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Bike rack shortage leaves UMBC riders stranded

Bike racks on a college campus are often essential to student life. At UMBC, bike racks are few and far between. Unfortunately, the lack of bike racks may be preventing students from riding their bikes to classes. Leaving a bike unattended or chained up to anything besides an official bike rack is against UMBC’s rules and such bikes are subject to removal by the staff.  To promote bike usage, UMBC should increase the bike racks around campus for students who could potentially use them.

Adding to the current bike racks would most likely specifically affect on-campus students and students who live in one of the surrounding neighborhoods near the campus. Commuters who have to drive would mostly be unaffected if this change was implemented. Some parking may free up if those who commute from one of the neighborhoods decide to ride their bikes certain days instead of driving.

Roughly 35 percent of undergraduate students, which is a little less than 4,000, live on campus and could benefit if there were more bike racks. If these bike racks were also advertised and their usage encouraged, it would be a great help in getting to classes on time and moving quickly around campus whenever the weather permits.

Skateboards are fairly popular on campus, however not everyone knows how to ride one, or is comfortable using one. Bikes are almost universal since many people already know how to ride a bike and have access to one they can bring to campus.

There has been a growth in avid, as well as casual, cyclists and bikers between 2012 to 2017, from 51 to currently 66 million bikers. This is not surprising since biking has many benefits. From being environmentally friendly to having advantageous effects on health, doing something as simple as adding bike racks in strategic areas around campus can have a positive impact.

Alternatively, there are some commuters who live right outside of UMBC and still have to drive their car to school, as walking would take too long. If bike racks were advertised and multiplied on campus, perhaps on days without snow, rain or ice, these commuters could ride their bikes instead of driving to school. This may free up some parking on days when the weather is agreeable.

In terms of cost, bike racks seem to be between 200 to 500 dollars not including installation. As these racks do not necessarily need much upkeep or cleaning, they are a very low maintenance and comparatively low-cost option. Overall, the supplement of bike racks would be a practical addition to campus life, especially for those who live on campus or commute from one of the neighborhoods surrounding UMBC.