The good times on two wheels keep rolling on campus. The League of American Bicyclists has once again bestowed on UCLA its Gold-level Bicycle Friendly University award for making biking a breeze for Bruins, with resources that include programs, classes, ample racks and lockers for parking, DIY repair stands, commuting benefits, incentives for riding, and a campus bike advisory committee.
The Bicycle Friendly University program recognizes higher education institutions for promoting and providing a more bikeable campus for students, faculty, staff and visitors. To be designated a bike-friendly university, a school must demonstrate that it offers bike lanes and other infrastructure and programs that encourage easy riding, education, enforcement, and evaluation and planning.
UCLA was one of the original 20 U.S. campuses to be named a Bicycle Friendly University when the award was created in 2011. Since then, UCLA has continued to improve bicycle infrastructure and amenities.
For the thousands of Bruins using pedal power on campus, there are more than 2 miles of dedicated bike lanes, 7 miles of roadways for navigating the campus on two wheels and over 3,500 free bike parking spaces, plus BikeLink lockers and Bikeep racks for added security. UCLA even has a bike shop in central campus.
To help promote and enable safe, accessible bicycling on campus, there’s the Earn-A-Bike program,which rewards employees and graduate students with an $900 bicycle package — including bike, lights, lock and helmet — for exchanging their parking permit, and the Love to Ride digital platform, where riders can join a community of fellow bicyclists to track their bike miles, see their carbon savings, set goals, find help and support, learn new skills and ride more often — and win prizes.
Other achievements include the arrival of Metro Bike Share on campus, with stations also installed in Westwood Village and at UCLA Santa Monica Medical Center; the program offers rentable bikes at affordable rates to Bruins for commuting and recreation — with students qualifying for discounted monthly passes. Current students, staff, and faculty are also entitled to discounts at two local bike shops, Helen’s Cycles and the Bike Center in nearby Santa Monica. Additionally, UCLA Transportation hosts annual events — Bike Month in May, and Bike Recycling Day — to encourage Bruins to take to two wheels.
Beyond being a healthy, fun and inexpensive way to get around campus, biking also furthers UCLA’s environmental objectives. Active transportation is a priority goal of the campus sustainability plan, as it reduces single-occupancy vehicle commutes, lowering the campus’s carbon footprint. Compared with driving by one’s self, riding a bicycle eliminates roughly 0.89 pounds of carbon dioxide per mile.
“By encouraging active transportation options such as bicycling, we enable students, staff, and faculty to participate in a healthier lifestyle choice,” said Dave Karwaski, director of mobility planning and traffic systems for UCLA Transportation. “UCLA is proud to renew this certification and remains dedicated to even greater gains in campus bikeability.”
Bicycle Friendly University’s 2023 latest cohort of 220 honorees adds 39 colleges and universities in 46 states to its list. UCLA’s gold status renewal is also a result of the campus working with local advocates like the Westwood Village Improvement Association, the BikeLA coalition and city officials, including the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, to provide a safer, better biking experience on and off campus.