Light The Night addresses bike safety on campus

Bikers on campus waited in line near the Alma Mater for bike lights as part of the third annual Light the Night event Thursday.

One location was at Green and Wright Street, with the other near Illinois Street Residence Halls.

The goal of the event was to enforce night safety, said Barry Isralewitz, volunteer for the Bike Project. Organizers had 1000 sets of back and front lights ready for installation, with around 40 volunteers at both locations ready to help.

“The idea of the event is to change the behavior in town,” Isralewitz said. “Hopefully more people will have bicycle lights in use. And even the people who don’t use lights for their bikes, they should look at the event and say ‘Hey, maybe I should get lights too.’”

Champaign Urbana Mass Transit District, the Bike Project of Champaign-Urbana and the Campus Area Transportation Study are among the many organizations sponsoring the event.

Jan Kijowski, marketing director of CUMTD, said that they work closely with bikers because they value the importance of safety. With Daylight Savings Time coming to an end early November, taking extra precautions is a necessity for bikers, she said.

Officer Jerry Sandage of the University Police said complaints about bikers have increased lately. In order to enforce bike laws, there has to be an aware community, Sandage said, and everyone should know what is best for their safety.

“We try to address these problems as much as we can,” he said. “If somebody doesn’t have a headlight at night, we usually will pull them over and inform them of proper laws and safety precautions.”

Donald Ellison, graduate student, said he needed new lights and that this distribution helps promote different methods of transportation.

“I think it’s a great idea to promote biking. It is about the best way to get across campus,” he said. “Biking is just as fast as driving on this campus.”

Teresa Liu, junior in Business, said she likes the fact that the event promotes safety at no cost to the public.

“This event helps promote the general safety of the public when they are traveling on campus. These lights will help bikers see at night, so drivers can see the bikers at night and students aren’t running into bikers,” she said. “Also, the installation and the lights are free, so it’s helpful for those who have bikes.”