Posted by Phil Andrews
This media release just in:
Share the Road Cycling Coalition Announces Bicycle Friendly Community Awards
More than 7.3 Million Ontario residents now live in a Bicycle Friendly Community
(Toronto, Ontario – April 14th, 2014) – The Share the Road Cycling Coalition, (SRCC) an Ontario-based non-profit organization that promotes bicycling as a mode of transportation, recreation and fitness through provincial advocacy, today announced the winners of the 2014 Bicycle Friendly Community Awards (BFC) at the 6th Annual Ontario Bike Summit in Toronto. Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Glen Murray participated in the ceremony with SRCC founder and CEO, Eleanor McMahon.
The 2014 award winners bring the total number of BFCs in Ontario to 24, representing more than 7.3 million Ontario residents, over 57 per cent of the provincial population.
The 2014 award winners are:
• The City of Guelph - Silver (Previously awarded Bronze in 2012)
• The City of Kitchener - Silver (Previously awarded Bronze in 2013)
• The Town Halton Hills - Bronze
• The City of St. Catharine’s - Bronze
Honourable Mentions were given to the Town of Mississippi Mills and the City of Vaughan.
"The advancement of existing Bicycle Friendly Communities from Bronze to Silver highlights an important trend we are seeing right across the province. Municipalities are continuing to invest in making their communities more bikeable,” said Eleanor McMahon CEO and Founder, Share the Road Cycling Coalition. “A bicycle friendly community is more connected, more vibrant, more livable and thus more attractive to investors. Transportation matters to businesses and to residents -- and municipalities are beginning to understand that their ability to attract investment and jobs is enhanced if their transportation network includes choice as a hallmark. Having connected cycling routes available for riding to work , to school -- or recreationally -- is an incredibly valuable asset when it comes to choosing where to live or to invest," McMahon noted.
According to Share the Road research, over 600,000 people -- or five per cent of Ontarians -- ride their bikes daily, up from four per cent in 2011.
“The continued growth of the Bicycle Friendly Communities program illustrates the growing number of residents in Ontario that want cycling to be made safer and more accessible. The communities that continue to improve conditions for cyclists are responding to their residents’ concerns, and are becoming more desirable places to live in the process,” added McMahon.
McMahon also pointed to the value of bicycle travel and tourism dollars to the economies of local municipalities across the province, citing that in 2010, two million Canadian visitors went cycling while travelling in Ontario, spending $391 M.
“Ontario municipalities are making the investments necessary to tap into a growing market that brings huge benefits to our communities,” said McMahon. “Provincially we now have for the first time in over 20 years, a new Cycling Strategy -- #CycleON – that lays out a plan for Ontario to become Canada’s most bicycle-friendly province. The BFC program helps to lay a strong foundation for that vision, and provides a roadmap for municipalities that want to offer their residents more transportation choices now and into the future,” McMahon noted.
"We congratulate all of the municipalities who have applied for the Award, and salute them for their commitment to continuous improvement. We look forward to working with them, and indeed all municipalities in Ontario as they explore their options for becoming more bicycle friendly," McMahon added.
Other municipalities who have been awarded Bicycle Friendly Community status include: Gold designated Ottawa, Silver designated Hamilton, Pelham, Toronto and Waterloo and Bronze designated Ajax, Blue Mountains, Burlington, Grimsby, London, Markham, Mississauga, Kingston, Oakville, Oshawa, Peterborough, Richmond Hill, Thorold, Welland and Windsor. More information on the program can be found at www.sharetheroad.ca/bfc
About the Bicycle Friendly Community Awards
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 League is the largest bicycling advocacy organization in the U.S. and represents the interests of the nation's 57 million cyclists. With a membership of 300,000 affiliated cyclists the League works to bring better bicycling to communities across the U.S.
The program provides incentives, hands-on assistance, and award recognition for communities that actively support bicycling. It was launched in Canada in August 2010 by the Share the Road Cycling Coalition in partnership with the Washington-based League, and is generously supported by Trek Bicycles, The Canadian Automobile Association and Norco Bicycles in Canada. 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. Applications are assessed by a team of experts who receive input from local officials. The Award categories are: Honorable Mention, Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum.