NEWARK, DE — The League of American Bicyclists recently honored the City of Newark, Delaware, with a silver-level Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) Award. Newark was selected for its efforts to create a better, safer place for people to bicycle. Newark is the first city in Delaware to be recognized at the silver level and joins 115 communities across the country that have achieved this same level of excellence in the movement for safer streets and better bicycling for everyone. The silver-award recognizes Newark for its commitment over the past 12 years 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 bike infrastructure.
The League recognizes four levels of bicycle-friendly communities: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. As a Silver level community, Newark ranks among the top 157 Bicycle Friendly Communities in the nation. A bronze-level BFC since 2010, Newark was one of only four communities that advanced from bronze to silver status during the past year.
“When we build an America where bicycling is truly safer and easier for everyone, we are strengthening our nation’s economic vibrance, environmental welfare, and mental and physical well-being. That’s why we’re proud to celebrate all of the new and renewing Bicycle Friendly Communities in our movement to build a Bicycle Friendly America for everyone” said Bill Nesper, executive director of the League of American Bicyclists. “This round of awards is a testament to the community leaders and local bike advocates who are joining the League in raising the standard of what it means to be a Bicycle Friendly Community.”
The League of American Bicyclists’ Bicycle Friendly America program sets the standard for how communities build and benchmark progress toward making biking better. Earlier this year, the League made major updates to add and integrate equity and accessibility into the program’s application and emphasize the importance of building and connecting low-speed and low-stress bike networks.
The application process was extensive and involved well over 100 hours of volunteer and City staff time to complete. Extensive amounts of data was collected involving the Planning, Public Works and Water Resources, Parks and Recreation, and the Newark Police Departments. In addition, the City was assisted by the Wilmington Metropolitan Planning Council (WILMAPCO) and resident volunteers from BikeNewark.
“I am proud that the League of American Bicyclists recognized Newark’s commitment to improving cycling and making it accessible and enjoyable for everyone, regardless of their skill level or experience,” said City Manager Tom Coleman. “This achievement reflects years of consistent focus to enhance cycling infrastructure from our residents, advocates like BikeNewark and Bike Delaware, DelDOT, and City staff, with a goal to create a community that is healthier and less dependent on cars for our day-to-day needs.”
More than 860 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. While the award process considers very visible elements such as bike infrastructure, other essential elements include efforts around adult and youth bike education, encouragement through events like Bike to Work Day, evaluation mechanisms, and enforcement all through the lens of equity. The rigorous application process is an educational tool in itself, and includes an opportunity for local bicyclists and active transportation advocates to provide input on their experiences and perceptions of bicycling in their community.
To learn more about the BFC program, visit bikeleague.org/community.