Riding your bike around campus? Services abound, but lock it up
A UA student bikes toward Old Main on Sept. 21. A Daily Wildcat analysis showed an average of 250 bikes reported stolen on campus per year, and a 2017 Arizona Daily Star article found that 1,200 bikes were reported stolen in 2017.
Once students are fully enrolled for fall semester classes, the time comes to gather supplies. On that long, or short, list of necessary tools, don't forget a mode of transportation between class and your dorm or off campus abode.
Arizona’s desert habitat means for over half the year, the student population has to endure the scorching sun’s rays as they walk from one side of campus to the other. One way to shorten that traveling time is a bicycle.
“A large number of students, staff and faculty use bikes to get to classes or to ride home on the bike lanes; we offer a lot of services them to keep their bikes safe,” said Florence Dei Ochoa, marketing and public information manager for the University of Arizona Parking and Transportation Services.
However, the campus has a high rate of bike theft. A previous Daily Wildcat analysis showed there is an average of 250 bikes reported stolen on campus per year, and a 2017 Arizona Daily Star article said there were 1,200 bikes reported stolen in Tucson in 2017.
A good tip when owning a bike on campus is to get it registered through PTS, said Ochoa. This can help recover the bike in the event it is lost or stolen. Other services offered through PTS include a bike valet, for extra security.
According to Ochoa, the valet is exactly what it sounds like.
"You come to us before your class or before your school day begins and we take care of your bike for free, as long as your bike is registered with PTS, and you can pick it up,” Ochoa said.
In choosing this service, students can get their bikes checked, adjusted and repaired at no cost. According to Ochoa, UA’s bicycle stations are operated by PTS in conjunction with Pima County. Most of Bicycle Station attendants are bicycle instructors certified through the League of American Bicyclists.
The service may seem over-the-top; however, bikes are left under the shade with valets watching over them — which beats having your bike baking in the sun. Also, taking a U-lock on and off a bike can be a hassle, especially when rushing to the next class.
If a bike valet seems like too much, parking garages include safe enclosures and lockers where bikes can be stored overnight.
“PTS has enclosures where students can have their bikes stored safely. The enclosures are security-fenced, gated areas with some bike racks and they can be accessed with an individual security code,” said Ochoa.
An even more secure way of locking a bike is a bicycle locker. A bicycle locker is a secure box big enough for a bicycle and can only be opened with a key. PTS’ bike enclosure service costs $35 a year; a bike locker comes at a price of $100 per year and an additional $80 refundable key deposit.
When the semester ends, bikes are sometimes left behind, chained to the racks around campus.
“When a bike hasn’t been moved from the exact location it’s been or if PTS sees that it is damaged, and no one has moved it, we place a yellow sticker [on it] to be taken into the impound,” said Ochoa. “If the bikes are registered through PTS we contact the owner, if not the University takes it into surplus.”
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