Woe is wheels for cyclists at McGill with new no bike zone on campus

Biking is lobbied as an eco-friendly means of transportation which provides accessibility, convenience and a great way for students to lose that freshman 15. Although Calgary’s urban sprawl and the looming winter months make year-round cycling a difficult quest, biking remains a way many students commute. With many calling the city’s the transit system unreliable and frustrating, cycling is growing in popularity.

“The bus is sometimes late, very infrequent and an indirect root to school,” said Courtney Ho, third-year English student. “I could see it being very difficult for some students to have this as an option.” Park and Ride fees are $3 and transit fares $2.75.

The Bike Root, a campus bike cooperative cycling promoter, was moved at the end of the summer. The U of C finished construction on the quadrangle and needed access to the loading dock the group was then occupying in Murray Fraser Hall. With the group’s relocation to northwest campus, the cycling community no longer has convenient access to cycling services. Although Bike Root still offers tune-ups every Wednesday, on campus biking facilities for students are getting harder and harder to come by.

“There hasn’t been a big push for the university to find an alternate space,” said Robert Wilson, third-year economics major.

U of C media relations associate director Grady Semmens said one of the biggest concerns regarding eco-friendly transportation to and from the university is accessibility for bikers and transit users.

A U of C plan was announced July 13 to build bike shelters around campus to encourage biking. Each shelter will hold around 40 bikes which the U of C hopes will accommodate all bicycle commuters on campus.

Despite the difficulties bikers face, some universities are implementing rules to further restrict biking on campus.

“Montreal is so convenient for biking, but is almost not worth it to bike to school anymore,” said Tereza Jarnikova, third-year biology major at McGill University. “The toughest part is finding a parking spot. This never used to be a problem. I often end up late for class,”

Implemented on May 28, the rule requires cyclists to dismount while travelling across campus to prioritize pedestrian safety. “Dismount your Bike” signs have been stolen out of protest and bikers often speed past security guards.

The toughest part about the “no biking on campus” at McGill University for most students was their lack of input regarding its execution. “We were really unaware that this was even being considered,” said Jarnikova.

Kristen Montanini, a third-year English major at the U of C, has never had an accident with a cyclist.

“I don’t think many people bike from class to class, only to get to and from school. To be honest, I have noticed more skateboarders than anything,” said Montanini.

The U of C is not considering moving in the same direction as McGill when it comes to biking on campus. Although McGill is the only university in Canada to have this rule in effect, several American schools also have similar policies in place.

Despite the lack of space for the Bike Root, avid bikers are still pedalling their way to campus.

“There’s nothing that will stop me from biking to school,” said Pheelan Mah, a third-year engineering student. “Except maybe a blizzard.”

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