March 21, 2011
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University Bloomington has been named one of the first Bicycle Friendly Universities by the League of American Bicyclists.
The league announced the designations recently at the National Bike Summit in Washington D.C. IU earned a "bronze" award for its bicycle friendliness, valid from 2011 to 2015.
The League of American Bicyclists recognized 20 universities that "create exceptional environments where bicycling can thrive," according to an announcement from the group. Universities were cited for their efforts on everything from exceptional bike parking facilities to incentive programs for students and staff.
"University life shapes students' habits for the future," said Bill Nesper, director of the league's Bicycle Friendly America program. "They 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."
IU received the award on the basis of an application submitted by the Office of Sustainability, which included responses to 93 in-depth questions evaluating five categories of bicycle friendliness: engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement, and evaluation and planning.
Questions ranged from quantitative details, such as how many bicycle parking spaces are provided compared to the university population, to more expansive themes. In response to a question about signature bicycling events, IU provided information about the annual Little 500 bicycle race.
As a result of filling out the application, the IU Office of Sustainability has gained more recognition of cycling-related campus shortcomings. It is working on quantifying the bike-ability of roads on and near campus and on prioritizing needs based on the areas most in need of attention. These studies will be included in the University's Comprehensive Bike Plan, due next spring.
"This national recognition adds momentum to the recommendations in the Campus Master Plan to enhance bicycle transportation pathways and amenities on campus," Director of Sustainability Bill Brown said. "We look forward to working with campus and community to continuously improve IU Bloomington bicycling to make it a more safe, convenient and fun experience for everyone.
"We are forming a Bicycle Friendly University steering committee," Brown added, "and I urge interested parties to contact our office to get involved."
Since its inception in 1880, The American League of Bicyclists strives for better cycling throughout America. It hosts a variety of programs including National Bike Month, National Bike Summit, Share the Road Campaign and Safe Routes to School Program, all aimed to strengthen cycling in the U.S. For more information, see http://www.bikeleague.org.
For more information about IU participation in the Bicycle Friendly University program, contact Office of Sustainability transportation intern Amy O'Shea at email@example.com.