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Bike-Friendly Certification


Bike Friendly Certification Decal

Introducing Halifax’s new Bike-Friendly Certification program

The Cities & Environment Unit (CEU), in partnership with Halifax SmartTrip and Rarebird Brand Strategy & Design, is launching a Bike-Friendly Certification program. Businesses, schools and other organizations that participate in the program will receive a level of certification based on their level of support for cycling as a viable transportation choice for their staff, tenants, clients, customers or students.

This initial call for applications to the Bike-Friendly Certification program is a project supported by the Nova Scotia Department of Energy. We will receive applications and certify the first round of applicants beginning in December 2015 through to the end of March 2016. Beyond this initial phase our goal is to ensure the long-term sustainability of the Bike-Friendly Certification program and grow a strong Bike-Friendly brand.

While the focus of the project is currently the Halifax region, we see tremendous potential to develop a Bike-Friendly Certified brand that is respected across Nova Scotia. With the help of our co-promotion partners, we envision promoting Bike-Friendly Certified businesses and organizations through multiple networks across the Halifax region and beyond. This is your organization’s chance to get on board early and grow with us!

Download our PDF brochure

Apply online


Why your organization should be certified Bike-Friendly

Demonstrate Leadership

People who choose cycling as their main or occasional mode of transportation are growing in numbers. Through Bike-Friendly Certification, your business or organization will stand out in the eyes of potential employees, clients and customers as a leader in growing a cycling-supportive city. Having in place comprehensive supports for cycling is seen as important to quality of life for a growing number of Halifax residents and visitors.

Tap into a Growing Market

For those businesses and organizations that benefit from tourist spending in the province, Bike-Friendly Certification will help you tap into a large, lucrative market. Cyclists comprise 10% of the Outdoor Enthusiast segment of the tourism market in Nova Scotia, the second largest of the top four high-yield segments of people who visit the province for pleasure. So far, this market share has been achieved with minimal investment in infrastructure and promotion. With the recent launch of Nova Scotia’s province-wide cycling network project, the Blue Route, the potential for growth in this segment is huge. In several US states the revenue generated by recreational cyclists and bicycle tourism amounts to nearly $1 billion annually!

Other Benefits to Retailers and Employers

  • International and local studies have found that people who arrive at a business by bicycle spend less per visit, but visit more frequently resulting in higher spending over time.
  • People who ride their bikes regularly have up to 52% increased productivity. Supporting cycling is supporting healthy communities.
  • Increased physical activity and reduced sedentary behaviour can significantly reduce employee absenteeism and disability, which in turn helps to reduce staff turnover.

Promotional and Educational Support

Certified Bike-Friendly organizations will receive a variety of promotional and educational supports depending on their level of Certification (see Table 2). Available supports include:

  • Access to branded promotional materials
    • Window stickers
    • Bike-Friendly logo for use on web pages
    • Listing on the SmartTrip Bike-Friendly web page
  • EARLY ADOPTER BONUS: Apply for Certification by February 15, 2016 and we’ll include your organization’s name and/or logo in a local newspaper ad announcing the first Bike-Friendly Certifications under the program (applicants must meet the requirements for the Amiable level of certification by March 15, 2016).

  • Promotion of the program by our co-promotion partners
    • Bicycle Nova Scotia (BNS)
    • Dalhousie University Office of Sustainability
    • Halifax Cycling Coalition (HCC)
    • Planning & Design Centre
    • Stay tuned as we add new partners in the near future!
  • Access to educational programs
    • Referral to: CAN BIKE Courses
    • Free access to: SmartTrip SmartCycle programs (Cycling 1.0 and Bike Repair 2.0)

Bike Friendly Certification

Certification Levels

The Halifax Bike-Friendly Certification program offers three levels of certification:

Certified Amiable

In order to achieve Amiable Bike-Friendly Certification, organizations must fulfill the following mandatory criteria:

  1. Provision of accessible, well-maintained and sufficient bicycle parking for employees, customers/visitors/residents (a sufficient number of bicycle parking spaces will vary based on the nature of the applying organization). See Table 4 for the recommended minimum number of bike parking spaces by land use.
  2. Demonstration of bike-friendly policies (e.g., encouragement of employees/customers/ service-users to ride bicycles, complementary water bottle filling, use of washrooms without purchase)

Subsidized Bicycle Racks - Organizations that do not currently meet the criterion of having sufficient bicycle parking may be eligible to receive a subsidized bicycle rack. The first 10 organizations to apply by February 15, 2016 will be eligible for this promotion. Program participants will be responsible for paying 15% of the total costs. HRSB schools are not currently eligible for a subsidized bicycle rack through this program. Where the most suitable location for a bicycle rack is within the public right-of-way, requests should be submitted to Halifax’s Request a Rack program.

Certified Convivial

Additional points toward the higher levels of certification can be earned for each additional bike-friendly policy, service or infrastructure provided by the applicant (see Table 1 below).

A minimum of 15 points is required to achieve Convivial Bike-Friendly Certification.


Certified Unreserved

A minimum of 30 points is required to achieve Unreserved Bike-Friendly Certification.



