In a ranking released today by the League of American Bicyclists, CSU was in the top dozen cyclist friendly universities, solidly beating CU-Boulder.
â€œI think that CSU really deserves it,â€ said Dave â€œDKâ€ Kemp, the Fort Collins City bicycle coordinator. â€œCSU is really committed to planning for safe bicycling on campus and trying really hard to attract all sorts of new cyclists.â€
CSU was one of 20 of 32 applicants that received a national ranking, and joined eight other universities, including the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Arizona, in receiving a silver designation, the second highest available.
The judging encompassed five specific points: education, encouragement, enforcement, engineering and evaluation, with each university submitting a written report detailing its efforts to improve bike-friendliness according these criteria.
Improving campus bike safety and awareness has been one of the many goals of the Campus Bicycle Advisory Committee, which was formed in 2008 and serves as a forum to better CSUâ€™s cycling infrastructure.
Seth Danner, the ASCSU coordinator for sustainability, is the only student represented on the committee, and said that it has led him to become more passionate about cycling.
â€œI think that itâ€™s important for students to be represented in anything,â€ Danner said. â€œItâ€™s in studentsâ€™ best interests to cycle, and our goal is to make cycling at CSU even better in the future.â€
One of CSUâ€™s strengthâ€™s, according to Kemp, is the strong bicycle safety enforcement on campus, as well as various programs educating students about safe riding habits.
However, Kemp also added that CSU has a lot to improve on.
â€œOur designation comes with a great deal of responsibility,â€ Kemp said. â€œWe need to keep working at CSU to make it even more bicycle friendly and to inspire more safety and respect and education on campus. Bicycle safety is the responsibility of all the students, faculty and staff on campus.â€
Kemp noted that the top areas needing improvement are for students to respect traffic lights and stop signs, particularly at the Elizabeth-and-Shields and Elizabeth-and-Plum intersections. Danner added that a goal of the bicycling committee is to increase connectivity on campus, allowing students to ride east to west more easily.
â€œBicycling is a great way to get around campus,â€ Kemp said. â€œI always say that to experience transportation freedom, you need to ride a bicycle, itâ€™s so much more enjoyable. You get to enjoy changing seasons, feel the sun, feel the wind in your hair and have a fabulous connection with your surroundings.â€
CSU currently has 8,500 bike parking spaces, which according to Danner, are generally full. In the future, the hope is to continue to increase the number of cyclists at CSU and also to keep them safe.
â€œItâ€™s in studentsâ€™ best interest to ride,â€ Danner said. â€œYou donâ€™t have to pay for parking, cycling is a sustainable effort and you also have the opportunity to be an advocate in the community. Itâ€™s the perfect situation.â€
The biggest cycling event put on by the campus bicycling committee this year has been the Bike to Breakfast event during September, in which student commuters at CSU were given breakfast in exchange for hearing a few tips regarding bike safety.
Both Danner and Kemp say that similar events are slated for the future and agree that cycling at CSU is bound to attract more riders.
Frances Neff, a senior environmental communications major and bike commuter, echoed this sentiment.
â€œI canâ€™t afford to pay for parking, so I have to ride,â€ Neff said. â€œItâ€™s actually pretty cool, because I usually beat my roommates, who drive to class. Itâ€™s a good feeling of accomplishment.â€
News Editor Allison Sylte can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.