No lanes for speed demons on wheels

Riding bicycles and skateboards along the Mall is prohibited on campus. However, there are some faculty members who think implementing a bike lane could benefit student health and provide convenient transportation.

Pierce College’s bike policy states, “No bicycle riding is permitted on pedestrian sidewalks and mall walkways. Riding on sidewalks adjacent to classrooms, library, gyms, gardens, grass areas, or in any other college facilities is also not permitted. Walk your bike within these areas at all times.”

According to Joseph Perret, computer applications and office technologies professor, establishing a proper bike lane and policy could help students get to class quickly and safely.

“I believe, at the present time, it is illegal to ride a bicycle on campus anyplace except for parking lots and streets of the campus,” Perret said. “It means if you have a class say down at the gym, and you’re at the business education building, you can’t ride your bike. You have to ride it to the parking lot and walk the bikes from the parking lot into campus.”

Perret mentioned the bike policy at an Academic Senate meeting last year and said students can be stopped and fined for riding a bike on campus.

“We are too big a campus,” Perret said. “It’s really inconvenient for the students, and we should be promoting the use of bicycles, not demoralizing students.”

According to Perret, it would be convenient to put a bike lane from the Mall to the parking lots. He thinks it would be an ideal place to experiment.

“I don’t remember who it was, but one of the administrators said it was too small,” Perret said. “That if you segregate a bike lane, there won’t be enough room for pedestrians. I just don’t think that’s true.”

Perret said the cost for implementing the bike lanes on campus would be minuscule and could save students time getting to class.

“I can’t imagine if there’s any big deal with insurance, because other huge campuses have bike lanes with no problem,” Perret said. “They should do a survey of the students, If they want a bike lane give it to them, if not, then no.”

Director of the Student Health Center Beth Benne said if bike lanes would be added on campus, they would have to be implemented properly so it’s safe for students riding and those walking.

“You could see it reducing the traffic problem, parking problem and getting kids to class quicker,” Benne said. “There could be a host of benefits, but it has to be done safely.”

Benne’s first thought about bike lanes would be to ensure bikers’ safety.

“It would be great if we could survey students who would be willing to ride a bike if we installed lanes,” Benne said. “But then again, we live in Los Angeles where we are decades behind cities like New York and Boston on mass transit.”

Benne said she’s not sure how many students would use the bike lanes, but adding one could benefit students’ health.

“Exercise is known to increase endorphins, increase your heart rate and make you feel better about yourself,” Benne said. “I suppose that bike lanes could create better morale.”

Benne is also concerned with bicycle security.

“I think it’s something that needs to be looked into,” Benn said. “We need to do a study of where students can lock their bikes. Are we going to put bike lanes on the street or on the Mall? I think students want to ride their bikes from point A to point B when they get to campus.”

Sam Sabzanov, a freshman at Pierce who also attends classes at Cal. State Northridge (CSUN), said that the amount of people riding bikes would determine whether or not it would be used.

“It depends on how many people who end up riding bikes,” Sabzanov said. “If there is a lot of people riding then, I won’t. If not, then I will. For example, I have a class on Friday; I could see myself riding a bike then because not a lot of people come to campus on Fridays.”

According to the CSUN website, students are allowed to bring bicycles to campus. It has a bicycle security and registration program and provides theft prevention tips.

“CSUN not only provides bike racks for students, but lockable skateboard racks,” Perret said. “So they are promoting it. They are a big campus as well, so why can’t we do that?”