The need-to-knows of biking on campus
Editor's note: This article was produced as part of the Daily Wildcat's 2018 Campus Guide -- the perfect resource for any incoming Wildcat. Whether you're trying to find important dates, looking for a club to join or are interested in UA history and traditions, we'll be there to help you get through your first semester. Welcome to the University of Arizona!
On the giant list of things to consider when settling in a new place like the University of Arizona, transportation is undoubtedly near the top. Whether a student resides on- or off-campus, transportation has a huge impact on how they plan to get to class on time.
Purchasing a parking pass, refilling the gas tank and occasionally changing the oil can be daunting for some students. However, switching from four to two wheels can have its perks and, according to UA Alternative Transportation Program Manager Jessica Hersh-Ballering, the university is a perfect opportunity for students to get used to a biking lifestyle.
“Once you feel comfortable enough biking around campus, it’s time to get off campus and go see everything Tucson has to offer,” Hersh-Ballering said.
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The UA is home to a tremendous number of bikes owned and rented by students. There are also plenty of bike racks and public repair stations scattered around campus.
“We have great bike-shared paths, bike-shared roadways and some of Tucson’s most bike-friendly streets come right through the UA,” Hersh-Ballering said.
Tucson’s bike-friendly community encourages students to hop on the seat, grab those handle bars and rotate the pedals on a bike.
“I always recommend taking University Boulevard, or Third Street,” Hersh-Ballering said.
Biking on campus can be something students try occasionally for almost no expense, since Parking and Transportation Services offers students the option of renting a bike for free at select UA garages and the Rec Center’s Outdoor Rental Center through the Cat-Wheels Bike Sharing program.
UA cyclists with personal bikes face fewer expenses compared to the fees associated with car ownership, such as parking. According to Hersh-Ballering, aside from offering over 10,000 free bicycle-parking spaces, PTS also provides free bicycle registration.
Not only does getting a personal bike registered increase the chances of recovering a bike if lost or stolen, it also allows students to make use of bike services on campus.
“UA Parking and Transportation Services is partnering for the first time with Campus Rec to run our free campus bike repair station, taking place on the campus mall right next to our main bike valet,” Hersh-Ballering said.
Aside from keeping a bike well maintained, it is also wise to keep a bike safe when parked by using a U-lock. This must be properly done by “putting the lock through both the frame and the front tire, and always locking to a proper bike rack,” according to Hersh-Ballering.
If a U-lock is not enough to keep a valuable bike safe, other alternatives include bicycle enclosures or a locker. Enclosures are security-fenced areas with bike racks inside that students can rent a space in for $35 per year. Bicycle lockers, on the other hand, cost $100 each year, with an additional $80 deposit for the key that is refundable upon return.
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It is important to keep a bike safe when parked, but even more important is keeping yourself safe when sharing the road with others.
“Bicyclists need to mostly remember that, when you’re on the roadway, you are operating much in the same way as a motor vehicle. You’re treated by the law as a motor vehicle, too,” said Hersh-Ballering.
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