AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – The University of Massachusetts Amherst has been selected as a Bike Friendly University (BFU) by the League of American Bicyclists.

The League of American Bicyclists is a grassroots advocacy organization that encourages better bicycling and protects the rights of people who bike, according to a news release sent to 22News from UMass Amherst. This university is one of only eight universities in Massachusetts to receive the commendation that provides a safe, accessible campus.

“We first applied for the designation in 2012 and didn’t quite make the list, receiving an Honorable Mention at the time,” said Ezra Small, campus sustainability manager. “This bronze award shows that UMass Amherst is committed to promoting bicycling as a healthy, environmentally friendly way of getting around campus and that we have improved our bike access significantly over the past decade.”

“I am pleased to celebrate 37 new and renewing Bicycle Friendly Universities joining the movement to build a Bicycle Friendly America for everyone,” said Bill Nesper, executive director of the League of American Bicyclists. “Bicycle Friendly Universities, like UMass Amherst, offer a far more holistic experience of campus life for students, faculty, and staff by implementing policies, programs, and infrastructure improvements that make for safer and easier car-free commutes, healthier lives through increased physical activity and a campus community more connected to its surroundings.”

Providing bike-friendly accommodations is an important part of the university’s Sustainable UMass initiative. Recently, four-foot-wide bicycle lanes were constructed on the primary campus roadways of Massachusetts Avenue, North Pleasant Street, and Commonwealth Avenue to help promote safe bike travel. In 2016, the university expanded its bike access for students, faculty, and staff by becoming a member of ValleyBike Share, and six of its bike share stations are now spread across campus to allow students, faculty, and staff to rent and return bikes.

The UMass Bicycle Commuter Program correlates with the Campus Bicycle Advisory Committee to help the university prioritize bike-related goals on campus, and the UMass Amherst Bike Library rental program, which is operated by the Student Government Association and the Physical Plant, lets students, faculty, and staff borrow bikes for free, for as long as an entire academic year.