League: Diamond is the new Platinum

League: Diamond is the new Platinum

Platinum Press Conference-14.jpg

Platinum is so 2008.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

The League of American Bicyclists announced today that the highest level of achievement in their Bike Friendly Communities program is no longer Platinum:

To guide and support the rapid progress in top bike-friendly cities, the League of American Bicyclists has added a new challenge and opportunity for Bicycle Friendly Communities: Diamond status.

As many of you know, Portland leaders spent over two years on a coordinated effort to attain Platinum status. That effort began in 2006 and ended in triumph when the League deemed Portland the first-ever major city to win the award.

But with such a push for Platinum, many local advocates have grumbled that once achieved, it made Portland even more complacent and pleased with our own progress. Here’s how the Bicycle Transportation Alliance says it in a blog post about the new Diamond status:

“the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, along with many others, has often wished that the bar was higher. Too often we feel that city and region have been resting on their laurels. We also heard from opponents of investing in bike infrastructure that we have over-invested, or, “We are already Platinum, why do more?”.


BTA leader Rob Sadowsky is a member of the League’s Bicycle Friendly America National Advisory Group and he has been pushing internally for the higher standards.

So, what exactly with it take to reach the Diamond designation? I’m still working to find specifics; but here’s what the League is saying:

Attaining Diamond designation will involve an individualized challenge tailored to each community. The League will conduct a detailed audit for each city and work with community leaders to create clear 5-, 10- and 15-year goals for important factors like bicycle mode share, land use, crashes, network connectivity and bike culture.

The primary measure to Diamond designation: The number of people riding and citizen satisfaction. Cities will delve into a more detail evaluation of ridership and level of service, using standard methods of measure like the American Community Survey and National Bicycle and Pedestrian Documentation Project, but also more challenging and broader tools such as Copenhagen’s Bicycle Account.

Portland Bureau of Transportation Director Tom Miller was featured in the League’s official press release on the announcement, saying that Diamond is, “something Portland will actively pursue and ultimately achieve.”

For his part, Sadowsky has already put out what he thinks it will take for Portland to get the Diamond ring: “We need more recreational trails, both paved and mountain biking. And we need to get our crashes down.”

Stay tuned.

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