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 today the first Bicycle Friendly Communities Awards in Canada.

The announcement was made at the Coalition’s third Annual Ontario Bike Summit in Ottawa by Share the Road Cycling Coalition CEO Eleanor McMahon and League of American Bicyclists CEO Andy Clarke.

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 was launched by the Share the Road Cycling Coalition in Canada in August, 2010, at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario annual meeting in partnership with the Washington-based League.

The following communities were awarded Bicycle Friendly status:

  • Ottawa – Silver
  • Waterloo – Silver
  • Ajax – Bronze
  • Windsor – Bronze

“Share the Road is proud to announce that the four communities who applied in this first round of applications all received awards. The strength of these applications was impressive, and the awards an indication of the excellent progress these communities have made thus far in terms of their investments in bicycling,” said Share the Road Cycling Coalition CEO Eleanor McMahon. “They should all be very pleased. We look forward to providing them with the kind of feedback which we hope will serve as a mechanism for further improvements,” McMahon noted.

Speaking to the impact of the program in the United States, League CEO Andy Clark said: “The Bicycle Friendly Communities program is revolutionizing the way states and communities evaluate their quality of life, sustainability and transportation networks, while allowing them to benchmark their progress and work toward improving their bicycle-friendliness. The application process to become a BFC is rigorous. (BFC) renewal process and four levels of the award – platinum, gold, silver and bronze – provide a clear incentive for communities to continuously improve. The new and expanded BFC program began at the League in 2003, and in the past 16 years it has evolved into the tool it is today – evaluating, recognizing and improving cities, states and businesses. Through the last 8 years of the program we have reviewed more than 450 applications and are now providing technical assistance to 500 communities a year as they consider applying and as they respond to feedback through the application process.”

“We are very pleased to be working with the Share the Road Cycling Coalition and are confident that the BFC will have a similar record of achievement here as municipalities looking for recognition, evaluation and advice on how to improve, apply to the program,” Clarke added.

About the BFC 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.

The program’s sponsors are the Trek Bicycle Corporation and the Bicycle Trade Association of Canada.

About Share the Road Cycling Coalition:

The Share the Road Cycling Coalition (The Coalition) was created to unite cycling organizations and cyclists from across Ontario and work with and on behalf of municipalities to give them the tools they need to become more bicycle-friendly. The organization’s mandate is province-wide. Our objective is simple: To make Ontario more bicycle friendly.