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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

University programs promote bicycling

From the New York Times, 10.19.08:

With Free Bikes, Challenging Car Culture on Campus
BIDDEFORD, Me. — When Kylie Galliani started at the University of New England in August, she was given a key to her dorm, a class schedule and something more unusual: a $480 bicycle. “I was like, ‘A free bike, no catch?’ ” Ms. Galliani, 17, a freshman from Fort Bragg, Calif., asked. “It’s really an ideal way to get around the campus.”

University administrators and students nationwide are increasingly feeling that way too. The University of New England and Ripon College in Wisconsin are giving free bikes to freshmen who promise to leave their cars at home. Other colleges are setting up free bike sharing or rental programs, and some universities are partnering with bike shops to offer discounts on purchases.

The goal, college and university officials said, is to ease critical shortages of parking and to change the car culture that clogs campus roadways and erodes the community feel that comes with walking or biking around campus.

“We’re seeing an explosion in bike activity,” said Julian Dautremont-Smith, associate director of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, a nonprofit association of colleges and universities. “It seems like every week we hear about a new bike sharing or bike rental program.”

Here at the University of New England, officials wonder what will happen when snow starts falling, but they are looking toward bike-sharing programs in cities like Copenhagen and Montreal as proof that they can work in the cold.(Read more.)
University students are prime recruits for bicycle commuting: young, relatively fit, cash-poor. (Unfortunately, some insecure college students are also vulnerable to the illusory ego-boosting image of car culture.) As an employee at the most bicycling intensive campus in North America--the University of California, Davis--I've been very happy to see the bike promotion initiatives popping up at university campuses across the U.S. This article from the New York Times provides a great summary.

Other higher education initiatives of interest include Michigan State University's bike leasing project; the seven-year-old "cruiser co-op" at the University of Montana; the Ramwheels program at Colorado State University; the used bicycle recycling efforts at Framingham State University; and the bike lending program at the University of Missouri Kansas City.

Other bicycling programs in academia? If you are a university student, faculty, or staff, what is your campus doing to encourage or discourage bicycle use? Any suggestions for encouraging college students to persist with bicycling after they graduate?

Image: University of New England. Bikes are labeled with student names.
Visit: No cars, free bikes for UNE freshmen, Portland Press-Herald
Visit: UC San Diego Campus on Fast Track to Fewer Cars, Newswise
Visit: Bicycle program booming at the University of South Carolina, Island Packet (Hilton Head)
Visit: Cal's Green Bike Share Program, PlayGreen Blog
Visit: Administrators consider instituting project for campus bicycle use, Murray State News (Kentucky)
Visit: SPOKES students put the fun between their legs, The Martlet
Visit: Colleges use rewards to entice students, staff to go green, San Diego Union-Tribune
Visit: Class aims to promote bicycling, The Oxford Press (OH)
Visit: Campus loans out dumped bicycles, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Visit: On-campus bike use proves helpful for environment, Daily Campus (University of Connecticut)
Visit: Bike co-op makes campus commute quicker, easier, The Hawk (St. Joseph's University, Philadelphia)
Visit: Bikes made fashionable for college, Bikes Commute Tips Blog
Visit: David Takemoto-Weerts: The collegiate cycling environment, Bike Commute Tips Blog
Visit: Colorado study on collegiate helmet use, Bike Commute Tips Blog
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips Site


Tommy O. said...

Heres another: the Boone Bicycle Initiative. A coordinated effort with Appalachian State University that was started with some EPA grant funds.

Abhishek said...

This is very progressive.

I remember one of the few culture shocks I had when I came to the university here is the abundance of parking lots inside the campus. I did not realize how students could afford cars. Now I know that cars are easily bought on credit and are a necessity in North America.

In such an environment, to be giving away bikes is truly commendable.

velocycling said...

I too, work for a University and think it is good for the students to see their professors riding around campus. Role modeling. University need to make parking permits more costly and farther away from classes. I beleive this to be true for businesses as well. This policy got me to give up my car.

Anonymous said...

I think I've read San Diego State has banned bikes from the campus. But they sure have LARGE parking lots.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Missouri State University doesn't have a bicycle program, but it does two things that promote riding:

1. MSU has an extensive network of bicycle paths that take you to every part of campus.

2. The university provides many wave-style bicycle racks. In the past two years, these racks have become increasingly full. We're pushing for more.

The university's central location makes it a cycling hub of sorts -- it's trails spit you out to all four corners of town, including downtown just off the NW corner of campus.

Anonymous said...

clark university, near framingham state is in the process of creating a bike-sharing program where students would sign out a bike with their college id card and then use it for errands and such

Anonymous said...

Here in New Haven, a Yalie started The New Haven Bike Collective. check 'em out:

Unknown said...

I am one of two bike mechanics at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. We are part of the U-Bike program. We take old bicycles donated by community members and police stations and bring them back to life. With the help of local shops, we have created a fleet of 70 bikes in only a few semesters that are now being used by students, free of charge.