UCLA switched gears from silver to gold on Thursday when the League of American Bicyclists upgraded campus to a gold-rated Bicycle Friendly University for achievements in promoting and enabling safe, accessible bicycling on campus.
The national recognition places UCLA in the top 15% of the national rankings and makes it the first university to earn gold recognition in Los Angeles County. Gold is the organization’s second-highest ranking, and only four universities in California have achieved the highest level, platinum. The League of American Bicyclists is the oldest national grassroots advocacy organization for people who bike.
“We are thrilled to receive this honor and to be recognized for the extensive efforts we have taken to improve the campus environment for cyclists over the last several years,” said Renée Fortier, executive director of events & transportation. “UCLA Transportation places safety as a top priority when implementing new policies, programs and infrastructure improvements.”
UCLA’s campus has more than 7 miles of bike routes, hundreds of accessible bike racks and lockers, and a bike shop located in central campus. Since receiving a silver designation in 2015, UCLA has continued working diligently to encourage bicycling through improvements to campus infrastructure and amenities offered.
In 2016, UCLA Transportation introduced the successful Earn-a-Bike program that offers eligible employees and graduate students a free bike in exchange for their parking permits, and BruinBikeSmart, an award-winning citation-diversion program for university cyclists. In 2017, UCLA Transportation launched Bruin Bike Share with 130 bikes located throughout campus, and joined the bike share systems of Santa Monica and Beverly Hills to form Bike Share Connect the following year. Recently, UCLA added 2 more miles of designated bike lanes and lowered the campus speed limit to 20 miles per hour to make campus roadways safer for bicyclists.
“There is a lot of support on campus for cyclists,” said Annelie Rugg, director and chief information officer for UCLA humanities technology. Rugg has commuted by bike to campus for the past 25 years and is one of nearly 3,000 riders using a bicycle instead of a motor vehicle.
“The university offers equipment, helmets and repair stations around campus, and is getting better at providing more designated spaces for cyclists to travel safely and with more visibility,” Rugg said.
As UCLA Transportation continues to optimize the campus environment for people instead of cars, the department continues to implement its 2019 Active Transportation Plan, which provides the framework necessary to improve campus livability and safety by outlining policy and infrastructure initiatives that increase biking, walking and other forms of active transportation.
“At UCLA Transportation, we’ve worked hard for over 30 years to get commuters out of their cars and into more sustainable transportation modes like bicycling,” Fortier said.