Is your Campus Bike Friendly?

When choosing a college and university to attend, one of the first things that may not cross anyone's mind is:  How transportation friendly is the particular school in terms of alternative transportation?  Does the school have bike paths whereby students, faculty, staff, etc. can get around the campus with relative ease on a bicycle as opposed to a car, bus, or some other traditional form of transportation?  In other words, the question should be:  Is your campus an innovative transportation leader in the 21st Century?

To answer that question, the Bike League organization did a study of many campuses throughout the U.S. to see which ones are bike friendly.  The organization awarded various campuses either a platinum, silver, gold, or bronze award based on their demonstrated commitment and dedication to being biker friendly.

According to the Bike League's  study, the college campuses received such awards based on how well they met the following five criteria, which  included: Engineering, encouragement, education, enforcement, and evaluation and planning.  The two most important criteria, therefore, from an environmentally transportation perspective is whether the college truly encourages its students, faculty, staff, and others to bike in place of driving, etc and whether they also the criteria of engineering--how well designed is the college or university to accommodate bikers versus motorists.

It turns out there are some truly innovative colleges and universities who meet the Bike League's study criteria when it comes to being biker friendly.  According to the Bike League's study, some of the universities that make it in the top 10 in terms of being biker transportation friendly include Stanford University which received the Platinum award and the Universities of California Davis and Santa Barbara which received the Gold awards.

Thus, what separates schools like UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara, and Stanford from the others is that they have made their overall campus atmosphere and design more conducive to alternative transportation.  Thus, colleges and universities in their quest to educate the next generation of leaders, should be leaders themselves and set the appropriate example for what is required in the 21st Century.

The 21st Century is one characterized by an eco-consciousness and schools like Stanford University are leaders in the sense that they have recognized this phenomenon and have taken advantage of it.  Being biker friendly, therefore, starts with creating the atmosphere, education, and overall leadership from the top down that instills a culture of eco-consciousness.  Schools like Stanford University have recognized the value of green alternative transportation and become role models for other universities to follow.  Hopefully, other universities will follow suit.

Photo Credit:  Tukka