UC Davis Bicycle Plan


Table of Contents






Consistency with Related Plans………………………………………………..3


Community Involvement……………………………………………..................3


Bicycle Planning and Implementation at UC Davis………………………….3














1. State and Highways Code 891.2 and 891.4. State law relating to city and county bicycle plans                                                             


2. Existing Land Use and Settlement Patterns. The attached Davis Bike Map shows major UC Davis campus facilities and the University’s setting in the City of Davis


3. Existing and Proposed Bikeways. More detail on existing bikeways may

be seen in the Davis Bike Map in Appendix 2. The Bikeways & Transit

Corridor map from the UC Davis Long Range Development Plan depicts

existing as well as proposed bike paths and bike lanes .


4. Major campus transit terminals (map).


5. Location of campus shower and changing facilities (map).


6. Proposed projects descriptions.


7. Past expenditures for bicycle facilities.





The purpose of the UC Davis Bicycle Plan is to serve as a guide to the continuing improvement and encouragement of bicycling as a significant mode of transportation on, to, and from the University of California at Davis. As such, this document describes existing policies and facilities related to campus bicycling, and it includes a list of projects and programs intended to improve the UC Davis cycling environment in the future. The plan complies with the requirements and guidelines spelled out in Section 891.2 of the California Streets and Highways Code (Appendix 1). This plan is not intended to serve as a standards manual for the design and construction of bicycle facilities. The appropriate design and standards manuals are referenced in the appendices.


In order to apply for Caltrans Bicycle Transportation Account funds for the construction or development of bicycle facilities at UC Davis, this campus bicycle plan will be adopted as a supplement to either the existing Yolo County or City of Davis bicycle plan.




The UC Davis and the City of Davis enjoy a global reputation as being one of the most “bike friendly” communities in existence. The city and campus earned this recognition through their steadfast efforts to encourage and expand the use of bicycles for transportation and recreation over the past four decades. A history of the growth of the city and campus as a “Mecca” for bicycling is available on the UC Davis web site (see references). 


UC Davis differs from many other college and university campuses that also enjoy high bicycle use in that for over thirty years it has taken the approach of encouraging and accommodating maximum bicycle use. In other words, there are very few restrictions to bicycle use on campus. Roads or bike paths lead to every campus destination, and every effort is made to provide ample and secure bike parking at each destination.


It is estimated that 15,000 – 18,000 bicycles are in use on campus on weekdays during good weather in the fall and spring quarters. The UC Davis campus is expected to increase in population by 6000 students, staff and faculty by 2010. This growth should see a corresponding increase in bicycle use. It is difficult to forecast the impact of projects on the future growth of cycling on campus. However, it is probably safe to say that if the University does not maintain its bicycle-friendly environment, including expansion to accommodate the burgeoning population, bike use will decrease. Unpredictable factors, such as a significant increase in gasoline prices or other driving-related costs could do more to promote cycling for transportation than any facilities or program improvements.






Consistency with Related Plans


This plan is consistent with the goals and objectives of the following local and regional transportation plans that call for the maintenance, improvement and expansion of bicycle transportation in their respective jurisdictions:


  • The UC Davis Transportation and Parking Services draft Long Range Access Plan Options Study


  • The Pedestrian and Bicycle Circulation element of the UC Davis Long Range Development Plan


  • The Bicycle/Pedestrian Plan Element of the UC Davis/City of Davis Joint Transportation Systems Management Plan


  • The Guiding and Implementing Policies of the Davis General Plan


  • The Goals and Objectives of the City of Davis Comprehensive Bicycle Plan


  • The Goal and Policy Statement of the Yolo County Bikeway Plan


  • The Traffic Safety Plan of the UC Davis Police Department


Community Involvement


A draft version of the bicycle plan has been reviewed by the UC Davis Committee on Bicycle Programs and the Transportation and Parking Work Group. The draft will be attached as a supplement to the draft TAPS Long Range Access Plan. To qualify for Caltrans Bicycle Transportation Account funds, the plan will be adopted as a supplement to the City of Davis Comprehensive Bicycle Plan.


