More bike racks might help prevent illegal bike parking on campus

Mikaela Cannizzo

More bike racks will be added to campus following the completion of multiple construction projects including the Dell Medical School and the new mall on Speedway Avenue, said Jeremy Hernandez, bike coordinator for Parking and Transportation Services.

There are currently 7,416 active registered cyclists at the University and approximately 700 bike racks that hold 12–14 bikes at a time, according to data obtained from PTS. The new racks will add bike parking to areas such as Robert Lee Moore Hall. Hernandez said more bike racks have been added to campus throughout the past two years, but racks near construction sites had to be relocated to Speedway recently.

Hernandez said he encourages students to be mindful when parking their bikes and to avoid locking bikes in locations other than designated racks.

“I understand that people like to be extremely close to where they’re going, but if there isn’t something readily available, I would highly advise [students] to look around because there is always an open space to park your bike, although it might not be exactly where you want to park it,” Hernandez said.

Officer William Pieper of the UT Police Department said locking bikes elsewhere is a rule violation, which may result in a citation issued through PTS if the bike obstructs a sidewalk or roadway.

“A lot of students will lock their bikes to a handrail or fence of some sort because it’s closer to whatever destination they’re headed to, but you really have to be mindful of what you’re securing your bicycle to, because oftentimes, what you’re securing it to is not as secure as your lock is,” Pieper said.

Some students also lock their bikes to street sign poles, but bikes are more susceptible to theft when they are secured to unstable entities such as these, Pieper said.

Computer science senior Dheeraj Putlur said he sometimes has trouble finding a spot to lock his bike on campus. He said he usually looks for an open spot but locks his bike to a handrail if he
cannot find one.

“With so many bikes on campus, it’s difficult to find a spot on the bike racks,” Putlur said. “I think the University should definitely add more bike racks. More and more people are biking now, and I think the University should help out in accommodating that.”

In addition to the plan to add more bike racks to campus after construction projects are finished, Hernandez said the department is also considering a rideshare program for bikers that will give students another option to bike around campus without the hassle of finding a parking spot multiple times a day. He said there is no guarantee this type of program will be implemented, but that other campuses, such as Texas A&M University, utilize it and that it is a possibility for the future.

“[Bike parking on campus] is a work in progress, and I don’t think it’s something that’s ever going to be complete,” Hernandez said. “I think building infrastructure for cycling is something that’s always going to be continual.”