Miami recognized as Bicycle Friendly University

By Margo Kissell, university news and communications

The League of American Bicyclists has recognized Miami University with a bronze Bicycle Friendly University award in recognition of its achievements in promoting and enabling safe, accessible bicycling on campus.

The award recognizes the progress Miami has made toward a thriving, active transport community.Students in a mountain bike club pose in a large tree.

Students in Bob Feldman's intro to mountain biking class learn bike safety, riding skills and discover some off-the-beaten-path places like the DeWitt Homestead (photo by Feldman).

Unique partnerships between the university, city and Hueston Woods State Park have yielded new bicycle lanes, multiuse trails, indoor and outdoor bicycle parking, cycling classes and lots of opportunities for student engagement.

Helaine Alessio, chair and professor of kinesiology and health who helped lead the effort to become a Bike Friendly University, said she hopes Miami can build on this recognition and use it to seek grant funding to make the campus even more bike friendly.

“It recognizes the strides we’ve made, and I think it’s going to provide the momentum,” said Alessio, who regularly bikes to work.

Moving forward, Miami will have access to a variety of free tools and technical assistance from the league to become more bicycle friendly. When colleges and universities invest in bicycling, great things happen: less congestion; healthier students, faculty, and staff; a decreased carbon footprint; connections between campus and community; and a vibrant local economy, officials said.

Male students stand near bikes in 1890s.

Miami students in the 1890s rode bicycles and velocipedes (photo taken in front of Old Main courtesy of Special Collections & Archives).

Miami is among 45 new and renewing bicycle friendly universities across the country. In all, there are 193 universities with the designation. League Executive Director Bill Nesper said the standards for attaining the four levels of awards — bronze, silver, gold and platinum — “are very high and require deliberate, determined efforts to earn them.”

Miami President Gregory Crawford and Oxford Mayor Kate Rousmaniere, both avid bicyclists, were supportive of the effort. The president signed off on the 50-page application which included data on such things as number of miles of dedicated bike lanes.

Miami students helped out in collecting the data, Alessio noted, as part of a class project.

Jacqueline Daugherty, assistant teaching professor in the Western Program for individualized studies, said, “Cycling instructor Bob Feldman (in the department of kinesiology and health) guided my service learning students in over 100 hours of data gathering for this award application.”