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La Verne could get bike-friendly moniker

Michael Saakyan
Staff Writer

The League of American Bicyclists is considering the University of La Verne for recognition as a “Bicycle Friendly University” for 2014.

According to the League’s website, the applications are scored across the “Five E” categories, which are engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement and evaluation.

Professor of Humanities Al Clark is optimistic about the University’s prospects for this distinction.

“Ten years ago, there was like one bike rack in the entire University,” he said. “Very few students and faculty were riding bicycles. Today there is a significant number of students and faculty riding,” Clark said.

The increase in cyclists may have to do with the incentive program the University offered students and faculty, who participated in ride sharing or bicycling to school.

The University would pay up to $2 a day to participants in the program. Clark said the incentives nearly paid for his bike.

“I received compensation for maybe 10 years. The first bike I started to ride to campus, they paid half of it from the incentive,” Clark said. “All those years I was being paid to do something I enjoyed to do.”

The program abruptly ended in August 2013, but that did not stop students and faculty from continuing their healthy lifestyle of biking to school.

Cyclist and Professor of Mathematics Michael Frantz said the incentive was a great program but should not be the only reason students and faculty ride their bikes to school.

“I’m somewhat glad it was over,” Clark said. “You’d think ‘I really need to do something that requires a car but no I’m going to ride my bike for the incentive.’ It could run your life.”

Although many cyclists here were pleased by the way the University has accommodated bikes, by placing racks in across campus, some believe this the University should do more. .

Professor of Biology and Biochemistry Jay Jones criticized the structures, and said they may have been installed by someone not educated with bicycles.

“Some of the placements of those racks doesn’t show sensitivity to (bicyclists),” Jones said.

“They may have been placed by people who don’t like bikes because they’ve been placed in awkward places. They need to have a bike rider put in those racks.”

Jones believes ULV has a chance of winning recognition for being a bicycle friendly university but there are other more obliging schools.

“We’re not an exceptional institution in this regard,” Jones said. “I don’t think we are even up to the average academic institution in terms of our bike friendliness. If we say we are, we need to be,” Jones said.

“If we go forth and list all of the things we’ve done (the League of American Bicyclists) will look favorably upon us, but I would hope that if we do get recognition that we don’t think ‘oh we’re good enough’ but rather use that as a motivation to really do what we say we do.”

Director of Campus Safety and Transportation Stanley Skipworth alerted students of the recognition through email on Sept. 17 and provided scoring guidelines as well as a link to the survey.

Skipworth encouraged students to review the scoring guidelines the League has for winning the top recognition and vote however they feel fits the quality of bicycle accommodations within the University.

Michael Saakyan can be reached at murad.saakyan@laverne.edu.

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