The League of American Bicyclists recognized the University of Arkansas with a Silver Bicycle Friendly University award for 2016, a leap forward from the U of A’s 2014 application which only received Honorable Mention.
Applications are scored across five “E” categories by a review team that includes League staff, local cyclists and outside experts. Examples of Silver characteristics for the various categories include:
- Engineering – Campus has made a significant investment in its bicycle facilities and has invested in making the streets around the campus bicycle friendly. Engineering standards meet the currently recognized safety standards and regular training is provided for staff.
- Education – Bicycling educational materials are provided to all students, staff, and faculty. Safety classes are offered on a regular basis and the campus actively promotes safe bicycling.
- Encouragement – Campus has an on-campus bike shop and/or a bike-share program.
- Enforcement – Officers are familiar with laws relating to bicyclists and work with the bicycling community on campus to disseminate safety information to motorists and cyclists. Some officers are patrolling on bikes and provide safety outreach on-bike.
- Evaluation – A significant percentage of students, faculty and staff bike to campus more than twice a week. Goals have been set for campus-wide bike use.
The fact that Fayetteville is a Silver Bicycle Friendly Community has been helpful for people who attend or work at the University of Arkansas, and the continued addition of bicycle facilities such as bike lanes, paved trails, and the Razorback Greenway have allowed many to have easier access to campus. The University of Arkansas has also invested more heavily in its efforts to make bicycling an easy option for transportation.
The U of A Office for Sustainability has been working closely with, Facilities Management, the UAPD, University Recreation, Parking and Transit, the Bicycle Advocacy Council and the City of Fayetteville to improve the bicycling experience on campus for students, faculty, and staff alike.
“This designation as a Bicycle Friendly University is a great validation of recent efforts,” said Eric Boles, director of the Office for Sustainability. “Moving forward, the University of Arkansas will have access to a variety of free tools and technical assistance from the League to become even more bicycle-friendly. Building off this momentum and access to resources, the U of A Bicycle Advocacy Council plans to continue efforts to improve the campus cycling experience.
“We’re proud of this accomplishment, but we haven’t hit our stride yet,” Boles added. “There are exciting cycling infrastructure improvements in the works, and we have generous support from our campus as well as surrounding community. I’m excited to help bicycle commuters stay safe and have even more fun. Help us out by riding your bicycle!”
Boles said there are definite advantages when universities and communities invest in bicycling: decreased carbon footprint, reduced health care costs, connecting with community and a fun and healthy campus culture.
To learn more about cycling at the University of Arkansas, visit bike.uark.edu