By Sydney Murray, Sustainability Office
Did you know that transportation causes about 30% of carbon emissions on campus? Vehicle emissions contribute to poor air quality in and around the Salt Lake Valley, which can lead to ecological degradation and negative human health impacts. That is why the Sustainability Office is committed to promoting alternative modes of transportation to and from campus.
Every fall semester, the university hosts U Bike Week, which is a student-focused annual event that celebrates those who ride bikes, encourages new riders to join the U cycling community and provides resources and giveaways to ensure safe and fun cycling for all. This year’s theme was Drive Less, Bike More, and was sponsored by event partners TREK, SPIN, U Police, U Health, Commuter Services, Bike Utah and student group University of Utah Urbanists.
During U Bike Week 2023, we interacted with thousands of cyclists and provided these FREE resources to our cycling community:
- 600 FREE SPIN e-bike rides
- Discounted beverages at your favorite cafes
- Bicycle safety course
- Hundreds of U-locks, helmets and bike tune-ups
- Doubled your spending dollars at the U Farmers Market
- Hinckley Forum on the rise of e-mobility
- Mountain trail ride with post-ride wrench session
As we move into the colder months of the winter season, safe biking entails additional considerations. “You may get a little cold,” says Justin Delgado, a graduate research assistant in the Sustainability Office. “But it’s all about learning to layer properly.” Delgado recommends bringing a reusable bag with you on your biking journeys so that once you arrive at your destination, you can strip your layers and store them in your bag until it’s time to journey home. Winter biking is not just for the hardcore go-getters. Anyone can enjoy it if you prepare appropriately. Some other winter biking tips include:
- Avoid ice or outfit your bike with studded tires to reduce your chance of slipping on wet roadways.
- Always wear a helmet–a fitted fleece beanie underneath adds extra warmth!
- Make sure you’re visible. Use reflective gear, use lights on the front and the back of your bike (it’s the law) and wear bright colors–especially if you’re riding after dark.
- Plowed snow may cover some bike lanes. Remember that Utah has a Share the Road policy–the safest place to be is in plain sight in the middle of the lane so that drivers don’t try to pass you when there isn’t enough room.
As a bike-friendly campus, all of the U’s pathways are routinely plowed to help make cycling safe and accessible all winter long. Visit the Sustainability Office’s website to learn more about campus biking resources.
“We hope that as more bikers know about and utilize these resources, biking will be less stigmatized and become a more normal and expected way of traveling around campus,” Delgado says.
If you need help planning a route or want to talk about your experience walking or biking, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a safe and fun winter biking season, and be sure to stay tuned for upcoming cycling-based events and happenings!