By Maria Scheufler | firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo by Mary Elizabeth Fair
PHOTO CAPTION: Bike racks stay packed throughout the day as more students ride their bikes to school, and the college begins to fine students for parking their bikes in unauthorized areas.
Flagler College administration is attempting to prevent bicycle blockades around campus.
Tickets and fines are now being instituted to bicycles parked in specific, restricted areas. Students are not permitted to chain their bicycles to trees, sign poles or any handicap ramps throughout the campus.
“The problem is that students who use wheelchairs cannot get into the class if a student carelessly throws their bike onto a ramp and locks it in place,” Director of Special Programs Deborah Kamm-Larew said. “They are prevented from accessing the classes they need, the library, their dorm rooms, etc.”
The new rule went into affect on Feb. 11. Security said they realized it was an issue when the location of bicycles started to affect students. “During the course of the year, we’ve had many complaints and have given many warnings,” Director of Safety and Security Arnold Finkelstein said. “But we haven’t taken action until now because a student in a wheelchair couldn’t get to a class.”
“When I was hurt last semester and had to use crutches, I had to use the ramps that were sometimes blocked by bicycles,” junior sports management major Roxane Alt said. “I also noticed that other students who needed the ramps had trouble, because bikes were blocking their way.”
College security guards said if bikes are found in restricted places, they will cut locks, confiscate the bicycles and keep them until students retrieve them. According to the Flagler College Web site, all bicycles should be registered with the campus security office. Registration of the bicycles allows security to properly issue and assess fines.
According to a mass e-mail from the Director of Safety and Security, the fine for the first offense is $25 and fines for the second and future offenses will be $50. The e-mail also explained that students can only retrieve their bicycles after they pay their fines in the Business Office.
Many students agree that rules should be instituted but that some limitations should not exist. “I understand the reasoning behind the new rule, but I don’t think it should apply to people who chain their bikes to trees,” sophomore business major Alex Victor said.
Some said they hope the new rule does not discourage students from using bicycles all together. “Bikes are not only eco-friendly, but it also helps college students stay fit and happy since it releases stress and endorphins,” freshman business major Ana Guarino said.
There have been five bicycles confiscated since the rule went into effect. According to Finkelstein, all five bikes were taken from the handicap railings in the Kenan breezeway.
“No one thinks that students mean to prevent access to our buildings,” Kamm-Larew said. “It is clearly a matter of students who are maybe late to class and simply throw the bikes on the ramp and run in.”
Recently, a new set of bike racks was placed by the pool to encourage more students to lock their bikes in proper areas. The administration hopes students will recognize and use the new installation.
“We request student cooperation, because we really don’t want to impound any more bikes,” Finkelstein said.