C’mon Ohio! We can do better than this!

The League of American Bicyclists, the largest and oldest bicycling organization in the country, released its list of new Bicycle Friendly Businesses last week.

Sigh.

Sadly, out 161 new businesses certified by the league’s program, only one was in Ohio: Wheelie Fun Bike Shop in Powell, a northern suburb of Columbus. The mom and pop shop entered the program at the silver level, the second tier of the program, not an easy task. So congrats to Wheelie Fun.

But really – only one out of 161? That got me thinking, how is Ohio doing overall on the bicycle friendliness of its businesses?

Not that great, it turns out. The state has 18 BFBs, that ties us for 17th with Michigan and Illinois. But when you figure in population, Ohio ranks 32nd out of the 50 states.

The top state in raw numbers is California, with 78 Bicycle Friendly Businesses. Then comes Colorado with 71, Minnesota with 68, neighboring Pennsylvania with 63(!), and Wisconsin with 47.

Shoot, Indiana has 42 – more than twice as many as us with a little more than half our population. And to the east is Pennsylvania, see above, which truly puts us to shame.

The Miami Valley has three Bicycle Friendly Businesses: Five Rivers MetroParks, which was certified in 2011; Reed Elsevier/LexisNexis, certified in 2013; and Cox Media Group Ohio (that’s us!), certified last year.

Full disclosure: I am the volunteer coordinator the CMGO’s bike commuting program, which means, among other things, that I try to grab as much corporate booty provide as much support as possible for our bike commuters.

Anyway, Ohio should be doing better!

But why, you ask?

I have my opinions (that it makes me feel energized, alert and healthy when I get to work; that it saves gas and burns calories rather than petrochemicals; that I release significantly less carbon than my car; that it builds fitness and makes me healthier; that it relieves stress after a day’s work; and that, heck, it’s fun!) but here’s what Amelia Neptune, the league’s Bicycle Friendly America program coordinator has to say:

“Bikes are a great tool for businesses to accomplish a variety of important goals,” Neptune said in an email.

Businesses can:

  • save money on healthcare and parking costs;
  • improve the health and well-being of your employees;
  • attract and retain high-quality staff who are looking for active transportation options;
  • reduce the company’s environmental footprint;
  • and create an improved sense of community and morale within your workplace.

“The League of American Bicyclists’ Bicycle Friendly Business program offers a blueprint on how to accomplish these goals by becoming bicycle-friendly, and provides feedback, recognition, and motivation to businesses for their efforts.”

The next application cycle begins in June. Interested businesses can learn more at http://bikeleague.org/business.

So, c’mon, Ohio!


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