Mayor Foster Given National Bicycle-Leadership Award


Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster with League of American Bicyclists President Andy Clarke. Photo by Allen Crawford.

As part of the Pro Walk Pro Bike conference currently underway at the Long Beach Convention Center, the League of American Bicyclists announced Mayor Bob Foster as the first winner of its Bicycle Friendly America Leadership Award last night.

The new award, according to a release, was launched as a way to recognize the important role of leaders in implementing the league’s Bicycle Friendly America program and was given to Foster “for his dedication and vision to transform Long Beach into one of the nation’s top cycling cities.”

The Bicycle Friendly American program is a way for communities, states, businesses and universities to improve conditions for cyclists. Through data collection in areas such as education, enforcement and engineering, the BFA program provides hands-on assistance as well as political road maps for entities to follow as they implement specific policies and projects in an attempt to create bicycle-friendly environments.

Since 2003, more than 500 municipalities have implemented the BFA’s Bicycle Friendly Community program. But few cities, say the League, have made such quick an impressive progress as Long Beach. From expanding the city’s bicycling network, increasing bicycle education and promoting cycling events, Long Beach has more than doubled the number of bicycle commuters of the last four years and put it on the map as one of America’s top cities for cyclists.

“Over the past decade, we’ve been inspired by incredible leaders across the nation who have taken the BFA program to new heights,” said Bill Nesper, BFA’s program director. “This awards program will highlight and honor the individuals who are making a different where the rubber meets the road, using the tools of the BFA program in new and effective ways to build a bicycle-friendly American from the ground up.”

The award will recognize key civic and business leaders in areas that have implemented the BFA program. Winners are selected by the League’s BFA team in consultation with local cyclists and stakeholders.

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Sarah Bennett is a contributor to the Hi-lo and the editor-at-large at the Long Beach Post. She is also a professor at Santa Ana College where she was once a student before transferring to USC to earn her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Sarah has written about music, art, food and beer in local, national and international publications for over a decade. An L.A. native and longtime resident of Long Beach, she is the co-founder of Long Beach Zine Fest and managing editor at theLAnd magazine. She never sleeps.