The League of American Bicyclists has announced its 2018 Bicycle Friendly University (BFU) awards, which recognize 45 colleges and universities for their support of bicycling to ensure healthy, accessible and eco-friendly transportation and recreation for students and staff.
Of the four achievement levels of Bronze to Platinum, the League presented seven Gold, 16 Silver, and 22 Bronze awards. No Platinum level recipients were chosen. The League did recognize five universities and colleges with Honorable Mention status. Nationwide, BFUs now total 193.
“When the League launched the Bicycle Friendly University Program in 2011, our goal was to inspire higher education institutions to develop more sustainable, liveable campuses that made biking better for students, staff and visitors,” said League Executive Director Bill Nesper.
“Today, more than 3.8 million students enjoy safe, accessible biking, thanks to the financial, structural and cultural investments of this year’s BFU recipients and past awardees,” he continued. “By educating and enabling so many young people to make bicycling part of their lives and carry to their future workplaces and communities, our nation will indeed become – as our mission states – a more ‘Bicycle Friendly America for Everyone’.
“Congratulations to this outstanding class of leaders who have transformed outdated, car-focused transportation plans into bike-supportive strategies that generate far more positive returns on investment.”
The latest class of BFUs reside in 20 US states and range in size as small as Green Mountain College in Vermont with 399 students and as large as Texas A&M with 68,000.
According to Amelia Neptune, Director of the League’s Bicycle Friendly America Program that administers the BFU Program, BFUs can be found in 46 states and the District of Columbia. In 2018, Pennsylvania received the highest number of new BFUs with six, while California, Massachusetts and North Carolina tied for second with four new BFUs each.
“One beauty of bicycling is that positive outcomes can be measured by universities and colleges for even the smallest bike friendly effort and investment,” said Amelia Neptune. “However, as the 2018 class of Bicycle Friendly University recipients demonstrates, once the institutional and student benefits become clear, campus administrators often set their goals much higher and expand their strategies and investments exponentially.
“In this round, for instance, 15 renewing BFUs – one-third of this year’s honorees – climbed to higher award levels, and 17 even received awards with their first application!”
The BFU application review process is a mixture of institutional reporting and on-the-ground bicycle advocate feedback. Each applicant must complete a comprehensive audit via more than 100 data points followed by a League call for input from local cyclists.
According to the organisation, ‘This combination generates a fair, holistic picture of the institution’s performance of the ‘Five E’s’ – engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement and evaluation.’
A national judging panel then reviews the information to determine if an award is warranted.
In addition to awards, the League provides year-round coaching, online tools, trendspotting and case studies to help higher education institutions improve and promote campus cycling.
Submissions for the 2019 Bicycle Friendly University Awards are now open. The deadline is August 22, 2019.