By: Betsy Rice, Contributor
Treat others the way you want to be treated. This is known as the “Golden Rule.” Just like you want to be able to easily walk around campus, other students want the same. The new addition of Spin bikes to Furman’s campus has made bikes available to students who do not have their own. But as a community, we should not let the new mobility of these bikes limit the mobility of others.
The Spin bikes were gifted to Furman’s Student Government Association from the San Franciso-based company. “The bike-share program provides an option for students to get to high-traffic buildings when parking may be hard to come by. Most importantly, we saw this as an opportunity to help further Furman’s sustainability initiatives by giving students an alternative to driving around campus other than walking,” said Jack Ferrell, leader of SGA’s bike-sharing committee.
“The unique thing about Spin compared to other bike programs is that bikes can be left at different locations. Most programs force you to return the bike where it was initially taken,” wrote Lane Fahey in a recent Paladin article.
Though this is convenient for the user, some students have left their bikes in places that have inhibited accessibility for others. Stephanie Hesbacher, a resident of the Vinings and member of housing staff, said she saw a Spin bike blocking a handicap parking spot. Hesbacher’s story is indicative of a common, recurring problem.
Spin bikes are a fantastic addition to campus, but I propose that Furman Police Officers monitor illegal parking of bikes, specifically in handicap spaces and on wheelchair ramps. There are plenty of bike racks around campus, so there is no excuse for parking a bike where it causes obstruction.
Personal bikes are much easier to police because bikes must be registered with the Furman Police. Therefore, if a bike is parked where it is causing an obstruction to traffic, the police can look up who the owner of the bike is in their system. For the Spin bikes, FUPO could partner with Spin to allow campus police access to the list of a bike’s past riders. Students would need to consent to this when they register their account to Spin.
Ultimately, students and the larger Furman community must be aware when their actions inhibit campus accessibility. There must be accountability when it comes to leaving bikes around campus, and we as a community should step up to address this issue and create a more inclusive, accessible environment for all members of our community.