Milwaukee, Shorewood
- Bronze Dane County, Eau Claire, Menomonie, Middleton, Monona, Onalaska, River Falls, Sheboygan, Sheboygan County, Sturgeon Bay, Stevens Point, Wausau MPO
People on bicycles are an indicator species for vibrant, economically healthy communities where people want to live, work, do business and visit. Investments in bicycling yield tremendously high returns at a very small cost. Bicycling is such a cost-effective, simple solution for so many of today’s complicated problems, it’s no wonder communities across the state are working to make themselves more bicycle friendly.
Here are some suggestions if your community is interested in applying for a Bicycle Friendly Community Award:
- Begin by downloading and reading the Bicycle Friendly Community Overview.
- Take a few minutes to evaluate your community with this quick Bicycle Friendly Community Scorecard.
- Download and review the full Bicycle Friendly community application before you begin the fill out the online application. It requires some research into demographics and infrastructure to complete.
- Plan your strategy for pitching bicycle-friendly improvements.
- Gather support.
- Call your government official and request a meeting.
- Ask for something specific and try to get a specific commitment. A good starting point is to ask if the person will submit the application for Bicycle Friendly Community status.
- Follow up and follow up (and follow up).
- Consider hiring the Bike Fed to create and submit your application – We have a proven track record of procuring designations including Madison’s recent Platinum Status
In general, the League scores communities based on the five E’s:
- ENGINEERING – Bike lanes, bike routes, trails, bike parking, etc.
- EDUCATION – Availability of cycling education, safety materials, Safe Routes to School programs and number of League cycling instructors
- ENCOURAGEMENT – Bike to Work Week events, Bike Challenge participation, printed materials such as maps and brochures, fun events like Tour de Fat, etc.
- ENFORCEMENT – Bicycle police, laws that protect bicycles, targeted enforcement programs to encourage people to share the road, liaison between
- EVALUATION and PLANNING – Community Bike Plan, annual bike counts, evaluation of crash data, mode share, etc.
- EQUITY – while not an official “E”, equity is an important consideration, and is the recognition that recognize that youth, women and people of color are underrepresented in many bike advocacy efforts and local transportation decisions.