SMC Named a “Silver” Bicycle Friendly University by the League of American Bicyclists

Silver Designation Follows Bronze-Level Award Given in 2014, Only California Community College Among 193 National Colleges & Universities

The League of American Bicyclists has honored Santa Monica College (SMC) with a Silver-level Bicycle Friendly University award in recognition of the college’s achievements in promoting and enabling safe, accessible bicycling on campus. This follows SMC’s designation as a Bronze-level Bike Friendly University in 2014, making it the first California community college to earn a bike-friendly certification. Pictured: Students at a bike repair event hosted by the student-run SMC Bike Club on the college’s main campus.
(Photo Credit: Fabian Lewkowicz)

Bicycle racks on Santa Monica College’s main campus in Santa Monica. SMC has 800 bike racks and incentivizes employees who commute by bicycle or use alternative modes of transportation to get to campus. The League of American Bicyclists has honored Santa Monica College (SMC) with a Silver-level Bicycle Friendly University award in recognition of the college’s achievements in promoting a bike-friendly campus culture.
(Photo Credit: Amy Williams)

November 14, 2018

SANTA MONICA, CA: The League of American Bicyclists has honored Santa Monica College (SMC) with a Silver-level Bicycle Friendly University (BFU) award in recognition of the college’s achievements in promoting and enabling safe, accessible bicycling on campus. The higher-level award follows SMC’s designation as a Bronze-level Bike Friendly University in 2014, making it the first California community college to earn a bike-friendly certification. The designation is good for four years.

Santa Monica College remains the only California community college to have a bike-friendly university certification. In addition to SMC, universities in California that also earned the Silver designation include California State University, Long Beach; University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA); University of California, Santa Cruz; and California State University, Sacramento. There are now a total of 193 BFU colleges and universities nationwide.

“Congratulations to Santa Monica College for its inclusion in a select class of 45 new and renewing Bicycle Friendly Universities nationwide,” said League Executive Director Bill Nesper. “The standards for attaining any of the four levels of awards—Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum—are very high and require deliberate, determined efforts to earn them. Universities and colleges are in a unique leadership position to help encourage and enable people of all ages—especially young adults—to adopt healthy, sustainable habits that can benefit them throughout their lives.”

Ferris Kawar, SMC’s Sustainability Project Manager, credited the City of Santa Monica for “collaborating with the college to develop safe bike paths to campus in tandem with SMC’s efforts to build plentiful bike parking and offer robust support services to keep bikes running and riders safe. All of this has significantly helped make students and employees feel better about using a bike to get to campus.”

“Cyclists have helped reduce congestion around campus by replacing cars on the streets as well as the need to build additional costly parking structures,” added Kawar. “In addition, those who choose to ride to campus enjoy the benefits of being healthy, more alert, and connected to their surroundings. In fact, one employee has lost 50 lbs. from cycling to work over the past year and a half. Why wait for the weekend to enjoy some fresh air, sunshine, and exercise. SMC has made it easy to do it twice a day!”

SMC encourages bicycling as an easy option for transportation and provides amenities such as 800 bike racks; the college also incentivizes employees who commute by bicycle or use alternative modes of transportation to get to campus. Among many initiatives, SMC—through its Center for Urban and Environmental Studies and the student-run SMC Bike Club—offers organized rides, an eventful “SMC Bike Month”, a mentoring program for new riders, bike valet parking at events, bike repair workshops, maintenance and safety workshops.

The SMC Bike Club even offers free bike repair every Tuesday and Thursday during the college’s activity hour; SMC also partners with external agencies and vendors—like Spoke, Santa Monica Bike Center, and Breeze Bike—to provide new and current bike users greater access to bicycles and lessons on how to ride safely. Students are able to get free bike maintenance and support from the non-profit bike shop Bikerowave, made possible by SMC’s Associated Students. SMC will soon be offering two free noncredit bike maintenance classes, which will not only cover how to repair a bike, but also how to run a bicycle-related business.

The national Bike Friendly University program is part of the League’s larger program and mission to create a Bicycle Friendly America for everyone. To learn more about the free BFU program, visit the League online at bikeleague.org/university.

“More than 3.8 million students now attend Bicycle Friendly Universities in 46 states and Washington, DC,” said BFU Director Amelia Neptune. “From large to small, urban to rural, these educational institutions are creating a powerful community of college campuses that model and support the use of bicycles for improving health, sustainability, and transportation options.”

Moving forward, SMC will have access to a variety of free tools and technical assistance from the League to become even more bicycle friendly. In 2008, SMC joined over 600 colleges and universities in committing to reduce its carbon footprint through the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment; in 2018, the college renewed that commitment.

Santa Monica College is known as a leader in sustainability for its green, eco-friendly campus culture including LEED-certified architecture, innovative academic programs such as in recycling and resource management, photovoltaic installation, and energy efficiency. In addition, the main campus has a commercial composting station and an Organic Learning Garden, where students and employees learn how to grow food and understand the interconnectedness of nature. More information about sustainability at SMC is available at: smc.edu/sustainability.

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About the League of American Bicyclists

For 138 years, the League of American Bicyclists has been leading the movement to create a Bicycle Friendly America for everyone. Its commitment is to listen and learn, define standards and share best practices to engage diverse communities and build a powerful, unified voice for change. Learn more at bikeleague.org.

About Santa Monica College

Founded in 1929, Santa Monica College is a California Community College accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). In addition to being California’s leader in transfers to UCLA, UC Berkeley, the University of Southern California, and Loyola Marymount University, SMC also offers more than 110 career training degrees and certificates. SMC provides news and cultural enrichment through its NPR radio station KCRW (89.9 FM) and The Broad Stage at the SMC Performing Arts Center as well as lifelong learning through distinctive programs such as its Emeritus Program for older adults.