Bicycle Planning and Implementation at UC Davis


The Four “E’s”


Bicycle planners often use the “Four E’s” rubric to organize and categorize their efforts. The four E’s are Engineering, Enforcement, Education and Encouragement. This section provides an overview of existing standards as well as the guiding principles used at UC Davis to promote the safe and beneficial use of bicycles on campus. The Four E’s are defined below along with how they are incorporated in the planning, operation and maintenance of bicycle transportation on campus.





“Engineering” encompasses all infrastructure used by bicyclists. This includes bicycle parking facilities, bikeways (e.g. roads, bike paths, trails), signage, signals, pavement markings, etc.


·        Bikeways


“Bikeway” is an all-inclusive term to denote any facility intended to be ridden upon by bicyclists. In addition to the obvious bike paths and bike lanes, any street or roadway is a bikeway with the exception of restricted-access roads such as some freeways. In other words, a road does not need a bike lane or any special markings or other accommodations to be thought of as a “bikeway”.  Even a sidewalk can be a “bikeway” if bicycling thereupon is not prohibited.


The design of most bikeways follows state standards and guidelines found in the Caltrans Highway Design Manual. Additional information is found in the American Association of State and Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities.


Because of the large volume of bicycles operating daily, bike paths, bike lanes, and other bikeways at UC Davis are almost always wider than the minimum standards. Design width of new bikeways may even “err” on the side of too wide with the expectation that bicycle traffic volumes will increase in the future. Consideration must also be given to strength and durability if there is to be any motor traffic expected on the bike paths. In fact, most campus bike paths see occasional service vehicle traffic, so materials and design must be sufficient to accommodate this use. Some bike paths are campus fire routes and must be built to accommodate occasional multi-ton fire equipment.


Most bike paths are really multi-use paths, also referred to as “shared use” paths in the AASHTO Guide. In other words, cyclists often share these paths with pedestrians, joggers, skaters, dog walkers and the like. With the volume of bicycle use at UC Davis, mixing cyclists and non-cyclists at certain times of the day, particularly peak-use times, increases the risk of collisions. As a result, many campus bike paths are paralleled by separate pedestrian facilities, and that is the preferred design standard and should be followed in any future construction.


Only a few campus streets have bike lanes. Some streets are not wide enough for bike lanes and others without bike lanes accommodate cyclists and motorists with no significant problems. The addition of bike lanes on campus roadways should be evaluated case by case. Bike lanes have a mixed record of efficacy, and while many cyclists “feel safe” in a bike lane, statistical data do not necessarily indicate that the white stripe provides any measurable safety benefit.


Since the early 1970s, UC Davis has made use of “traffic circles” to improve the flow of traffic at bike path intersections as well as core area roadway/bike path intersections. At present there are more than a dozen such treatments on campus. They have proven to be very effective in maintaining a steady flow of movement through intersections especially during peak traffic periods such as class breaks.


·        Bicycle Parking


Bicycle parking facilities include the actual devices used for securing or storing bikes, e.g. racks and lockers, as well as the area set aside for parking.  Details about approved bike parking devices used at UC Davis can be found in the UC Davis Campus Standards and Design Guide. The University is continually upgrading deficient or substandard bike parking facilities by expanding existing bike parking lots, adding new ones, or replacing older style racks with newer, higher security devices.


For over thirty years, UC Davis has consistently provided sufficient bike parking at every campus destination*. This practice is unusual at college campuses with high bicycle usage where the more usual custom is to provide a limited number of large bike parking areas, often on the perimeter of the campus center. In those circumstances, cyclists are expected to park their bikes and walk to most campus destinations. At UC Davis, cyclists use their bikes to travel between most campus destinations, even where distances are relatively short. On campus, bicyclists outnumber pedestrians roughly four to one.


