Markham earns silver Bicycle Friendly award

If you like getting around on two wheels, you’ll want to ‘get in the zone’ after learning the City of Markham has been awarded the Silver Bicycle Friendly Communities (BFC) Award.

Markham is among 10 communities across Canada that have been awarded a new or higher BFC designation from the Share the Road Cycling Coalition (STR), which now has 49 designated BFCs across the country. Another 14 communities have received an honourable mention.

Together with its partner, the Canadian Automobile Association, the Coalition has been running the BFC program for more than a decade. The program provides communities with a comprehensive roadmap to evaluate current conditions for cycling and guidance to foster safe bikeable communities for all ages and abilities.

“Our recipient communities range in size from under 15,000 people to over one million, and have varying climate conditions and geography. This demonstrates that any community can be bicycle friendly,” says Dr. Subha Ramanathan, BFC Manager at STR.

“While no two communities at a given award level look the same, there is a shared commitment to provide residents and visitors with options and opportunities to cycle. There are many paths to becoming bicycle friendly. Our BFC award program helps communities track their progress, learn from one another and receive public acknowledgement for their efforts. The structure and feedback that we provide encourages continuous improvement over time.”

Silver awards were also presented to Collingwood, Cornwall, Oakville and Thunder Bay, as well as Canmore, Alberta. Bronze awards go to Petawawa, as well as Calgary, Alb., Kelowna, B.C. and Saskatoon, Sask.

Municipalities are judged in four categories referred to as the four “Es”: Engineering, Education, Encouragement, and Evaluation & Planning. A community must demonstrate achievements in all four categories to be considered for an award in on these categories: bronze, silver, gold, platinum and diamond.

STR, a non-profit organization, works in partnership with municipal, provincial and federal governments; the business community; road safety organizations; and other not-for-profits to enhance access for bicyclists on roads and trails, improve safety for all bicyclists, and provide education about the value and importance of safe bicycling for healthy lifestyles and healthy communities.

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