Bicycle Friendly Universities Go Back To School
It’s back-to-school time and Bicycle Friendly Universities (BFUs) are gearing up to present bicycling as the best transportation option on campus as they welcome new and returning students, faculty and staff for the fall semester.
Encouraging children and young adults to drive less and bike more has many benefits, from fostering a healthier, safer, more connected community to instilling a life-long habit of being physically active. Communities, businesses and universities play a critical role in encouraging more people to choose bikes by offering a variety of opportunities and incentives to ride.
We asked a few BFUs what they do to promote and introduce bicycling to incoming students (freshmen, transfers or international students). Read their answers below and borrow their ideas to make your campus bicycling efforts well-known!
Colorado State University (CSU) in Fort Collins, Colorado, has been a Bicycle Friendly University since the program launched in 2011 and achieved Platinum status in Fall 2015.
Newly-enrolled students at CSU soon discover that bicycles are a strong part of our campus and the culture of Platinum-level Bicycle Friendly Community Fort Collins. We have a one-hour online transportation education module, CSU Moves, that we offer to each incoming student that includes videos and additional online content introducing them to transportation options on campus. We most recently promoted the training to all incoming students for the Fall 2022 semester through a summer mailing and will continue to promote it during move-in and early in the semester. Eventually, we see the training becoming mandatory for all incoming students.
Another big event we host welcomes new students to CSU and our bike culture, our annual We Ride event, which we put on for students during their move-in weekend right before classes start. We give out free helmets, lights, and this year, u-locks, while talking to students about all the upcoming free bike education opportunities they have at CSU. We also demonstrate the proper use of a u-lock, teach them how to load their bicycle on the bus, introduce them to our on-campus bike shop, The Spoke, and let them chat with CSU Police about how to avoid a ticket and stay safe on the road.
Stanford University in Stanford, California, has been a Platinum-level Bicycle Friendly University since it was first recognized in 2011. Stanford also holds the honor of being the first to receive a Platinum-level BFU designation.
Stanford offers a complete orientation for new students. Every spring in the Approaching Stanford Guidebook that is sent to the incoming class, we include information for new students about bike safety, rules of the road and all of our active mobility transportation options. During New Student Orientation week, we offer special webinars, on-the-bike skills training and Bicycle Safety Road Shows for FROSH dorms, which continue to be offered throughout the year.
We partner with Stanford Public Safety, our campus shuttle bus drivers, our Campus Bike Shop and our Bike Safety Committee members to host and plan these events. The Top Ten Rules we have for campus bicycling are captured in a short 30-minute online orientation called Get Ready to Roll. This webinar provides more insight into how to ride safely around the campus and be respectful of those sharing the campus. This and other bike safety webinars are all posted on the Stanford Transportation YouTube that also includes Share the Road, Bike Buying Guide and How to Map a Bike Route for our commuting students, staff and faculty.
For the 2022/2023 school year, we are most excited about our new mobile concierge, the newly named Petite Marguerite. Petite Marguerite carries on the legacy of sustainable transportation history at Stanford as the horse that pulled the first cart and buggy on campus in the 1890s was named Marguerite and our current shuttle bus service is named Marguerite as well! Our new custom-designed e-cargo bike will take us to all New Student events and campus happenings in a more efficient and economical way! No gas-driven vehicles to transport tables and supplies. The built-in bike racks allow us to load even more supplies. It’s the minivan of e-bikes—and it’s belt driven, which eliminates all chain lube, making it one very clean machine. We’re very excited to see where bringing this new e-cargo bike on campus takes us!
Boise State University is a Gold-level Bicycle Friendly University in Boise, Idaho, a Silver-level Bicycle Friendly Community. Its on-campus bike shop, Cycle Learning Center, has been a Bicycle Friendly Business since 2014 and achieved Platinum status in our Spring 2022 round of BFB awards.
We are preparing the campus for our newest riders with fresh route-finding sharrows and bike lanes. In addition to revamping our bicycling facilities, there is a fleet of nearly 100 rental bikes getting overhauled and ready to go out for the year. Also, about 80 additional new and used bikes are being built and refurbished to be sold to students at an affordable price during our Move-In sale.
We’ll also be leading campus and downtown Boise bike tours twice a week and tabling at resource fairs to introduce the community to the Cycle Learning Center bike shop and all of the various services it offers, from bike sales to bike registrations. We will also be introducing a new series of social rides, like weekly mountain biking, in hopes to bring out all sorts of people and riders.
Our one-credit Bicycle Maintenance course has full enrollment for this upcoming semester, and other free workshops are being advertised. Moving forward, we are integrating our bicycle transportation options with other local modalities, such as e-scooter, shuttle buses, vanpools, and a new city bike share. There’s lots of excitement to see a variety of transportation options overlap and complement one another. Ensuring that our community is aware of these opportunities is a top priority.
If you’d like to learn more about how you can improve bicycling on your campus or become a Bicycle Friendly University, visit bikeleague.org/university. Applications for our 2023 round of awards will open soon and the next annual deadline will be in August 2023.