Bendigo becomes Australia’s first Bicycle Friendly Community

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Greater Bendigo is the first community in Australia to become a Bicycle Friendly Community, accredited by CycleLifeHQ.

Bendigo’s silver accreditation recognises their community engagement and bicycle education, the inclusion of bicycle facilities as part of road infrastructure projects, maintenance of off-road cycling facilities and the integration of bicycle planning with community facilities.

The Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) accreditation program has been run in the United States for more than two decades by the League of American Bicyclists, with more than 430 Bicycle Friendly Communities recognised in the US. Canberra bicycle tourism business CycleLifeHQ is responsible for Bicycle Friendly Community certification in Austrailia and New Zealand.

Bill Nesper, Executive Director for the League of American Bicyclists in Washington DC, said “We’re really excited to see this program extend outside of North America for the first time and are incredibly encouraged about its applicability in the Australian context. We look forward to seeing CycleLifeHQ engage with more communities who wish to have their bicycle- friendly qualities assessed, recognised and bench-marked for further improvement.”

The accreditation report for Bendigo recommends the establishment of a Bicycle Advisory Group, the introduction of a Bicycle Friendly Business scheme, the implementation of additional policies and regulations to improve cyclist safety, and improved safe and separated cycle infrastructure.

City Regional Sustainable Development Manager Trevor Budge said recognition as a Bicycle Friendly Community was fantastic news for Greater Bendigo.

“The City aspires to lead the way as Australia’s regional cycling capital, and we have had our vision honoured with our silver award status,” Mr Budge said.

“The City has worked hard in recent years through the development of the Connecting Greater Bendigo: Integrated Transport and Land Use Strategy (ITLUS), creating shared walking and cycling paths and providing bike parking facilities,” Mr Budge said.

“We have created a number of bike underpasses to link our suburbs together with off road bike paths as well as constructing the O’Keefe Rail Trail to Heathcote in the last few years.”

CycleLifeHQ Global Operations Manager Anna Gurnhill said Bicycle Friendly accreditation helped towns and cities to benchmark themselves and track their progress.

“It also provides a competitive advantage for branding and marketing purposes to encourage more locals to ride bikes, and also to attract more cycle tourists,” Ms Gurnhill said.

Bendigo will also host two major cycling conferences in 2018, cementing its reputation as a leading bike-friendly destination. In October it will host the Australian Walking and Cycling Conference and the Bicycling Tourism Conference. CycleLifeHQ is a proud supporter of the Bicycle Tourism Conference, which will be Australia’s first.

About CycleLifeHQ

CycleLifeHQ is a one-stop shop for bicycle tourism experiences where cyclists and others can research, plan and book their next cycle tourism adventure all in one place. They have support services that enable destinations and businesses to establish, engage, expand and optimise their bicycle tourism potential.

Image: courtesy CycleLifeHQ