Bike to UT Day promotes bicycle safety and use on campus

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Preston Glace, radio-televison-film freshman and first-year representative of Texas Cycling, helps fix bikes during the annual Bike to UT event Friday afternoon.
Photo Credit: Joshua Guerra | Daily Texan Staff

Campus organizations and students filled Speedway Plaza on Friday for Bike to UT Day, an event for promoting bicycle safety and appreciation on campus. 

Parking and Transportation Services (PTS) hosted the annual event to connect students with cycling organizations, show appreciation for bike riders and encourage more students to bike to campus, according to Jeremy Hernandez, bike coordinator for PTS.

The University benefits in several ways from increased biking to campus, which reduces motor vehicle traffic, Hernandez said.

“We care that they are riding their bike on campus,” Hernandez said. “It decreases the amount of driving traffic on campus and frees up some parking spaces for maybe some commuters who aren’t able to ride their bike.” 

On Bike to UT Day last year, APD issued 47 tickets to cyclists in North Campus. UTPD officer William Pieper said he was not aware of any increased law enforcement initiatives to issue tickets to cyclists.

“We have not heard of any increased enforcement on cycling or step enforcement,” Pieper said. “That being said, if a police officer sees someone violating a traffic law, be a cyclist [or] a motor vehicle driver, they’re probably going to take action.” 

PTS is tentatively organizing a initiative to have bike-safety educators stand near stop signs around campus and encourage fellow cyclists to follow road laws, according to Hernandez.

“We hope to have some groups, maybe next semester, be near stop signs,” Hernandez said. “What we hopefully plan to do is to bring more awareness to students near stop signs and things of that nature in an educational way.” 

In order to reduce bike thefts, UTPD officers at Bike to UT Day demonstrated how thieves circumvent cable locks and U-locks to steal bikes.

“There are a lot of thieves that can cut off a cable quickly,” Pieper said. “[Cyclists] are really subjecting their bike to bike theft. We want to encourage people to use a U-lock as a minimum degree of security for their bicycle.” 

Biking is a way for students to lose weight and gain lean muscle, according to Lindsay Wilson, registered dietician with the Division of Housing and Food Service.

“Even though you are pedaling a lot, you are using your arms to support yourself,” Wilson said. “It’s definitely a full-body activity.”

Advertising junior Joe Welbes said he bikes around campus for environmental and practical reasons. 

“The environmental aspect appeals to me too because I’m not using my car as much,” Welbes said. “[There is] more freedom than taking a bus.”