BFU Process & Criteria
BFU Application Process
There is one Bicycle Friendly University application cycle a year -- the deadline is typically late summer, with awards announced in the fall. A new cycle begins shortly after an application cycle closes, so applicants have several months to fill out the online application.
This comprehensive inquiry is designed to yield a holistic picture of an applicant institution's work to promote bicycling on campus and in the surrounding community.
After a brief review of the general institution profile, the applicant will continue to the audit portion of the application, which asks questions about the college or university’s engineering, education, encouragement, evaluation, and equity efforts.
Most questions are multiple choice but write-in fields can be used to provide more details. This comprehensive inquiry is designed to yield a holistic picture of an applicant institution’s work to promote bicycling. We refer to these sections as the Five Es. Before the application is submitted, applicants can upload supplemental material such as photos and other supporting documentation that will be reviewed by the judging panel together with the application.
To learn more about the application process, visit the Getting Started page.
Following the BFU deadline, the League distributes campus surveys to students, staff, faculty, and local bike advocates who may be familiar with biking conditions on each applicant campus.
The campus survey is distributed in a number of ways:
- Applicant schools are asked to distribute the survey locally on campus through their website, social media, list servs, etc. (This step is strongly encouraged, but not required for applicants.)
- The League will send the survey to all campus-based, local, and statewide bike advocates identified on the BFU application, or who are organizational members of the League.
Once all local feedback is received through the campus surveys, that input is shared with the judging panel. Each judge then takes about 3-4 weeks to review each application, together with any supplemental material and the survey feedback. Applications that receive a range of award suggestions are discussed during a review meeting.
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Platinum colleges and universities
Usually show excellence across the board. These are the type of campuses that have a comfortable and safe bike network, excellent bike parking, great bike education programs, a supportive police force and just people on bikes everywhere.
Gold colleges and universities
Also have a strong bike cultures but may still need to offer more accessibility in their bike network or reach more students and staff with bicycling education and encouragement programs.
Silver colleges and universities
Definitely feel welcoming to bikes but there is still usually work to be done in 2 or 3 of the Es to undergird the bicycling culture and opportunities.
Bronze colleges and universities
May not necessarily feel very welcoming. These colleges and universities may only have a couple bike lanes in place and few opportunities for bicycling events. However, important steps are being taken in all five E’s but particularly in one or two Es. For example, a university might have several cycling instructors that give regular cycling skill classes and there is great bike parking at all major destinations on campus.
Applicants in the Honorable Mention category are just starting to address the needs of cyclists. There are probably few cyclists around on campus but the staff and majority of students are not being served and welcomed to bicycle.
Applicants that do not receive any recognition have yet to address the needs of cyclists. Every applicant receives a feedback report that will help them on the road to achieving Bicycle Friendly University recognition.