ST. PAUL (Oct. 15, 2013) — Duluth, Grand Marais, Richfield and Winona will be honored Tuesday, Oct. 15 by the League of American Bicyclists for their commitment to improving bicycling. The League recognizes communities’ efforts to improve conditions for bicycling through investment in bicycling promotion, education programs, infrastructure and pro-bicycling policies.
The Bicycle Friendly Community recognition comes on the heels of the state of Minnesota being named the fourth best Bicycle Friendly State by the League in May.
“Bicycling plays an important role in Minnesota’s multimodal transportation system,” said Minnesota Department of Transportation Commissioner Charlie Zelle. “When MnDOT plans improvements to the state’s transportation system, bicycling is an important consideration. These awards recognize communities that are enhancing the contributions bicycling makes to economic, social, health and environmental benefits.”
The Bicycle Friendly Community program helps communities evaluate their quality of life, sustainability and transportation network and then benchmark their progress toward improving their bicycle-friendliness. With this year’s award winners, there are now 291 Bicycle Friendly Community honorees in 48 states. Minnesota’s other Bicycle Friendly Communities are Bemidji, Grand Rapids, Mankato, Minneapolis, Rochester and St. Paul.
“Only about one in five Minnesotans get enough physical activity. Bicycling, for work or play, is a great way to get and stay active,” said Dr. Edward Ehlinger, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Health. “Three of the four award recipients are also Statewide Health Improvement Program communities. One of SHIP’s initiatives is to improve walking and biking routes to school so kids get physical activity.”
“The announcement of four new Bicycle Friendly Communities in Minnesota is a testament to the power of collaboration between government, advocacy groups and the private sector,” said Andy Clarke, president of the League of American Bicyclists. ”The Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota’s leadership and the commitment of the Department of Health and the Department of Transportation to creating a more bike-friendly Minnesota is quite unique and very exciting to see.”