New bicycle policy tightens security and parking violations

As a part of Sam Houston State University’s new parking rules and regulations, students and faculty are now required to register their bicycles in an effort to increase security and tighten parking violations around campus.

SHSU’s presidential cabinet approved the new parking regulations April 21 with the new bicycle registrations becoming a forefront for parking and transportation to communicate to the SHSU population.

Students and faculty must register their bicycles at the parking and transportation office, at no charge, before riding their bicycles on campus.

Matt McDaniel, assistant director of SHSU’s office of parking and transportation, said bicycles will be treated as vehicles and are subject to fines and impoundment if parked illegally.  As of press time, only 55 students have registered their bicycles.

McDaniel said implementing the bicycle registrations for students and faculty has been developing over the past few years. After maintaining a stricter observation of where students parked their bicycles last year, McDaniel said it was time to carry out the policy.

“This is really more of a knowledge piece of where to properly park,” McDaniel said. “If you don’t have that permit, it’ll just be harder for us to track the owner.”

Illegal parking is considered, but not limited to, securing a bicycle to building fixtures, trees or walking pathways.

The new policy will also act as a gauging mechanism to determine where additional bicycle racks are needed around campus. Currently there approximately 60 bicycle racks on campus, according to the main campus parking map, with additional bicycle racks slated for the 2014-15 school year, McDaniel said.

Currently there is a work order with physical plant to install new bicycle racks in the areas near the Margaret Lea Houston Building and the Old Main Market parking lot, McDaniel said.

“We’re hoping the community can help us with that,” he said. “If we have a large community in any area that would like to have a bicycle rack, we hope to have them reach out to us.”

However, some students are apprehensive of the new policy and the consequences of parking illegally.

Junior international business major Madeleine Mortimore said she is in favor of registering students and faculty bicycles. However, she disagrees with disciplinary actions outlined in the policy. Mortimore, whose sole source of transportation is her bicycle, said she’d like to see disciplinary actions delayed to allow parking and transportation time to observe bicycle parking habits during the first few weeks of the semester.

“They know we need more bicycle racks anyway, so they should simply ask people who ride their bicycles ‘where would you like more bicycle racks?’ instead of waiting to get people into trouble,” Mortimore said.

Sophomore mass communication major Madison Rice said the new policy is an inconvenience despite the free registration.

“I think it’s stupid that we have to register our bicycles if we want to park them on campus, regardless if the bicycle permit is free or not,” Rice said. “It’s already a hassle dealing with regarding the parking permits.”

Despite initial criticism from students, the policy’s long-term effects are anticipated to develop the growing biking community on campus.

As we start growing as a campus, we have to look beyond parking our vehicles and look at different modes of transportation,” he said. “That’s one more facet we can kind of enlighten the faculty and students on. We would like to encourage it through this program.”


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