Bike registration plummets in recent years

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Photo Credit: Kelly Smith | Daily Texan Staff

New bike registration steadily decreased from the 2009–2010 academic year to the 2013–2014 academic year, according to the most recent data made available by Parking and Transportation Services. 

According to the 2013–2014 PTS report, 2,967 bikes were newly registered at UT during the 2009–2010 academic year. In 2013–2014, only 1,404 new bikes were newly registered on campus. 

Public relations senior Natalie De Leon said she’s never registered her bike on campus, despite seeing constant advertising for bike registration on campus.

“Honestly, I don’t see a need for it,” said De Leon, who rides an inexpensive bike to class. “I never leave my bike overnight; I always take it with me. I’ve already had my bike for two years here on campus, and nothing bad has ever happened to my bike.”

Registering your bike is required for anyone who bikes on campus. PTS has issued impound notices for people who haven’t registered their bikes or improperly parked their bikes, according to a recent article in The Daily Texan.

De Leon, who said she has never received an impound notice on her bike, said the advertising on campus tells people how to register their bikes but not why bikers should register their bikes with PTS. 

“What would have motivated me to register my bike as a student is if they answered the ‘why should I’ question better?” De Leon said in an email. “What I mean is, if it was mandatory, I would have done it.” 

PTS bike coordinator Jeremy Hernandez said registering bikes on campus, which can be done online, makes it easier for PTS to contact bikers so they can unlock their bikes to relocate them instead of cutting the lock and impounding the bike, which carries a $25 fee. It also serves as a theft deterrent because the bike will be easier to trace through law enforcement systems, according to the PTS website.

“I am trying to do the right thing by communicating with the students,” Hernandez said. “I don’t see bikes as just bikes; I see bikes as people.” 

Biology sophomore Katherine Steinhauser said the fear of having her bike taken away and the cost of her bike motivated her to register her bike as soon as she could on campus. 

“I was worried that the campus police would come remove it if I didn’t have the registration sticker,” said Steinhauser, whose bike cost $600. “I didn’t want something to happen to it.”

Hernandez said one of the reasons people don’t register their bikes is because it can be difficult to grab students’ attention and because he has to constantly encourage approximately 20,000 new students to register their bikes every semester. 

“There are a lot of things going on campus at any given time,” he said. “Not everybody knows they have to register their bike. I think it’s always going to be a work in progress.” 

To raise more awareness about bike registration, Hernandez said he is collaborating with student groups such as Greek life and Texas Triathlon and looking into other social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.

“There are definitely some other avenues we can explore,” Hernandez said. “Hopefully, some of these groups can get the word out.”