The University of Maryland DOTS is partnering with the University Recreation and Wellness Bike Shop to host a week of events oriented toward promoting biking on campus.
Bike Week, which began Monday and ends Saturday, aims to encourage students to bike and use bike resources, like storage and and repair facilities on campus, Department of Transportation Services spokeswoman Cara Fleck said. Events include a learn-to-ride class on Tuesday, a bike safety lunch on Wednesday and a bicycle resources scavenger hunt on Thursday.
“We’re encouraging people to take alternative modes of transportation to and around campus, and Bike Week is a huge part of that push,” Fleck said.
The events contribute to UMD Smart Commute, a DOTS initiative that supports sustainable transportation methods to reduce the number of single occupancy vehicles on campus, she said, and biking, transit, walking and ridesharing are all methods of sustainable transportation.
Junior civil engineering major Joseph Kim, a mechanic at the RecWell bike shop, said more than 100 people attended the Bike Week kick-off event at Stamp Student Union on Monday. Kim also encourages students to bike more and attend the upcoming events.
“I don’t have a day when I’m not on my bike,” Kim said. “Our university does do a lot for biking, so definitely take advantage of that.”
The RecWell bike shop is student-operated and provides free bike repair and education for students, faculty and staff. The bike shop is providing informative bike clinics and giveaways throughout Bike Week.
Bike Week also marks the start of the Spring 2018 Bike Challenge, where students, faculty and staff commuters bike to campus and log the trips on Smart Commute. Participants who bike at least 50 commute trips by May 18 will win a free Chick-fil-A sandwich, a year-long membership for this university’s bikeshare program and a raffle ticket for biking apparel and accessories, according to the DOTS website.
In 2014, this university was awarded the gold status as a Bicycle Friendly University by the League of American Bicyclists. The award recognizes colleges and universities that promote and provide a bike-friendly campus for students, staff and visitors, according to the League of American Bicyclists website.
Senior computer science and math major Cassidy Laidlaw said he bikes around the campus every day and plans to bike across the country over the summer. Laidlaw said that Bike Week is a good way to encourage more students to bike around the campus.
“It’s a pretty big campus, so [biking is] faster than walking to class,” Laidlaw said. “Especially once people graduate, if they keep biking instead of using their cars, there’s less congestion and it’s better for the environment.”
BikeUMD, a collaboration between DOTS and RecWell, provides bike resources throughout the semester such as bike repair and pump stations, long-term bike storage and an on-campus bikeshare program called mBike.
DOTS is requesting $300,000 from the Student Facilities Fund to make mBike free for all students for the next three years. Last Tuesday, the RHA Senate unanimously passed a proposal supporting this request.