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Pedal to the Medal: University's campus bicycling efforts lauded

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The University of Louisiana at Lafayette is a good place to pedal.

That’s according to the League of American Bicyclists, which has been banging the drum for cycling for almost a century and a half.

UL Lafayette is among 38 colleges and universities recognized by the league for maintaining campuses that encourage biking and rider safety.

The University recently earned a 2020-2024 bronze award as part of the league’s Bicycle Friendly University program. It also earned the multi-year designation in 2015.

Bike-friendly campuses are places “where people can safely and easily get around by bike, thereby improving the well-being of their community by enabling access to sustainable transportation options,” stated Bill Nesper, the league’s executive director, in a press release.

The University’s path to bike-friendly status is paved with a range of projects undertaken in recent years, said Gretchen LaCombe Vanicor, director of the University's Office of Sustainability.

She cited the installation of cycling lanes that run through campus and several bike path extensions as key projects. The University has installed bike racks, shelters and lockers, creating a total of 2,771 bicycle parking spaces on campus. It also sponsors free workshops about bike safety, skills and maintenance.

“It’s all part of a collective push geared toward keeping bicyclists safe and to help keep bike and vehicle traffic flowing smoothly, which benefits pedestrians and motorists, too,” Vanicor explained.

The Office of Sustainability is coordinating a comprehensive assessment of campus and nearby areas that will help inform needs and locations for future bike lanes and paths, she added.

A planning committee with members from many corners of campus, including transportation services, public safety and facilities management, is helping to conduct the assessment. Faculty and staff members, students and local officials are also providing input.

Beyond bicycling, the efforts are rooted in eco-friendliness. Easing traffic congestion and reducing vehicle emissions are among many environmental objectives set forth in the University’s Sustainability Strategic Plan.

“More bicycling, along with ride sharing and walking, is a big stride in that direction,” Vanicor said.

Photo caption: The League of American Bicyclists has recognized the University of Louisiana at Lafayette for maintaining a campus that encourages biking and rider safety. UL Lafayette is among 38 colleges and universities recognized as part of the league’s Bicycle Friendly University program. Photo credit: Doug Dugas / University of Louisiana at Lafayette