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Tuesday, October 27, 2020

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UHPD begins initiative to collect abandoned bikes


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Abandoned bikes on campus will now be marked with a red tag and collected by UHPD. | Alex Meyer/The Cougar

The UH Police Department started a bicycle abatement program on Monday in which 325 abandoned bikes across campus will be removed.

Bikes presumed abandoned will be marked with a red tag, taken off the racks and brought to the UHPD impound lot. If unclaimed after 30 days, the bikes will be donated or otherwise disposed of.

“It’s usually quite easy to determine what’s abandoned: it’s missing a wheel, the chain’s rusted, it won’t even move, it’s not rideable,” said Craig Whitfield, UH Facility Manager. “If there’s any question at all, we just leave it and will pick it up next time.”

Whitfield conceived the program three years ago after receiving numerous complaints from students about filled-up bike racks, in particular those by the M.D. Anderson Library or the University Center Satellite.

Some bikes are already tagged in these locations. This routine procedure happens a few times a year with no fixed schedule.

“I feel it’s a good thing ’cause some of those bikes are never going to be ridden again,” said Emma Kocurek, a philosophy sophomore. She is planning to bring her bicycle to campus for the fall semester.

Students are encouraged to register their bikes with UHPD to serve as a proof of ownership in case they are impounded or stolen. So far, not a single bicycle removed under the abatement program has been claimed.

In addition to opening up more space on the racks, the program helps beautifying the campus by removing old and rusty bicycles.

“I think it’s an effective program. They could look after abandoned bikes, I guess, resell them, or use them for rent,” said Dylan Lester, a sports management freshman.“I’m all for it.”

Lester hasn’t experienced any issues with a lack of space on bicycle racks, but he said that he would expect it in the fall semester.

UH Facilities Services are working on partnering with the bicycle rental company B-cycle to bring their services on campus in the future. This would allow students to only use a bicycle when they need to and not have to bring their own to campus.

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