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Belleville Recognized with Bronze Award at Annual Ontario Bike Summit


T he Share the Road Cycling Coalition (Share the Road) announced on April 11 the latest Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) awards for Ontario. The City of Belleville is proud to be a bronze award recipient.

“The ongoing growth of the Bicycle Friendly Communities Program is reflective of the increasing interest in cycling among municipalities in Ontario,” said Jamie Stuckless, Executive Director of Share the Road. “Our research tells us that 70% of Ontario residents want to see more cycling infrastructure like bike lanes and trails where they live, and municipal and provincial leaders are responding to this demand.”

In this recent round of awards, communities ranging in size from nearly 600,000 residents to just under 11,000 are being recognized. “We see demand for cycling in communities of all shapes and sizes,” said Stuckless. “Whether it’s a large urban area or a small rural town, people want to live in vibrant communities that allow them to be active and have safe transportation choices.”

Heading into its seventh year of operation in Ontario, the BFC Program has resulted in a total of 39 designations – 2 Gold, 7 Silver and 30 Bronze. No Ontario community has yet achieved Platinum or Diamond status. “Each community that applies to the program has its own unique character, and the BFC Program is designed to recognize the individuality of each community that applies.” said Stuckless, “At the same time, we see some common elements that are shared by most BFCs, including the development of an Active Transportation Plan, having an Active Transportation Advisory Committee and staff resources dedicated to cycling, and participating in Bike Month celebrations.” These represent a great place to start for communities that want to make cycling safer and more accessible.

“Last year, we opened our first on-street bike lanes on Yeomans Street and North Park Street, and completed the Dundas Street West pathway connecting Zwick’s Park to our newly revitalized downtown – a great complement to our extensive trail system,” said Mayor Christopher, City of Belleville. “As a result of these investments and a concerted effort by Public Health and other groups, cycling awareness has grown substantially in our community. It’s great to be recognized for these accomplishments and more through the Bicycle Friendly Communities award and I hope our residents and visitors alike take full advantage of these new amenities.”

“This award speaks to the commitment of Council and the dedication of City staff and community groups to making cycling a priority in Belleville,” added Councillor Boyce. “Council was a driving force for the incredible investments made in cycling infrastructure since the adoption of our Transportation Master Plan. We have made great strides in a short period of time and with the establishment of the City’s Active Transportation Committee, we’re set to see even greater gains in the years ahead.”

About the Bicycle Friendly Community Awards and Share the Road

The Bicycle Friendly Communities (BFC) Program, an initiative of the Washington-based League of American Bicyclists, was launched in Ontario in 2010 by Share the Road with support from the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) South Central Ontario. The program provides incentives, hands-on assistance and award-recognition for communities that actively support bicycling. Municipalities are judged in five categories often referred to as the Five “E’s” of being bicycle friendly: Engineering, Education, Enforcement, Encouragement and Evaluation & Planning. A community must demonstrate achievements in each of the five categories in order to be considered for an award. The Award categories are: Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum and Diamond.

Share the Road is a provincial non-profit organization working to build a bicycle friendly Ontario. We work in partnership with municipal, provincial and federal governments, the business community, road safety organizations and other non-profits to:
• Enhance access for bicyclists on roads and trails
• Improve safety for all bicyclists
• Educate citizens on the value and importance of safe bicycling for healthy lifestyles and healthy communities.

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