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Columbia Missourian

MU Sustainability Office pleased with progress on bicycle parking issue

By Connie McCollom
October 24, 2011 | 3:03 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — The warning tags seem to be working.

In September, the MU Sustainability Office began an informational campaign to inform cyclists their bicycles could be impounded if left improperly tethered to trees, light poles and other fixtures instead of bike racks.

Steve Burdic, MU's sustainability coordinator, said campus Landscape Services and volunteers have been checking every day for improperly parked bikes and have put warning tags on 400 to 500 bicycles since the middle of October.

The campaign seems to be effective — no bikes have been impounded since enforcement began on Oct. 10., he said.

The office has also tagged fewer bikes, and Burdic thinks the campaign has helped make people more aware of using racks. He also said the recent change in weather could be a factor because fewer people are riding their bikes. 

“Now when we go out, there are very few bikes parked to trees and poles,” Burdic said. “I really want to thank people for parking in the right parking zones now.”

The sustainability office encourages cyclists to register their bicycles in case of impounding or theft. Burdic said about 100 to 200 bicycles have been registered. There is a requirement that everyone who rides a bike needs to register either with the MU Police Department or the city.

Burdic said feedback has included both opposition and support, as well as suggestions for bike rack locations.

Rebecca Sullinger, an MU senior who rides a yellow Schwinn, said, “It is difficult because there are areas without bike racks, and then in the areas that there are racks, they are overflowing — like by Memorial Union.”

Sullinger said she has had to attach her bike to a trashcan in the past.

Burdic said in a typical year about 300 bicycles might be impounded, and they tend to be abandoned bicycles found at the end of the school year. If bicycles are parked in handicapped accessible areas, they are also impounded.

MU Police Department Capt. Brian Weimer said there has not been a recent increase in bicycle registration since the informational campaign commenced. He said the department encourages bike registration every year.