Focusing on what matters: Bike safety

When Eugene comes to mind people typically think: the University of Oregon, hippies and bike culture. One of the main forms of transportation for college students is biking because it’s cheaper and, supposedly, safer.

May is National Bike Month and it’s important to raise awareness about bike safety and theft.

Statistics from the Eugene Police Department shows that bike thefts occur more often at a person’s residence on the weekends. This increases over the summer. Lee Shoemaker, bicycle and pedestrian coordinator for Eugene Public Works, said the best way to keep your bike safe is by registering it online through the EPD and UO Police Department.

UO Police Department data showed 183 bikes reportedly stolen on campus and nine accidents involving bikes.

So far this year, only 20 bike thefts have occurred and there have been no reports of bicycle accidents on campus. The reports show that bike theft increases each year.

Erik Bennett, UO sophomore, said his bike was stolen last term.

“I went out to dinner with my family and left my bike at the library,” he said. “When I came back it was gone.”

Bennett hadn’t registered his bike, so finding it was difficult. He contacted the non-emergency line at the UOPD and described the bike thoroughly. Luckily the police had his bike and were able to return it back to him. An officer on duty found a man trying to bend his U-lock far enough to break it.

“My lock was wrecked, but I still got my bike back,” he said.

The city of Eugene Public works actively works on creating safer roads for bicyclists to travel on. Ruby Betten, UO sharrows project information coordinator, said many people don’t know what the shared lane markings, “sharrows,” are on the streets.

“It’s a bicycle symbol with two chevrons in the front,” she said.

The sharrows were designed to inform bicyclists to ride through the center to help avoid getting hit by doors of parked cars because it makes them more visible. For motorists, these are a reminder to be cautious of bicyclists. Sharrows are located on Alder St., University Ave., 13th Ave. and are coming this summer to 15th Ave.

We Bike Eugene is an organization that raises awareness on bike culture. On May 20, they will have their annual Ride of Silence. Starting at 6 p.m., there will be a reading of names of members who lost their lives while cycling on public streets. At 6:30 p.m., bicyclists will ride 5 miles from the Educational Memorial Plaza to the David Minor Theater.

On May 29, Shoemaker said EPD crime prevention specialists register bikes at their Breakfast at the Bike Bridges event. The event is designed for commuters to learn about transportation in Eugene and get their bikes registered and checked for any safety hazards.

On-campus bike registration must be done in person at the Department of Parking and Transportation. To find out more information about the Ride of Silence or Breakfast at the Bike Bridges, click on the links provided.

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Ally Brayton

Ally Brayton