Belleville is among the latest Ontario municipalities to gain a Bicycle Friendly Community accreditation. Belleville, along with Ingersoll, Brampton, and St. Thomas join recent recipients Cornwall, Cambridge, Collingwood, Temiskaming Shores and Whitby in this latest tranche of awards. To date, 10% of municipalities in Ontario have achieved this designation, and are home to over 2/3 of Ontarians. Read more about Belleville in the Intelligencer article here.
The Bicycle Friendly Community program was launched in Ontario in 2010 by the Share The Road Cycling Coalition, adapted from a similar program run across the USA by the Washington-based League of American Bicyclists. The primary program sponsor in Ontario is the Canadian Automobile Association, along with Trek Bicycles.
Awards are granted after a rigorous application process, judged by a team of industry experts. The designation recognizes each community’s progress on the “Five E’s”: Engineering, Encouragement, Education, Enforcement and Evaluation/planning.
“Our research tells us that 70 per cent of Ontario residents want to see more cycling infrastructure like bike lanes and trails where they live, and municipal and provincial leaders are responding to this demand,” said Jamie Stuckless, executive director of Share The Road.
“Council was a driving force for the incredible investments made in cycling infrastructure since the adoption of our Transportation Master Plan. We have made great strides in a short period of time and with the establishment of the City’s Active Transportation Committee, we’re set to see even greater gains in the years ahead,” added Belleville Councillor Egerton Boyce.
Where’s Brockville? Our city received an honourable mention in 2013 and will apply again when sufficient progress has occurred. To move ahead and join other communities who understand the vital role that attractive, active lifestyle choices play in economic success, we need city council to show some leadership in bringing us into the 21st century, fulfilling commitments made to residents.