City of Beckley named bronze-level bicycle friendly community

BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – The League of American Bicyclists honored the efforts of the City of Beckley to build better places for people to bike with a Bronze-level Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) award.

This designation makes Beckley the first city in southern West Virginia to receive this award and 1 of only 3 cities in the state to achieve this accomplishment.  The award recognizes Beckley for its commitment to creating transportation and recreational resources that benefit its residents of all ages and abilities while encouraging healthier and more sustainable transportation choices.

“During one of the toughest years in recent memory, we have seen so many Americans turn to biking during the pandemic for fun and for necessary transportation options.  It’s so important that communities like Beckley have laid the groundwork over several years to make biking a safe, accessible option for people when we all need as much health and happiness as possible,” said Bill Nesper, executive director of the League of American Bicyclists. “This Bicycle Friendly Community award is the culmination of years of work put in by Beckley and its citizen advocates for better biking.”

Active Southern West Virginia (Active SWV) approached the city in 2017 with the idea to form a Bike and Pedestrian Action Committee (BPAC).  This group is made up of city employees, community members, and Active SWV staff.  Support from the city for this group’s efforts have brought new signage, bike racks, bike repair stations, and bike racks on New River Transit buses to the citizens of Beckley.

“The City recognizes the work and dedication that went into achieving this Bicycle Friendly Community award.  The BPAC has met faithfully to create the type of city that merits this recognition.  We have much more work to do and are committed to further building on this honor, said Mayor Robert Rappold.

Active SWV Volunteer Director, Erin Ellis-Reid, facilitates the monthly BPAC meetings in the Beckley City Council Chambers.  Due to the current status of the pandemic, those meetings have been moved to monthly Zoom meetings the second Wednesday of every month at 2pm.  The link to the monthly meeting can be found on  their website at activeswv.com/events.

“We would love to get more community member involved in the BPAC,” said Erin Ellis-Reid, “Getting community feedback, ideas, and support will only help to increase our ability to make Beckley an even more bike and pedestrian friendly community.”