Every day, misplaced bikes around campus are being clamped and their owners fined. Students are shocked and angry, while the campus security claims that they are being lenient with the clamping this year.
Sofia Berkhout, an IBCoM student, channels the voice of many when she says that there aren’t enough bike spaces available all the time. “This problem discourages people from biking to university, especially those who can travel for free with public transport”. The €7,50 fine to unlock the clamped bike might be precisely the thing that angers to many students.
Gabi Helfert, RSM’s Web Manager and GreeningRSM volunteer, says that people don’t park their bikes wherever because they are evil, but because there are no alternatives when the racks are full. “One of the main advantages of riding your bike is that you wouldn’t have to park in a centralized location, and then walk 10 minutes to your destination”.
In case of emergency
On the other hand, there is the problem of bikes parked so densely that people can hardly walk by and if there was an emergency, the bikes would block access to and from the buildings. Frank Wijen, the coordinator of GreeningRSM says that it is up to the bikers themselves to have discipline to park their bikes in a way that doesn’t interfere with others. “Yet, at the same time, there is a shortage of bike parking facilities”.
‘We are more lenient than tough’
Jelle Jager , the head of Erasmus Security Services, notes that there are plans to install more bicycle racks, but they are still undefined. “Clamping is done every year, and this year is no different. Yet, this year we are more nice than tough, because of the construction”. When it comes to the fine, Jager says that the amount was established 15 years ago and is ridiculously low, and barely enough to cover the costs. “The money goes to the university’s general funds, and we don’t have a party or extra holidays.” Jager is hopeful – one day all students will park their bikes in the racks, and save everybody time, effort, and money.
To solve the problem, Gabi Helfert made a list of suggestions to the Facility Management about solving this problem:
• Install double-decker bike stands in “problem areas” – in front of building T for example
• Remove three car parking places in T building car parking and install double-decker bike racks instead to gain 100-150 bike parking spaces
• Put up signs (e.g. arrows on the bike lanes) which would indicate alternative bike racks on campus
• Set up a student-run bike repair and second-hand shop, which would take care of the abandoned bikes