Washington, D.C. and Durango, CO – May 14, 2012 – May is National Bike Month with hundreds of events and thousands of riders celebrating bicycling nationwide. And a growing number of U.S. communities are taking steps to encourage residents to ride all year round — including Durango. Today, the League of American Bicyclists announced the latest round of Bicycle Friendly Communities (BFC) and Durango was named a Gold level BFC.
“We are not surprised that this was the largest number of new and renewing applicants that we’ve ever had,” said League President Andy Clarke. “The popularity of this program is clear evidence that investment in bicycling is a major catalyst in creating the kind of vibrant communities people want to live, work and visit. Durango recognizes that simple steps to make bicycling safe and comfortable pay huge dividends in civic, community and economic development.”
The BFC program is revolutionizing the way communities evaluate their quality of life, sustainability and transportation networks, while allowing them to benchmark their progress toward improving their bicycle-friendliness. With this impressive round, there are now 214 BFCs in 47 states across America. The Gold BFC award recognizes Durango’s commitment to improving conditions for bicycling through investment in bicycling promotion, education programs, infrastructure and pro-bicycling policies.
“No doubt the work of the entire community helped us achieve the Gold,” said, Mary Oswald, chair of Bicycle Friendly Durango. “We are now the Overall Start of the US Pro Cycling Challenge, the Florida Road project is complete and participation in events like the Trails 2000 Commuter Challenge during Clean Commute Week continue to grow and thrive. We look forward to learning about the recommendations from the League that will continue to keep our community vibrant for biking she said.
Ron LeBlanc, Durango City Manager has been supportive of the idea since Mary Monroe, executive director of Trails 2000 first approached him about it. “The City works hard to expand the bicycle footprint in our community,” according to City Manager Ron LeBlanc. “We want everyone to know that bikes and their riders are given special status in our community.”
“It is anticipated that the bike industry in Durango brings in several million dollars annually with the seven bike shops, trails and tourism, events, the 18 time Fort Lewis College National Championship bike team and the professional athletes who live and work here. That will continue to grow. Once the rest of the world sees Durango as a result of the overall start of the US Pro Cycling Challenge this August, that will only be another boon,” said Mayor Doug Lyon, himself an avid cyclist and dean of the business school at Fort Lewis College.
The BFC program provides a roadmap to building a Bicycle Friendly Community and the application itself has become a rigorous and an educational tool in itself. Since its inception, more then 500 distinct communities have applied and the four levels of the award – platinum, gold, silver and bronze – provide a clear incentive for communities to continuously improve.
To apply or learn more about the free BFC program, visit bikeleague.org/community.
More information about the US Pro Challenge overall start can be found at Durango2012.com
More information about trails can be found at Trails2000.org
About the Bicycle Friendly America Program
The Bicycle Friendly Community, Bicycle Friendly State, Bicycle Friendly Business and Bicycle Friendly University programs are generously supported by program partners Bikes Belong and Trek Bicycle’s One World, Two Wheels Campaign. To learn more about building a Bicycle Friendly America, visit http://www.bikeleague.org/programs/bicyclefriendlyamerica/
The League of American Bicyclists promotes bicycling for fun, fitness and transportation, and works through advocacy and education for a bicycle-friendly America. The League represents the interests of America's 57 million bicyclists, including its 300,000 members and affiliates. For more information or to support the League, visit www.bikeleague.org.