By Carley Perez
Spring is here, and our days can finally be spent studying in the gardens and tossing a frisbee around West Beach.
Students are looking forward to bringing their bikes out of hibernation and saying farewell to the stationary one in the gym that has served as a meager substitute during winter term.
Union’s campus is ideal in size for biking to and from class, and it is also conveniently located next to an access point for the scenic Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail.
In addition, the relatively flat landscape of Schenectady makes it easy to cycle down to Happy Cappuccino or Villa Italia for a quick caffeine fix or bite to eat.
Biking in the city is not the difficult part, but keeping your bike safe from theft is. Many do not realize that bike theft is such an epidemic until they see it first-hand.
Last summer, some students who remained on campus to partake in research decided that they wanted to start going on daily bike rides through the city and along the river. They purchased two used bikes and some inexpensive locks from Wal-Mart.
They locked up their new acquisitions outside of Green House and when they went to use them two days later, the bike locks were lying broken on the ground, and the bikes were gone.
Member of the Campus Safety Department Sergeant Ed D. Teller explained, “Bikes are usually secured with some type of cable and lock which is easily compromised by the thieves with a small bolt-cutter, which is easily concealed in a backpack or jacket.”
He continued, “It literally only takes seconds to cut the cable and ride off with the bike.”
When a student’s bike is stolen, Campus Safety files an incident report. The student also has the option of filing a report with the Schenectady Police Department.
Sgt. Teller reports that nine bikes have been reported stolen in the last eight months alone, and only one was recovered because the student had photos and the serial number of the bike.
He states, “The bike was found on Craigslist, and it was recovered through a coordinated effort involving the student, the Campus Safety Department and the Schenectady Police Department”.
As the warmer months approach and more students bring their bikes to campus, there is a growing concern about how to best protect one’s bike against theft. Sgt. Teller, in collaboration with a committee of students, created a bike lock loaning program in the hopes that higher-quality bike locks will better protect students’ bikes against theft.
Sgt. Teller stated, “Generally thieves look for the easiest target when approaching a bike rack, so we feel having a lock that cannot be cut with bolt-cutters gives you a huge advantage.” The $90 locks are manufactured by Kryptonite and have a 4.5 to 5 star rating.
“Director of Campus Safety Chris Hayen was on board with the idea and he gave the necessary approval for the purchase of six high quality bike locks to get started,” said Sgt. Teller. If the program is popular, more locks will be purchased.
The bike locks are available through Campus Safety. They are free of cost, but “students who wish to participate in the program will be required to sign an agreement.”
He further explained, “The agreement states that they will be responsible for the replacement cost of the lock, which is approximately $90, if they do not return it at the end of the academic year.”
Whether you choose to participate in the bike lock loaning program or purchase your own high-quality bike lock, Sgt. Teller reminds students that the bike lock should be placed through the frame of the bike and attached to a secure object, as “the bike can only be as secure as the object you secure it to.”