Bike Riding Students Share Common Concerns
March 8, 2007 8:10 PM
SF State will never be confused for the bicycle hotspot that is UC Santa Barbara, but it does have its fair share of those who ditch the gas pedals for the foot pedals. On a campus filled with commuters, and in severe shortage of nearby free parking, riding a bike is a cost-effective solution that many students opt for.
And though it has its benefits, leaving the bike behind during class is a varying, sometimes worrisome experience for students.
“I used to park it on the other side of the gym before,” said Sepehr Zamani. “The Bike Barn is like a fortress, although if someone really wanted to, they could just walk in.”
Although Zamani said that he has had no problems with his bicycle at SF State, that did not stop him from issuing a warning against parking in a specific part of the campus.
“The closer it is to 19th Avenue, the sketchier it is,” said Zamani. “My friend had his bike stolen at midday near HSS.”
While bicycle thefts are generally less talked about than automobile thefts, it is an underlying problem in urban environments. It is also something that every college campus inevitably faces, as many students find driving impractical or unaffordable.
SF State police had 11 reports of bicycle crimes in the 2006 fall semester, and have thus far received four reports of bicycle-related crimes this semester, according to Ellen Griffin from the Office of Public Affairs. The on-campus Bike Barn, which offers free storage for up to 350 bicycles, is used frequently by students, although some do so with reservations.
“It’s no big deal on campus, you could just cut a lock… nobody really gives a shit,” said Eric Brown. “I just started (using the Bike Barn) because both wheels were stolen from my bike when it was locked up near Hensill Hall three weeks ago.”
Brown, a 20-year-old Industrial Technology major, was not among the four who reported their bicycle crime to the campus police this semester, as he did not see them as an effective deterrent to the criminals.
“Bike-riding cops ride around and tell people not to ride around here on bikes,” said Brown.
The campus police, which offer a free bicycle registration program for students, has published a pamphlet called “Preventing Bicycle Theft” that outlines tips on selecting locks and chains to decrease the chances of becoming a victim. The crime prevention handout also informs students of the benefits of acquiring a DataDot, which holds the owner’s contact information electronically.
A common thread among students who rely on bikes was the better-than-nothing attitude toward the Bike Barn, largely due to its lack of cost and protection from the elements.
“Last year I didn’t use to park it in Bike Barn,” said Jeremy Urone, a 20-year-old International Business major. “But it’s more secure, free and sheltered.”
“I have heard stories about people getting their bikes stolen here,” said Urone. “But I don’t think there’s a high demand for my cruiser. Road bikes are in higher demand for parts.”
Some students feel the extra few minutes needed to lock up their bike in the free enclosure is well worth the peace of mind.
“I don’t want someone on campus to mess with it,” said Kayleigh Loe, a sophomore Voice major. “Somebody could come in there, but I try not to think about it.”
The Bike Barn employs an attendant during its open hours, who ensures that students sign in and out when they leave or retrieve their bike.
“Sometimes people will forget their locks and feel concerned about their bikes,” said Nathan Baskett, a student who works in the Bike Barn. “Some of them even will come back and check on their bikes.”
Baskett noted that the majority of those who ride their bikes to school feel safe about leaving them under his supervision during the school day. He also rides his bicycle to campus and has no fears about leaving it there during his classes.
“I feel totally secure about leaving it here,” said Baskett. “I only leave it in Bike Barn because it’s safer.”
Urone felt fine leaving his bike behind during the day, but for a different reason all together.
“If someone were to steal my bike, it would be hard to throw over their shoulder because it’s so heavy.”
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