Indiana University Bloomington At #BikeSummit22
Bicycle Friendly Universities (BFUs) not only make it safer and easier for students, faculty and staff to get around by bike, but they also leverage the power of bicycling to improve the health, sustainability and connectivity of their community by getting more people on bikes.
Two of our 2021 Bicycle Friendly University awardees, the University of Pittsburgh and Indiana University Bloomington, joined us at the League’s 2022 National Bike Summit to discuss how they are encouraging more bike commuters on campus. Before the Summit, you met the University of Pittsburgh and learned how they are getting more students on bikes through their campus bike share, now meet Indiana University Bloomington (IU).
Known for being the home of Little 500, the largest collegiate bike race in the United States, Indiana University Bloomington in Bloomington, Indiana, has also been a part of the Bicycle Friendly University program since the program launched in 2011. 10 years later, in our 2021 round of BFU awards, IU Bloomington has officially been promoted from a Silver-level to a Gold-level designation and continues to show just how much it loves seeing people on bikes, whether they are racing around a quarter-mile cinder track or racing to class.
“Indiana University Bloomington’s progress from an original 2011 Bronze status, to Silver in 2017 and now to Gold is a testament to the campus’ true commitment to bicycling,” said Amelia Neptune, director of the League’s Bicycle Friendly America program. “It has been awesome to watch them earn the Gold through efforts like the completed construction of the Ballantine Bike Hub, new protected bike lanes on campus, the Fall Family Bike Fest annual event, a new Commuter Action Plan, a peer-to-peer mentor program and other innovative outreach methods.”
New Commuter Action Plan
During the 2022 National Bike Summit Networking and Professional Development for Bicycle Friendly Universities virtual session, Anna Louise Dragovich, IU Bloomington’s transportation demand management coordinator and bicycle manager, presented on IU Bloomington’s Commuter Action Plan, which was developed in the Fall of 2021.
“With people returning to campus we wanted to capture this opportunity for people to change their transportation behavior,” said Anna. “We put together the Commuter Action Plan which helps people think through which mode they’d like to take (biking included), the barriers they’ll need to overcome and how they will overcome them. It also asks them how many times per week they will commit to this mode of transportation and they sign a ‘pledge’ at the end.”
In her presentation, Anna suggests that converting students, faculty and staff to bike commuters requires presenting bicycle commuting as a more feasible option than most people view it to be. For example, IU Bloomington offers a personalized route planning service with safe and reliable routes to help people feel more comfortable traveling to, from, and around campus on a bike.
Bike Commuter Parking
As we have seen with many of our 222 Bicycle Friendly Universities, people who bike on campus value secure and ample bike parking since a lack of places to park their bike and concerns about bike theft are a barrier for many potential bicyclists. IU Bloomington called for the completed construction of a secure, indoor bike parking garage in its 2015 Bicycle Master Plan.
Open in March 2020, the Ballantine Bike Hub is secured by key card access, contains racks for over 100 bicycles, houses two fix-it stations and a bike parts vending machine, and is approximately 1,500 square feet in size. Accessible bike parking is also incorporated, with approximately 10 spaces on the floor reserved for those who cannot physically lift their bike to a vertical position or have a larger bike that won’t fit in vertical racks.
The campus also has 120 bike lockers available at two on-campus residence locations that are available to students, faculty, and staff. In 2019, exterior signage was added to the bike lockers for easy wayfinding and advertisement for campus bike parking.
Supporting Campus Bicycling In Other Ways
IU Bloomington also gets more students riding by ensuring that bicycling on campus benefits everyone. There are two large bicycling initiatives that support students. Money raised by the Little 500 goes towards a scholarship fund for working IU students and the university has organized a fundraising campaign, called the Kind Commute Campaign, to support the Crimson Cupboard, the campus’ food pantry which offers free, healthy food to IU Bloomington students who struggle with food insecurity.
The Kind Commute Campaign launched in November 2021 and encouraged IU students, faculty, and staff to log 1,000 sustainable commutes (bike, walk, transit, etc.) for a $1,000 donation to the Crimson Cupboard. The intent was to make the first year wildly successful in order to grow the campaign and ultimately advance both food justice as well as sustainable transportation issues on campus. The campaign was a success with over 1195 commutes logged by 233 individuals and 12 additional, but separate donations made to the Crimson Cupboard during the campaign’s 30-day run.
Off of its newly-achieved Gold status, IU Bloomington will continue to make increasing bicycle commuting on campus a priority, including reevaluating and developing the new Commuter Action Plan. Also in the plans is growing a student-led bicycle advocacy and advisory group. The group was officially formed in February 2022 but outreach to students is underway and will specifically target international, LGBT+ and BIPOC students. Currently, the campus is concluding a bike theft study/assessment with an internal report to be submitted to IU leadership soon.
For Anna’s full #BikeSummit22 presentation on IU Bloomington’s bike commuter efforts, watch the recording of Networking and Professional Development for Bicycle Friendly Universities below and gather more ideas on improving bicycle commuting on your campus.
If you’re a college or university and would like to apply for Bicycle Friendly University designation or learn how your campus could be better for people who bike, visit bikeleague.org/university. The deadline to apply for our 2022 round of awards is August 10, 2022.