Frequently Asked Questions
Here you'll find answers to some of the most common questions communities have about the Bicycle Friendly Businesses (BFB) process. If you don't see your question on the list, email us at [email protected] for assistance.
- Why should my business apply to become a BFB?
- What are the characteristics of a Bicycle Friendly Business?
- Where can I find reports and case studies?
Questions for Applicants:
- Is there an application or renewal fee associated with the application?
- When is the next application deadline?
- Is my business eligible to apply?
- How long does the application take to fill out?
- How do I apply?
- Who in the business should complete the application?
- I started an application but won't be able to complete it before the deadline - can I save my data for the next application round?
- How long are awards valid for?
- Does the renewing process differ from my first application?
- What happens after I apply?
- How are award levels determined?
- What happens if my business doesn't qualify?
- What kind of promotion does my business get as a BFB?
- What is the difference between the BFB Program and the Ontario By Bike Network?
- How do I organize an awards ceremony?
- How do I order more signs or BFB promotional materials?
Questions for Residents and Advocates:
When bicycling is infused in an office or corporate culture, great things happen. People who are encouraged to commute by bike to and from work, run errands by bike, take a spin at lunchtime, or bike in their leisure time perform better at their jobs because they’re energized and alert. A healthy workforce also reduces the rate of absenteeism.
Businesses that promote bicycling are recognized for being green and socially responsible. They are conscious of their carbon footprint, aware of their impact on the environment, and are willing to think and act creatively in order to improve the quality of life for employees, their families and the greater community. A Bicycle Friendly Business attracts and retains employees, because people want to be part of a positive environment.
The Bicycle Friendly Business program also provides technical assistance on how to become more bicycle friendly. The program offers great resources to help improve a business’s bicycling accessibility, promotion and awareness within the workplace.
The BFB process is designed to accomodate businesses of all shapes and sizes - from "mom and pop" shops to fortune 500 companies. It presents a rich array of options for businesses to choose from to fit their particular context to make their business more bicycle friendly, but in general a Bicycle Friendly Business has bike parking and other end of trip facilities, programs designed to encourage and incentivize cycling for their employees, corporate communications that have a focus on bike safety and safe road use and programs to monitor progress and work towards new goals. The flexibility of the program provides businesses with choices across "the 4 Es": Engineering, Encouragement, Education and Evaluation and Planning, to become Bicycle Friendly, so no two BFBs ever really look the same!
Share the Road is in the process of creating a BFB resources page. Keep an eye on this page and sign up for BFB Updates by registering for the BFB Partner mailing list here. For now, check out the League of American Bicyclsts' Resources Page for guidance.
Yes. All businesses* pay an application fee based on the number of employees at the applying location of the business (only one location is allowed per application).
|Number of Employees at Applying Location||Application Fee|
|1-49 employees or Non-profit/Government (of any size)||$50|
|1,000 or more employees||$500|
The next deadline for the BFB Program is still to be determined. Applicants are encouraged to complete the application, and will then be notified via email when judging is beginning.
The Bicycle Friendly Business program welcomes applications from any business, corporation, organization, association, government agency, or nonprofit group located in Ontario with two or more employees.
Businesses with only one employee or that are entirely volunteer-run (no paid employees) may receive exceptions ONLY if they have 2 or more customers, volunteers, or guests visiting their business on a daily basis.
Home offices are not eligible for the BFB designation.
We encourage applications from large and small businesses with single or multiple locations, however, only one location may be considered per application. Businesses with multiple locations may submit separate applications for each location.
A campus with more than one building in the same area may apply as a single location.
Depending on how well you know the programs taking place at your business and the variety of information you need to collect, the application process should take between 45-90 minutes, on average. Of course, businesses that are doing a lot for cycling will take a bit longer in filling out the application, as there will be more data to fill in.
Visit the Getting Started page to learn more about the application process.
To complete the most comprehensive application, the applicant should be aware of all aspects of the business's bicycle-related activities and efforts. We encourage the applicant to consult workplace cyclists to help advise on the business's true environment for cycling.
