As of this month, the Bike-Friendly Certification program has certified five businesses in the Halifax Regional Municipality.
“We want to recognize and help promote organizations that see value in providing amenities for cyclists and encouraging cycling to their location,” says Mark Nener, a community planner at Dalhousie University’s cities and environment unit, which orchestrated the program.
The certification program began receiving applications in December and certified its first round of applicants between December and March. So far, the program has received 24 applicants, and is planning to certify more once applicants install bike parking this spring.
Bike parking is a minimum requirement for certification. The program offers three levels of certification: amiable, convivial and unreserved. Organizations earn points for each level of certification by providing bike-friendly policies.
“One of the things that we would award points for, for example, is if a restaurant or a café allowed cyclists to fill up a water bottle or something or maybe use a washroom without necessarily having to make a purchase,” Nener says.
The first business to be certified was Cyclesmith on Agricola Street. Cyclesmith achieved the unreserved level of certification, which is the highest awarded.
“We wanted to be the first to start with the change in attitude of business/general population towards cyclists/cycling so we see it as an investment into that change,” Cyclesmith owner Andrew Feenstra said in an email.
The target audience for the program is not just businesses, but any organization with a physical location.
“Where there’s an opportunity for employees or clients or customers or just visitors to arrive by bike, that’s our target audience,” Nener explains.
“The goal is to make a contribution to growing a more bike supportive culture in Halifax. This is one piece of the puzzle towards achieving that.”