The change of seasons brings another change to Bowdoin campus this week with the addition of small bicycle warning placards on public handrails around campus. Installed before break, these small placards inform students of the illegality of locking bicycles to public entrance ways around campus.
In an effort by Bowdoin Security to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits that bicycles be locked to "hand railings, pathways, ramps, or anywhere where they may impede entrance or exit to a building," these signs are meant to be an educational warning for Bowdoin students.
"We've been getting complaints more and more," said Director of Safety and Security Randy Nichols. "We're trying to remind people that many students and professors have disabilities, visible or not, and they need access to handrails in order to enter and exit buildings."
The Office of Safety and Security encourages all students to register their bikes so students can be contacted and asked to remove bikes in violation of the new restriction.
"We haven't cut any locks yet," said Nichols. "Right now no fines are associated with this system and we aren't planning on any. We are trying to educate the campus as far as general community well-being."
Students who do leave their bikes locked to restricted rails and cannot be contacted by security will be given a warning in the form of a small, neon-orange, hanging tag that reads "Bicycle Parking Violation Warning" and that states the ADA code of accessibility.
"It isn't just blocking entrances," said Nichols. "if there was a fire or we had to evacuate a building, bikes on the railings are a serious safety issue and one that could make it difficult for those with disabilities to get out of buildings safely."
Security has already added several new bike racks around campus.
The new placards combined with the warning hang tags are part of a serious push by Security to be in compliance with ADA regulations. Nichols, however, is primarily concerned with public buildings.
"I'm less concerned if bikes are tied to other places like trees and street signs," said Nichols. "They just cannot be locked to railings—it's simply unsafe."