Table 1: Earn Points for Offering Additional Supports for Cycling

Additional Points Earned for:



Sheltered, secure bicycle parking for employees, customers, visitors or residents


Shower facilities and change rooms for employees commuting to work by bicycle


Bicycle repair stand and tools


Provide access to common bicycle spare parts


Policies & promotions

Financial incentives to encourage employees to cycle to work


Bicycling discount program that rewards customers for cycling


Guaranteed ride home program


Support employee participation in bicycle safety and maintenance courses


Flexible schedules to accommodate weather/mechanical delays


Knowing the employee bicycle mode share for travel to work


Setting a target bicycle mode share for travel to work


Participating in any form of community planning, promotion or advocacy related to cycling



Table 2: Promotional & Educational Supports by level of Certification

Promotional & Educational Supports




Technical support for selection, siting & installation of bicycle parking

Bike-Friendly Certified window sticker

Bike-Friendly Certified logo for use on web pages

Your organization’s name and/or logo on the SmartTrip Bike-Friendly web page

Social Media Shout Out by SmartTrip

Referral to CAN BIKE Courses

Early Adopter Bonus**: Your organization’s name in a ¼ page ad in local newspaper (e.g., The Coast or Chronicle Herald)

Early Adopter Bonus**: Your organization’s logo in a ¼ page ad in local newspaper (e.g., The Coast or Chronicle Herald)

Free access to Halifax SmartTrip SmartCycle programs (Cycling 1.0 and Bike Repair 2.0)

** To be eligible for the Early Adaptor Bonus, applications for Certification must be received by February 15, 2016 and applicants must meet the requirements for the Amiable level of certification by March 15, 2016.


Certification Process

Submission of Applications

Application Fee

There is currently no fee to apply to be certified. We may introduce a modest fee in the future to help support delivery of the program.

Subsidized Bicycle Racks

If an applicant is eligible and chooses to install a subsidized bike rack, the applicant will be responsible for 15% of the total cost of the rack. Depending on availability, we will consider offering applicants a second subsidized bike rack if more than one is required to meet the recommended minimum number of bicycle parking spaces as per Table 4: Recommended minimum number of bicycle parking spaces by land use.

The program does not cover the cost of installation, which in some cases may require pouring a concrete pad. We can offer referrals to contractors with experience installing bike racks.

Table 3. Approximate cost of subsidized bicycle racks

Bike Rack Type

Unit Cost

Applicant portion (15%)
HST not included

Post & ring, galvanized



Post & ring, powder Coated



Free standing 3 ring, galvanized



Free standing 5 ring, galvanized



Free standing 7 ring, galvanized




Table 4: Recommended minimum number of bicycle parking spaces by land use


Bicycle Parking Requirement

Multiple Unit Dwelling
(four or more dwelling units)

0.5 spaces per dwelling unit

General food sales or groceries

1 space per 150 sq. m. gross floor area

Minimum requirement is 2 spaces

General Retail, Trade and Service, Shopping Centre

1 space per 300 sq. m. gross floor area

Minimum requirement is 2 spaces

General Office, Banks, Medical Clinics, Institutional Uses, Government Buildings

1 space per 500 sq. m. gross floor area

Minimum requirement is 2 spaces

Auditoriums, Theatres, Stadiums, Halls, Churches

1 space for every 20 seats

Maximum requirement of 50 spaces

Schools, Colleges, Universities

1 space per 250 sq.m. gross floor area

Recreation Facilities, Community Centres, Libraries

1 space per 200 sq.m. gross floor area

Commercial Parking Garages

5% of motor vehicle parking provided

Minimum requirement is 6 spaces

Maximum requirement of 50 spaces

Any Uses Not Specified Above

1 space per 500 sq.m. gross floor area

Minimum requirement is 2 spaces

Adapted from the Downtown Halifax Land Use By-law (DHLUB) (2015). These recommended minimums are for the purposes of Bike-Friendly Certification only. Certification will be at the discretion of the program evaluators. Please consult the actual DHLUB for the specific bicycle-parking requirements in the Downtown Halifax Zone.

What we consider to be a good bicycle parking space:

  • Parking space is a minimum of 0.6m x 2m
  • Includes a rack that supports the bicycle in a stable position with two points of contact, preventing it from falling over
  • Allows locking of the frame and one or both wheels with a U-lock
  • Can be a wall-mounted rack
  • Is securely anchored to the ground or wall
  • Resists cutting, rusting and bending or deformation
  • Well maintained and cleared of snow in the winter
  • Placed no more than 15m from the entrance used by cyclists
  • Visible from the destination to reassure cyclists about the security of the rack
  • Located in a high-traffic area with passive surveillance or eyes on the street
  • Located along the “desire line” from adjacent bikeways; the path cyclists are most likely to travel
  • Weather protected, by siting racks under existing structures or installing free-standing structures when possible
Adapted from “Bicycle Parking Guidelines, 2nd edition,” Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals (APBP), 2010.

Application Evaluation
Program reviewers will evaluate applications and confirm that applicants meet the criteria indicated. This process will include:

  • Review of applications
  • Site visit to verify parking provision
  • Bike parking consult if required

Approval of Certifications

Upon confirmation that organizations meet the evaluation criteria, organizations will receive their certification, which will remain valid for a three-year period at which time re-certification will be required.

For more information please contact:

Mark Nener

(902) 494-3678