WINDSOR, Ontario (BRAIN)—Creating Bicycle Friendly Communities just got easier thanks to a U.S.-based program that is now available for the first time in Canada. The Share the Road Cycling Coalition, (SRCC) an Ontario-based non-profit organization which promotes bicycling as a mode of transportation, recreation and fitness through provincial advocacy, announced that the Bicycle Friendly Communities Program is coming to Ontario.
The announcement was made at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario annual conference in Windsor, Ontario.
The Bicycle Friendly Communities (BFC) Program, an initiative of the Washington-based League of American Bicyclists, provides incentives, hands-on assistance, and award recognition for communities that actively support bicycling. The program will be managed in Ontario, with assistance from the League, by the Share the Road Cycling Coalition.
The program’s sponsors are the Trek Bicycle Corporation and the Bicycle Trade Association of Canada.
“We are delighted to be bringing this program to Canada for the first time, in partnership with the Share the Road Cycling Coalition. Through the Bicycle Friendly Communities Program we have provided over 500 communities with direct technical assistance, and have expanded the program to include Bicycle Friendly Businesses, and Bicycle Friendly States,” said League of American Bicyclists CEO Andy Clarke.
“The growing number of applicants is proof of the fact that increasingly, communities are looking for a roadmap on how to create healthy, livable, bicycle friendly places to live for their citizens. We are confident that cities in Ontario will embrace this program and benefit from the information they will receive as a result of the application process,” he added.
“We are honored to be partnering with the League of American Bicyclists to bring this program to Ontario,” said SRCC CEO and founder Eleanor McMahon. “The citizens of Ontario are bicycling in increasing numbers and municipalities are looking for ways to accommodate them, to enhance their safety, and to increase their enjoyment. This program will help them do just that, and we are very excited at the potential it will have to increase the capacity in, and the knowledge sharing in the municipal sector,” McMahon added.
The announcement followed a session with AMO delegates where Madison Wisconsin Mayor Dave Cieslewicz outlined how that city has achieved Gold status in the program, and how his community has benefitted from the program.
The Bicycle Friendly Communities Program requires that municipalities complete a thorough application. They are then judged in five categories often referred to as the Five Es. These are Engineering, Education, Encouragement, Enforcement, and Evaluation & Planning. A community must 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 superior awards. Filling out the BFC application is an education in itself, as communities see where they are lacking in each of these categories. Applications are assessed by a team of experts who receive input from local officials.
“With the assistance of a team of experts in Ontario – planners, municipal officials, elected representatives, and bicycling advocates – we have modified the application to work here in Ontario. Municipalities can find the application form on our website: www.sharetheroad.ca and can contact us if they have questions. We hope to do our first round of applications in November,” McMahon added.