A recent poll on the myVCU page asked students how they felt about the addition of bike lanes on campus and 88 percent of the responses were in favor of the idea.
These students could be getting their wish since in July, it was announced that plans to construct a bike-walk boulevard on Floyd Avenue in an effort to make Richmond a more bike-friendly city will begin this month.
Proponents say the addition of bike lanes on campus would be beneficial to the flow of traffic in the city because they allow motorists to drive at a consistent pace without having to slow down behind cyclists.
The number of bicycle related accidents that are occurring in Richmond each year have been steadily increasing over the past few years.
With over 30,000 students on both VCU campuses, and a large number of those students using bikes as a primary form of transportation, the safety of these students is a pressing concern, community members said.
Freshman biology major Hunter Clark explained, “I would ride my bike on campus if I knew the city better.”
Since there are very few bike lanes on campus, students who ride their bikes are forced to either navigate the crowded sidewalks or ride in the street with the rest of the city traffic.
The lack of safer routes discourages some people from exploring the city and restricts their opportunities for places to go.
“I just wouldn’t feel as safe riding my bike through the city with all of the other cars. If there were more bike lanes I would probably use them, though,” Clark said.
The proposed bike path will traverse the city from North Thompson Street to Laurel Street, ending at Monroe Park, allowing not only the residents of Floyd Avenue, but the many VCU students living off campus to have a safer bike route.
VCU libraries on both the Monroe Park and MCV campuses rent out bikes to students, but many students do not take advantage of this service because there are very few places for them to ride without being mixed in with other drivers on the street.
In many cases, cyclists are forced to ride unprotected in the same traffic as motorists. Protected bike lanes create a physical barrier between motorists and cyclists. This allows for safer travel for both parties. However, many of the bike lanes that exist in Richmond are not protected.
Much of the issue with adding more bike lanes comes from the fact that it would disrupt traffic even more to widen the roads to make this addition.
As the construction of this bike path begins outside of the city, it is possible that VCU will contemplate the addition of bike lanes onto campus streets.
The VCU Department of Parking and Transportation could not be reached for comment.