When preparing for college, there are a number of things to consider. Are you staying at home or going away? If staying at home, are you living on campus? Plan on working? All of these questions and more fill the checklist, not to mention what your major is even going to be.
Transportation is a critical aspect of college. Whether you’re studying out of state, on campus, or living with mom, you need to know how you’re going to get around to do “college stuff”. If you think “I’m right on campus, I’ll be fine walking”, think again grasshopper. Your dorm could be miles away from class and each class could be a mile apart from each other. Exactly how much time do you have to make it from the mess hall to the lab? Even in times when a car may not be necessary, walking may not be suitable either.
If you think for a second that a car may not be necessary but you can still use one to zip around, you’ve clearly never visited a college campus. Cars are usually restricted to the outer boundaries of campus and parking can be scarce and expensive. Unlike the local neighborhood where you can pull right up to the front of the library, your car may not be able to come within a mile of your college classroom.
Many students, especially in their first year or two of school, find pedestrian modes of transport like a skateboard, scooter, or bicycle to be extremely useful in getting around campus and keeping a tight schedule. We’ve researched the top 10 bike-friendly college campuses across the U.S and listed them here. Understanding the criteria helps to highlight key characteristics of the campus.
The website – “Momentummag” did a piece discussing how college campus creates bike-friendly spaces with a title by the same name.
The League of American Bicyclists awards colleges that are considered to be the most catered to bicycling on campus. We already know these colleges have car-free spaces and charge for parking, however, several of the schools on our top 10 list go above and beyond The League standards of making bicycles safe and accommodable on campus.
10. University of Texas – Austin: Bestcollegevalues.org reports of this campus’ 40 miles of bike trails along with bike repair stations and pumps parsed throughout the grounds of the school. This is an example of one university’s unique efforts to promoting bicycling on campus.
9. Clemson University: This particular school has its own internal organization called the Bicycle Research Team. The focus of this organization is on providing information on the practical aspects of biking in terms of social and financial impact.
8. Stanford University: As a recipient of the League of American Bicyclists’ award, this school even offers classes for inexperienced bikers to promote cycling. Classes are also available for those that receive a bicycle citation on campus. Not to mention that Stanford University is one of the best colleges in the US for 2018 in general.
7. Michigan State University: MSU has an in-house organization called MSU Bikes. According to bestcollegevalues.org, “MSU Bikes provides bike repairs and maintenance, bike rentals and bicycles for sale… [they] also support safe and fun bicycling culture through advocacy and education.”
6. Brown University: In 2017, Brown received formal recognition from the League of American Bicyclists for the first time. The BFU Bronze recipient was noted for “wonderful commitment to safety, health, and sustainability through their efforts to support bicycling on campus” as stated by the program’s director Amelia Neptune.
5. Georgia Tech: Located in the heart of downtown Atlanta, Georgia Tech’s organization, Starter Bikes, teams up with the city of Atlanta’s Bicycle Coalition to refurbish old bikes acquired through donation or abandonment. Other bicycle organizations maintained by Georgia Tech include BikeGT, which focuses on dispensing information for student cyclists and the cycling team which competes at the collegiate level.
4. Arizona State University: ASU’s gold status with Bicycle Friendly University is in small part attributed to the number of cyclists on campus. ASU also has a bike co-op where students have access to free bike rentals, repairs, and even free courses on bike maintenance.
3. Ohio State University: OSU is another school located in the epicenter of a major metropolitan area. Due to their geographic circumstance, OSU implements something called a “sharrow” on campus and on surrounding streets to mark the bike lanes.
2. UC Davis: In 2013, UC Davis received the highest achievement available by the Bicycle Friendly University. They prohibited cars through most of the UC Davis campus 50 years ago. Like the other colleges, UC Davis hosts a bicycle club and even a competitive bicycle league, promoting bicycling on campus. UC Davis is definitely one of the best bike-friendly campuses in the US.
1. University of Montana – Missoula: This school is a prime example of going above and beyond to accommodate bicyclists on campus. The Bronze bike-friendly campus award recognizes the University of Montana in part for having bike paths heated by the school’s steam tunnel network on campus which prevents the bike routes from getting snowy and icy.
The schools listed here are at the forefront of bicycle-friendly campuses. They set the bar for the direction other colleges and universities should move, in order to provide a campus that caters to bicycle riders. As mentioned in the beginning, the ability to bike and walk safely around campus is a major concern for prospecting students.
And one last thing to consider. Always lock your bike on the college campus with an appropriate bike lock.