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Campus Bikes: A Disaster on Wheels?

Last updated on Oct 30, 2017

By Molly Cunha & Jada Butler
Staff Writer & News Editor

On Friday, Oct. 13, the day before Homecoming, students were surprised to find 25 new yellow bicycles spread out across the campus, with multiple bikes chained to bike racks in front of Post Hall, Brookville Hall, the library, and between Nassau and Suffolk Halls.

Photo Courtesy of Lauren Nicole – Emily Miller, Molly Cunha, and Julie Gysels riding around campus.

Students received an email from President Kimberly Cline later that day, explaining that the new bikes had many uses, “whether it is rushing to your next class or squeezing in a quick workout.”

Students were expected to follow an “honor code,” according to the president’s email. Students were given the code “1954,” to unlock bike chains and to use the bikes at their own pleasure on campus, free of charge. Unfortunately, within days of their introduction to the campus, bikes were missing or damaged. Some bikes were hidden around campus, or taken into buildings and rooms to keep other students from being able to ride them. Another instance that occurred included the use of a personal lock to chain the campus bike.

Scott Carlin, the director of Center for Sustainability, is delighted that the administration offered on-campus bicycles to students.

Photo by Jada Butler
Bike seat replaced with an empty water bottle outside of Riggs Hall.

Several years ago, students in the department of Earth and environmental science explored several alternative bicycle options for the campus. “Student research included working with third-party companies that manage and maintain the bicycles, [create] bicycle paths on the campus, and working to make sure that bicycles, pedestrians, and cars can share the campus safely,” Carlin said.

Carlin went on to say that it is not unusual for new bike programs to experience growing pains, and posed the same questions many students are asking. Should students be able to borrow bicycles anonymously or should they need an ID to borrow them? What happens with at tires and other maintenance issues? Who will be responsible?

Campus Life did not comment on the misconduct with bikes on campus. “We are excited to hear the initial feedback about the bike program. Students have been riding bikes around campus and we are happy that the program has been such a success,” Michael Berthel, dean of students, said in an email. His email goes on to state, “As with any new program, we are constantly evaluating to determine future improvements and enhancements.

Students who have feedback regarding the program are encouraged to contact the Campus Concierge at 516-299-2800.”

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