WT Needs a New Bike Rack


When I dismounted my bicycle to begin the first day of school several weeks ago, I was met by an unusual sight; all of the slots in the bike rack outside the student entrance were already taken. At first, I was annoyed that I would have to painstakingly squeeze my bike into one of the narrow gaps that remained. The experience occurred again on nearly every subsequent morning that I have biked to school this year. Across the street, all four of the two-bike racks are also regularly full. Although I am glad that so many other students are also choosing to ride their bikes to school, the problem of not having enough space for everyone to park their bikes needs solving.

Undoubtedly, it is a favorable development that more students are choosing to bike to school. Not only is cycling to school far more environmentally friendly, but it is also good for the health and mental well-being of students. Anyone should be happy if more people are biking instead of driving. More cyclists and fewer cars also can bring benefits to the community, including reduced congestion and reduced frequency of crashes. As we are a school that prides itself on making contributions to solving issues like climate change and improving our local community, we should support students who decide to bike to school

However, the lack of proper facilities to lock up one’s bike will certainly deter more students from choosing to cycle. Already, the number of students who might bike to school is curtailed by the many students who live much too far away to reasonably bike to school. I count myself lucky that I live close enough to bike to school with little difficulty. The way back is all uphill, but it’s a thrill on the way there. In a pinch, one can lock their bike to a street sign or a fence, but because of decreased security (a lock can be lifted over the top of a signpost, and a chain link fence can easily be cut), these options are decidedly subpar.

Should we force students to either risk the security of their bicycles or not ride at all? Many parents would not allow their children to bike to school if the security of the bike could not be reasonably assured. My parents, for example, didn’t allow me or my brother to ride to school until they were assured that there was a bike rack for us to lock our bikes to. While bike locks can be broken, the thief would have to walk onto school property, in full view of cameras and school security, to perform the act, which significantly reduces the risk of theft happening at all. It also means that the recovery of the bike is much more likely in the event of a theft.

For the moment, it’s usually still possible to jam one’s bike into the tight throng of bikes already locked to the rack, if more students decide to bike, this inconvenience would become an impossibility. We all can agree that more students biking to school is a good thing, but the lack of enough space for all students to lock their bikes will mean fewer students biking to school. Winchester Thurston can play a part in encouraging more people to cycle by adding more bike racks to our campus.

New bike racks will last for many years, and the cost, especially when extrapolated across the years of usage, is relatively cheap (in the hundreds of dollars). To promote lifestyles that are eco-friendly, healthy, and beneficial to the local community by encouraging more students to bike to school, the Winchester Thurston administration should facilitate the installation of a new bike rack on our campus.