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LA named official 'bike-friendly community' by cycling organization

By Hayley Fox
Published: Friday, October 19, 2012, at 08:37AM
CicLAvia Eric Richardson / blogdowntown

LA was named a Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists.

Los Angeles received the official stamp of approval this week by the League of American Bicyclists when the city was named an official "Bicycle Friendly Community" (BFC). The more than 100-year-old bike league which advocates for cycling throughout the country, now has a list of 242 BFCs throughout the U.S.

Los Angeles, along with Nashville, Tennessee and Miami, Florida, are three of the most recent cities to be added to the list. The league said L.A.'s multitude of cycling and advocacy organizations, from the Bicycle Kitchen to the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, are key components of the movement's success.

Mayor Villaraigosa's 2010 Bicycle Master Plan, which led to more city bike paths, was also cited as an important step forward for L.A.

"From building 1,600 miles of bikeways over the next 30 years to increasing the number of bike racks in the city by 80 percent, we're making it simpler and safer for Angelenos to get around on two wheels," said Villaraigosa in a statement.

The League of American Bicyclists was founded in 1880 and now has a membership of 300,000 affiliated cyclists across the country. They define a bike friendly community as one that "welcomes cyclists by providing safe accommodation for cycling and encouraging people to bike for transportation and recreation."

Although L.A. was inducted to the list with only a Bronze standing (there are also Silver, Gold, Platinum and Diamond statuses), the city may be on its way up with the addition of more bike programs and bike lanes. The more than 100,000-person CicLAvia events are constantly growing and Bike Nation will soon be setting up bike rental kiosks throughout Downtown LA.

"This latest round of BFC awards proves yet again that any city -- regardless of size or geography-- can take cost-effective steps to increase bicycling in their community," said League president Andy Clarke. "From Bentonville, Arkansas, to Bethesda, Maryland, cities are embracing biking as as a means to save money, reduce congestion, improve health and boost their economy."

Other California cities to join the ranks of "Bicycle Friendly Communities" include Northern California's Emeryville and SoCal's Orange County.

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