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Northwestern, Evanston tabbed 'bike friendly'

Hailed by League of American Bicyclists for providing a bikeable environment

A cyclist rides a bike at Weber Arch on Northwestern's campus.
This is Northwestern's first silver award from the League of American Bicyclists.

The City of Evanston has received a renewal of its designation as a “Bicycle Friendly Community” at the Silver Award level by the League of American Bicyclists. In addition to the City’s designation, Northwestern University was recognized as a "Bicycle Friendly University" at the Silver Award level for the first time. The Bicycle Friendly University program recognizes institutions of higher education for promoting and providing a more bikeable campus for students, staff and visitors.

The Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) award recognizes a community’s commitment to improving conditions for bicycling through investment in bicycling promotion, education programs, infrastructure and pro-bicycling policies. Making bicycling safe and convenient are keys to improving public health, reducing traffic congestion, improving air quality and improving quality of life. Evanston first received the designation, which is valid for four years, in 2012.

Evanston joins a group of 404 communities across the nation to receive BFC designation, including only 15 in Illinois. The five levels of the award — diamond, platinum, gold, silver and bronze — provide a clear incentive for communities to continuously improve.

Northwestern is working with the City to improve roadway safety for bicyclists, which includes adding a two-way protected bike lane on the east side of Sheridan Road in 2017 and reducing the speed limit on the road to 25 miles per hour. Later this year, Northwestern’s Department of Safety and Security will begin providing free helmets and bike lights to all students, faculty and staff who register their bike.

Other recent bike friendly initiatives in Evanston included bringing the Divvy Bike Share program to the community with the installation pf 10 stations providing access to 100 bikes. Northwestern partnered with the City to sponsor two of these stations. This month, a special, purple Divvy bike was added to the program’s fleet. Community members are encouraged to be on the lookout for the purple Divvy bike and to share photos using #NUDivvy. In addition, sustainNU will offer a free annual Divvy membership to the 25th, 50th and 75th person to ride the purple #NUDivvy bike. Those who are already members will receive a credit on their account, or can share the free membership with a friend.

To learn more about resources available to cyclists on campus and in the community, visit sustainNU.

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