Bellingham has achieved a status of bicycle friendliness on par with Seattle, Port Townsend and Olympia, according to League of American Bicyclists.
A key factor in achieving this status was the repaving of Indian Street and the addition of “shared lane markings” along the street to alert motorists of the presence of bicyclists.
“The lane markings were to guide bicyclists’ position in the travel lane, such as in-lanes that are too narrow for both a motor vehicle and bicycle to travel safely,” said Kim Brown, Transportation Options coordinator, in an email.
Bellingham received the Silver Level Bicycle Friendly Community award from the League of American Bicyclists this month, joining 28 new cities as bicycle-friendly communities.
Volunteers from Western contributed by working on the See and Be Seen program, which focuses on making students and staff aware of how to ride safely at night, Brown said.
Students from Western pass out flyers on how to stay safe during the fall and spring quarters.
Tips such as keeping a white light for riding during dusk, wearing reflective clothing, adding extra lights and riding predictably, all contribute to a safer riding environment.
Actions like these are one way students can help maintain Bellingham’s bike friendly reputation, Brown said.
For the Bicycle Friendly award a combination of infrastructure projects, along with educational and enforcement efforts, propelled Bellingham toward that goal, said Brown.
The League of American Bicyclists rates engineering, education and enforcement of efforts by cities to make more cycle-friendly communities. Using a ranking system of gold, silver and bronze, applicants are judged based on the availability of educational materials, civil development projects like lane additions and alternate bike routes and overall bike usage in the city limits.
Western’s location could have influenced Bellingham earning its medal, said Western senior and cycling enthusiast Corbin Hudacek.
Hudacek has experience studying the zoning laws and city layout of Bellingham through planning classes.
The centralized location of both employment and education drives a good portion of the population to use cycling as the primary way to commute, Hudacek said.