In May, we discussed National Biking Month and biking initiatives being implemented in Houston. Let’s talk about something that’s even closer to our neck of the woods: biking around campus. University of Houston students bike for many reasons. For some, it is a way to navigate from home to campus and back. For others, it is a high-intensity sport that is rewarding in many ways.
However, the vast majority of students ride for recreational benefits such as fitness and enjoying our beautiful city! UH has a healthy number of bikers, but the biking environment on and around campus is not ideal. On behalf of the UH Office of Sustainability: we hear you.
UH Cougar Cycling and Triathlon Club president Jeremy Gor is passionate about improving the environment for bikers on campus.
“The campus is huge, but the sidewalks are barely wide enough to have three people walk side by side. So where do the cyclists go? Far too many times I see cyclists accidentally bump into other students, ride on the grass to avoid crowds or just walk their bikes,” said Gor.
Securing your bike
Another widespread issue with biking on campus is theft. UH Cougar Cycling and Triathlon club member Fajar Hassan believes students can prevent bike thefts on campus.
“Cyclists on campus need to learn how to properly lock up their bikes and protect them. I have seen so many people lock up their bike the WRONG way, thus leaving their bike completely vulnerable to bike thefts,” said Hassan.
According to the UH Police Department, one person can steal several bikes a day. Securing your bike with a high-quality lock will decrease the chance of an enterprising individual stealing it away!
Now that we’ve hashed out some of the main issues with biking, what do students believe is the best way to go about solving them?
“I feel designated bike paths or lanes would be a great benefit to the safety and health of students. Bike lanes on the roads around campus would help cyclists commute from campus to their dorm or apartment safely,” said Gor.
Having an enjoyable, safe biking environment also depends on biking education! Hassan believes biking knowledge = power.
“Biking etiquette classes would be incredibly beneficial for the school and the students. These classes could possibly include: how to signal a turn, how to lock your bike, how to clean your bike, or how to ride in a group,” said Hassan.
UH Sustainability efforts
Although these issues will take several years to correct, the Office of Sustainability is taking steps to address the importance of biking.
“The first step is admitting you have a problem. We encourage students to take alternate methods of transportation to campus like biking because parking availability is scarce, but we need to address these biking concerns head-on to make UH a bike-friendly campus,” said Sarah Kelly, program manager for the Office of Sustainability.
Are YOU passionate about improving the biking experience at UH? We are seeking a talented, knowledgeable and dedicated student to kick start a bike program on campus! For questions about the position, contact Sarah Kelly.