Bicycle friendly communities are exactly what it says on the tin — communities taking steps to make cycling safer and more accessible for everyone. The League of American Bicyclists recognizes and awards five levels of BFCs (Bicycle Friendly Communities, of course) — Diamond, Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze. As of this month, 47 of the 50 states can claim to host BFCs.
Pedal Towards Progress
This month, Los Angeles, Miami, and Nashville were among 28 new cities awarded BFC status — a privilege now shared by 2/3 of America’s largest cities. Cycling has a number of direct and indirect health benefits (with the possible exception of the ubiquitous shorts), and the League claims that bicycle commuting grew 80%(!) in BFCs between 2000 and 2011 — but only by 32% in less bike-friendly cities.
League President Andy Clarke responded to the new communities with this:
“This latest round of BFC awards proves yet again that any city — regardless of size or geography — can take cost-effective steps to increase bicycling in their community. From Bentonville, Arkansas, to Bethesda, Maryland, cities are embracing biking as a means to save money, reduce congestion, improve health and boost their economy.”
From Carmageddon to 1600 Miles of Bike Paths
Los Angeles, which is widely known for its traffic congestion (although some of its cars are admittedly the awesome zero-emission electric type) has added 75 miles of bike paths and has plans to build a total of 1,600 miles worth over the next three decades.
Nashville has invested $7 million in bike paths and other greenways since 2008, and Miami is working on putting in more bike paths, as well.
The mayors of all three cities — all of which received the Bronze award — have continued to pledge further development of cycling accessibility over the next several years.
Questions or comments? Anecdotes about cyclists? I nearly ran over three on the way downtown when driving the i-MiEV last month, for instance, but my home town of Chicago is apparently not on the BFC list. Let us hear from you in the comments below!
Source: League of American Bicyclists
Charis Michelsen spent 7 years living in Germany and Japan, studying both languages extensively, doing translation and education with companies like Bosch, Nissin, Fuji Heavy, and others. Charis has a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and currently lives in Chicago, Illinois. She also believes that Janeway was the best Star Trek Captain.