The League of American Bicyclists honored on Feb. 2 the efforts of Conway, Arkansas to build better places for people to bike with a silver-level Bicycle Friendly Community award.
This designation makes Conway the most bike-friendly community in central Arkansas. Conway has been a bronze-level bike friendly city since 2011. The city reached the silver designation through the addition of bike- and pedestrian-oriented staff, new recreational amenities, and more than 60 miles of bike lanes, shared paths, and trails.
Conway joins 480 communities across the country in the movement for safer streets and better bicycling for everyone. The award recognizes Conway 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.
“Today, we celebrate 58 new and renewing Bicycle Friendly Communities that exemplify an ongoing commitment to make bicycling safe, comfortable, and accessible to all,” said Bill Nesper, executive director of the League of American Bicyclists. “This round of awards is a testament to the dedication of the growing network of changemakers who with the League are 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. The League strives to provide continual updates to the application as part of our commitment to help communities raise their standards for safety, equity, and accessibility.
This round of awards includes 58 new and renewing awardees, joining a total of 480 current Bicycle Friendly Communities in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The silver-level BFC award recognizes Conway’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 bike infrastructure.
“I am thrilled and honored that Conway has been designated a Silver Level Bicycle Friendly Community,” said Mayor Bart Castleberry. “This achievement reflects our ongoing commitment to creating a safe and accessible environment for cyclists, promoting health and well-being, and fostering a vibrant community for all. With construction of the Connect Conway Greenway Trail on the horizon, let’s continue pedaling towards a future where cycling is not just a mode of transportation, but a way of life that enhances the lives of everyone in our community.”
More than 870 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.
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.
To learn more about the BFC program, visit bikeleague.org/community.