Hilton Head Island has been recognized as one of the top 25 bicycle-friendly communities in the United States and one of 21 to achieve “Gold-Level” status for its commitment to being a bicycle friendly community. The Bicycle Friendly Community (BFCsm) award was announced today by the League of American Bicyclists.
The Town of Hilton Head Island is the only Gold-Level community in the Southeast and only one of two on the East Coast, according to the League’s list of award recipients.
The Gold-Level distinction recognizes Hilton Head Island’s commitment to improving conditions for bicycling through its investment in bicycling promotion, education programs, infrastructure and pro-bicycling policies. Only a handful of communities across the United States have earned such a distinction – placing Hilton Head Island in a select group of places dedicated to a more active, sustainable future.
Earning the award was a collaborative effort between the Town of Hilton Head Island, The Bicycle Advisory Committee and the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce. Their effort had considerable volunteer support from the local cycling community groups and clubs who served as “bike ambassadors”. The Town of Hilton Head Island has held “Silver-Level” status since 2011. The Gold-Level status will be valid from 2015-2019.
“This outstanding honor is a great example of how different elements of our community in both the public and private sectors can work together to make our Town a better place to live and visit,” said Mayor David Bennett. “Our Town government together with volunteer organizations, private companies and our Chamber of Commerce were diligent in achieving this prestigious objective.”
“This national Bicycle Friendly Community program is working to help shape the way communities evaluate their quality of life, sustainability and transportation networks, while allowing them to benchmark their progress toward improving their bicycle-friendliness. The League is impressed with our all-volunteer ambassador program, our innovative Chamber Bike & Dine Week and the Town’s commitment to building over 60 miles of leisure paths” noted local cycling advocate Frank Babel.
“We have seen an incredible collaboration between the Town, the Chamber, private businesses and citizen advocates to set this high standard” said Babel. “This is something our entire community can take a great deal of pride in.”
Mayor Bennett noted that the achievements which earned the honor also accrue as a major plus for the thousands of vacationers who come to the island every month of the year.
“Visitors looking for a memorable vacation experience and the ability to bike with family and friends on our leisure paths is something many tell us they enjoy doing” said Bill Miles, President & CEO of the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce. “Hilton Head’s extensive miles of leisure paths are a positive differentiator when it comes to attracting vacationers, and it’s also a wonderful quality of life amenity for our residents.”
“We applaud this new round of communities for investing in a more sustainable future for the country and a healthier future for their residents and beyond” said Andy Clarke, president of the League of American Bicyclists. “The growing number of leaders taking up bicycling as a way of solving many complex community problems is encouraging. We look forward to continuing to work with these communities as we move closer to our mission of creating a bicycle-friendly America for everyone.”