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 & Accessibility 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 Equiyt & Accessibility into the Five E framework.
The 5 E's
The League defines “Equity” as the just and fair inclusion into a society in which everyone can participate and prosper. The goals of equity must be to create conditions that allow all to reach their full potential, by erasing disparities in race, income, ability, geography, age, gender and sexual orientation.
The principle of equity acknowledges that there are historically underserved and underrepresented populations, and that fairness regarding these unbalanced conditions is needed to assist equality in the provision of effective opportunities to all groups.
“Accessibility” refers to improving and increasing access and mobility options for everyone, including, and in particular, for people with disabilities. The League recognizes that not every disability is visible to others, and that not every person with a permanent or temporary mobility or accessibility need identifies as ‘disabled’. Whether from a cognitive, sensory, or physical disability, or from age, temporary illness, or injury, there are people in every community who face a range of mobility challenges for whom a bike or cycle may open a world of possibilities to increase accessibility.
We firmly believe that Equity & Accessibility are the essential lenses through which all other BFA work must be viewed in order to achieve a Bicycle Friendly America for everyone.
As such, you will now find questions and answer options related to improving equity & accessibility throughout the BFC application in each previous “E” section, in addition to a new dedicated “Equity & Accessibility” section. These Equity & Accessibility updates have been developed thanks to the input and participation of hundreds of communities and local advocates with a wide range of lived experiences and areas of expertise, to whom we are very grateful.
The League presents this new section with the recognition that our work to listen, learn, and engage on the topics of Equity & Accessibility in the BFA program is not yet finished, and never will be. Equity is an ongoing practice and the League will continue to engage with partners, local advocates, and communities in the BFC program to incorporate new ideas, reflect new challenges, and continue to grow and learn.
For more information, please watch our recent webinar on the Equity updates to the BFC application on June 30, 2022.
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 Cycling program, and more than 3,000 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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