Just weeks after being recognized locally as the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition’s Partner of the Year, Tech earned the national honor of being named a Bicycle Friendly University by the League of American Bicyclists. Tech earned a silver designation among the 2012 group of honorees, making it the easternmost university to earn that ranking or higher.
“We submitted an extensive application, which was reviewed by the League of American Bicyclists, as well as local judges who are familiar with Tech, Atlanta and peer institutions,” said Johann Weber, a graduate student in public policy who compiled and submitted the application as chair of the Bicycle Infrastructure Improvement Committee (BIIC). “The criteria vary, but are focused on ‘the five E's’ — education, enforcement, engineering, encouragement and evaluation.”
The BIIC convened in January 2011 to tackle large-scale enhancements related to cycling on campus. The group of students and staff has helped make visible cycling improvements to campus in its year and a half of operation, including additional bike lanes and sharrows, as well as working with companies such as viaCycle to grow the campus cycling community.
“Biking not only enhances mobility, but also has positive environmental and health benefits for our campus community,” said Institute President G. P. “Bud” Peterson. “I want to commend our student leadership and members of the Bicycle Infrastructure Improvement Committee that have worked so diligently in making Georgia Tech an official ‘bike friendly’ campus.”
The designation as a Bicycle Friendly University will last four years before Tech must reapply to maintain or improve its status.
“We'll receive a feedback document soon that will tell us specifically what we have done well and where we need to improve,” Weber said. “I think the combination of Starter Bikes, which is student operated and has a history of great work; the new viaCycle bike share program, which is innovative and also operated by [Tech] graduates; and the BIIC, demonstrated that Georgia Tech is a school that supports its students’ efforts to be bike-friendly.”
As for future plans, the BIIC will move forward on the installation of a campus bike repair station, enabling cyclists to make minor repairs free of charge. The group is also working with the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition to improve cycling conditions at the intersection of 5th and West Peachtree Streets; improvements will be made through a $10,000 grant from Bikes Belong.