The League of American Bicyclists has named UC Davis a platinum bicycle-friendly campus — making Davis the only place in the country where both city and campus have earned platinum status.
Earlier this year, the league also named UCD a platinum bike-friendly employer.
“We are elated to receive this recognition from the league,” said Cliff Contreras, director of UCD Transportation and Parking Services in a news release. “We’ve worked hard for decades to encourage sustainable commuting modes to our campus, and this acknowledgement by the league shows that we have been on the right track.”
Stanford University is the only other platinum-level campus. The league awarded UCD gold status in 2011, the program’s first year.
In the past four years, UCD has spent more than $7.7 million on bike improvements, including three new roundabouts, expanding the area of campus closed to vehicles, the first green bike lanes in the community and $500,000 in bike racks.
That’s probably not what elevated the campus to platinum, however, according to David Takemoto-Weerts, UCD’s bicycle program coordinator.
He said that in the spring of 2011, the league told the campus that it fell short of gold because it needed to beef up the educational component of its program. UCD had one in the works, but didn’t have it up and running until fall of that year.
UCD opted not to reapply in 2012, choosing to wait until the program — the Bicycle Education and Enforcement Program: BEEP — had established itself.
It works this way: Rather than pay about a fine of about $200 — a ticket police were reluctant to give because of the fine, the cost of which is not set by the campus — students can choose instead to pay a $70 fee and take an online bike traffic safety class within two weeks of receiving the ticket.
The class includes a 20-minute video and a 25-question quiz. Students must get at least 18 questions correct to pass, though they are allowed to keep answering until they do.
The class is open to anyone, not just those who are ticketed, so UCD promotes it heavily during new student orientation. To date, more than 2,000 people have completed the class.
Last month, the Davis City Council passed a resolution lowering the fine for most bike violations inside the city to a tiered system ranging from $50 for a first infraction to $250 for three or more in a year, before court costs.
Fee levels are set by the California Vehicle Code, though the setting of a local bike-fine schedule is allowed state law.
That UCD earned platinum bike-friendly employer status also may have bolstered the campus’ chances for university recognition, said Takemoto-Weerts, who has been the campus’ bike coordinator for some 25 years.
He said he is proud of what the campus team working on cycling issues has accomplished.
“With a bike mode share approaching 50 percent, upwards of 20,000 bikes on campus during peak-use days, and ever-improving infrastructure and safety programs, we hope to continue to serve as a model for other colleges and universities working to increase the beneficial use of bikes for daily transportation,” Takemoto-Weerts said.
The other platinum-level communities are Portland, Ore.; Boulder, Colo.; and Ft. Collins, Colo. Of those, Portland looks to be in the best position to duplicate the city-and-campus platinum feat, because Portland State University has earned gold status.
In 2005, the league designated the city of Davis its first platinum community. Last year, it handed the city silver status as an employer.
— Reach Cory Golden at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-747-8046. Follow him on Twitter at @cory_golden