Over the years, Washington University in St. Louis has built a culture of active, low-carbon transportation, where people walking and biking feel valued and supported.

Why It Matters

  • Bicycles offer a zero emission transportation. When used to replace car trips, they prevent greenhouse gas emissions while also preserving air quality.
  • Biking is one of the most common transportation mode for students. In a 2016 survey, 28% of WashU students reported biking as their most frequent mode of transportation.
  • Biking as a commute mode is also growing. Between 2007 and 2016, the rate of bicycling to work in the U.S. increased 20%. Not only bike commuting allows one to stay active, save money, and reduce carbon emissions, it also takes pressure away from the university parking’s infrastructure.
  • Following the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we observed a “bike boom” all around the world, with American bicycling trips skyrocketing 26% in summer 2020. Biking revealed to be a safer choice, preferred by many for both recreation and transportation purposes.
  • Streets designed with dedicated bicycle infrastructure, such as bike lanes, signals, signage, etc., are significantly safer for everyone. For instance, bike lanes can reduce the risk of injury by 90% – a no brainer!

Our Efforts

We are a Bike Friendly University at a Gold level.

  • Managed by the League of American Bicyclists, the Bicycle Friendly University (BFU℠) program recognizes institutions of higher education for promoting and providing a more bikeable campus for students, staff and visitors. The BFU program also provides the roadmap and technical assistance to create great campuses for cycling.
  • In 2021, the WashU Danforth campus received a Gold-level Bicycle Friendly University award in recognition of the institution’s achievements in promoting and enabling safe, accessible bicycling on campus.
  • WashU was first designated a Bicycle Friendly University at a Bronze level in 2015, and then in 2017 at a Silver level. Within five years, the university was able to climb two levels, a testimony of the great strides accomplished on campus in favor of active transportation.
  • WashU is the first in Missouri to have achieved this status, and one of a few in the Midwest who have received a higher level BFU designation (Gold or Platinum).

We make our campuses convenient and safe for people biking.

  • On and around the Danforth campus, bicycles can ride on 2.5 miles of separated bike lanes, plus 1.5 miles of shared use paths.
  • Bike repair stations are scattered around our campuses, allowing riders to independently perform basic maintenance and repairs of they bikes. Five of these stations are available on the Danforth, one at West campus, and two on the Medical campus.
  • Located on the lower level of the Schnuck Pavilion, the Active Commuter Hub offers showers, lockers, and a bike parts vending machine. Many more showers are available throughout campuses, and the School of Medicine even offers some secured bike racks accessible via campus card!
  • Bears Bikes, a student-run business located on the South 40, offers bike rental services, as well as repairs and bike storage over school breaks.
  • In 2019, WashU adopted a bike policy to reduce hazards and create a safe, enjoyable environment for all individuals on the Danforth campus. The policy includes rules on the safe operation of bikes, outlines proper bike parking and requires anyone bringing a bike to campus to register it for free.

We offer support programs to people of all levels of biking.

  • Since 2017, we offered free tune-ups to 1,700 bicycles. Free bike tune-up events are hosted multiple times a semester on both the Danforth and Medical campuses.
  • Safety gears are made easily available to our campus community. Bike bells, lights, and ankle reflectors are distributed for free, and helmets and U-Locks are sold at a at-cost rate.
  • In partnership with Project 529, WashU’s bike registration program offers a robust theft prevention program that also facilitates the recovery of lost or stollen bikes.
  • Group bike rides, safety classes, or bike repair classes are hosted multiple times a year as part of Active Transportation Month.
  • Regular challenges and competitions celebrate people using active transportation by offering recognition and prizes.

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