The 5 E's
The Essential Elements of a Bicycle Friendly America℠
Each Bicycle Friendly Community℠, Bicycle Friendly Business℠ and Bicycle Friendly University℠ recognized by the League is different. Each with their own natural benefits and challenges — from climate and topography to culture and population density. But there are essential elements across five categories — known as the Five E’s — that are consistent in making great places for bicycling.
To truly achieve the vision of a Bicycle Friendly America for everyone, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) are the essential lenses through which all other elements must be viewed. Learn more about the League's commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, and see below for more about how the League has incorporated EDI into the Five E framework.
The 5 E's
To truly achieve the vision of a Bicycle Friendly America for everyone, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) are the essential lenses through which all other elements must be viewed.
Throughout the E’s and in every BFA program application, you will find EDI-focused questions and multiple choice answer options that are designed to help BFA applicants consider the ways in which they can address and correct for historical disparities and systemic inequities across each of the other E’s. These questions were first introduced to the BFA applications in 2014, and the League continues to review and track EDI-related responses to identify best practices that can be incorporated into BFA feedback reports and future iterations of the applications, with the ultimate goal of guiding communities, businesses, and universities toward more equitable, diverse, and inclusive bike planning and programming.
Examples of equity-related questions/answer options in BFA applications include:
B7. How do you ensure that your bicycle facilities and physical amenities are accessible and welcoming to diverse populations? │e.g. new and inexperienced bicyclists, non-native English speakers, women, People of Color, ADA community, LGBTQ, youth, seniors, etc.
C8. Do any of the above educational classes, resources, or programs for adults specifically target any of the following traditionally-underrepresented groups? Check all that apply.
❏ People of Color
❏ Non-English speakers
❏ Low-income populations
❏ University students
❏ LGBT+ community
❏ ADA community
❏ Homeless community
❏ None of the above
D9. Are any of the following cycling clubs/groups active in your community? Check all that apply.
❏ Recreational bike clubs
❏ Mountain bike clubs
❏ Cyclocross clubs
❏ Friends of the Trail groups
❏ National Mountain Bike Patrol
❏ Racing clubs or teams
❏ Kidical Mass, Family Bike Party, or other family-oriented groups
❏ Senior ride groups
❏ Women-only ride groups
❏ LGBT+ ride groups
❏ People of Color ride groups
❏ Bike polo/La Crosse clubs
❏ Slow ride group
❏ None of the above
BFC: EVALUATION & PLANNING
F7g. How are community planning staff reaching out to minority, non-English speaking, and/or low-income communities to ensure that they are included in the decision-making process?
BFU: EVALUATION & PLANNING
F4. Do you work with any of the following campus departments or groups to ensure that bicycle programming reaches all students on campus? Check all that apply.
❏ International Student Affairs or similar office or student group(s)
❏ Office of Diversity & Inclusion, Multicultural Affairs, or similar office or student group(s)
❏ Other (please describe)
❏ None of the above
F4a. If yes, please describe partnership.
The most visible and perhaps most tangible evidence of a great place for bicycling is the presence of infrastructure that welcomes and supports it. Survey after survey shows that the physical environment is a key determinant in whether people will get on a bike and ride. The most advanced Bicycle Friendly Communities and Bicycle Friendly Universities have a well-connected bicycling networks, consisting of quiet neighborhood streets, conventional and protected bike lanes, shared use trails, and policies to ensure connectivity and maintenance of these facilities. Secure, convenient and readily available bike parking is also a key component. For Bicycle Friendly Businesses, great bike parking in addition to showers and locker facilities are vital to promoting bicycling both in the workplace and wider community.
Offering a lot of ways for people to get the skills and confidence to ride is key to building great places for bicycling. At the community level this begins with bicycle-safety education being a routine part of public education. Communities, businesses and campuses can offer options for adults looking to improve their biking skills with everything from online tips, brown bag lunch presentations and in-depth on-bike training opportunities. The League’s Smart Cyclingprogram, and more than 2,000 League Cycling Instructors around the country, are a great resource in delivering high quality education programs. It is also vital to make motorists and cyclists aware of their rights and responsibilities on the road through public education campaigns that promote the Share the Road message.
Communities, businesses and universities play a critical role in encouraging people to ride by giving them a variety of opportunities and incentives to get on their bikes. This can be done through the celebration of National Bike Month℠ and Bike to Work Day, producing community bike maps, route finding signage, bicycle-themed celebrations and rides and commuter challenges. Many places are investing in public bike sharing systems and internal fleets, which are a convenient, cost effective, and healthy way of encouraging people to make short trips by bike.
Metrics are essential. A comprehensive bicycle master plan, in combination with dedicated funding and active citizen/organizational support is the foundation of a great bicycling community, business or university – indeed, progress without it is difficult. A successful plan focuses on developing a seamless cycling network that emphasizes short trip distances, multi-modal trips and is complemented by encouragement, education and enforcement programs to increase usage. A dedicated Bicycle Program Coordinator and an effective Bicycle Advisory Committee can play an important role in helping decision makers create, implement, and prioritize those bicycle programs and policies.
With the removal of the 'Enforcement' pillar from the 5 E framework, Evaluation & Planning for Communities and Universities now includes topics around safety outcomes and data collection, traffic laws and the evaluation of how equitably and effectively they are applied in the community, and efforts to improve transparency and accountability in the community's traffic law enforcement activities.
Read our full statement: Removing Enforcement from the '5 E' Framework
As of October 5, 2020, the League of American Bicyclists has officially and permanently removed ‘Enforcement’ as one of the pillars of the Bicycle Friendly America program’s ‘5 E’ framework.
As part of this change, we have removed several Enforcement-related questions from the BFC and BFU applications altogether, and revised other questions and answer options that had previously lived under ‘Enforcement,’ integrating the revised questions throughout other ‘E’ sections of the applications. See examples of the BFC Application changes here.
As applicants and advocates consider how to apply these changes in their own community, we invite participants to review our FAQs and Resources about this important update to the BFA program's 5E Framework.
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