May is National Bike Month! Are you ready to pump some air into your tires and get riding? We want to kick off this annual event promoted by the League of American Bicyclists to discuss an initiative that we find exceptionally important: Bicycle Friendly America. The League lays out what it takes to create a bike-friendly nation in what they call The 5 E’s.
Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
A Bicycle Friendly America for everyone can only begin to be achieved if bicycling is safe, comfortable, and accessible to all, no matter who you are or where you live. This means people of all races, religions, and communities need to be free to move on the streets without fear of violence, racial profiling, or danger. Read more about the League’s commitment to equity and inclusion here.
The second E, Engineering, means creating safe and convenient places to ride and park bicycles. Bike-friendly infrastructure is the most visible evidence of a welcoming environment for bicyclists. Without safe bike lanes, shared-use trails, and bike-protectant policies, riding isn’t as safe and accessible as it needs to be to create a Bicycle Friendly America.
Education on bicycling gives people of all ages and abilities the skills and confidence to ride. Communities can start with bicycle-safety education in elementary school physical education classes, or training opportunities for adults looking to improve bike skills.
Businesses, communities, and universities have a critical role in encouraging people to ride bikes. Giving people opportunities to ride bikes can help to create a bike culture that welcomes and celebrates bicycling. Cities around the country are seeing positive shifts in bike-share usage due to their convenience and cost-effectiveness. We are seeing many communities moving in the right direction!
Evaluation and Planning
There is more to getting people motivated to ride a bicycle than community encouragement. The funding and organizational support is the foundation of a successful bicycling community. Planning for bicycling as a safe and viable transportation option must come from a network of professionals to make a Bicycle Friendly America a reality.
Read more about National Bike Month here. Ride on!