Windsor earns 'bicycle friendly' designation

  • Bill Weagle uses one of the green painted bike lanes on Old Rewood Highway in Windsor on Friday, October, 19, 2012. (John Burgess/The Press Democrat)

Windsor has been named a "Bicycle Friendly Community," solidifying its credentials as a town that nurtures cycling and safe riding.

It becomes only the second city in Sonoma County — besides Sonoma — to be singled out for the coveted award from the League of American Bicyclists.

The distinction has eluded many cities, including neighboring Healdsburg, which earlier this year was spurned when it applied. Even though Healdsburg is a mecca for cyclists, it has relatively few bike lanes compared to Windsor.

"I'm really proud our efforts are being recognized nationally. It makes Windsor a great place to live and for people to move to," said Mayor Debora Fudge, adding that the town also earned recent distinction as one of the best communities for young people, along with other accolades.

Cycling advocates say the award is not easy to attain. Applicants need to demonstrate their community is bike friendly on a number of fronts, including on education and encouragement.

Of more than 550 communities to date that have applied for the bike-friendly moniker, only 242 have attained it.

"It's not something you sign up for — a feel-good thing. This isn't automatic. You have to have a thoughtful, well-prepared application," said Gary Helfrich, executive director of the Sonoma County Bicycling Coalition.

Windsor garnered the minimum "bronze" certification, the same as Sonoma. Nationally, only three communities have the highest "platinum" status: Davis, Portland, Ore. and Boulder, Colo.

Windsor was singled out for a number of reasons, including extensive bicycle education for school children, bike valet parking at community events, and encouraging bike-to work. And the town recently adopted a "complete street" policy that takes into account all modes of transportation in street planning, including for cyclists and pedestrians.

That may have been one of the factors that helped Windsor get bronze, over and above the &‘honorable mention" it received last year from the League of American Bicyclists.

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