Bicyclists reminded to register, secure bikes and follow traffic laws

Bicycle thefts are on the rise at University Park. Bikes reported as stolen to University Police have risen from 103 in 2008 to 126 in 2009 to 140 through mid-October 2010.

"The first, and easiest, way to increase the likelihood of a bicycle's security is to always lock it to a bicycle rack in a well-lit area using a high-quality U-lock or chain, even if you plan to leave it unattended for just a moment," said Tyrone Parham, deputy director of University Police. "Secure it properly -- place the lock or chain through at least the front wheel or both wheels, as well as the bike frame and around a bar of the rack. Of course, every bike on campus must be registered with Transportation Services in the Parking Office. Then, in the event that it is stolen, the owner's registration information will help return the bike to the owner if it is recovered."

Bikes chained to objects other than bike racks -- such as railings, stairways and fences -- will be detained immediately by Penn State's Transportation Services, which is not responsible for reimbursing any bicycle owner for cut locks or chains after removing a bicycle. Violators will be issued a handicap parking violation, no exceptions. Unregistered bicycles found on campus will be tagged and collected by Transportation Services each spring. If the owner of a tagged bike doesn't contact Transportation Services within 72 hours, the bike will be taken and held for 90 days. After 90 days, those bikes will be released for sale at Lion Surplus.

Students, faculty, staff and local residents can register their bicycles for free at www.transportation.psu.edu online. Bikes registered by the Borough of State College are valid on the University Park campus, and those registered at University Park are valid in the Borough of State College.

Bicyclists need to have on hand the proper information to complete registration: the bike's manufacturer, model, serial number and color. Permits will be available for pick up at the Transportation Services office during regular business hours immediately after registration is complete. Any bicycle without a current permit properly displayed is considered unregistered and subject to receiving the appropriate violation and confiscation.

Students are reminded to secure their bikes indoors in an apartment or residence hall -- or take them home -- during extended times away from campus, such as the weeklong Thanksgiving holiday, spring break and end-of-semester breaks.

Finally, bicyclists are reminded to obey all traffic laws while operating a bicycle on campus.

Like other vehicle operators, bicyclists must stop at all red lights and stop signs and must yield to pedestrians. 

In addition, bicycles may be ridden only on approved bicycle routes and campus roads. Riders must walk their bicycles at all other places. Specifically, bicycles must not be ridden on sidewalks or on any pedestrian path in the limited bicycle zone bounded by Fraser Road, Curtin Road, Shortlidge Road and Pollock Road. Bicycles may be ridden on malls and pedestrian paths beyond central campus as long as the rider exercises due caution and yields to pedestrians. The operator of bicycles on malls and roadways must ride with regard for the safety of pedestrians and property.

Additional safety tips include the following:

-- Do not pass vehicles on the right.

-- Use hand signals to communicate intended direction of travel to motorists.

-- Always wear a helmet.

See the on-campus interactive map noting bicycle routes and paths at http://www.campusmaps.psu.edu/PennStateInteractiveMap.html online. Off-campus routes are noted at http://www.transportation.psu.edu/bicycles/images/CATA_Maps.pdf online.

More information about bicycles on campus is available at http://www.police.psu.edu/bicycle/ and http://www.transportation.psu.edu online.

Last Updated November 18, 2010