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UI is first university in Iowa to receive designation

The League of American Bicyclists recognized the University of Iowa with a Silver Bicycle Friendly University (BFU) award on Wednesday, Oct. 22, joining 100 visionary colleges and universities from across the country. The UI is the first university in Iowa to receive a Bicycle Friendly University designation.

Bicycle Friendly University silver designation emblem

With the announcement of 33 new and renewing BFUs today in 20 states, the UI joins a cutting-edge group of colleges and universities from across the United States transforming their campuses and the communities around them. There are now 100 BFUs in 37 states and Washington, D.C.

“We are thrilled with our Silver Bicycle Friendly University designation and would like to thank the League of American Bicyclists for their support and recognition," says UI Office of Sustainability Director Liz Christiansen. "The feedback report from our first application was very helpful, and we used it as a framework for improvement. The Silver designation reflects the hard work of the students, staff, and faculty on our Bicycle Advisory Committee and definitely bolsters the visibility and importance of the bicycling culture at the University of Iowa."

Many UI students, faculty, and staff rely on bicycling to and from campus as an affordable and healthy means of transportation. The UI encourages bicycling and provides amenities such as bicycle repair stations and tune-up events to support safe bicycling.

The UI moved from a BFU Honorable Mention designation in 2012 to the Silver designation this year.

“We have worked hard to improve the bicycling environment on campus over the last few years and the Silver designation recognizes these efforts," says aid Andrew Lynch, chair of the UI Bicycle Advisory Committee and graduate student in the UI School of Urban and Regional Planning. "We will focus our work, particularly in the areas of bike planning and infrastructure, to make the UI even more bike-friendly in the future."

The league’s BFU application evaluates applicants’ efforts to promote bicycling in five primary areas: engineering, encouragement, education, enforcement, and evaluation/planning.

Moving forward, the UI will have access to a variety of free tools and technical assistance from the league. The City of Iowa City has already achieved a Silver Bicycle Friendly Community, and is working collaboratively with the UI on bicycle planning. The UI and Iowa City are developing plans and seeking grant funding for a bike share program that could be used by both students and the community.

Since the first application in 2012, the UI Bike Advisory Committee worked with several campus departments and organizations such as UI Parking and Transportation, the Office of Sustainability, the UI School of Urban and Regional Planning, UI Recreational Services, UI Student Government, UI Staff Council, UI Wellness, UI Housing, UI Public Safety, and others to promote and support bicycling on campus.

Community groups such as Think Bicycles , the Iowa City Bike Library , and Iowa Bicycle Coalition have also supported the university’s BFU designation. Some recent advances to support biking on campus include:

  • Urban and Regional Planning students completed a draft of a campus Bicycle Master Plan.
  • The addition of bike repair stations at Parking Ramp Four and near the Main Library.
  • The Earth Month Bike Challenge and Winter Warrior Challenge encourage bike commuting through fun and friendly competition.
  • Bike tune-up days promote safe and responsible biking on campus.
  • The bike.uiowa.edu website serves as a resource for students and the community.
  • The UI Recreational Biking Club was recently formed to bring together non-competitive cyclists to enjoy the local trails on weekly rides.
  • Increased education about bicycle resources, especially to freshmen during On Iowa! and summer new student orientation.
  • A community Wikimap project will provide input about the bike environment for community and campus bike planners.

See a list of all current BFUs here, and a list of 2014 awardees here. To learn more about the BFU program, visit the league online at the League of American Bicyclists website.


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