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U.S. Cities Cozy Up to Cycling

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Never mind the banks -- it might be time to start worrying about a run on your local bike shop. That's because commuters are asking, "Why shell out for gas when we can get around on sweat equity?" Although cycling remains uncommon in most of the U.S. relative to Europe, according to the League of American Bicyclists, many cities here are warming up to pedal power. Streetsblog draws our attention today to the league's latest round of Bicycle Friendly Community designations, which it announced yesterday. Awards go out twice a year to places that the group deems to have made "measurable efforts to integrate bicyclists into the community."

Once a community makes it onto the list, its platinum, gold, silver, or bronze-level status is good for four years. Nineteen communities came up for renewal this time around, and five moved up the ranks: Boulder, Colorado snatched platinum, while neighboring Fort Collins, Jackson, Wyoming, and Stanford, California moved from silver to gold. (You can find the full list at bikeleague.org.) If you're wondering how your town measures up, consider these five questions asked by reviewers to help determine rankings:

Does your community have systems in place to train children and adult cyclists?

Are bicycles included in the city transportation plan?

Do police officers understand and enforce bicyclists' rights and responsibilities?

Does the community participate in Bike Month, offer bike rodeos, host community bike rides, or otherwise encourage cycling?

Does the community have methods in place to ensure their bicyclist programs are making a difference?