UC Berkeley among top bicycle-friendly campuses

With its new bike paths, urban cycling classes and student-run bicycle co-op, UC Berkeley has been named one of the most bicycle-friendly campuses in the country, as rated by the League of American Bicyclists.

UC Berkeley planner Todd Henry bike commutes from San Francisco to campus every day. Watch highlights from his hour-long commute. (UC Berkeley video by Roxanne Makasdjian and Stephen McNally)

Berkeley earned the league’s coveted Gold ranking, up from Silver, which it first won in 2013. It shares the Gold slot with 19 other U.S. college campuses, including UC Irvine and UC Santa Barbara. UC Davis renewed its platinum status, the top category, which it shares with four other universities.

Greg Haet, who has been a member of UC Berkeley’s Campus Bicycle Committee for 15 years, says the campus deserves its recognition, having made many improvements over the past decade. “Berkeley has worked hard over the years to promote bicycling as a form of transportation and to make the campus a safer place for bicyclists and the campus community in general,” he said. “We’re proud of the progress we have made and it’s very gratifying to be recognized for our efforts.”

The league, through its Bicycle Friendly University program, recognizes college campuses that have created a bike-friendly atmosphere for their students, staff and faculty by incorporating bike-share programs, bicycle co-ops, clubs, classes and policies that promote bicycling instead of driving.

Berkeley’s campus offers its riders a variety of resources to encourage cycling. Bike paths weave throughout campus, so riders can cruise right up to their building, instead of parking in a far-away lot. A bike map, created by the campus’s parking and transportation department, lists everything from designated cycling routes and secure bike parking to self-serve maintenance stations and campus safety tips. Those without their own wheels can grab a Ford GoBike from one of the several bike-share stations found throughout campus.

To help cyclists navigate city streets, the campus, and its partner Bike East Bay offer a two-day workshop for people who want to brush up on the basics of biking. The classes, open to the public, teach cyclists the rules of the road, how to ride predictably and how to quickly maneuver to avoid a collision. The workshop allows cyclists ticketed by UCPD to have their fines reduced.

The student bicycle co-op, BicyCAL, stationed in the MLK Student Union, provides a space for campus people and the public to learn how to maintain and operate their bicycles. Riders shouldn’t expect a free tune-up; the co-op offers free repair instruction and maintenance education, so cyclists are able to do it themselves.

With more than 65 percent of the campus community biking or walking to work, according to a 2016 campus transportation survey, Berkeley continues to make the area safer for non-drivers. For the first time, cyclists can bike uphill on Bancroft Way, thanks to a new two-way protected bike lane; it connects to an existing protected bike lane on Fulton Street, which was installed last year following a near-fatal collision between a driver and cyclist.

Every May, the campus participates in Bike to Work Day, a day when riders across the country make their daily commute on two wheels instead of four. Energizer stations will be located throughout the East Bay, and a station on campus will be giving away free bags of bike-friendly swag. This year’s Bike to Work Day is May 18.

For more bicycling resources, visit UC Berkeley’s parking and transportation website.