Provo has reached a significant distinction in the bicycling world.

The League of American Bicyclists has honored Provo’s efforts in building better places for people to bike with a Silver-level Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) award, according to Nicole Martin, city spokesperson.

Provo joins 485 communities across the country in the movement for safer streets and better bicycling for everyone, according to the league information.

The award recognizes Provo for its commitment to creating transportation and recreational resources that benefit its residents of all ages and abilities while encouraging healthier and more sustainable transportation choices, according to Martin.

Provo has been proactive in adding biking lanes and trails to the city over the past decade. The ultimate goal is to have an interconnected network around the city for bicyclists. The hope is one day to reach the gold standard of bicycle cities.

“During one of the toughest years in recent memory, we have seen so many Americans turn to biking during the pandemic for fun and for necessary transportation options. It’s so important that communities like Provo have laid the groundwork over several years to make biking a safe, accessible option for people when we all need as much health and happiness as possible,” said Bill Nesper, executive director of the League of American Bicyclists.

“This Bicycle Friendly Community award is the culmination of years of work put in by Provo and its citizen advocates for better biking. This award round, Provo joins 51 new and renewing Bicycle Friendly Communities in the movement toward healthier, more sustainable and connected places. As we turn the page on 2020 and look ahead to 2021, we’re proud that Provo and communities like it are embracing bicycling as a solution to our collective recovery,” Nesper added.

The League of American Bicyclists’ Bicycle Friendly America program sets the standard for how communities build and benchmark progress toward making biking better, according to the league.

The Silver BFC award recognizes Provo’s commitment to improving conditions for all people who bike through investments in bike education programs, regular bike events that promote and encourage people to choose biking, pro-bike policies, and most importantly bike infrastructure, according to Martin.

More than half of all trips in the United States are within a 20-minute bike ride or less, and more than one in four trips are within a 20-minute walk or less, according to the 2017 National Household Travel Survey. Even so, the majority of these short trips are taken by automobile.

“Provo City is a healthy community by design — we’ve planned for and preserved active transportation facilities to encourage walking, biking or rolling,” said Mayor Michelle Kaufusi at receiving the award. “Not only have our citizens emphasized how important this is to their quality of life, but it also reduces traffic congestion, improves air quality and adds to our economic well-being.

“Provo prides itself on our many active transportation options, including protected bike lanes, multi-use paths and sidewalks and trails,” Kaufusi added. “We remain dedicated to creating a connected network where all ages and abilities can navigate their community using safe walking and biking infrastructure.”

In response to the silver designation, BikeWalk Provo Director Wade said, “Biking for transportation is about quality of life, and we’ve been thrilled to see growing projects and leadership that reflect that in recent years. From protected lanes on Cougar Boulevard to buffered lanes connecting family amenities like the library and the rec center, these changes promote accessibility for all. We hope to see future policies that support safe, convenient and pleasant multi-modal transportation choices.”

More than 850 communities have applied for recognition by the Bicycle Friendly Community program, which provides a roadmap to making biking better for communities of all shapes and sizes, according to the league.

The five levels of the BFC award – diamond, platinum, gold, silver and bronze, plus an honorable mention category – provide a clear incentive for communities to continuously improve. Awarded communities must renew their status every four years to ensure that they not only maintain existing efforts, but also keep up with changing technology, national safety standards, and community-driven best practices.

Daily Herald reporter Genelle Pugmire can be contacted at gpugmire@heraldextra.com, (801) 344-2910, Twitter

@gpugmire

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