OVERVIEW From the League of American Bicyclists: "The Bicycle Friendly Community Program provides incentives, hands-on assistance, and award recognition for communities that actively support bicycling. A Bicycle Friendly Community welcomes cyclists by providing safe accommodation for cycling and encouraging people to bike for transportation and recreation."
The League reviews applications from community representatives and makes a determination whether to award Bicycle-Friendly Community status based on the criteria in the following paragraphs:
ENGINEERING Communities are asked about what is on the ground; what has been built to promote cycling in the community. For example, questions in this category inquire about the existence and content of a bicycle master plan, the accommodation of cyclists on public roads, and the existence of both well-designed bike lanes and multi-use paths in the community. Reviewers also look at the availability of secure bike parking and the condition and connectivity of both the off-road and on-road network.
EDUCATION The questions in this category are designed to determine the amount of education there is available for both cyclists and motorists. Education includes teaching cyclists of all ages how to ride safely in any area for multi-use paths to congested city streets as well as teaching motorists how to share the road safely with cyclists. Some things that reviewers look at are the availability of cycling education for adults and children, the number of League Cycling Instructors in the community, and other ways that safety information is distributed to both cyclists and motorists in the community including bike maps, tip sheets, and as a part of driver’s education manuals and courses.
ENCOURAGEMENT This category concentrates on how the community promotes and encourages bicycling. This can be done through Bike Month and Bike to Work Week events as well as producing community bike maps, route finding signage, community bike rides, commuter incentive programs, and having a Safe Routes to School program. In addition, some questions focus on other things that have been built to promote cycling or a cycling culture such as off-road facilities, BMX parks, velodromes, and the existence of both road and mountain bicycling clubs.
ENFORCEMENT The Enforcement category contains questions that measure the connections between the cycling and law enforcement communities. Questions address whether or not the law enforcement community has a liaison with the cycling community, if there are bicycle divisions of the law enforcement or public safety communities, if the community uses targeted enforcement to encourage cyclists and motorists to share the road safely, and the existence of bicycling related laws such as those requiring helmet or the use of sidepaths.
EVALUATION & PLANNING Here the community is judged on the systems that they have in place to evaluate current programs and plan for the future. Questions are focused on measuring the amount of cycling taking place in the community, the crash and fatality rates, and ways that the community works to improve these numbers. Communities are asked about whether or not they have a bike plan, how much of it has been implemented and what the next steps for improvement are.
For more information, see the League of American Bicyclists' website for the BFC program.