Examining capacity and functioning of bicycle coalitions: A descriptive study

Melissa Bopp, Dangaia Sims, Nicole Vairo, Emily Hentz-Leister

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Bicycle coalitions represent a strong partner in creating bike-friendly communities through advocacy for physical infrastructure, encouragement for biking, or education about safety. Despite their versatility, little is known about their functioning. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine capacity, strengths, and weaknesses of these organizations. Methods: Bicycle coalitions/advocacy groups from English-speaking countries were recruited to take part in an online survey via email invitation. The survey addressed basic information about the coalition (community demographics, location), leadership, communication strategies, coalition priorities, barriers to programming/activities, and partners. Results: Coalitions (n = 56) from four countries completed the survey. Most coalitions operated as a non-profit (n = 44, 95.7%), 45% (n = 21) have paid staff as leaders, while 37% (n = 17) have volunteers as leaders. The following skills were represented in coalitions' leadership: fundraising (n = 31, 53.4%), event planning (n = 31, 53.4%), urban planning (n = 26, 44%), and policy/legislation expertise (n = 26, 44.8%). Education (n = 26, 63.4%) and encouragement (n = 25, 61.6%) were viewed as top priorities and the safety of bicyclists (n = 21, 46.7%) and advocacy for infrastructure and policy (n = 22, 48.9%) is the focus of most activities. A lack of financial resources (n = 36, 81.8%) and capable personnel (n = 25, 56.8%) were significant barriers to offering programming in the community and that the availability of grants to address issues (n = 38, 86.4%) would be the top motivator for improvements. Conclusion: Bike coalitions represent a critical partner in creating activity-friendly environments and understanding their capacity allows for creating skill/capacity building intervention programs, development of effective toolkits and fostering strong collaborations to address physical inactivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number296
JournalFrontiers in Public Health
Issue numberNOV
StatePublished - Nov 8 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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