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May 6, 2011 | Atlanta, GA
If you’ve ditched a bike on a campus bike rack lately, it’s time to fix it up or say goodbye. Starting Monday, May 16, the Georgia Tech Bicycle Infrastructure Improvement Committee (BIIC) will begin a campus-wide effort to tag and remove bicycles on campus racks that have been abandoned.
“Bicycles are occasionally abandoned on Georgia Tech bike racks, and prior to now they would stay there indefinitely, gradually getting stripped down and damaged due to theft, vandalism and weather,” said Jonathan Murphy, student member of BIIC. “The purpose of removal is to free up rack space so that it can be used to actively store bicycles.”
Small, waterproof tags will be affixed to the handlebars of any bicycle that appears to be abandoned and beyond repair. BIIC’s rule for removal is that a bike be deemed unrideable due to damage or missing parts.
“We won’t be removing bikes just because they have a flat tire, but two flat tires in combination with missing parts and extensive rust indicate that a bicycle has been abandoned,” Murphy said. The intent of the program is to remove bicycles whose previous owners have no intention of removing the bikes themselves.
The committee will work with Tech’s Department of Housing to store the confiscated bikes until the start of the fall semester, giving students a chance to reclaim any bikes they would like to recover. All unclaimed bikes will then be donated to the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition and used for the Georgia Tech Starter Bikes program.
While bicycles in working order will not be removed from bike racks, regardless of how long they have sat untouched, Murphy advised students not to leave bikes unattended for long periods of time. Students leaving campus for the summer with no alternative storage plans may contact Starter Bikes at firstname.lastname@example.org or bring them to the group’s weekly meetings at the Campus Recreation Center parking deck, each Friday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., to arrange storage. Murphy also noted that, though Housing provides bicycle storage rooms, they can’t be used for the entire summer, and Housing will also begin removing bicycles beginning May 16.
For students who may have left damaged bicycles lingering on bike racks around campus until now, they can work with Starter Bikes at the Friday sessions to get their equipment back in working order. The program has tools, spare parts and volunteers that will assist students in getting their bikes running for free. Starter Bikes emphasizes teaching students how to repair their own bikes, but provides the coaching and tools needed to help along the way. Murphy also suggested the SoPo Bicycle Co-Op, Intown Bikes and JCS Cycles as good resources for those who can’t visit Starter Bikes on Friday evenings.
With the goal of making Georgia Tech more bike-friendly and improving bicycle infrastructure across campus, the Student Government Association formed the BIIC in late 2010. The committee received the Georgia Tech Environmental Initiative Award at this year’s Earth Day celebration in April.