By IZZY BRIONES
Stemming from recent UMW Police and departmental concerns on the lack of attention to the University’s existing policies in the student handbook, students of the University of Mary Washington received an email on Wednesday Sept. 18, from assistant director of Residence Life Colin Coleman reminding students of the Bicycle Policies and Procedures in place.
Ruth Lovelace, director of Emergency Management and Safety, stated that this bike policy has already been in place for some time, but as more students ride bikes at UMW, a greater challenge enforcing the policy has risen.
Due to the hazards that an improperly chained bike could cause, UMW Police, Emergency Management and Safety and Residence Life are taking greater steps to make the policy a reality.
“The chaining of bicycles impedes the ingress and egress of buildings and the use of the handrails,” Lovelace said. “It is a significant hazard and obstacle for handicap pedestrians as well, as these pedestrians rely on the handrail and cannot have any obstacle or distractions that would cause them issues entering or exiting the buildings.”
Existing policy requires that all bikes on the UMW campus be locked properly to bike racks, stored in the specified areas and registered with the University Police. Registration offers students with bikes emergency assistance if their bike becomes lost or stolen. Bike registration also allows Campus Police to obtain important information such as serial numbers and bike descriptions.
Students who remain unregistered now face the possibility of bike impoundment, as the university police have no way of contacting a bikes’ owner or knowing if a bike in question is the property of a university student.
Registering a bike takes approximately five minutes to complete. In order to register, a student must take their bike to the UMW Police Department, which is located in Brent House, down the hill from the Bell Tower. A student must then ask for a bike registration form from the front desk. The form contains the basic information on the bike itself and student contact information.
The student then receives a sticker to place on the bottom of their bike. It is this form of identification that ensures the bike in fact belongs to a UMW student and gives authorities an easy way to contact the bike’s owner.
If a bike is impounded, the owner may go to Brent House and speak with the UMW Police Department to have their bike released to them.
Crisa Young, a sophomore at UMW, expressed the fact that she had not even been aware of this bike policy at the university until now. However, now knowing what could happen to her bike if parked improperly and left unregistered, she said she will most likely go and register it with UMW Police.
Although, “There isn’t really a choice,” Young said. She is not alone in her opinion.
Freshman J.P. Burklow stated that he feels the impoundment policy is unfair to students who are unable to find appropriate bike parking.
“[It’s] not reasonable because there are not enough spaces to park bikes,” Burklow said. Despite the encouragement from UMW Police to register bikes, Burklow declined to do so, saying “I don’t feel the need to register my bike.”
This procedure is designed to keep campus, bikes, and their owners safe and keep bikes off of prohibited parking areas such as railings, trees and other non-bike racks. There are a substantial amount of bikes on UMW’s campus, and the ratio of bikes to appropriate and specified parking spots on campus could make parking properly difficult.
Though registration and parking have been some of the challenge for students with bikes, the registration also has it benefits, giving students a way to identify the bike if it is lost or stolen and keeping the campus safe.