I was touring the University of Wisconsin, when I noticed that bikes were a prominent method of transportation. Not only were there numerous bike racks scattered throughout the campus, but there was even a quick and convenient rental system.
I wondered why Briarcliff High School isn’t bike-friendly. By no means am I suggesting a bike rental, but the idea of biking to school made sense to me: not only is it healthy exercise, but it is also a way to “go green” and help the environment.
There was a time when there was a bike rack accessible to the students. Naturally, I wondered, “Where did the bike rack go?”
A few ideas came to mind. First off, the local gym could have taken it because it wanted to stop people from getting exercise. My second thought was that gas stations might have taken it because they wanted more people to drive. But, I then realized the majority of the blame should go to the government. Why? Why not!
So I investigated the situation…
I spoke with Principal Kaishian about the issue. He said that the construction workers removed the former bike rack during building of the middle school. However, after the building was completed, the bike rack was not put back.
Mr. Kaishian said that students have continued to bike to school, despite the absence of a rack. He mentioned that one or two bikes could be stored on school grounds without causing a fire hazard.
Upon hearing this, I was shocked that some students were biking. I found it surprising that this method was not made public to the student population. Having a friend who is passionate about biking, I wanted to find a way for him to take advantage of this opportunity.
However, it was clear that storage for a couple of bikes would not be sufficient if more students chose to ride to school. So, I asked Mr. Kaishian about the possibility of reinstalling a bike rack to the school; overall, he was very supportive of the idea.
According to Kaishian, a bike rack was ordered around this time in 2010. He said that he was able to find money in the school budget to purchase a bike rack. It was ordered and delivered. Nevertheless, there were numerous issues with installation. The district was unable to agree to terms during the fall of 2010, and by winter and spring, it was no longer a priority.
There seemed to be other problems with completing the process, one of which being the bike rack’s current location. Mr. Kaishian did not know where it was stored, and he was uncertain that it had even been delivered. This brings the lost bike rack total up to two. Where did they go?
Then I thought of three possible places where the bike racks could be. Maybe they were used for fill in the contaminated fields. But, I soon dismissed that possibility because the fields are so much more contaminated than the bike racks could ever be. Secondly, it occurred to me that it might have gone with Ms. Hervey as part of her retirement package. What a tragedy! We lost a bike rack as well as a great librarian. But, what would Ms. Hervey do with two bike racks? Finally, I realized that the bike racks had the same fate as the nine period schedule; they just disappeared.
Principal Kaishian said that our conversation reprioritized the issue surrounding the bike rack. He will look into finding the rack and then installing it. If the school does in fact have the bike rack, it could be installed in the next few weeks. He said that there will be ten slots in the rack, and if demand is high, he would try to get a second rack.
He was also concerned with safety. Mr. Kaishian is fully aware of the heavy traffic on Pleasantville Road before and after school. He hopes that bikers will be cautious and aware of their surroundings.
After speaking with Mr. Kaishian, I was satisfied with the principal’s intentions of installing a bike rack. On the other hand, I was surprised that this wonderful initiative was left to die. I pondered why students hadn’t previously brought up this issue.
Why hadn’t students brought up this topic before? I speculated that it was because some students reject the idea of global warming and would prefer to travel in cars and buses. But, after seeing the school’s exceptional recycling program, I knew that was false. Then it was clear to me: STUDENTS CANNOT TEXT WHILE BIKING!
This problem may cause drama at a later date. There are already rumors of a BADD club (Bikers Against Destructive Decisions). This rumored group would put emphasis on not texting while biking.
Assuming that the Briarcliff bike rack will be put in place at a later date, I believe that it will have a positive impact on the school. It would support sustainable transportation and be useful to students who cannot drive to school. Principal Kaishian was very supportive of the possibility of biking to school.
For now, a bike rack seems like a logical and realistic possibility that would be convenient to many current and future students. Although Briarcliff High School will never be as bike-friendly the University of Wisconsin, the addition of a bike rack would be a step in the right direction.