With gas prices climbing and weather getting warmer, more people are looking to bikes for transportation, as they are a cheap and easy way to get around.
Taking a stroll around campus, anyone would notice the large clusters of bikes parked outside buildings — some have locks, others don’t. This begs the question: How safe are bikes from getting stolen, while their owners are in class or meetings?
Apparently, pretty safe — so far, there have only been two reported bike thefts this year. In 2011, there were 56 reported bike thefts. The number in 2010 was smaller, with 45 reported bike thefts, according to Virginia Tech Police.
Kevin Foust — the deputy chief and assistant director of security for Tech Police — said the department takes bike thefts seriously.
“It’s a crime, and we treat it like any other crime — it’s part of our responsibility,” Foust, deputy chief and assistant director of security for Tech Police, said.
To decrease bike theft and help with recovery of stolen bikes, Parking Services requires all bikes to be registered with the university. Registration is free and can be completed on a form via Facilities.vt.edu/bikereg. If a bike isn’t registered, it could be impounded or its rider could be fined.
Alternative Transportation at Tech — which promotes and encourages the use of alternative modes of transportation — is present during fall move-in, which has helped increase the number of bikes registered on campus, said Deborah Freed, the organization’s manager.
“I think people weren’t aware that registering your bike is required — it’s easy to do online and (Parking Services) will mail you your decal,” Freed said.
In fall 2010, 461 bikes were registered. The following fall, 1,047 bikes were registered, according to Parking Services.
The SGA also helps push riders to register their bikes.
“A lot of people are scared to ride their bikes (because they could get stolen while parked on campus),” said Lyndsey McKeever, the SGA transportation director. “So we’re trying to educate people that it is safe and easy to ride your bike around Tech and Blacksburg.”
McKeever said bike registration helps Parking Services calculate an accurate number of bikers on campus — this information allows the organization to understand how many bike racks are needed around campus.
However, Freed said bike registrations do not expire, so it is difficult to gauge how many bikes are on campus.