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OSU Cycling Club looks to solve bicycle lane issues

Cyclists on campus are hoping to find a solution to the now non-existent bike lanes.

Oklahoma State University recently removed all bike lanes on campus in hopes of creating a more shared campus, according to an article in the O’Colly on Sept. 26.

Trevor Steward, president of the Oklahoma State University Cycling Club and off-campus SGA senator, said he plans to meet with a group of university faculty and staff later today to discuss some concerns that the OSU cycling community has about the removal. The meeting will include Lee Bird, OSU vice president for student affairs, university architect Nigel Jones, Mike Buchert, director of Long Range Facilities Planning, and others.

The OSU Cycling Club was never notified or contacted for consultation concerning the removal of the bike lanes, Steward said.

“This is (the students’) university,” he said. “We should have a say in how this campus is run and looks.”

Steward hosted a town hall style forum at 6 p.m. Friday in the Student Union to gather opinions, suggestions and concerns from student and faculty cyclists on campus.

Jim Bruer, OSU academic counselor, OSU Cycling Club co-adviser and member of the Stillwater Cycling Committee, said Stillwater has reached a crossroads in reference to cycling.

“How are we going to proceed?” Bruer asked. “There are more cyclists in this town and on campus than there have ever been.”

The most important part of the meeting was to come up with a focused message to give to the administration, Bruer said.

“Clearly, the administration has one thing in the mind, whereas most cyclists have a very different thing in mind for what we want for this campus,” Bruer said.

The O’Colly article encouraged cyclists to ride on sidewalks and outlined campus plans for shared sidewalks instead of bike lanes.

Riding on sidewalks is very dangerous because of obstacles like pedestrians, driveways and crossroads, Bruer said.

“It is just as dangerous, if not more, than riding on the road,” he said. “Most cycling communities have realized that it is dangerous to ride on sidewalks.”

Bruer also noted that the University of California-Berkley is advising OSU on adopting a campus without bike lanes.

“UC Berkley is not a recognized bike-friendly campus,” he said. “We are getting our advice from a campus that is not considered bike-friendly.”

About 20 people, club members and non-members, attended the meeting.

Preston Tyler, a sophomore in management science information systems and OSU Cycling Club mountain bike director, said that removing the bike lanes has been a complete mess.

“Some cyclists have stayed in the washed-out lanes that you can barely see, but the ones who haven’t are weaving through everybody,” Tyler said.

Lauren Busenburg, a senior in microbiology and club member, said that bike lanes need to be separate from walkways.

“Even when those (bike lanes) were there, people would still not pay attention and would walk right across the lanes without even looking,” she said.

Stillwater Mayor John Bartley recently approved the formation of the Stillwater Cycling Committee.

Whit Oyler, club member and senior in health education and promotion, wonders if OSU has talked to the city planners about the issue.

“The city seems to be trying to go in the direction of being bicycle friendly,” he said. “Why (is the university) going against what seems to be the city’s direction?”