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National group recognizes WKU as Bicycle Friendly University

Bicycling is on the rise, especially among the young people who are turning away from car ownership in large numbers. More and more people are getting on bikes instead, and colleges like WKU are leading the way in making riding safer and more convenient on campus.

The League of American Bicyclists has named WKU a Bronze Level Bicycle Friendly University. (WKU photo by Clinton Lewis)

The League of American Bicyclists has named WKU a Bronze Level Bicycle Friendly University. (WKU photo by Clinton Lewis)

The League of American Bicyclists announced the latest round of Bicycle Friendly Universities (BFU) on Nov. 14 and WKU has been named a Bronze Level BFU.

“As our Bicycle Friendly University program grows, the promise for a more Bicycle Friendly America does, too. Colleges and universities propel our leaders of the future, and more and more of those students are choosing bicycles as their transportation option of choice,” said Andy Clarke, President of the League of American Bicyclists. “We commend universities, like Western Kentucky University, who are leading the way to a healthier, more sustainable future.”

The BFU program is revolutionizing the way universities evaluate their efforts in sustainability, transportation options, and quality of life, while allowing administrators to benchmark their progress toward improving their bicycle-friendliness. With this impressive round, there are now 75 BFUs in 32 states and Washington, D.C. The Bronze Level BFU award recognizes WKU’s commitment to improving conditions for bicycling through investment in bicycling promotion, education programs, infrastructure and pro-bicycling policies.

“Many people have been involved in creating an environment in which cycling is welcome. We’ve worked with the City to add bicycle lanes on Chestnut Street and a Greenways path that not only connects main campus to south campus, but reaches into the community as well. We’ve added bike racks throughout campus and ORAC has added a bike shop. Self-serve bike Fix It stations have been placed on campus by Big Red Bikes near the Greenways to help serve the community as well as campus. As a result of these efforts, bicycling is now a viable transportation mode choice for many on campus.  The full bike racks throughout campus are a testament to this,” said  Dr. Jennifer Tougas, Parking and Transportation Director at WKU. “We’re thankful that organizations such as LAB provide support and guidance for cycling efforts.  It’s nice that we’ve come as far as we have, but we still have more work to do. “

WKU received the Bronze Level award based off the evaluation of the five categories of bicycle friendliness: Engineering, Education, Encouragement, Enforcement, and Evaluation and planning. The Big Red Bikes program, located in the Office of Sustainability at WKU, submitted the application to bring recognition and awareness of how the campus has made great improvements for making bicycling on campus more friendly, healthy, and sustainable.

league-logo“We have been able to help with bicycling improvements on campus with funds we have received from the Kentucky Bicycle and Bikeway Commission’s Paula Nye Memorial Bicyclist and Pedestrian Education Grant,” said Madonna L. May, Coordinator for Big Red Bikes. “Achieving the status as a bicycle friendly university is a true honor, and shows the great partnership between Parking and Transportation, the Office of Sustainability, Big Red Bikes, and the Master Plan Committee.”

The program provides a roadmap to building a Bicycle Friendly University and the application has become a rigorous and educational tool, and the four levels of the award – platinum, gold, silver and bronze – provide a clear incentive for universities to continuously improve.

To apply or learn more about the free BFU program, visit www.bikeleague.org/university.

About the Bicycle Friendly America Program: The Bicycle Friendly Community, Bicycle Friendly State, Bicycle Friendly Business and Bicycle Friendly University programs are generously supported by program partner Trek Bicycles. To learn more about building a Bicycle Friendly America, visit www.bikeleague.org/bfa.  The League of American Bicyclists promotes bicycling for fun, fitness and transportation, and works through advocacy and education for a bicycle-friendly America. The League represents the interests of America’s 57 million bicyclists, including its 300,000 members and affiliates. For information or to support the League, visit www.bikeleague.org.

Contact: Christian Ryan-Downing, (270) 745-2508; or Madonna May, madonna.may240@topper.wku.edu

 

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