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Four CA Colleges Win 2014 Bicycle Friendly University Awards

UC Santa Cruz won a Silver-level Bicycle Friendly University Award this year from the League of American Bicyclists. Photo: Melanie Curry

Congratulations to several California colleges that won 2014 Bicycle Friendly University (BFU) awards from the League of American Bicyclists. Thirteen California colleges have made the list in the last few years.

New this year are the University of California, Santa Cruz, which won a Silver-level award, and Pomona College and Santa Monica College, which both won Bronze. The University of La Verne also won a renewal of its Silver-level status.

Here are the California colleges that hold standing as Bicycle Friendly Universities:

PlatinumUniversity of California, DavisStanford University

GoldUniversity of California, Santa Barbara

SilverUniversity of La VerneUniversity of California, IrvineUniversity of California, BerkeleyUniversity of California, Santa CruzCalifornia State University, Long Beach

BronzeUniversity of San DiegoUniversity of California, Los AngelesCalifornia Institute of TechnologyPomona CollegeSanta Monica College

The BFU program has been in place since 2011, awarding recognition to one hundred colleges and universities throughout the country for their work to make bicycling a safe and convenient way to travel to and around campus.

Schools must apply for the award by filling out a lengthy online application.

“We try to create an application that offers flexibility,” said Amelia Neptune, the Bike League's program manager. “So small colleges with few roads can still brag about what they're doing for bicyclists, even though their needs are very different than at large universities.”

The League sends out a survey to campus users at the schools that apply, and taps a list of local and national reviewers to help out. Each campus is judged on how well it fulfills bicycling needs in five categories:

    • Engineering (bike lanes, fix-it stations, showers, bike lockers)
    • Education (campaigns, bike maps, classes —academic classes on bike planning, for example, as well as safety/skills classes)
    • Encouragement (bike clubs, events, and rides)
    • Enforcement (bike registration programs, ways to recover lost or stolen bikes, police training on bike laws and safety, police bike patrols and policies)
    • Evaluation and planning (campus bike planning and programming, policies, goals; systems to track the number of bike riders or parking)

To get a Bronze-level award, a college has to have at least one program in all five categories and excel in one of them. Santa Monica College, a Bronze-level winner, offers organized rides, a mentoring program for new riders, information to incoming students and new faculty and staff about riding on campus, and bike valet parking at events. It also has a cash incentive program for employees who bike, walk, carpool, or take transit to campus.

To get a Silver-level award, a school needs to excel in two of the categories; three to four categories for Gold. And to get Platinum, excellence in all five categories is required. California has two! UC Davis, for example, offers information, bike valet parking, bike tours and rides, car-free days on campus, commuter events, campus-wide traffic calming measures, speed limits of 20 mph or lower on campus streets, bicycle roundabouts and colored bike lanes, and car-free zones on campus. All that helps foster a campus culture where bicycling is the norm.

But, as Neptune explained, the award isn't just about letting bike-friendly universities gloat.

“One of most satisfying things about this program is when a school who didn't win -- who got honorable mention or something -- takes our feedback, then reapplies after a few years, and wins,” said Neptune. “They use the feedback we give them on their application to create a plan, to organize a committee, and respond, improving their bike facilities and programs.”

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