After 50 years of biking, students can finally rest assured that their hard efforts have paid off – the League of American Bicyclists has voted UC Davis one of the best biking universities in the nation.
Out of the 32 applicants, UC Davis was voted a Gold biking university along with UC Santa Barbara. Stanford University holds the honor of being the best, with the Platinum award.
“Universities must renew their application every four years to maintain their status or move up to the next level but they are welcome to apply every year,” said Carly Sieff, program assistant with the Bicycle Friendly America Program.
A panel of seven judges composed of members of the League and experts evaluated biking around campus based on a free application that universities could fill out. The application considered five E’s: Engineering, Education, Encouragement, Enforcement and Evaluation.
Engineering refers to the infrastructure, including bike lanes and parking. Education is considered programs in place to teach about safe biking. Encouragement is incentive programs that encourage more people to bike. Enforcement is the interaction of police and cyclists and enforcing laws. Evaluation is feedback from the student body and faculty on how to improve biking.
The League also contacted people on campus and local advocates who are familiar with cycling at the university to look at discrepancies within the application, Sieff said.
“We’ll be speaking with the League as to how they assessed the evaluations, not so we can do a side-by-side comparison but so we can learn to better improve our program,” said Clifford Contreras, director of Transportation and Parking Services. “We think we have one of the best programs in the country, if not the world, but that doesn’t mean we can’t improve.”
Some of the structures that helped UC Davis secure a spot as one of the top cycling universities include the showers at the Activities and Recreation Center that staff and faculty can use at no extra cost, giveaways and incentives associated with the Go-Bike club and bike air and bike fix-it stations that provide people with tools to work on their bikes.
“We are constantly looking for ways to make the campus even more bicycle friendly,” said David Takemoto-Weerts, bicycle program coordinator for TAPS. “We’d love to get more and more people out of their cars for many reasons, including people’s health, concerns about global warming and so we don’t have to build very expensive parking lots.”
AKSHAYA RAMANUJAM can be reached at email@example.com.