On November 29, 2016, the League of American Bicyclists designated the University of South Florida (USF) Tampa campus as a Silver-level Bicycle Friendly University. USF made the announcement at the Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR). There are numerous programs and amenities on campus such as on-site bicycle registration, a network of bicycle repair stations, bicycle safety classes, a campus-wide speed limit of 25 miles per hour, a bike share program for students and staff called Share-a-Bull, ample bicycle parking (including 350 racks recently purchased with a grant from the Florida Department of Transportation), and a new pilot bike locker program that was unveiled at the event.
Before announcing the Silver designation, opening remarks were made by a series of speakers who talked about creating and maintaining a safe and enjoyable cycling culture on campus. “We will continue to support these initiatives that make us multi-modal and bicyclist and pedestrian friendly,” said CUTR’s Director, Dr. Robert Bertini. Chris Griffin, Student Body President, followed Bertini. He applauded the University for making bicycling easier for students and staff who use it to get around, “I can get anywhere on campus on a bike, and it certainly speeds up the process,” he said.
USF Police Department’s Captain Meg Ross also spoke at the event, and discussed the progress USF has made in the last 20 years in becoming bicycle friendly. Ross brings her family to campus for bike rides on the weekends. Captain Ross was followed by Francis Morgan, Assistant Director of Campus Recreation, who illustrated the progress Ross mentioned by announcing that USF’s Share-a-Bull bike share program has racked up 128,000 miles since its inception in September of 2015. With Share-a-Bull, more students are biking on campus than ever before. “Bicycling is the ultimate freedom,” said Myles O’Mara, President of USF’s Bicycle Club. “The world opens up, you get from A to B, save time and money, explore your own routes, learn about your community, and it is practical and sustainable.”
The hard work of USF’s Bicycle Action Committee represents O’Mara’s sentiments. The committee consists of a wide range of departments on campus that spearhead the kind of direct, collaborative action necessary to become more bicycle and pedestrian friendly at USF. The Bicycle Action Committee compiled all the information and submitted the application to the League of American Bicyclists for Bicycle Friendly University status. In years to come, USF will keep moving forward, and the efforts that led to a Silver designation in 2016 will carry on as USF attempts to go for the Gold.
View more photos from the ceremony here