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East Carolina University was awarded for attention to providing healthy, alternative modes of transportation, including bricked bike paths and walkways for students making their way to class, pictured above. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)


ON THE RIGHT PATH

ECU recognized as bicycle friendly university

Oct. 27, 2014

By Grace Haskin
ECU News Services



10 Benefits of Biking to Class

  • It’s much faster than walking, which means you get to sleep in later.
  • It minimizes the risk of coronary heart disease by giving your heart, blood vessels and lungs a great workout.
  • A few miles of biking per day creates trimmer and toned muscles.
  • It builds your stamina and enables you to carry out your day-to-day activities more effectively.
  • It helps build stronger bones and is a lot easier on your joints than walking.
  • The pleasure and satisfaction attained while riding aids in alleviating stress, anxiety and depression.
  • It keeps blood pressure levels under control.
  • It improves digestion and lung function.
  • Biking has been found to improve outcomes for people diagnosed with diabetes and cancer.
  • It gives you a chance to enjoy the beauty of nature without polluting the environment. For more benefits, safety tips and how-to tutorials, visit www.ecu.edu/bikes.
East Carolina University has joined 100 cutting-edge colleges and universities nationwide recognized by the League of American Bicyclists with a Silver Bicycle Friendly University award.

“This recognition shows that we are proponents of alternative transportation, healthy lifestyles and reducing our carbon footprint,” said Debra Garfi, director of ECU’s parking and transportation.

Andy Clarke, president of the League of American Bicyclists, praised participating campuses for recognizing the long-term impact a bicycling culture can create. “We applaud this new round of colleges and universities for investing in a more sustainable future for the country and a healthier future for their staff, students and surrounding communities,” he said.

ECU has made a safer environment for pedestrians and bicyclists by closing roads in the heart of campus and constructing new bike paths that run from Wright Circle to Joyner Library. Over the next several years, bicycling will continue to be encouraged as an easy transportation option.

Despite the progress that has been made, cyclists like Johnathon Fields, an ECU senior, still find themselves riding on the lawn. “A lot of times, I can’t ride on the bike path because people are walking on it, so I definitely think someone should put up signs that say ‘Bike Lane,’” said Fields.

Freshman Erin Olamon said she was unaware of the new lanes. “I thought that was just a cool pattern in the bricks,” she said, referring to the arrows marking the direction for cyclists on the brick path. “I don’t think most people know that those lanes are for bicycles.”

According to ECU landscape architect Kevin Barnes, informing both bikers and pedestrians of shared paths is going to take time. “Pedestrians need to become aware of and understand there is a generous width of a walking path specifically for them and bicyclists need to understand even though there is a lane dedicated to them, they are still responsible for avoiding pedestrians,” he said.

To raise awareness and make ECU even more bicycle friendly, additional amenities will be implemented, such as shared-lane markings and extensions to the Greenville Greenway.

“We are actively involved in planning bike storage and repair stations in university garages,” said Garfi. “We also are working toward covered bike racks and additional bike paths.”

For a detailed list of upcoming projects, view ECU’s Campus Bicycle Master Plan at www.ecu.edu/bikes/bikemasterplan.html.

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Using the marked bicycle lanes on campus, a student riding a bicycle travels alongside another student on foot. The bicycle lanes marked by different colored bricks were designed to enhance traffic on campus by allowing specific places for pedestrians and bicyclists.