League of American Bicyclists Introduces “Diamond” Bike-Friendly Status

For nearly a decade, the League of American Bicyclists Bicycle Friendly Communities program has been challenging cities to greater heights. Nearly 50 communities have been recognized as either “bronze,” “silver,” “gold” or “platinum” bike-friendly communities, based on criteria like infrastructure, education and safety statistics.

Portland will set its sights higher, following the LAB's new "diamond" challenge. Photo: Bike Portland

Yesterday the League announced it is “moving the goal posts.” The League introduced the “diamond” level bike friendly community designation, a rank above the previous platinum pinnacle. The League said cities around the United States have made so much progress that it’s time to start competing with international models.

That might be just the encouragement Jonathan Maus’ already-platinum city needs, he wrote yesterday on Bike Portland:

Portland leaders spent over two years on a coordinated effort to attain Platinum status. That effort began in 2006 and ended in triumph when the League deemed Portland the first-ever major city to win the award. But with such a push for Platinum, many local advocates have grumbled that once achieved, it made Portland even more complacent and pleased with our own progress.

[Bicycle Transportation Alliance Oregon] leader Rob Sadowsky is a member of the League’s Bicycle Friendly America National Advisory Group and he has been pushing internally for the higher standards.

Portland Bureau of Transportation Director Tom Miller was featured in the League’s official press release on the announcement, saying that Diamond is, “something Portland will actively pursue and ultimately achieve.”

For his part, Sadowsky has already put out what he thinks it will take for Portland to get the Diamond ring: “We need more recreational trails, both paved and mountain biking. And we need to get our crashes down.”

“Attaining Diamond designation will involve an individualized challenge tailored to each community,” according to LAB. “The League will conduct a detailed audit for each city and work with community leaders to create clear 5-, 10- and 15-year goals for important factors like bicycle mode share, land use, crashes, network connectivity and bike culture.”

Elsewhere on the Network today:  Greater Greater Washington explains how Portland has inspired a lot of the capital city’s progress on transportation reform. Seattle Bike Blog says advocates are pressing Washington Governor Chris Gregoire to maintain funding for Safe Routes to School. And This Big City looks at the rise of the shadow transit providers that are ubiquitous in New York City’s outer boroughs.