Indianapolis reaches another milestone in going green. The League of American Bicyclists recently designated Indy a Bronze Bicycle Friendly Community. Thanks to the new bicycle lanes in downtown Indianapolis, like the Indy Greenways and the planned Indianapolis Cultural Trial, the Circle City is on its way to environmental friendliness. The only other Indiana cities to receive the same designation are Carmel and Bloomington.
The Bicycle Friendly Communities Program is a nationwide incentive plan for the United States to support bicycle usage within various cities. Each designation level, from Bronze to Platinum, comes with recognition and support. To receive awards in the program, a city must take steps for the safe accommodation of bicycling as a means of transportation. The League of American Bicyclists uses a check list of “E’s” to measure bicycle friendliness. A city needs Engineering, Encouragement, Enforcement, Education, and Evaluation to receive a Platinum rating.
Currently, Indiana ranks only 29 out of all 50 states when it comes to bicycle friendliness.
The reasons: the rights and responsibility of cyclists are in the state driver’s manual, but there is no real bike route network and only a little federal funding for bicycle projects. The top three states for cyclists are Washington, Wisconsin, and Maine.
Indianapolis still has some more work to do before it climbs the list, but recent legislation last summer shows that the Indiana State Legislature has an interest in pursuing Indianapolis’ title as a Platinum Bicycle Friendly Community.
If you are a cyclist and a Hoosier who wants to see more steps taken in Indiana to ensure your safety and the safety of others, get involved. Write a letter to the Indiana State Legislature or even your local City Council. Or get involved directly with the League of American Bicyclists. Visit their website for more information on what you can do to see the Indianapolis community become totally bicycle friendly.
And just remember, this planet is the only one we have. So let’s take care of it, and take care of ourselves.
Bike Riding Benefits
- Saves money on gas
- Saves money on car repair
- Burns calories
- Relieves stress
- Low impact exercise, great for people with knee injuries
- Cheaper than a car
- Reduces water pollution
- Reduces air pollution
- No hassle parking
- That great feeling you get when you do something good!