If you saw a sign like that at your local university, what would you think? How would you react?
Since 2011, Michigan State University has been recognized as a Bicycle Friendly University (BFU) by the League of American Bicyclists. This is a wonderful designation, that, at this point, the university shares with three other college campuses in Michigan: Michigan Technological University in Houghton; University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; and University of Michigan, Flint. However, there has been some concern about whether Michigan State’s commitment to remaining a bicycle friendly campus is wavering. What caused this concern? The presence of signs like the one mentioned above around campus.
Contrary to what the sign may imply, Tim Potter, MSU Bikes Service Center manager, stated that the University’s commitment to making and keeping the campus bike friendly will not come to a halt come 2016. Because MSU is part of a collective of bicycle friendly universities, and presumably wants to maintain that designation for years to come, it is very unlikely that it would do anything to jeopardize its standing. As Potter pointed out in his interview with The State News, being recognized as a BFU is a source of pride, and, to prospective students, faculty, and members of the university staff who are interested in biking to work, class, or anywhere on campus for that matter, the commitment to bicycle safety many be yet another reason to choose to attend or work for Michigan State.
We’ve touted the benefits of biking before, but they are certainly worth reinforcing. Encouraging biking may lead to increased numbers of individuals using bicycles to get to their destinations. More bicyclists means a decrease in the number of vehicles or other motor vehicles driving throughout campus, potentially leading to less congestion and hypothetically, less pollution. More bicyclists also means more people are exercising, leading to better health. Healthier people may need to use fewer sick days at work (or miss fewer classes), leading to an increase in productivity benefiting everyone.
So, Michigan State students and East Lansing residents may breathe a sigh of relief. MSU’s bicycle friendly university status is here to stay.