Campus efforts result in Bike Friendly University designation

By University Communications
October 24, 2017
Nine Bike Friendly University signs were installed around campus.

Photo: Nine Bike Friendly University signs were installed around campus.

In 2014, members of the University of Wisconsin-Stout’s Sustainability Office and Alternative Transportation work group started an application for the national Bike Friendly University program.

After the application’s submission in 2016, it was reviewed by the League of American Bicyclists and UW-Stout recently was designated a bronze level Bike Friendly University, one of six in Wisconsin.

Bike Friendly University signs recently were installed around campus.

The league recognizes universities, businesses and communities with bronze, silver, gold or platinum designations. The City of Menomonie was designated a bronze level in 2014.

UW-Stout was graded based on infrastructure, programs, education and support for bicyclists. 
Sarah Rykal

"We are excited to become a Bike Friendly University,” said Sarah Rykal, sustainability coordinator for the Sustainability Office, “It helps to bring awareness of a healthy and zero-carbon transportation option. And, in the long run, it will help us to become more bike-friendly by increasing our biking infrastructure or programming.”

The university’s bicycle-friendly infrastructure includes bike racks, lanes, repair stations and even some shower facilities for faculty, staff or students who bike long distances to campus.

Education and awareness programs are also offered through UW-Stout. This includes scheduled classes on bike maintenance and awareness. The university offers StoutBikes, a bike rental program for students, and a Bike Incentive program for faculty and staff.

“Being a part of the Bike Friendly University program is important for UW-Stout because it can help us to improve overall existing infrastructure on campus and potentially bring more students in,” said student Laura Donovan, of Platteville, who is majoring in applied social science.

UW-Stout students bike to campus as a means of quick and easy transportation.

Donovan, who works in the Sustainability Office as the Alternative Transportation student manager, recently coordinated the campus event Shifting Gears, which spread the word about UW-Stout’s new designation.

The event also was a time for fellow bicyclists and other interested individuals “to brainstorm next steps for ways to become more bike-friendly,” Donovan said. “We hope to continue acting on and seeing through community-based solutions.”

Joan Menefee, professor in the English and philosophy department, attended Shifting Gears. Menefee, as well as Donovan, bikes or walks to campus daily depending on the weather. She also uses a bike on occasion as a means of transportation when running errands and for recreational use. 

Laura Donovan

“The designation is a great starting point, a way to facilitate conversations about transportation and community life,” Menefee said. “Bikes make a city seem friendly.” 

The university has the opportunity to apply for the BFU program again in three years. Donovan hopes that, while waiting, the campus will continue to expand opportunities for cyclists. 

“In short the League has a holistic understanding of the ways that more bikes benefit everyone, not just the bicyclist, and wants to make bicycling accessible to all,” Donovan said. “We have a lot of potential to improve more than just how bike-friendly we are with the guidance of the Bike Friendly University program.”

For more information on UW-Stout’s sustainability efforts, refer here. For more details on the League of American Bicyclists and other designated universities, visit here.



Second Photo: Sarah Rykal 

Third Photo: UW-Stout students bike to campus as a means of quick and easy transportation.

Bottom Photo: Laura Donovan