Please be certain that the leaders of the business (for example the CEO, CFO, CSR) are consulted before applying.
If you have started an application and missed the deadline or are reapplying, you can transfer your data as soon as the new cycle opens.
To transfer data from one application to the next,
- access your application desktop and click on “Copy Form” next to the last application you have been working on.
- Select the new cycle you want to transfer your data to. Click “Submit.”
- You can now edit the new application.
- Note that questions that have changed since the last application will not transfer answer data, so it is important to double check all your answers.
BFB awards are valid for four years. If your award is coming up for renewal, Share the Road staff will contact you to let you know.
Both new and renewing applicants fill out the same application form.
Once an application cycle is completed, applications and any submitted supplemental material are reviewed by a panel of provincial bicycle professionals. Applicants will be notified of the results of their application about 3 weeks after the application deadline, and about 2 weeks prior to a press release being sent out by Share the Road. All results are under a communications embargo until Share the Road's press release is made public, at which point results are free to be published.
A committee of specialists reviews each application and considers feedback from cyclists in the workplace and local bicycle advocacy groups in order to determine an organization’s level of recognition. Qualifying organizations are then awarded Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum or Diamond status.
Share the Road’s Bicycle Friendly Business award staff is available to provide assistance throughout the application process and will continue to work with awardees to implement bicycle-friendly programs and practices. Organizations that do not yet meet the standards for a Bicycle Friendly Business award may also receive assistance in order to encourage improvements and work toward official designation. Contact us at [email protected] with any questions.
Applicants that just fall short of a designation receive an Honorable Mention. The names of applicants that do not receive any recognition are not published. All applicants that do not achieve BFB status still receive a detailed feedback report that can be used to work towards a designation next time the community applies.
Share the Road recognizes each designated Bicycle Friendly Business with an award letter, window cling, certificate, and a formal local and provincial press announcement. Awardees will also be profiled through Share the Road's Social Media and on our website, and will be featured in our annual Bicycle Friendly Ontario Yearbook.
The Ontario By Bike Network offers a variety of information on cycling and cycle touring in Ontario helping residents and visitors to find great places to cycle, routes and trails, cycling maps and places to eat visit and sleep. For businesses to certify as bicycle friendly locations with Ontario By Bike, they must fall under one of the following categories: accommodations, food services, attractions, visitor information centres, cycling related businesses and business areas. Businesses do need to meet criteria and be located in a region where program is available. Registration and certification are free, and can be completed on-line by clicking here.
Depending on type of business, at Ontario By Bike certified bicycle friendly locations, cyclists can count on:
- Secure bike lock-up areas
- Local cycling information on hand
- Basic bicycle repair tool set
- Healthy , local food options
- Accessible rest areas and water
The Bicycle Friendly Business (BFB) Program provides businesses with the opportunity to be recognized for some of the initiatives that customers might not see - and provides businesses that don't interact with customers on a daily basis the opportunity to showcase some of the ways that they promote a healthy, productive workspace. Initiatives like cycling education for employees, bike to work day participation, an employee bike-sharing program and other trip-reduction plans can highlight a strong degree of corporate social responsibility, making the business more attractive to potential employees and providing a connection to their customers who also care about creating active, sustainable transportation systems.
An important part of the BFB designation is the official presentation of the award to the business. The following steps are usually involved in setting up an award ceremony:
- Choose a date and location.
- Share the Road will attempt to identify a representative to present the award – the representative may be a Share the Road staff person or board member, a representative from one of our partner organizations, the head of a local club, a member of the bike industry, or other appropriate person. If you have a preference, please let Share the Road staff know. Share the Road will provide talking points for the presentation.
- Share the Road can assist you in developing a press release for your business’s announcement of the award ceremony. Most businesses use their communications department to distribute the press release.
If you are designated a BFB you may order additional signage and promotional materials by contacting Share the Road's Bicycle Friendly Business Manager at [email protected]