BYU has not always been known for being the most bike friendly campus around. There have been movements and proposed movements over the years that would actually suggest that the campus was unsupportive of bicyclists and bicycles in general but, that is all about to change. BYU has announced two incredible projects that will increase the ease in which students can use bicycles not only on and around campus but also in and around our wonderful little city (Thank you Phil for the tip off). The first announcement has been in the works for a while and was fist officially announced yesterday. BYU will be closing Campus Drive to cars and opening it up entirely to pedestrian traffic! The plan is for the campus to piggy back on the construction that has been on 900 E starting this spring. The whole process is planned to be completed in 2015 and will yield a more ‘beautiful’ and ‘unified’ campus not to mention more options and reasons to walk/ride to campus. There are also potential plans of expanding student housing and making it car free! Do not worry if you use the bus as BYU is working closely with UTA to keep everything flowing smoothly.
To add to this incredible new environment that BYU is producing they have also begun a Bike Sharing program on campus! Students at BYU are now able to contact Outdoors Unlimited and rent bicycles for a term or a full semester. The rentals are very affordable at $15 or $30 a semester, and include a lock as well as maintenance when ever it is needed. The only thing I can add to an already awesome deal is that the students renting the bikes also get some sort of how to ride in Provo information so they obey the rules to the road. This rental program will be a great benefit for students who do not bring cars to campus and want to test out the waters or riding around before they commit. It will also help students get on a little bit nicer bike than they may be able to afford letting them enjoy and appreciate riding around instead of dreading it or having to worry about riding around on something that is broken and squeaky. If you can not tell from all the exclamation points I think that both of these programs will enhance student life by increasing transportation options and promoting healthy alternatives as well as our city in general, by setting great models in road design, and by getting more people on bikes. Way to go BYU!
“In fact, many European researchers say the test of a mature bike-sharing program is when women outnumber men. In the Netherlands, 52 percent of riders are women. Instead of promoting helmet use, European cycling advocates say, cities should be setting up safer bike lanes to slow traffic or divert it entirely from downtown areas. “Riding in New York or Australia is like running with the bulls — it’s all young males,” says Julian Ferguson, a spokesman for the European Cyclists’ Federation. And that’s in part what makes it dangerous.” –Elisabeth Rosenthal (The New York Times, To Encourage Biking, Cities Lose the Helmets, Sep 2012)
As Provo continues to grow, I hope to see more female cyclists on the road.
The safety in numbers effect as it relates to cycling is that the more bicycles on the road the safer each cyclist is. More info here. This effect was recently seen clearly in a study of bike crashes in Minneapolis. As more and more people commuted by bicycle, the ratio of bike crashes to bicycle commuters dropped.
This is really encouraging information, because it means that one of the best ways to increase cyclist safety is to increase the amount of cyclists! The more people riding their bikes the safer the roads will become!
Almost done with an awesome post on handeling the inversion. Until then check out the animated gif world of What Bike Racers Should Call Me (some posts may have a coarse word or two). Admittedly the site leans a little to the racing scene but there are plenty of gems to be found for all bike nerds, such as the one below. Enjoy and get ready for an inversion riding guide soon.
Bicycles come in all shapes and sizes for varying applications, personally, my favorite bikes are often the simplest and the ones ridden daily. Commuters can be a multi-thousand dollar rig or a Collective built rescue. Every other week I want to spotlight unique, classy and weird commuters from Utah Valley.
Andrew Ungerman is a cyclist that lets no weather stop him from putting miles under his tires. With one of the coldest winters we have experienced in a while, road conditions have stayed snowy and icy longer than normal. No ordinary bike was going to be able to keep up with Andrew’s pace in such a harsh environment. Fortunately, local bike sage and KSL classified treasure hunter, Vegan Mike, found just the steed to satisfy Andrew’s needs.
“Is that a Karate Monkey?”
This single mountain bike built on a Giant frame with a Surly fork and a Paul Component chain tensioner, to make the single speed conversion complete, easily conquers any obstacle that the streets of Provo can dish out.
Bad news, bicyclists: the Utah Division of Air Quality just issued an air pollution alert for Utah County. According to the Daily Herald, our pollution levels are currently exceeding federal standards by three times.
“Authorities are prohibiting wood burning and urging people to limit driving.
Doctors say people — especially pregnant women and children — should stay indoors, or at least avoid active outdoor exercise.”
We rarely suggest not riding on bikeprovo, but you may want to take a break to avoid becoming ill. These pollution levels are very serious, and many cyclists have encountered breathing problems when choosing to ignore the warnings.
This is also another huge reminder that we need to take responsibility for the quality of our air. We can’t be held responsible for the inversion (the pollution gets trapped under cold air in the valley). However, we are responsible and can work to change what kind of air does get trapped in the valley on inversion days. If more people ride, we’ll have fewer “stay inside” days.
I have only been a full-time cycling commuter for the past 3-4 years. I found it very intimidating to enter into the world of cycling; and I was living in Portland, OR. I was afraid of getting hit by cars and going over hills. Being out in the open on two wheels gave me a lot of anxiety. Luckily I had a great friend who was there to guide me and show me the ropes. Provo is a growing city and is heading towards the right direciton into becoming a bike-friendly city. That is why BikeProvo and your friends at the Provo Bicycle Collective are here to help you.
Here is a video about overcoming your fears for the new cyclist. Everyone has to start sometime. We all have the same fears, but hopefully we can work together to make Provo more bike-friendly and safe.