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by Louisa May

Gold medalThe League of American Bicyclists would approve this message, I’m sure, even though it’s from an unlikely source:

“Whoever you are:some evening take a step out of your house, which you know so well. Enormous space is near.”

These lines are from the poem “Entrance” by Rilke, translated by Robert Bly, and the poet is telling us to get out there and connect to the whole of life.

A bike path is a great place to start. Ten new communities were recently awarded Bicycle Friendly Community designations by the League of American Bicyclists. They are:

Gold: Seattle, Washington; Silver: Wood River Valley, Idaho; Bronze: Arvada, Colorado; Billings, Montana; Claremont, California;Columbia, South Carolina; Oceanside, California; Roseville, California; Salem, Oregon; Thousand Oaks, California.

“The designations really have meaning since they reflect quality of life benefits that other communities aspire to. It’s difficult to earn and important to renew,” said Andy Clarke, President of the League of American Bicyclists. The Bike Friendly Community Program began in 2003, and over 245 communities have applied for designations. These are four year designations that are awarded twice each year.

There are four levels or recognition, platinum, gold, silver, and bronze,the highest being platinum which only three cities in the U.S. have earned:

Platinum: Portland, Oregon; Davis, California Boulder, Colorado.

This year nineteen communities have renewed their designations:

Platinum:Boulder, Colorado.

Gold: Fort Collins, Colorado; Jackson and Teton County, Wyoming; Stanford University, California; San Francisco, California.

Silver: Olympia, Washington; The Presidio of San Francisco, California

Bronze: Mountain View, California; Brunswick, Maine; Carmel, Indiana; Carrboro, North Carolina; Lawrence, Kansas;Louisville, Kentucky;
Orlando, Florida; Roswell, Georgia; Sacramento, California;San Jose, California;South Lake Tahoe, California;St. Petersburg, Florida.

These awards go to communities that have made measurable efforts to integrate bicycles into their communities. Ninety-six communities have been awarded in thirty two states. There are five categories that local and national reviewers look at:

Education: Does the community have systems in place to train children and adult bicyclists?

Engineering: Are bicycles included in the city’s transportation plan?

Encouragement: Does the community participate in Bike Month, bike rodeos, host community bike rides, or therwise encourage cycling?

Enforcement: Do police officers understand and enforce bicyclists’ rights and responsibilities?

Evaluation: Does the community have methods in place to ensure their bicycle programs are making a difference?

League President Andy Clarke believes, “It’s important to recognize communities as they begin to build bicycle friendliness into their network, but a community must have established records in two or more of the five categories in order to earn Bicycle Friendly Community designation.”

Businesses and other community organizations can also get involved through the League’s Bicycle Friendly Business Program. The program assists organizations of all sizes in developing bicycle programs for their communities.

With over three hundred thousand members, the League of American Bicyclists represents over fifty seven million American bicyclists.

So, isn’t it time to get out of your house, which you know so well, and ride a bike?

 

 

Check out our Green Pages for information on money saving tips that help the environment. Once there, click on the Green Forum for more articles by feature writer Louisa May.

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