The League of American Bicyclists recently awarded 20 bike-friendly designations to colleges and universities across the US. Stanford University leads the group as the only school to receive the League's highest 'platinum' award.
The institutions were given awards based on the same criteria that the League uses rank US cities. The ranging consists of five criteria: engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement and planning.
Platinum winner, California-based Stanford University have maintained a cycling-friendly campus since 1891 and they currently have more than 13,000 cyclists on campus daily, according to Adriadne Scott, school’s Bicycle Program Coordinator. “We encourage, reward and incent everyone to ride a bike and offer multiple programs and promotions to promote bike safety for all campus users,” she said.
Scott outlined several core cycling-related programs offered at Stanford, including: free bike safety classes twice a month, incentives for discount helmet purchases, a bike citation diversion class for riders who are cited, where they can attend the free bike class in lieu of paying a fine.
In addition, the university provide free commute plans for bicyclists, safe and convenient bike racks at all academic buildings, a bike buddy program, as well as bike and clothing lockers for commuters.
Some cycling-related incentives provide an opportunity for students, staff and faculty of the university to join the Stanford Commute Club that includes more than 7,000 members who are committed to commute to the university by alternative modes of transportation instead of driving.
“The results prove to be successful,” Scott said. “Stanford University’s employee drive-alone rate dropped from 72 percent in 2002 to 48 percent in 2010. Our bike commute rate for university commuters is 21.7 percent.”
The League of American Bicyclist has created a wide array of Bike-Friendly initiatives across states, communities and businesses.
The Bike-Friendly University program was launched last October and serves to recognize institutions of higher education for promoting and providing a more bicycle-friendly campus for students, staff and visitors.
Sunny California Universities lead the League’s rankings
California-based institutions rank the highest in the country. After Stanford University’s platinum award, there are three gold awards for the University of California at Davis, University of California at Santa Barbara and California State Long Beach.
“California has some great weather and a lot of bicycle friendly communities out there,” said Megan Cahill, press officer at the League of American Bicyclists. “Stanford was already a bike-friendly community before the University program started. A lot of areas in California were already headed in the right direction and their Universities followed suit.”
Other schools that ranked high on the list receiving silver awards included Colorado State University, Portland State University, University of Arizona, University of Oregon, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, University of Washington and the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
Scott offered valuable advice to those universities wanting to earn a designation with the League of American Bicyclists Bike-Friendly University program. “Our success is attributable to our solid relationships and support with multiple departments on the campus including among them Sustainability and Energy Management, Planning, Public Safety, Road Maintenance, Maps and Records, Stanford School of Medicine and Stanford Trauma & Injury Prevention Program, and others,” she said.
“Benchmarking best practices from other communities on a local, state, national and global level is a great way to learn,” she said.