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LAB Awards 51 Bicycle Friendly Universities on Nov 29, 2016

The League of American Bicyclists announced 51 new and renewing Bicycle Friendly Universities%u2120 (BFUs) from 25 states, there are now 164 BFUs in 44 states and Washington, DC. This cutting-edge group of colleges and universities transforming their campuses and the communities around them across the United States.

"In its fifth year, we have seen the Bicycle Friendly University program continue to gain momentum and reach even more campuses across the country," said Bill Nesper, Programs Director. "We applaud this round of BFUs for raising the standard and being innovative in making bicycling a safe, convenient and enjoyable option for students, staff and visitors alike."

This round saw several states with multiple Bicycle Friendly Universities, including Florida with
one renewing and three new BFUs. Georgia had three, with one new and two renewing at higher
levels. Illinois led the country this round with one renewing and five new BFUs. One of the new BFUs from Illinois is Northwestern University. The city of Evanston, IL has been recognized as a Silver level BFC and Northwestern University has embraced the city's commitment to improving alternative transportation.  

According to Julie Cahillane of Northwestern's Office of Sustainability, "We are constantly working to support the City of Evanston's designation as a Silver Bicycle Friendly Community." she said, "We are fortunate the university is located in Evanston and we work to integrate the university within the community as best as possible."

BFUs come in all sizes. The University of Florida in Gainesville, FL, with its 52,000 students, achieved Silver status. The University is particularly proud of their Gator Gears Student Bike Rental Program, a semester long rental program that provides students with a bicycle, helmet
and lock. The program began in Fall 2015 with 100 bikes and has been so popular with students
that an additional 100 bikes were acquired for the start of the 2016/17 academic year. Jacob Adams of the University's Office of Sustainability, Gator Gears is "an innovative and cost effective program designed to provide a great cycling experience for students, showing them the value of cycling as a viable alternative form of transportation."

Across the country university staff and advocates have said that the BFU feedback the League provides has been instrumental for action planning and implementation. Eleven of this round's renewing Bicycle Friendly Universities moved up to a higher award level. One of those, Boise State University rose from Silver to Gold status. Students and staff at Boise State have access to the Cycle Learning Center (CLC) which offers bike sales and repairs, instructional clinics and information on alternative transportation.

To apply or learn more about the BFU program, visit the League's website.

About the Bicycle Friendly America Program
The Bicycle Friendly Community, Bicycle Friendly State, Bicycle Friendly Business and
Bicycle Friendly University programs are generously supported by program partner Planet
Bike and League members. To learn more about building a Bicycle Friendly America, visit the site here.





LAB's new Bicycle Friendly Communities on Nov 23, 2016

Last week the League of American Bicyclist awarded 103 new and renewing communities with the prestigious Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) designation. Planet Bike is a proud sponsor of this program which now has 404 Bicycle Friendly Communities. Planet Bike would personally like to congratulate the new and current cities for their efforts in making bicycling better for cyclist across the country.  

Below is the announcement from the League of American Bicyclist for the 2016 BFC class:  

League of American Bicyclists welcomed 26 new and 77 renewing Bicycle Friendly Communities (BFC%u2120). This is the largest application round in the BFC program's 13 year history. In total, 140 communities applied for recognition, a 62 percent increase from the previous largest round. There are now 404 BFCs in all 50 states.
 
The size, regional diversity and high quality bicycle friendly actions being taken within this group shows that building communities where bicycling is safe, comfortable, and convenient isn't confined to a particular type of city or region, rather a broad movement nationwide," said Bill Nesper, Vice President, Programs of the League of American Bicyclists. "It is clear that communities of all kinds in every corner of the country know that making bicycling a real option for transportation and recreation is vital in building vibrant, connected communities."
 
Several communities stood out for the on-bike examples of their mayors and for their recognition of how bicycling can bring people together. Betsy Price, mayor of new Bronze BFC Fort Worth, TX, is noted for leading Rolling Town Halls. These family-friendly bike rides allow resident to join the mayor and share how they would like to improve the city. According to Mayor Price, "We recognize that bicycling is a growing industry in North America, contributing to the economies of communities that provide bicycle facilities for its residents, visitors, and employees. As a community, we stand to benefit from this opportunity both economically and from the health and environmental related benefits of encouraging bicycle travel in Fort Worth."
 
Assembling a dedicated group of local leaders to create a Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC) is key for building a more Bicycle Friendly Community. New Gold BFC, Chico, CA, has expanded its BAC to include pedestrians and disabled members of the community, changing its name to the Bike/Pedestrian Working Group. With the guidance of this group, Chico has made great strides in building connections and infrastructure.
 
This round of Bicycle Friendly Communities has shown us once again that there is no one recipe for success and that communities benefit from a holistic approach to implementing the programs and policies across the Five E's (Engineering, Education, Encouragement, Enforcement, and Evaluation and Planning). Successful communities have a mixture of determined citizen advocates, visionary leaders and responsive staff each doing their parts to build a Bicycle Friendly Community for all.
 
The BFC program provides a roadmap to building a Bicycle Friendly Community and the application itself has become a rigorous and an educational tool in itself. Since its inception, more than 800 distinct communities have applied and the five levels of the award (diamond, platinum, gold, silver and bronze)  provide a clear incentive for communities to continuously improve.
 
To apply or learn more about the BFC program, visit bikeleague.org/community.





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