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Davis, California

Monday, June 24, 2024

The old broken-down bikes on campus need to be addressed

Dilapidated bicycles scattered around UC Davis are taking up too much parking space


By OWEN RUDERMAN — opinion@theaggie.org


Davis is considered to be the bicycle capital of the U.S., and it shows — everyone who’s lived in Davis knows that it’s a great place to ride your bike. There are a bunch of dedicated bicycle pathways, miles of bike lanes and special crosswalks and traffic lights just for bicyclists. As someone who rides a bike to class almost every day, I can wholeheartedly say that, out of all the places I’ve lived, Davis is the best place to ride a bike.

But while riding the bike is great, parking it is a whole other story, especially on campus. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve rolled up to the MU to grab a cup of coffee from Swirlz only to find that all of the bike parking is taken. And don’t even get me started on parking by the Silo and the TLC — it’s the stuff of nightmares. But the worst part is, a lot of the bike parking is taken up by sad, old, broken-down bicycle husks.

I’m sure you’ve probably noticed this while walking around campus. There’s got to be hundreds of bicycle carcasses — bike frames with missing wheels and seats, still chained to the racks like souls in purgatory — scattered around campus. I have to imagine that some UC Davis students from eons past left their bicycles on campus over a break, and upon returning, found them stripped and just said, “Screw it,” abandoning the bikes and leaving their frames still attached to those precious parking spots.

These useless bikes are a bit of an eyesore. They make me sad to look at, like an abandoned puppy. I can’t help but imagine the bicycle in its prime, loyally taking its owner to class day after day, only to be ultimately degraded and abandoned forever.

More importantly, though, this dilapidated bike crisis has made parking on campus a real annoyance for me, and I know it’s been affecting others as well. Bicycle parking in key areas around campus seems, at the very least, partially filled by useless bikes. The school needs to do something to address this issue before all of the parking is overrun by these zombified bicycles.

I suppose you could claim that they are doing something: I’ve noticed that the university seems to have put in a bunch of new bike parking near the MU bus stop, across from the Death Star. However, not only have I never wanted to park anywhere near the Death Star (it gives me the willies), but this attempt at a solution is simply a band-aid. Bicycle husks will show up there, too, and the parking will become just as clogged and useless as everywhere else.

“But what’s to be done, then?” I hear you ask. Great question. Here’s what I propose the school do: tag the abandoned bikes. They could use something simple and easily removable, like a piece of string with an orange tag on it so that students who have been falsely tagged can remove it themselves. The tag could have a certain date on it, which would indicate when the bike will be removed if the tag isn’t disposed of. This way, the school could give people a fair warning before disposing of, or better yet, recycling the old bicycles.

I’m no legal expert, but it seems to me that if a stripped, dilapidated bicycle is taking up valuable parking spots on campus, the administration has grounds to remove that bicycle. Either way, something must be done before the whole campus is overrun with broken-down bikes. I think it’s high time for us to become the bicycle parking capital of the U.S.


Written By: Owen Ruderman — opinion@theaggie.org

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