It looks like the age-old rivalries among the Ivy League are taking a new shape: the race for gold in bike-friendliness. Harvard University now joins the likes of Princeton and Yale as Bicycle Friendly Universities (BFU).
Today, the League announced the designation of 14 new Bicycle Friendly Universities, expanding the program to 58 colleges in 30 states across America.
“More and more young people are getting on their bicycles instead of in their cars,” says Andy Clarke, League President. “The League commends universities like Harvard that are embracing that trend by providing better access and improved safety for bicyclists on their campuses.”
At Harvard, a new Silver-level BFU, there are plenty of options to travel by bike at the Cambridge, Mass., campus. With a Departmental Bike Program — which involves 20 departments and offers the purchase of bicycles over reliance on a car or taxi around campus — and two bike share programs, Harvard has cemented its commitment to bicycling as a sustainable, healthy and environmentally conscious transportation choice.
“Our students, faculty and staff have created a vibrant bicycling community and, in partnership with Harvard’s Schools, departments and community partners, we’re working to make the University safer and more accommodating for bicyclists,” said Harvard University Commuter Choice program coordinator Ben Hammer. “Harvard’s strong support of bicycling makes the University stronger and helps our community explore alternatives to driving that are healthier and better for the environment.”
The high marks don’t end with the Ivy League. Also taking home honors this round is the University of California, Berkeley, which received a Silver award for its efforts to make bicycling accessible on campus.
“It’s a great honor to receive this award from the League,” says Greg Haet, Chair of the Campus Bicycle Committee at Berkeley. “The number of students, faculty, and staff coming to the campus by bicycle continues to increase, and we’re working hard to make Cal a better place for our growing cycling community. This award confirms that we’re on the right track, and motivates us to continue making improvements.”
In the Midwest, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln was awarded with a Silver, as well. The campus’s new Outdoor Adventure Center is just one of the reasons the Lincoln, Neb., university received the award. It provides bicycle repair opportunities, access to 24-hour end-of-commute shower facilities and bike locker storage. The University is also working on a new master plan, which will include multi-modal transportation priorities and projections for new bike infrastructure.
“The Bicycle Transportation Committee has worked diligently to evaluate, assess and execute a number of initiatives to support the university’s goal of becoming a Bicycle Friendly University,” says Steve Smith, University of Nebraska-Lincoln spokesman. “Bicycling is on the rise at UNL, and is increasingly seen as a healthy, supportable method of getting to, from and around campus. We’re pleased that UNL’s new designation will bring renewed attention to the university’s as well as the City of Lincoln’s progress in this important area.”
(Photos: A student shows off her bicycle at Campus Bike Day in Berkeley at left; Students ride their bicycles on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus at bottom)
Liz MurphyMs. Murphy joined the League in January 2013. She previously worked as a reporter covering the Justice Department. Liz has journalism and women's studies degrees from Penn State University. She commutes to work on her bright red bike daily.