POWER IN PEDALING; Kent State Today; April 22, 2024

Kent State is bike friendly and winning awards for it

Did you know that there are 13.2 miles of bike paths at Kent State?

The Kent State community can ride from Dix Stadium to the Kent Free Library with ease thanks to bike-friendly paths. Students can bring their own bikes from home or use the SPIN app’s bikeshare program to get around the Kent Campus.

Last year, the League of American Bicyclists awarded Kent State University with a Bronze-level Bicycle Friendly University award. The award recognizes the university for its efforts in maintaining, promoting and enabling safe biking on campus.

Bicycle Friendly Campus Bronze Award 2023-2027 tile

Established in 1880, the league is a grassroots effort that works to create a bicycle-friendly America. Creating a safe environment for all cyclists is the organization’s top priority, promoting work that benefits all aspects of cycling.  

The thorough application for the award asks universities to provide information on programs and initiatives they have, cycling data at their campus, and other criteria that back up their efforts to create a bike-friendly campus.  

A map of cycling trails in Kent

Melanie Knowles, manager of sustainability at Kent State, was one of the key staff members who worked on submitting the application.

“The application is pretty significant, and it has questions under categories of engineering, education, encouragement, as well as evaluation and planning,” Knowles said.  

Another aspect of the application is the Bike Advisory Committee. It consists of experts from across campus and the community providing well-rounded input. The committee is also part of the university’s Transportation Advisory Committee.

“The committee not only brainstorms exactly what they need to meet the criteria, but to really thinks about biking culture on campus,” said Julie Morris, sustainability coordinator at the Office of Sustainability.

A student bikes on Risman Plaza

The university has taken many steps to ensure a bike-friendly environment, and one of the most substantial efforts was the Lester A. Lefton Esplanade. The esplanade connects the main campus with downtown, making bike travel convenient.  

Bike lane with diamond in it

“A lot of what we think of as sidewalks or paths are wide enough to be considered as multi-use paths,” Knowles said. “It allows pedestrians and cyclists, and now scooters to comfortably share that space.”

Throughout campus, on either side of the esplanade brick bike paths are marked with a diamond in the center. These paths are designated specifically for bicyclists and not for pedestrians. So, if you find yourself walking on those diamonds, consider stepping to the side to make way for bikes.

To further push their biking efforts and programs, the Office of Sustainability logs the number of bicyclists on campus throughout the year.

“We're always trying to get as much data as we can about how many people are riding, and the volume on our streets and on our pathways,” Knowles said. “So, we can make sure that we are providing the facilities that people need to be able to ride”

Along with the many paths on campus, a bike trail on the south side of campus, located near Loop Road and Summit Street, takes riders through lush greenery and calm waters with the journey ending at Dix Stadium.

“Nothing is actually that far away,” Knowles said. “Kent’s not actually that big, there are a lot of places that you can get to quickly and easily without your vehicle, and if you haven't done so, you should give it a try.”

Learn more about biking at Kent State.



POSTED: Monday, April 22, 2024 07:02 AM
Updated: Friday, April 26, 2024 08:21 AM