Carson City – A Bicycle Friendly Community?

Muscle Powered, Citizens for a Walkable and Bikeable Carson City, has embarked on a project to make Carson City, NV a Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC). A BFC is a designation awarded by the League of American Bicyclists to communities that have proven to posses safe accommodations for cycling, and that encourage people to bike for transportation and recreation.

Bike Friendly Community Meeting
2010 BFC kick-off meeting

On January 6th, we had the official 2010 BFC kick-off meeting. In attendance (pictured above left to right) were Denis Coyne, Bill Story, Dan Allison, Mark Kimbrough, Tim Rowe, Ty Polastri, Jeff Moser (me), and Anne Macquarie.   This group of people represents Muscle Powered, the State of Nevada Bicycle Advisory Board, and the Lake Tahoe Bicycle Coalition  (some of the folks mentioned here represent multiple entities).  Ty Polastri from the Lake Tahoe Bicycle Coalition has been through this drill before, and was largely responsible for South Lake Tahoe earning a Bronze Award as an BFC.  Ty has been instrumental in laying out the road map for us to proceed, and we’ve already made progress on completing the first step.  A few of us have already discussed BFC with Carson City Mayor Bob Crowell, and he is enthusiastically behind the idea!

The BFC application will provide a comprehensive picture of our community by asking questions across five categories often referred to as the “Five Es”. These categories are Engineering, Education, Encouragement, Enforcement, and Evaluation & Planning. A community must demonstrate achievements in these areas in order to be considered for an award. Communities with more significant achievements in these areas receive superior awards.

It is important for communities to strive to become bicycle friendly, as bicyclists are an indicator of a healthy, vibrant community. A few of the benefits of the BFC program are:

* Health benefits from increased physical activity
* Less traffic congestion
* Improved air quality
* Bicycle facilities provide both transportation and recreation, and serve all ages and incomes
* Bicycle tourism stimulates local economies

Currently, there are no official Bicycle Friendly Communities in Nevada. In fact, Nevada is one of the only western states that does not have a community with this designation! It is Muscle Powered’s opinion that Carson City has what it takes to become Nevada’s first official BFC.

More information about Bicycle Friendly Communities can be found on the League of American Bicyclists’ website at www.bikeleague.org/programs/bicyclefriendlyamerica/.

I’m sure we’ll need more help as this project progresses. Stay tuned for further developments!

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