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Photo by Asia Morris from a Beach Streets Open Streets event.

The League of American Bicyclists recognized 37 communities out of 50 applicants with Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) awards Thursday. Long Beach was designated a BFC with a Silver award.

“We applaud these communities for making improvements for people who bike in ways that build upon their existing strengths and are based upon their particular needs, whether that is infrastructure, education or encouragement,” Bill Nesper, interim executive director at the League of American Bicyclists, said in a statement.

The city was commended for having an updated Bicycle Master Plan currently being implemented, for organizing bicycle month and bike-to-work events, for having an active bicycle advocacy group and bicycle-friendly laws and ordinances among other factors.

“It was great to see so many communities work within the comprehensive BFC program and supplement it with really incredible information, showing that they value and want more ways to engage in making biking better,” Ken McLeod, policy director of the league, said in a statement.

As of spring 2017, there are now 416 communities recognized as bronze, silver, gold, platinum or diamond BFCs by the league. Long Beach is among 78 silver BFCs, 307 are recognized as bronze, 26 as gold and only five as platinum. Since the inception of the BFC program in 1995, over 1,200 applications have been processed by league staff. The program provides a roadmap for improving bicycling conditions and offers guidance to communities.

Based on their assessment, the league offers advice for bicycle friendly communities to become even friendlier on a report card divulging statistics and improvements. For Long Beach to receive a Gold designation, the following advice was offered as “Key Steps to Gold”:

  • designate a law enforcement officer to be a police department representative for the bicycling community, who would engage with city staff on bicycling issues.
  • increase the amount of high quality bicycle parking throughout the community, ensuring that legal places to lock bikes, such as corrals and valets, are available (kudos to Pedal Movement for their proven valet operations, for operating the Bikestation and leading the monthly Moonlight Mash ride).
  • “Work to ensure that the recent award to your Health Department to partner with the Long Beach Unified School District creates long-term buy-in for improved education and encouragement,” to increase bicycle education activities, stated the report.

Another critique touched on the city’s current 8-80 facilities, meaning spaces of use to both an 8-year-old and an 80-year-old, in other words, all ages.

“Long Beach has done a great job to create many facilities in a short period of time,” the report stated. “Continue to build upon this success by building more connected routes suitable for people of all ages and abilities. Current 8-80 facilities tend to be on the exterior of your community or downtown and it is important that there are more connections to and between them, particularly in low income areas.”

Long Beach was also found to have 1 percent of commuters who bike, with the average gold rating at 5.2 percent. The city would also have to lessen the 1,457 crashes that occur per 10,000 bicycle commuters, with average gold designation recorded at a low 291 crashes. However the fatalities per 10,000 commuters was 3, with gold recorded at 2.6.

To find out how Long Beach scored in other categories, visit the link here.

Asia Morris is a Long Beach native covering arts and culture for the Long Beach Post. You can reach her @hugelandmass on Twitter and Instagram and at [email protected].