77 bikes removed from campus over break

Upon returning from winter break, some students in the Juniper-Poplar residence halls were perplexed as to where their bicycles they left on campus had gone.

After Dec. 17, Housing and Residential Education removed 77 bikes they deemed abandoned from the JPH area and relocated them to an off-campus storage area where they will be held for 30 days, according to an email to The Oracle from Greg Bowers, assistant director of communications and marketing, on behalf of the Housing and Residential Education office. Locks were cut and the bikes were removed from racks.

But not all the bikes were abandoned.

Shannon Cunningham, a sophomore majoring in statistics, said her roommates bicycle was removed over the break.

I like that they cleaned out everything, because it was really congested and cluttered, but I dont think that they thought about whose bikes they were taking away, Cunningham said.

On Dec. 1, the Housing office posted notices on bikes thought to be abandoned. Owners were instructed to contact their Resident Assistant (RA) for further instructions, and RAs were instructed to give those who inquired pink ribbons to tie to their bikes to indicate that the bike was not abandoned. Other notices posted to the racks informed students they had until Dec. 15 to move their bicycle, in order to avoid it being removed.

The process occurs multiple times a year, the email from Bowers said.

This is necessary so that there is available space for those individuals who continue to use their bikes, the email also said. This past semester, specifically in the Juniper-Poplar (JPH) area, the bike congestion led to bikes being chained to trees and light poles. This activity is in violation of USF policy, disrupts services, and, in some cases, impedes pedestrian access. The removal of abandoned bikes opens bike rack space for those who need it, thereby best utilizing capacity.

But Brian Davenport, a freshman majoring in mass communications, said he didnt understand why bicycles on the racks would be considered abandoned in the first place.

Theyre peoples property, Davenport said. I know that (Housing) left notes, but they should have at least waited until the end of the school year to remove the bicycles.

The Housing office recorded the serial numbers and descriptions of all bicycles removed, Bowers said. Students who had their bicycles removed must contact the Housing office to arrange to pick-up.

Griffin Pelaia, a freshman majoring in chemical engineering, said he put his bicycle inside his dorm room during the break after seeing the signs posted warning about bike removals.

I know theres a place to go to pick up your bike up, but it would just be annoying if I had to, he said.

But Mona Petrovska, a freshman majoring in biology, thought the removal was a necessary evil.

The bike racks needed more space for parking, she said.

Additional reporting by Alex Rosenthal.