Bike parking can sometimes be hard to come by on Ohio State’s campus, but students should think twice before locking their two-wheel rides up to trees.
With more than 7,000 bicycle parking spaces on campus and an estimated 7,200 bicyclists, OSU spokeswoman for Administration and Planning Lindsay Komlanc said OSU is doing what it can to accommodate riders, but more than 20 bike impoundments have been recorded this semester.
Construction sites, including one adjacent to the Journalism Building, located at 242 W. 18th Ave., have limited access to bike racks.
The shortage has left some students locking their bikes up wherever they can find the space.
“At OSU, there’s a lot of students and parking is not a pretty situation. I can always find a tree, bench or small child so it’ll get locked,” said Jake Cimperman, a fourth-year in strategic communication.
OSU’s Transportation & Traffic Management website warns riders against locking bikes to “fences, signposts, disability ramps, stair railings or trees” and adds that bikes locked in improper spots are “subject to impoundment.”
So far this semester, 22 bikes have been impounded and another 187 have been tagged with a warning, Komlanc said. She added that owners of impounded bicycles are charged $30.
Cimperman said a rack isn’t always an option.
“When I’m in a hurry, it’s not easy to find a spot. (OSU) can make bike riders more aware that their bike can be taken away,” he said.
While the warning is not conspicuously posted around campus, Komlanc said there are other websites that post similar messages, including the Share the Road and Department of Public Safety websites.
Bikes that aren’t locked up adequately or at all are at risk of being stolen — there were 137 bikes reported stolen in the campus area from June 12 to Sept. 27, compared to 79 bikes reported stolen in the same period in 2012, University Police Deputy Chief Richard Morman said in early October.
Komlanc said students should still be able to find bike parking despite the limited number of spots in the general area where they are looking.
“Bicycle parking may be available in the general area of the building or area a bicyclist is traveling to, it’s just not right at the front door of the building,” Komlanc said in an email.
Some students said they haven’t had major problems.
“(Bike parking is) not what it should be, but it’s greatly improved (since last year),” said Slayde Humbert, a second-year in exercise science.
Komlanc said there were 128 new bike racks installed in Spring 2013 and added that the number of bike parking spots has increased about 5 percent over the last year.
More parking might be added in years to come as well, she said.
“The university reviews the bike parking on an annual basis and makes adjustments and prioritizes areas for additional bike racks. Departments or units that wish to fund the installation of bicycle racks in a specific area can also request an evaluation through Facilities Operations and Development,” Komlanc said.