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Visiting UT by Bike? Register Your Ride

Joy Diaz, KUT News

On any given day, thousands of bicyclists ride through and park their bikes at the congested UT Austin campus. Some people choose to ride their bikes because finding parking for a car when there are more than 50,000 students plus faculty and staff competing for limited space is tough - so tough in fact, that even some visitors choose to bike to campus.

But many are unaware of a new restriction on visiting cyclists.

Registering a bike with UT is fairly simple and free. All you need is an ID and the bike’s serial number. But most cycling visitors, like Steve Saugey, don’t know that even they are now required to register their bikes.

“I’m not on campus that often,” Saugey said. “I have some friends, and sometimes I meet them for lunch.”

Saugey, a pianist, was on campus Thursday promoting a play he’s in. When he learned about the bike registration requirement he immediately worried about enforcement - especially since he was kind of illegally parked.

“Earlier there was actually one space in the middle of one of the middle bike racks, but they actually put those bike racks too close together, so, I decided I would take a chance and park it at this post because it didn’t have a sign,” he said.

Charles Smith, the campus parking enforcement manager, says that as long as Saugey’s bike is not in the way of blind pedestrians or in an area where it’s clearly posted that it shouldn’t be, then he shouldn’t worry.

“My ticket writers do not - we don’t really get involved with bicycles,” Smith said.

Smith says that only happens when police call him and ask him to remove a bike. Bike registration helps in those cases, because after the lock is broken and the bike is impounded, they can return it to its owner. Registered stolen bikes can also be returned; UT has a couple hundred bikes disappear from campus each year.

“Last year, we got a call from a lady in Wisconsin that a bike had been dumped in her front yard,” Smith said. Upon looking at it she saw the UT bike registration, called the department, and she sent the bicycle back to us -- from Wisconsin.”

Bikes that can’t be returned are auctioned in September.

Texas Standard reporter Joy Diaz has amassed a lengthy and highly recognized body of work in public media reporting. Prior to joining Texas Standard, Joy was a reporter with Austin NPR station KUT on and off since 2005. There, she covered city news and politics, education, healthcare and immigration.
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