Trustees approve funds for bike security measures

By Anna Waugh

A rash of bike thefts on campus last fall prompted several groups to consider solutions for better bike security. Projects include new bike racks, plastic bike enclosures, security cameras under Dupre and next to the Veggie Co-op, and a permanent bike lock program that would allow students to purchase subsidized U-Locks from Mac Bike. During a Board of Trustees conference call in mid-January, $45,500 was allocated to MCSG to increase bicycle security on campus. A student survey distributed by Macalester College Student Government at the end of last semester showed that almost 10 percent of students who own bikes on campus have had a bike stolen during their time at Macalester. The results of the survey concerned Legislative Body President Franz Meyer ’09, who said that student government made recommendations to the Task Force on Budget last year to set aside funds to address the growing problem.

“Exactly what shape [the plan] will take is still tentative,” Meyer said, “but something will definitely happen [to address the thefts].”

Terry Gorman, director of facilities management, has been working with the LB, Mac Bike and the Campus Safety Committee to figure out the best way to pursue different options.

The Board of Trustees’ Finance Committee’s approval of funds put $8,500 towards the installation of security cameras by four bike racks. Another $29,000 was marked for bike area enclosures, which would serve a double purpose of protecting bikes from theft and the winter weather. The final $8,000 would go towards a revolving bike lock program, which could make back money over time.

Gorman said that he also has several short-term ideas to protect bikes and to increase the chance of bike recovery if a bike is stolen. He said he would like to see a college-wide registry of bikes that would record the name, model, and serial numbers of each bike. Even without an official registry, he said students should keep this information because it can help when filing a report.

Last semester, Mac Bike received about $800 from MCSG that went toward purchasing U-Lock brand locks, which have been sold to students at subsidized prices.

“We are a target rich environment, [and it is easy] for [thieves because] a lot of people leave stuff around,” Gorman said. He said that there are not enough bike racks on campus to meet demand, but that even with more bike racks, thefts will likely continue. His main suggestion: leave expensive bikes at home.