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Monday, April 22, 2024

Bike racks and Gator Gears help UF receive bike-friendly distinction

UF’s bicycle lanes and number of bike racks helped qualify the university for a national distinction.

The League of American Bicyclists named UF as a silver-level bike-friendly university Nov. 28. UF was one of 164 institutions to receive the distinction.

Jacob Adams, the office manager for the UF Office of Sustainability, submitted UF’s application and spearheaded the project after attending the organization’s conference in March.

The application covered different aspects of cycling on campus, including the mileage of bike lanes, locations and number of bike racks and programs involving cycling on campus, like the Gator Gears program.

“(UF), for a university of its size, I think, does a really good job of making sure cyclists are considered and included when it makes infrastructure decisions,” Adams said.

In putting together the packet, the Office of Sustainability conferred with 12 different campus groups to form the “bicycle working group.”

Members of the Transportation and Parking Services, University Police officers and the College of Health and Human Performance were among the organizations that gave input for the application.

Adams said he hopes to take UF to the next levels: gold and platinum. The league provides a detailed report for all awarded universities, pointing out areas for improvement.

At UF, more community outreach would help, Adams said.

The distinction comes with a certificate and signs to display around campus, letting visitors know the university is bike-friendly.

For Bonnie Chiffelle, 22, biking at UF has been a more welcoming experience than her hometown of Miami.

The UF sustainability studies senior said she bikes for practical reasons but is also motivated by sustainability and feels UF’s bike culture could promote this.

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“One of the major reasons is because I don’t want to increase my carbon footprint,” Chiffelle said. “It’s a way for me to contribute to something good for the environment. If people were encouraged more to bike more, not just on campus but around town, I think it would help a lot.”

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