The practice of providing “universal” campus bike parking serves to encourage bicycle use and discourages illegal, unsafe or inconvenient parking practices. Not only is bike parking provided at each destination, the parking is usually sited with the cyclist’s convenience and security in mind. Again, in contrast to practices at other campuses where “unsightly” bike parking may be placed behind building facades, on the campus perimeter, or hidden behind walls or landscaping treatments, the intent at UC Davis is to site parking conveniently near to building entrances and usually in high visibility areas to discourage theft.


Determining the number of bicycle spaces to provide at any given campus destination is done by estimating the maximum use of the site or building and calculating how many of those users are likely to arrive by bicycle. For example, if a building has total classroom space for 500 students and office space for 100 staff and faculty, 325 bike spaces would be a reasonable estimate based on commuter mode split surveys that indicate that 60% of students and 25% of staff/faculty use bicycles as their primary means to get to campus. Other factors may enter into the equation, such as proximity to existing bike parking areas that may be under- or over-utilized, or if the area is likely to be used for special events drawing in significantly more cyclists.


The campus standard for bike racks is based on several design factors including theft-preventing features, ease of use, cost, durability and appearance.


36 rental bike locker spaces are available on campus. Lockers provide users with additional security and protection from the weather. The program is managed by TAPS, and the lockers are found in four locations: the south side of Lot 25 near the Recreation Hall, the north side of Hickey Gym, at the South Entry Parking Structure, and in Lot 5 near Solano Park. Bike lockers are mostly used by students or staff who drive to campus from outside of town and want to use their bikes during the day. A few of the lockers are used by people who commute regularly by bicycle from outside of Davis and want a secure place to store their good commuting bike while at work or in class. Two sets of lockers are sited close to shower facilities to accommodate these out-of-town bike commuters.


The campus standard for bike lockers is an all-steel locker chosen for its theft-resistance, durability and ease of maintenance.


In January, 2002, the campus began a one-year pilot program utilizing a unique bike locker called a BikeLid. Six BikeLids have been installed in existing bike parking areas. These are available to cyclists on a “first come, first served” basis. In other words there is no rent or fee associated with their use. The University has an arrangement with the manufacturer who provides and maintains the lockers at no cost to the University in exchange for allowing commercial advertising messages on the lockers.


·        Signage


Most signage related to campus bicycle use is found on roadways and must comply with Caltrans Traffic Manual standards. Signs and markings on campus bike paths generally follow Caltrans Traffic Manual designs, but often in smaller sizes. A variety of signs and pavement markings are used to designate bike parking areas or areas where bike parking is prohibited.


Pavement markings are often used on campus bikeways. Indeed, they may be more visible to cyclists than signs on poles. However, care must be taken in applying pavement markings to reduce the possible “slip” hazards associated with their use, particularly in wet conditions.





*One of the requirements of Streets and Highways Code Section 891.2 for bicycle plans is a map depicting bicycle parking facilities. Because of the universal placement of racks and other parking devices on campus, one need only see the attached Davis Bike Map and visualize bike parking at every campus building and major destination.

Bike parking regulatory signs currently in use on campus are in need of upgrading and replacement. New bike parking signs should be standardized and designed to complement other campus signage.


·        Traffic Signals


For the most part, traffic signal lights on campus are standard “red, amber, green” installations. However, at the intersection of Russell Boulevard and Sycamore Lane on the north perimeter of campus, traffic is controlled by a combination of standard signals and innovative bicycle signal heads. The City of Davis pioneered the use of these signals in the 1990s, working with UC Davis to coordinate this particular installation which provides separate phases for cyclists and motorists, significantly reducing conflicts and collisions between the two modes. Planners and engineers may find other campus locations where bicycle signal lights will be useful in reducing crashes or promoting the smooth flow of traffic.


