This article by Geffen Semach originally appeared on Momentum Mag on Nov. 6, 2015.
Many are familiar with the League of American Bicyclists’ List of Bike Friendly Businesses. Another category the League ranks is Bicycle Friendly Universities (BFUs). This list has only been active for four years, but this last round of designations graduated to a new level with a record-breaking number of top-performing colleges. Moreover, they also had the largest pool of applicants to choose from so far.
Following the designation of 49 new Bicycle Friendly Universities, there are now officially 127 BFUs in 42 states—five times the amount there was when the League started the program in 2011.
The League of American Bicyclists judges campuses on a few factors. They look for universities that support bike riding in new an innovative ways; from bike storage inside dorm rooms to bicycle-powered music festivals, the League is seeing some standard-raising definitions of what a bicycle-friendly campus looks like.
Also noteworthy: Three new campuses have reached the coveted Platinum BFU status, the highest achievable award.
This year, the number of Platinum-achieving universities grew to five with the addition of the three colleges: the University of Minnesota, Portland State University and the Colorado State University. Renewed this year along with the three newbies, was Stanford—the first BFU to renew its Platinum status, a status the university takes very seriously.
Since Stanford’s first Platinum award in 2011, they have installed three new roundabouts, increased bike parking spaces to more than 19,000 and expanded department bike fleets to 21 programs. The university also built the Stanford Perimeter Trail, a 3.4-mile trail that includes the first green bike lanes on campus.
Among universities blazing a trail up the list is the University of California-Irvine, which is working hard to integrate bike riding as an integral part of campus life by continuing to grow their campus infrastructure.
The University of Tulsa (TU) is one of the 25 new BFUs to achieve a Bronze this year. Along with the designation, the League also gives feedback to such universities who are clearly interested in expanding the bike culture on campus. Since its designation, TU has begun the creation of the TU Rider Network (TURN) to promote a healthier, more environmentally friendly student and faculty body.
It is our hope that the BFUs who reached Bronze status will continue to make progress and inspire other universities to take steps towards healthier and more active campuses. We look forward to the growing list of Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze awardees in the years to come.