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Bicycle Friendly Community
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is it important for my community to strive to be bicycle friendly?
Many communities today struggle with traffic congestion, environmental degradation, declining public health and skyrocketing transportation costs. Bicycling is part of the solution to these problems.
Bicycle-friendly towns are communities that offer improved quality of life for families, which can lead to higher property values, business growth and increased tourism.
Our nation as a whole is experiencing alarming rates of obesity due to sedentary living and poor diet, resulting in 300,000 deaths a year from related illnesses, such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Obesity is the second leading cause of death after tobacco use in the country. Bicycling is one of the best exercises for the cardiovascular system and is very effective at reducing weight and keeping it off.
Bicycling gets you where you need to go, without burning fossil fuels, emitting pollutants, or increasing traffic congestion. It is the ultimate form of clean and efficient transportation. According to the 1995 Nationwide Personal Transportation Survey, 25% of all trips are made within a mile of the home, 40% of all trips are within two miles of the home, and 50% of the working population commutes five miles or less to work-all distances easily traveled by bike. Yet more than 82% of trips five miles or less are made by personal motor vehicle.
For most Americans, transportation is an expense second only to housing. The average American household devotes 18 cents out of every dollar it spends to getting around. In some metro areas, households are spending more on transportation than on shelter. The vast majority of that spending, 98% is for the purchase, operation, and maintenance of automobiles. Most American families spend more on driving than on health care, education or food. And the poorest families spend the most-sometimes more than one-third of their income goes to transportation. Low-income communities, in addition to the 1/3 of the population that is too old or young to drive do not have sufficient transportation choices. Bicycling addresses these issues of mobility and affordable transportation.
Why should my community get involved with the Bicycle Friendly Community program?
For communities that are just beginning to become more bicycle-friendly, the application process is a learning process. The questions are intended to educate just as much as they are to evaluate. By reviewing the questions on the application, you may find a solution to a problem your community experiences. Many communities have successfully used the application as a roadmap on how to improve its commitment to bicycling. The League provides best practices and reports as well as staff dedicated to answering your questions and assisting you with the application process.
For communities that already provide safe and plentiful bikeways for bicyclists, bicyclists access to safe and convenient bike parking, encouragement, and 'share the road' programs for non-cyclists, this program offers awards of national recognition.
How does my community apply?
1) Click here to access the BFC application. You will need to create a new username and password if you are a new applicant or if you have applied before the Fall 2012 cycle. There is no special form for re-applications and renewals. Please note that every applicant can only have one username, which will need to be shared among several editors.
I need help completing the application, what should I do?
Please contact Nicole Wynands at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 202-822-1333.
When is the deadline to apply?
There are two deadlines throughout the year - one in February and the other in July. The next deadline is July 16, 2013. Applications submitted through the online application site on or before the deadline will be considered for an October 2013 designation.
Who should complete the application?
Usually, a city official responsible for bicycling issues completes the application. However, much of the application can be completed by anyone familiar with what a community has done for bicycling as long as the community’s governing body approves its final submission. Often, the most complete applications come from communities where city officials, public agencies and local cyclists work on it together.
Is there an application or renewal fee?
No. Thanks to the generous support of Trek’s 1 World 2 Wheels program, we are able to waive all application and renewal fees.
Does my community need to be doing everything on the application in order to receive the award?
No. To receive a Bronze level Bicycle Friendly Community designation the community only needs to be doing some of the listed measures in each category, with only one strong category. At the Silver level, communities have at least two or three strong Es but can still improve in others, and so forth. Also, the awards determination is not completely quantitative and relies on the answers to the application, the feedback from local cyclists and the particular environmental, political and geographical circumstances.
How does the review process work?
Once an application cycle is completed, applications are send to several lcycling experts, advocates and interested cyclists in the applying communities for local feedback. After the local review period, the applications, any submitted supplemental material and the local feedback are reviewed by a panel of national bicycle professionals. A community should demonstrate achievements in each of the five categories in order to be considered for an award. Communities with more significant achievements in these areas receive higher awards. All designated BFCs will receive an award certificate, a digital award seal and two Bicycle Friendly Community road signs.
Does my community need to achieve BFC status in order to receive a feedback report?
Bicycle Friendly Community