Texas A&M bike permits identify stolen cycles in case of theft
Aggie Safety Week encourages student practices for students' safety
Published: Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 21:07
Throughout the year bike accidents thefts affect many students on campus. Neglecting bicycle traffic laws and safety measures aren't worth the trouble of putting yourself and others in danger.
Debbie Hoffman, associate director for Transportation Services,, said a new bike program has been put in place this year to accommodate for bikes and improve safety.
"For decades there was no established bike program and no organization that agreed to take on the expense or responsibility associated with managing bike parking," Hoffman said. "There was no funding source for purchasing new bike racks, maintenance stations, or to pay staff for addressing any issues related to bike program management, such as planning educational programs, monitoring the campus to ensure bikes are parked in racks, communication of rules, or removing the more than 1,800 bikes abandoned at the end of the spring semester."
Hoffman said the ultimate goal of the program is for the University to earn the League of American Bicyclists' Bike Friendly University award.
Ron Steedly, alternative transportation manager, said new style bike racks have been installed at the Wehner, Reed McDonald, Chemistry, Bizzell, James J. Cain and Halbouty buildings to provide additional parking for those who ride bicycles on campus. More bike racks have been ordered, to be installed later this school year.
Also new this semester, students are encouraged to register their bikes on the Transportations Services website. A Transportation Services dispatcher said the registration is voluntary and is in place so that university police officers and other officials can assist in locating lost or stolen bicycles.
"We encourage everyone to register their bike," Steedly said. "The main benefit is safeguarding your property. Bike registration identifies an owner in cases of bike theft recovery and possible impoundment. The visual registration sticker also serves as a theft deterrent since it is obvious an owner can be identified."
Sergeant Baron works with crime prevention on-campus and said in 2010, there were approximately 280 bicycles reported stolen on campus. Since January 2011, he said they received 173 reported bicycle thefts and recovered 47 bicycles. He said most recovered bikes were returned safely because the owners had engraved their bikes with their driver's license number.
"Other effective ways to prevent bicycle theft are always lock your bike and use a good quality case harden steel "U Bolt" style lock and secure the U Bolt lock through the bike frame, the rear tire and the bicycle rack. Also, be sure to report [bicycle theft] immediately to the University Police." Baron said.
Sergeant Baron said the most common issues with bicycle safety on campus are bicycle traffic law violations.
"A bicycle is a vehicle and a person operating a bicycle has the same responsibilities as a driver operating a motor vehicle," Baron said. "All laws and signs that regulate the movement of vehicles on the roadway also apply to bicycles. A bicyclist is required to obey all traffic laws. Common violations we give out are stop sign violations, no front head lamp with riding at night and riding the wrong way on a one-way street."
The fine for a bicycle violation is $140. The University Police issue bicycle citations through a local Brazos County Justice of the Peace.
"Remember to be alert when riding your bike on campus," Baron said. "Be extra cautious of pedestrians and other vehicles to avoid accidents. State law does not prohibit one from riding their bike on the sidewalk, but it is discouraged. Always use designated bicycle lanes when riding on the roadway."
Hoffman said she is excited about the quick progress that has been made toward improving bike parking in key areas of campus.
"As Aggies, we have responsibility for being good stewards of this wonderful place we call Aggieland," Hoffman said. "Aggies are stepping up and setting a standard where we don't park bikes on trees, light poles, or blocking the accessible routes to buildings … Thanks to all the Aggies for keeping the Aggie spirit and pride alive by not cluttering our beautiful campus or preventing another Aggie from reaching his or her classroom, work location or meeting."
Freshman mechanical engineering major Cameron Elson said he is glad the University is focusing on ways to deter bike theft and working to provide space for bike racks.
"Any way that bike theft can be prevented, it should, and I'm glad the University is concerned in these matters." Elson said. "I think free bike registration is especially useful as it's good to know that if your bike is ever stolen, the university police can try to track it down for you."
Steedly added that another benefit of the new bike program is that it cleared some of the cluttered bike areas on campus.