May is Bike Month and the American League of Bicyclists celebrated by announcing 13 new Bicycle Friendly Communities. Cedar Falls is the first community in the state of Iowa to receive this prestigious distinction. The League of American Bicyclists oversees the program and the process is rigorous. Applicants are judged on areas of engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement and evaluation. Designations are made in four levels of accomplishment – platinum, gold, silver and bronze. Communities are encouraged to improve as they renew every four years. Cedar Falls received honorable mention during the last cycle and achieved the bronze level of recognition this time.
The Mayor’s Bicycle Task Force, an effort lead by Councilman David Wieland and comprised of approximately thirty volunteers from throughout the community, has been diligently working toward this goal. The vision of the Task Force is to make Cedar Falls a model city for utilitarian bicycling. Official designation as a Bicycle Friendly Community offers additional evidence of the quality of life enjoyed in the Cedar Valley and will further assist in efforts to retain and recruit young professionals to the area. It is believed that the strong interest and support demonstrated by area bicyclists and the Task Force’s development of a master plan were instrumental in pushing the Cedar Falls application over the top. Funding, received by the Cedar Trails Partnership and the Cedar Falls RAGBRAI Committee enabled the Task Force to hire the Iowa Bicycle Coalition and Active Transportation Alliance of Chicago to assist in developing the plan.
The Bicycle Task Force plans to celebrate this accomplishment by inviting the public to explore developing on-street bike routes each Friday evening in May. A complete schedule of these events can be found at the Cedar Trails Partnership website.