Campus is ‘bike friendly’

  For many students, biking isn’t just a leisurely activity; it’s their mode of everyday transportation.                   UVM was named a bike-friendly University by the League of American Bicyclists, according to a press release.  The University was one of 26 other schools to receive the award from the Bicycle Friendly University program.  The criteria for this recognition is that a university must promote and provide a more bicycle-friendly campus for students, staff and visitors, the League of American Bicyclists’ website stated. “I think UVM being named a bike friendly campus is pretty accurate,” senior Hope Simpson said.  “I wouldn’t say we’re the most bike friendly place because of all the people walking around, but I have noticed more bike racks and biking is convenient.” The pedestrian issue seems to be a common concern among students. “I think UVM’s a relatively bike friendly university, however, I think there is still room for improvement traffic-wise,” first-year Dory Cooper said.  “There are often many people on the sidewalk and sometimes, if a biker is trying to get through, things can get a little sticky.  That’s why I don’t ride a bike on campus.” One aspect of biking on a college campus is that students need to take extra security measures when it comes to preventing bike theft.  “We do experience bike theft at UVM,” Police Captain Tim Bilodeau said.  “Bike theft is a crime of opportunity, and bikes are a lot more popular around here to steal than cars.” In the fiscal year 2010, 94 bikes or bike parts were stolen at UVM, according to the Police website. “U-Bolts, when properly secured are the best locking device,” Bilodeau said. “But being aware of where your bike is and checking on it can also help prevent theft.”   Though some students said they worry about people when it comes to riding a bike around campus, others said they view biking as one of their main modes of transportation. “I think biking is a great alternative to driving,” sophomore Callagy Ross said.  “Biking is a fast way to get to class, and a great way to get exercise.” Some students said biking is often a logical option for those who live away from central campus. “I lived on Redstone last year and I biked a lot,” sophomore Allie Epstein said.  “I like to bike into town, but my only complaint about biking is that there aren’t enough bike racks around.” UVM may have been named a bike friendly university, but there are students who said they either cannot afford a bike or don’t have access to one.  The Bike Users Group (BUG) is trying to change this, and make biking accessible to all UVM students. “BUG was started by a small group of students in the fall of 2009, and is run by ten dedicated students now,” junior Lucy Perutz said.  “Our three main focuses have been creating a bike-share program, promoting bicycle safety and culture and running a bike shop to use as a tool to educate students about the basics of bicycle repair.” With three hubs, or places to rent bikes on campus, BUG has enabled over 500 people to sign up for the program, Perutz said. “Any valid CatCard holding community member has the ability to first sign a waiver, check out a bike, receive a key corresponding to a number on a bike located outside of the hub, and return it to any of the three hubs,” Perutz said.   The main hub where students can sign-up is located at the Davis Center, she said.  The satellite hubs are located at McAuley Hall on Trinity and Simpson Hall on Redstone. All of this is available for free.