Top 5 bicycle friendly universities in the US
Do you go to a bike friendly university? Source: Tobias Cornille/Unsplash

To understand the severity of climate change, you only have to type the phrase into a search engine and scroll through the reports. All of wthem list the negatives – because really, there are no positives.

As we sink deeper into environmental destruction, what are universities doing to inspire students and help them make an impact?

According to the author, John Lanchester, “The prospect of leaving a broken world for our descendants is the clearest call to action on climate change we will ever get.”

And this is a call we cannot ignore, many universities are rapidly transforming their campus environments and implementing convenient cycling facilities.

Cycling encourages ecological solutions. Source: Giphy

To honour this, The League of American Bicyclists (LAB) have released the top ‘bicycle friendly’ universities in the US.

LAB believes that, “Bicycling brings people together. When more people ride bikes, life is better for everyone. Communities are safer, stronger and better connected, our nation is healthier, economically stronger, environmentally cleaner and more energy independent.”

In a bid to make universities aware of their environmental impact and how they can alter a student’s mindset, they have created the Bicycle Friendly University Awards.

For Chad Larsen, the Manager of Commuter Services at the University of Utah, the awards programme has been a godsend.

As Larsen explains, “The application gave us ideas how we can improve bicycling on campus. We will be addressing our bicycle subcommittee making sure we have all the departments represented. We appreciate the recognition, so we can influence administration for future funding.”

By giving academic institutions across America the incentive to improve their cycling facilities, universities and their students have something incredibly valuable to work towards.

Does this inspire you to buy a bicycle for campus commutes? Source: Blubel/ Unsplash

Here are the Top 5 Bicycle Friendly Universities for 2019 that achieved gold status…

1. University of Kentucky

With a bikeshare scheme and a commitment to bicycling since it first applied to the Bicycle Friendly University program in 2011, Kentucky has claimed first place.

Offering a bike voucher programme, free commute planning assistance and free bike permits to help deter bike theft, the university has also entered into a partnership with Spin, a stationless bike-sharing service to increase mobility across campus.

2. University of Maryland, College Park

Securing second place, the University of Maryland has a core focus on safety and physical wellness.

With a campus that supplies students with free bike repair resources, covered bike parking, discounted equipment, classes on bike safety and group rides, the university has been named a Gold Level Bicycle Friendly University by the League of American Bicyclists.

3. Harvard University

Harvard offers a number of services designed to promote bike access and safety, including a unique reimbursement system called the Bike Benefit Programme.

But creative projects such as the ‘Bling-Your-Bike’ event, for which the university provided lights and reflectors for bikes, may have helped win judges over!

4. Dickinson College

With newly covered bike racks and indoor bike storage inside the new High Street Residence Hall, Dickinson has numerous bicycling amenities for students to use.

Facilities include The Handlebar, an on-campus teaching bike repair co-op, and incentives like the Green Bikes Programme, which loans bikes built by Handlebar volunteers to students, faculty and staff for semester-long use.

5. University of Utah

Utah strongly believes that cycling to campus saves time, money and the planet.

At this university in Utah, you don’t have to search for vehicle parking or pay for a permit. The majority of campus buildings have a bike rack at or near a building entrance, giving you a free parking space. The university even has its very own campus bike shop for repairs located in its Annex.

These are the top five, but you can check out the full list of universities here to see if yours made the cut!

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