PIQUA —After the city of Piqua was recognized as a Bicycle Friendly Community in November, Piqua’s municipality is stepping up its efforts as well when it comes to embracing the bicyclist lifestyle.
The League of American Bicyclists recently recognized the city of Piqua Municipal Government Complex with a Silver Bicycle Friendly Business award, joining the 1,132 Bicycle Friendly Businesses across the country.
Examples of other well-known entities across the country that have been recognized with a Silver status include Apple, Otterbox, Columbia University, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Geographic Society, and the U.S. Department of State. Within the region, Bike Miami Valley has a Gold status.
The League of American Bicyclists states that, through the award, “employers are recognized for their efforts to encourage a more welcoming atmosphere for bicycling employees, customers, and the community.” According to the league’s website, businesses gain recognition in such ways as encouraging bicycling, being easily accessible for bicyclists, providing bike parking, and providing some form of bicycle education.
“The business community’s investment in bicycling is playing a central role in making the country a safer, happier, and more sustainable place to live and work,” said Amelia Neptune, League Bicycle Friendly Business program manager. “We applaud this new round of businesses, including the city of Piqua, for leading the charge in creating a bicycle-friendly America for everyone.”
“The city of Piqua joins a list of just 24 businesses in the state of Ohio that have been designated a Bicycle Friendly Business,” Piqua City Planner Chris Schmiesing said. “Of the 24 businesses, only three have earned the Gold designation, just 11 have attained the Silver status, and 10 have received Bronze recognition.”
Of those 24 businesses, the city of Piqua and three others are classified as government agencies. The other government agencies are Five Rivers MetroParks, Columbus Public Health, and the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission.
“The city of Piqua Municipal Government is the first municipal government business entity in the state of Ohio to earn the Bicycle Friendly Business designation,” Schmiesing said.
“We think that we’re going to be, here in Piqua (in the near future), the bicycle hub of western Ohio,” Piqua City Manager Gary Huff said. Huff said that being recognized as a Bicycle Friendly Business and receiving the Silver status “means very much to us” in the Municipal Government Complex. Huff explained that from their view as a government entity, they are “trying to be a leader in this area.”
“We certainly know that with having a fantastic trail system that connects to other trails systems throughout the region to provide 335 miles of paved trails, it is a valuable asset for us to provide health and wellness and attract others to (Piqua),” Huff said. “We’re talking not only healthwise but tourism.”
Huff explained that the trail system and Piqua’s bike accessibility is not only about providing opportunities for health benefits and a higher quality of life to residents, but also to draw in visitors to take part in the city and the its businesses.
Huff commended Schmiesing as well as other bicycling organizations in Piqua and the region for helping the municipality to reach this status. Huff also expressed appreciation for the city employees whose “great stance on health and wellness” not only helped them receive recognition, but reduced the city’s health insurance premiums by 8 percent this year.
City of Piqua Municipal Government Complex employees are encouraged to bike to work. The employees also have access to bicycles that the city of Piqua maintains to encourage employees to take a bike ride during a lunch break.
The municipal building is also located near the local trail system and offers bike parking, making the building bike-accessible.
“We’re encouraging others, other businesses, to receive this certification,” Huff said.
“The city of Piqua was not alone in seeking the Bicycle Friendly Business designation,” Schmiesing said. “The Miami Valley Centre Mall also submitted an application for consideration this cycle. While the Miami Valley Centre Mall did not receive the Bicycle Friendly Business designation this time, they did receive Honorable Mention.”
The mall’s management team will also receive a Feedback Report from the league. Schmiesing explained that the report will provide them with an assessment of the existing bicycle-friendly related conditions at the mall and offer recommendations for actions that can be taken to cultivate a bicycle-friendly environment that will elevate the malls to Bicycle Friendly Business status.
Businesses interested in becoming more bicycle-friendly can take part in the Bicycling Means Business program, a joint initiative by the City of Piqua and Bike Piqua to promote and facilitate opportunities for local businesses to leverage community investment in bicycle friendly infrastructure. For information, contact Schmiesing at (937) 778-2049 or [email protected]
For more information about the league’s recent announcement of Bicycle Friendly Businesses, visit http://www.bikeleague.org/content/1132-bicycle-friendly-businesses.
Reach reporter Sam Wildow at 9937) 451-3336 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall