Gear today, gone tomorrow

By By Ana Breton

By Ana Breton

With the price of gas on the rise, many students are seeking alternative forms of transportation.

Students who choose to ride bicycles, however, have to choose between saving a couple bucks from not buying gas and losing a larger amount of money if their bikes are stolen.

Last month, 21 bikes were stolen from the U campus, making October the month with the most bicycle thefts in 2006.

The next closest month was September, with four stolen bikes.

The bicycles were stolen from various locations on campus, ranging from the Sage Point Residence Hall and Primary Children’s Medical Center to the Merrill Engineering Building, OSH and the west stadium parking lot.

All but one of the bicycles stolen were secured with lock and chain.

Lynn Rohland, sergeant with campus police, said most bicycles are stolen because they are secured with cheap locks.

“It’s a shame that people buy $500 bikes but then buy a $5 lock,” Rohland said, adding that the best lock to buy is a hardened steel lock.

Dustin Kopta, senior in computer science, became a theft victim when his bicycle was stolen last March.

His $500 bicycle, which he had owned for only a year, was taken from the Marriott Library.

“I have no idea who took it,” Kopta said. “But I know it was stolen because it didn’t have a good lock.”

Rohland said most bicycle owners secure their bicycles inappropriately.

The most important thing to remember when locking a bicycle, she said, is putting the lock and chain through the frame.

If it’s only woven through the front wheel, Rohland said, it could be taken apart easily.

“Also, don’t forget your bike,” she said. “A lot of people leave their bikes on campus for three days, but when they come back to get them, they’re gone.”

Bikes are easy to steal from campus, Rohland said, because they are a mode of transportation that is “easy to compromise.”

“To steal one, you just hop and go off campus and you’re gone in five minutes,” she said.

According to the campus police Web site, an average of 100 bicycles are stolen from campus every year.

Bicycles can be registered through campus police, which helps them easily track those that are stolen.

About 35 percent of bicycles that are stolen have been registered, which leaves 65 percent of stolen bicycles with no chance of recovery.

Most bicycles are recovered in pawnshops, according to the campus security Web site,

To prevent theft, Rohland encourages people to call campus security if they notice suspicious activity surrounding bikes on campus.

“People need to treat campus as if it were a neighborhood watch,” she said. “If you see people monkeying around, call us-that’s what we’re here for.”

Campus security can be reached at 585-2677.

With 21 on-campus bicycle thefts in just the month of October, students are finding that bicycles are not necessarily the cheapest mode of transportation. Campus security officials emphasize the use of high-quality bike locks when leaving bicycles on campus.