33 Schools Recognized With A Bicycle Friendly University Award
Since the pandemic began, colleges and universities across the nation have met the challenge of keeping campus life thriving with innovation and resilience. Today, the League is proud to recognize that dedication by honoring 33 institutions with a Bicycle Friendly University (BFU) award and three institutions with an Honorable Mention. With this announcement, there are now 222 Bicycle Friendly Universities in 47 states and the District of Columbia.
2019 Bike Month event at University of California Davis
“I am thrilled to celebrate 33 new and renewing Bicycle Friendly Universities helping power the movement to build a Bicycle Friendly America for everyone,” said Bill Nesper, executive director of the League of American Bicyclists. “On many campuses, bikes are simply another way to get around but at Bicycle Friendly Universities, we’ve seen that students, faculty and staff are encouraged to think beyond the utility of bikes as transportation, truly valuing their ability to foster a healthier, safer, more connected campus life. This round of BFUs are not only making it possible for people to bike around campus but are implementing policies, programs and infrastructure improvements that encourage people to drive less and bike more for their health and the planet.”
Institutions named as Honorable Mentions display some efforts to address the need of bicyclists on their campus, and those who go on to receive an award show significant progress in investing time and resources to make their campuses more welcoming to people who bike. In this round, four institutions climbed the ranks from previous Honorable Mentions to earn their first BFU awards, that climbed the ranks including Western Washington University and New York University, which were both awarded a Silver-level award, as well as the University of San Francisco and University at Albany, which both received a Bronze-level award.
Six current BFUs are moving up from Bronze to Silver designations with this announcement, and one campus, Indiana University Bloomington, is moving up from Silver to Gold.
New York University, which was also recently recognized as a Silver-level Bicycle Friendly Business (BFB) in the Fall 2021 BFB awards announcement, has invested in bike commuters over the last year by nearly doubling bike parking across campus in response to NYU’s 2019 Transportation Survey findings and in anticipation of the return to in-person classes. The 2,138 bike parking spaces now offered on NYU’s campus, plus the multitude of bike share stations surrounding the urban campus, now outnumber the campus’ 770 car parking spaces.
A renewing Platinum-level BFU, University of California, Davis has also held the title of Platinum-level Bicycle Friendly Business since 2013. At UC Davis, an emphasis on encouraging multimodal commuting has led to several policy changes including a campus-wide 15 mph speed limit and a housing requirement that all on-campus dorms have 1.33 bike racks available ‘per pillow’. Another recent policy change at UC Davis was the elimination of monthly and annual parking permits in 2021. The campus now opts for a parking system where students and employees must pay to park on a daily basis through an app.
“Our new parking policy helps those who would like to bike occasionally to do so without feeling they’re ‘losing money’ on a parking subscription,” noted Jeffrey Bruchez, bicycle program coordinator at UC Davis. “Moreover, by confronting people with the actual cost of parking (instead of it being obscured in a payroll deduction process), we hope people actually get fed up with paying and make the move to a non-drive-alone commute. Whether that be by bike (preferred) or by some other sustainable mode, that’s one fewer vehicle on the road with our thousands of bicyclists.”
Student renting a bike at Franklin & Marshall College
Franklin & Marshall College, in Lancaster, PA, is one of the smallest BFUs in the program with a student population of 2,203, proving that schools don’t have to be large in size to have a large bike presence on campus. Through a designated bike budget, Franklin & Marshall has made improvements in the last few years that have grown the bike commuter population, including a free bike loan program allowing students to rent bikes for up to 4 weeks. Thanks to these investments the college moved up from a Bronze-level award earned in 2017 to a Silver-level award in this latest round.
Franklin & Marshall College first applied to the BFU program in 2014 and received no award designation on their first application. While not every applicant to the BFU program receives an award, every BFU applicant receives feedback and guidance from the League on how to improve. Awardees at the Bronze or higher level are required to renew their designation every four years to ensure they are keeping up with the latest bike-forward standards and maintaining the efforts that originally earned a BFU recognition.
“I’m so inspired by the latest cohort of new and renewing BFU awardees, and look forward to helping more schools find their own way to shift the focus from driving to biking and walking on campus,” said Amelia Neptune, director of the League’s Bicycle Friendly America program. “Schools like UC Davis and Franklin & Marshall College prove that making bikes the most sensible transportation option for campus life can have a huge impact on getting students across the country out of cars and on bikes.”
If your college or university wants to take the next step in making bicycling better, applications for the 2022 round of Bicycle Friendly University awards are due on August 10, 2022.
About the Bicycle Friendly University℠ Program
The Bicycle Friendly University awards reflect local leaders’ ongoing work to build better places to bike and evaluate those efforts as part of a national movement. Each of the five levels of the Bicycle Friendly Business award – diamond, platinum, gold, silver, and bronze, plus an honorable mention category – provide a clear path for universities and colleges to continuously improve. Visit bikeleague.org/university to learn more about the BFU program.
About the League of American Bicyclists
The League of American Bicyclists leads the national movement to create a Bicycle Friendly America for everyone. With a history dating to 1880, the League is committed to engaging diverse communities and building a powerful, unified voice for change around protecting and promoting the rights of people who bike.