It’s Official – Leeds Beckett is a Bike Friendly Business!
30 November 2016 - Kath Porteus
Leeds Beckett has been recognised as an industry leader for its cycling credentials at a regional awards ceremony hosted by West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA).
The Bike Friendly Business scheme is part of WYCA’s City Connect cycling programme which is responsible for a number of cycling projects across the region, including the new Cycle Superhighway that runs from Bradford to Leeds. The University was one of only five organisations to achieve accreditation, and one of only two to receive a Silver Award. The Bike Friendly Business team praised the University’s excellent facilities as well as the commitment of its students and staff to encouraging more people to cycle.
Jason Colbeck, the University’s Transport Coordinator who accepted the award, said: “Leeds Beckett benefits from a well-established cycling culture and the University is committed to enabling cycling as a form of transport. We’re incredibly lucky to have benefited from the UTravelActive partnership which ran from 2009-2015. This saw the implementation of many cycling initiatives, particularly our fantastic student bike hire and maintenance workshops. Now that the project has finished, the University remains committed to active travel.
“We have a dedicated Cycling Support Officer, Dave Prince, who is a fully qualified bike mechanic; we run regular bike maintenance sessions and have excellent secure bike parking facilities. We also have a growing fleet of pool bikes for staff to travel for business – perfect for trips between our two campuses. The Bike Friendly Business scheme has allowed us to showcase what we have and gain recognition for the hard work we do at the University, but also learn from other organisations. It’s an invaluable tool for identifying best practice and what we can do to make our cycling offer even better and ultimately get more people at the University on bikes!
“Of course we’re not going to stop there. There’s a lot more that can be done and there’s still a Gold Award to reach. The scheme has shown us that there are lots of little things that we can do to help make cycling to the University that bit easier, and we’re going to start right away. For example, we plan to provide spare locks at the Student Hubs at both campuses for students and staff who’ve forgotten theirs, and lights for those moments you realise you’ve left them at home or are caught out by the shorter days. We’re also hosting more frequent drop-in sessions in the Rose Bowl to provide information about cycling at the University, minor bike repairs and selling subsidised locks and lights.
“We now have a fantastic team of volunteers who help out at the bike workshops and other Sustainability events, and whose dedication and enthusiasm help make everything we do possible. We’d love to have more students involved, however, especially with the social aspects of cycling that make it so much fun. Rides along the canal with friends; groups that cycle together to help people get home safely; people getting together to explore the city on two wheels – those are the little extras that make a big difference to people’s experience of travelling by bike.
“Levels of cycling at the University are higher than the rest of the city, with over five per cent of our students and staff cycling to study and work, compared with less than two per cent for the city as a whole. We want to increase that further, however, and have set a target of eight per cent by 2021. This doesn’t seem particularly ambitious when you consider some cities in the Netherlands and Denmark have over 50 per cent of trips made by bike, or even other parts of the UK such as Cambridge which has over 20 per cent; but we recognise that there are many barriers to achieving mass cycling that the University can’t overcome on its own. Until we see major changes to the city’s physical environment, to prioritise cycling and walking and ensure people feel safe doing so, we won’t see the shift from cars to bikes that we need. Part of our plan is to push for better facilities for our students and staff, not just once on campus, but to improve their journeys to the University too, and that will mean working with the City Council and organisations such as City Connect.
To keep up to date with cycling initiatives at the University, or for more information about how you can get involved as we work towards our Gold Award, please contact us on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts, or email mailto:Transport@leedsbeckett.ac.uk.