·        Tire Air Stations


The campus provides publicly-accessible air compressors fitted with hoses and pump heads to allow cyclists to fill their bike tires with air. At present, four such stations exist (at Tercero and Regan Student Housing, the ASUCD Bike Barn, and the Fire/Police Station). Additional stations should be added near the MU, in Cuarto, Solano Park and the Orchard Park/Russell Park housing areas.




Enforcement of bicycle use on campus involves two departments, the University Police and Transportation & Parking Services (TAPS). With so much cycling activity on campus, campus and state regulations pertaining to bicycle operation, equipment and parking must be enforced in order to ensure a reasonable degree of compliance and promote a safe bicycling environment. A comprehensive body of rules and regulations coupled with good signage is not sufficient to bring about and maintain safe and legal cycling behavior. Enforcement is essential.


Campus cyclists are subject to the California Vehicle Code and the UC Davis Traffic and Parking Code. The Traffic and Parking Code covers parking, equipment and operation regulations specific to the UC Davis campus.


TAPS employs one full-time bicycle enforcement officer who patrols the campus on a bike weekdays throughout the year. The University Police are authorized to enforce all bicycling rules and regulations as well. Bicycle parking rules are enforced by the TAPS Bike Patrol --part-time student employees who patrol the campus and place warnings on illegally parked or abandoned bikes and impound bicycles in violation as necessary.


In addition to providing additional bicycle traffic enforcement, the University Police Department engages in a variety of crime prevention activities that help to keep bicycle theft numbers down. The police also take bike theft reports, respond to bicycle crashes, maintain theft and crash statistics, and use bicycles to patrol the campus.


Bicycle registration is mandatory for all bikes operated on campus, and licenses are available at TAPS and four downtown bike shops. TAPS oversees the program which makes use of the California Bicycle License system managed by the state Department of Motor Vehicles. Registration aids in the recovery of stolen bicycles, and it is also very useful in managing the large numbers of bikes at UC Davis. For example, being able to identify the owners of bikes through the license information is helpful in dealing with abandoned bikes, illegally parked bikes, and verifying ownership when removing locks for bike owners who have lost their keys.


In addition to providing additional bicycle traffic enforcement, the University Police Department engages in a variety of crime prevention activities that help to keep bicycle theft numbers down. The police also take bike theft reports, maintain theft and crash statistics, and use bicycles to patrol the campus.


TAPS offers a weekly bike traffic school for those cited for moving violations while cycling on campus. Attending the class reduces the normal bail of $81 to a $10 administrative fee. The class also serves an educational purpose as students are shown a bicycle safety video, given a quiz, and discuss safe cycling practices with the instructor.




Efforts at educating campus bicyclists have varied over the years. For many years, and continuing at present, various printed materials with bicycle safety messages have been made available on campus. Since the early nineties, the most widely distributed bicycle information item has been the Davis Bike Map (Attachment 2). The map side of this document depicts all the bikeways in the city and on campus, including all streets marked with bike lanes. It also shows bike shop locations, tire air sources, and a variety of other features of interest or use to bicyclists. The reverse side of the map provides bike riding tips, safety information and security information, and a list of local resources for cyclists.


The Davis Bike Map, distributed freely at a variety of campus and city locations including local bike shops, is particularly effective because unlike most bike safety brochures, it includes information that many people want to keep and will find useful –the map itself.


TAPS also distributes a flier, updated annually, that is directed at new students, staff and faculty. It provides the basic information one should know to be a successful cyclist at Davis. It is sent to all new incoming students who will be living in the residence halls, and it is made available at many events and campus locations.


Another popular brochure distributed by TAPS is the guide to California bicycle laws published by the California State Automobile Association and available in large quantities at no charge.  Additional brochures have been developed over time as the need arises to deal with particular situations.


A 19 minute video, “How to Avoid Face Plants” is a production filmed entirely on campus and in the city of Davis and is geared toward the college student population. It is used in the TAPS bike traffic school, shown on campus closed-circuit TV, and is also used in a variety of presentations on campus.


TAPS also installs temporary signs on traffic barricades occasionally at heavily-used campus traffic circles in order to educate new users to the basic yield rule at such intersections: “Yield to Traffic in Circle”. Such signs serve an education function rather than a regulatory one. Additional signs of a similar educational nature may be used in the future.


The TAPS Bicycle Coordinator gives bike safety talks to student and staff groups, and as a certified League Cycling Instructor with the League of American Bicyclists, has taught classes in cycling skills and knowledge.


The Cowell Student Health Center’s Peer Advisor program has trained students in bicycle safety who provide information to the campus community.


Bicycle repair classes have been offered regularly at the ASUCD Bike Barn through the ASUCD Experimental College. Hundreds of students and community members have learned to repair, overhaul and maintain their bikes through these courses over the years.




According to the TAPS Mission Statements, its Bicycle Program “maintains and encourages the popular and beneficial use of bicycles as an important mode of transportation to, from and on campus by providing the campus community with a safe, secure, and efficient cycling environment in response to customer needs and expectations.”


“Encouragement” of campus cycling takes many forms, some obvious and others not immediately apparent. The “not so obvious” means include the provision of efficient bicycle access by establishing and maintaining a network of roads and paths that make cycling at UC Davis safe and efficient. Convenient and secure bicycle parking facilities also promote cycling on campus. In short, much of what has already been described above in the Engineering, Enforcement and Education sections serves to create and maintain a welcoming environment for bicyclists.


However, other programs and institutions also serve UC Davis cyclists. Examples include:


·        The Committee on Bicycle Programs, a subcommittee of the campus Transportation and Parking Work Group (TPWG), meets monthly to discuss issues, projects, and matters related to the use of bicycles at UC Davis. Comprised of representatives from TAPS, University Police, Facilities Services, ASUCD, the faculty, Resource Management and Planning, and the City of Davis Bicycle Program, the committee is very effective at resolving problems or concerns brought to its attention. Issues beyond its scope or authority are referred to TPWG.


·        ASUCD Bike Barn, which for over thirty years has provide a centralized source of bicycles, parts, service, accessories, repair, maintenance and a place where Aggies can work on their own bikes by making use of the Barn’s tool loan service.


·        Bike auctions are held twice yearly at which usually between 350 and 400 bikes are made available to the highest bidders. Besides offering the community a large selection of “fixer-upper” bicycles at low cost, the proceeds from the auctions go directly into the campus bicycle program.


·        TAPS provides lock-cutting services for campus cyclists who lose their keys or otherwise need locks removed from bikes.


·        Temporary “A” parking permits are available for purchase by staff and faculty cyclists who don’t have regular long-term parking permits. These allow holders to drive a vehicle and park in lots closest to most campus activities. The permits provide up to twelve day use permits per six-month period. Such permits are useful for some cyclists who must occasionally transport large loads to or from campus, or who wish to avoid riding in inclement weather, or have any other reason to drive a vehicle rather than bicycle on certain days. In short, this permit system provides the regular cyclist with another option when bicycling or taking the bus is not as practical.


·        CycleBration, Bike Commute Day, and the Transportation Fair are annual events that are fun, informational and encourage bicycling for transportation and recreation.


·        Coupons for discounts on bike helmets, bike lights and other related items have been offered periodically over the years as they have become available from manufacturers, bike shops, or special programs.




California Highway Design Manual, California Department of Transportation, 1995.



Campus Standards and Design Guide, UC Davis Architects and Engineers,  2000.



Evolution of a Cyclist-Friendly Community: the Davis Model, David Takemoto-Weerts, 1998.



Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, 1999. http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/TA/PAandI/Bicycle/BikeBook.pdf


Traffic and Parking Code, UC Davis, 2000.