The Twin Cities area has one of the highest per capita bicyclist ratios in the country. This is due, in no small part, to the University community. Not only does biking around the University, and the cities themselves, provide a cost-effective, healthy and environmentally friendly way to get around, but it also lessens traffic congestion on busy University streets. Further, with so many beautiful bike paths and trails in proximity to the University, it is hard not to want to bicycle.
Housing so many bicyclists in the community presents the inevitable problem of theft. The University Police Department lists bicycle theft and theft in general as the largest reported crime on campus. According to Parking and Transportation Services, students should always lock their bikes, regardless of how long they will be away from them, park their bikes in well-lit, well-traveled areas, use both cable and U-type locks, and if the bike has quick-release hubs, lock the wheels; the same goes for seatposts. Perhaps one of the most effective bicycle theft deterrents, but seldom utilized, is licensing a bicycle. Licensed bikes are easy to trace and therefore make less attractive targets to bicycle thieves. Licenses cost $10, are valid for three years, and can be purchased at most local bike shops and at the University Police Department.
The Minnesota Student Association agrees with these tips and is working on a program to expand “Goldy’s Locker,” which provides security lockers around campus to house bicycles. Last spring the University also implemented security monitors to educate and prevent bike theft on campus.
Students should not take bicycle theft lightly because of the frequency that it happens around campus. Cyclists can continue to enjoy the benefits of biking and prevent a lot of unneeded headaches if they simply follow some of the tips outlined above.
For more information, students can call Bicycle Registration at (612) 296-7051, the Minneapolis Park Police at (612) 370-4777, or e-mail the Minnesota Student Association at [email protected]