Feb 21, 2020

Campus bike barn in the works

Matt Weir / The Collegian

Students trying to bike to school are still facing many of the same frustrations they have in the past: theft and a lack of space. But Fresno State officials are planning to ease the tension with a bike parking structure.

The Associated Students, Inc., the University Police Department, the Campus Planning Committee and other university officials are in the early development stages to build a structure on campus known as a bike barn. Other universities have used bike barns for students, including Boise State, San Francisco State and University of California Davis.

There were 17 reported bikes stolen on Fresno State during the months of August and September. Campus police records show that with the exception of one bike, all bikes were secured with locks before they were stolen.

The lack of bike racks to accommodate the number of bikers on campus is a main contributor to the problem. When a biker cannot find an open bike rack, they resort to locking their bike against a pole or handrail, making it an easier target for theft.

Fresno State student Isaac Cervantes, 20, is a third year sociology major and rides his bike to school every day. When “There is always crowding,” Cervantes said. “If there isn’t enough space I can’t lock my bike up right.”

Bike theft on campus is not a new problem on campus, but even when taking precautions, it may not guarantee the safety of their property. Even when a student locks their bike up properly they are still at risk of a stolen seat, wheel or an accessory not secured to the bike or lock.

The general concept of a bike barn is similar to any parking structure for a vehicle–a designated area to park a large number of bikes in a secure location. The bike barn at UC Davis is unique in that it doesn’t house bikes, but is instead a bike store and repair shop with bike experts and areas for self-repair.

If this project moves into construction development, it will be paid for the Alternative Transportation Fund, which is funded through parking violations.

Research is currently being conducted to find an ideal location for the bike barn. The determination of this location will dictate the size of the project, and ultimately the number of bikes that could be stored in the barn. It is also being considered whether the bike barn will strictly be for storage or contain a repair shop element similar to UC Davis.

Until an actual parking structure for bikes is built, the campus police give specific recommendations on how to prevent a bike theft. Amy Armstrong, public information officer, encourages students to utilize the u-lock instead of a chain lock because they are harder to cut through.

When locking up a bike the lock should go through the frame of the bike, the tire and the bike rack. Students should avoid locking their bike to a pole.

“Those are not as secure and it doesn’t look as nice for the image of the campus,” said Armstrong.

Cervantes uses two locks to keep his bike safe while he is on campus. He uses the u-lock and a chain lock in combination. When he is unable to park in a bike rack, he must resort to using only his chain lock with a pole or bench.

Due to a spike in reported cases of bike theft in the residence hall areas, there has been more patrolling of officers and three arrests have been made. One suspect was arrested with bolt cutters in their possession.

The University Police Department encourages anyone with a stolen bike to report it, even if it seems less than likely that the bike will be returned.

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