More bikes, more racks

This may have happened to you before – it’s five minutes before class, but you’ve been sharking for a parking spot for the past 15 minutes.

Either you can park in a place far from class and risk being late, or you can make your own parking spot. However, you’re not in your car.

You’re on your bike.

By adding more sidewalks in the community, the University has aimed to increase the ease and frequency of environmentally-friendly transportation.

If more students are walking and riding their bicycles, it only makes sense there would also be the increased benefit of having somewhere to park.

Sometimes there just isn’t enough space to ensure that, especially in high-traffic areas.

This can lead to students struggling to find more creative places to lock their bicycles, or even leaving their property unlocked altogether.

The question is: do students think the trouble of riding their bicycle is worth the effort for a greener campus and community?

Colin Horwood, agronomy major from Murray, thinks having more bike racks would be a good idea.

“The high-traffic areas like the dorms and Faculty Hall definitely need more places to park bikes,” Horwood said. “I’ve heard of people getting their bikes stolen because they didn’t lock them up properly in a rack because there wasn’t enough room.”

Horwood has his doubts about implementing more racks on campus.

“I think bikes are very important to the green movement, but I don’t think that necessarily means more racks would encourage more use,” Horwood said. “With current western Kentucky health in general it would be great to see more cycling, but I don’t see it happening any time soon.”

Brittany Hesson, who earned her degree in management and entrepreneurship in December, has had trouble with bicycles before.

“When I did have a bike, I often had problems finding space at the bike racks,” Hesson said. “I used to leave really early just to make sure that I could find a space before the crowd. Students are complaining about needing more parking lots, but the same goes for the bike racks.”

Hesson said bikes are a great mode of transportation for the green movement, as well as providing a faster and cheaper way of getting to campus than driving.

“I think that bikes are a very integral part of the go green movement,” Hesson said. “Bikes are cheaper than cars, both in up-keep and in gas, and of course, they’re better for the environment. Knowing this, I’m sure more students would be willing to ride bikes if they knew the bikes would be safe.”

Michael Gallagher, senior from New York, feels some students won’t make the effort to use their bikes even if there are more racks.

“A lot of college students seem lazy and don’t even like walking from the dorms to class,” Gallagher said. “But for the people who do care, I think extra parking would provide encouragement.

“There are only bike racks outside of certain buildings, and it’s annoying how people have to lock their bikes up at one place and walk far away to get to class. Maybe if there were more bike racks it would give people incentive to start riding their bikes more, which will in turn cut down on the amount of parking spaces being taken up by cars, and that’s good for the sustainability effort.”

If there are enough students and members of the community willing to ride their bikes, there might be a need for more racks. However, this could also cut down on the amount of parking needed for cars and the number of lots needed for those cars.

If enrollment increases, it seems that implementing more bike racks would be the environmentally responsible thing to do.