University teams up with Champaign County Bikes to conduct campus-wide bike census

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University teams up with Champaign County Bikes to conduct campus-wide bike census

A biker waits for a light on the corner of Green and Wright streets. 

A biker waits for a light on the corner of Green and Wright streets. 

A biker waits for a light on the corner of Green and Wright streets. 

A biker waits for a light on the corner of Green and Wright streets. 

By Meghan Webber

Wednesday marked the second campus bike census this school year, with the first census taking place in the fall, last semester. 

The Every Bike Counts bicycle census was brought to life on Oct. 23 by Jeff Yockey, president of Champaign County Bikes, and Amelia Neptune, who at the time served as the University’s campus bicycle coordinator, when Yockey and Neptune began discussing the increased number of bikes on campus.  

“We were seeing a great number of bikes locked to trees, signs and handrails instead of in bike racks,” Yockey said. “We decided it was important to document this situation with real data, so we began to plan an all-campus bike count.” 

For this semester’s census, Yockey teamed up with Andy Kopp, the bicycle planning intern at Facilities and Services, which is co-sponsoring the event.

“I love bikes,” said Kopp, a senior in FAA. “Jeff did (the census) last fall with Amelia Neptune, she was the campus bicycle coordinator but she has since taken a job with the League of American Bicyclists, and I’m here in her absence helping Jeff.”

According to Yockey and Kopp, campus has a little fewer than 5,000 bicycle racks, and with the 5,573 bikes accounted for last fall, there is clearly an imbalance between bikes and bike racks. Students with bikes are beginning to notice the lack of the bike space as well, turning to unconventional parking resources such as trees and street signs. 

“The lack of bike racks on campus is definitely an inconvenience,” said Joey Marks, freshman in Business. “I’m glad that this organization is taking measures to improve an aspect of daily life on campus, which will in turn make getting to class easier.” 

The census, which occurred at 10 a.m. Wednesday, was done in only one hour with the strategic division of the campus into 24 sections and the assistance of approximately 22 volunteers. According to Kopp, the bike census will not impact the city of Champaign, but only the parts of campus that are encompassed by the city.

“We’re trying to find data for decision makers,” Yockey said. “About half of the bike racks at the University are substandard, they need to be replaced. And so we’re documenting how many bike racks are in great shape and meet the standards and what bike racks don’t. If we can tell them (the decision makers) how many bikes we have on campus, then they will know how many racks we need.”

Kopp said the census results are expected to be in on Thursday.

Meghan can be reached at [email protected]