Friday, April 8, 2011

The Top Bike-Friendly Universities

The Top Bike-Friendly Universities: "

Parking lot, Stanford style

The League of American Bicyclists has released a list of the most bike-friendly universities in the United States. Now determining whether a university is friendly to bicyclists is a little like determining whether it is friendly to Frisbee players — the answer is always going to be yes. Still, a few campuses have managed to distinguish themselves as even more welcoming than welcome. This is not the wheat from the chaff so much as the whole wheat from the wheat.

The top three tiers of university bike friendliness according to the league (pdf) are as follows:

  • Platinum: Stanford

  • Gold: University of California, Davis; UC-Santa Barbara

  • Silver: California State Long Beach, Colorado State, Portland State, University of Arizona, UC-Irvine, University of Minnesota, University of Oregon, University of Washington, University of Wisconsin

The tiers are noticeably heavy on schools west of the Mississippi, although several East Coast universities — including Cornell, Emory, and University of Maryland — did make the fourth or “bronze” tier. The criteria were rather broad; entrants were evaluated on Five E’s (and a P for good measure): Engineering, Education, Encouragement, Enforcement, and Evaluation & Planning. Still, Stanford pulled away by virtue of its “breadth of programs,” writes the league (pdf), which includes:

a great cycling network, education programs like the Bike Safety Dorm Challenge, and bicycling incentive programs that resulted in an extraordinary number of people biking for transportation and recreation. Currently, 21.7 percent of people at Stanford commute by bike.

The primary limitation of the league’s effort was the size of its candidate pool. The league only evaluated universities that applied for its “Bike Friendly University” designation, which came to 32 schools in all. Of those entrants, 20 schools received some sort of recognition, and 10 more were given “honorable mention.” The great question is which two schools did not make the cut. I’m looking at you, University of Phoenix Online.

Image: zenra

Thanks, Huffington Post


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