UChicago honored for bicycle friendliness

March 9, 2011

The first-ever Bicycle Friendly University (BFU) designations were announced this week at the National Bike Summit, with the University of Chicago receiving an Honorable Mention. Among the 32 universities that applied, 20 are receiving designations. The program recognizes colleges and universities that create exceptional environments where bicycling can thrive and provides a roadmap and technical assistance to create great campuses for bicycling.

“Universities have long served as incubators for developing bike-friendly cultures and practices, and that has a big impact on the expectations that students bring to the workplace and beyond,” said Bill Nesper, director of the League’s Bicycle Friendly America Program. “With the launch of the Bicycle Friendly Universities program, we’re able to highlight the crucial role that academic institutions play in shaping a more bike-friendly future.”

This first class of BFUs shows the wide variety of ways to promote bicycling on campus from great bicycling facilities like those at UC-Davis and safe, convenient bike parking at the University of Minnesota, to incentive programs for students and staff to ride at Emory University.

“There is a lot of enthusiasm on campus for cycling,” reports Ilsa Flanagan, Director of Sustainability, “and providing alternative transportation options is a priority of the University’s sustainability program. So we wanted, first and foremost, to take advantage of the League’s comprehensive and transparent application process to help us evaluate our progress in making this a safe, accessible campus for cyclists.”

Current efforts to promote and support bicycling at the U of C include bicycle registration with the University of Chicago’s Police Department, the University’s participation in the City of Chicago’s Bike to Work Week and car-free days, and the main quadrangle’s car-free zone which encourages increased bicycle and pedestrian traffic. Furthermore, the recycles bike share program, in partnership with nonprofit Blackstone Bicycle Works, offers free bike rentals to students, faculty and staff.

Promoting bicycling is a simple solution to many challenges we face as a nation - improving sustainability, physical activity and quality of life. The League of American Bicyclists’ Bicycle Friendly America program has helped communities, businesses, states, and now universities improve conditions for bicycling, creating the types of places where people want to live, work and visit.

“Overall, the entire process helped to highlight areas in which the University of Chicago can become more bicycle-friendly,” stated Steve Wiesenthal, Associate Vice President for Facilities Services and University Architect. “We are proud of the University’s Honorable Mention designation and will continue to strengthen the University’s bicycling community as we move forward with the overall campus master plan.”

2011 Spring Bicycle Friendly University Winners

Platinum

Stanford University

Gold

University of California Davis

University of California Santa Barbara

Silver

California State University Long Beach

Colorado State University

Portland State University

University of Arizona

University of California Irvine

University of Minnesota

University of Oregon

University of Washington

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Bronze

Boise State University

Cornell University

Emory University

Indiana University

Michigan State University

University of California Los Angeles

University of Maryland College Park

University of North Carolina Greensboro

2011 BFU Honorable Mentions: Duke University, Macalester College, University of Central Oklahoma, University of Chicago, University of Cincinnati, University of Hawaii, University of Kentucky, University of Missouri-Kansas City, University of Texas -Austin, and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee