UK scraps fee for biking program

UK will keep its bicycle registration program but eliminate a $15 fee, the university announced Friday.

The news comes three days after UK Parking and Transportation Services announced that beginning in July, bikers would need a permit to park at the bike racks on campus. The passes would have cost $15 for lifetime registration, but until March 2010, the fee would have been waived.

Supporters of the fee said it would provide needed services to UK, such as new bike racks and education for riders. But opponents argued the fee was unnecessary and comes at a time when tuition and fees are rising for students.

In a broadcast e-mail sent Friday from Parking and Transportation Services, the organization said it has been a strong advocate for biking and had hoped the fee could better serve the bicycle community.

“Unfortunately, the fee component of the bicycle registration plan diverted the attention away from the positive aspects of the program,” the news release stated.

Don Thornton, the director of Parking and Transportation Services, said in an e-mail to the Kernel that services such as new bicycle racks and education efforts will be paid for by revenue generated by the department.

Parking and Transportation Services, which will still be the primary source of funding for those efforts, will also “search for grants and innovative approaches to support the program just as PTS has done with the campus bus system,” he said.

“There will be challenges with the uncertainty of funding and its influence on the program’s flexibility,”

Thornton said. “However, we do not want the funding issue to jeopardize the program and its benefits. PTS will establish program priorities and complete them as funding becomes available.”

Architecture freshman Trevor Kidd said he supported the bike fee, as long as the money went to improving bicycling services on campus. Criticism from the fee came out of a mistrust of the administration, he said.

Students see new buildings and the $31.65 million paid to new men’s basketball coach John Calipari—although that money is paid by UK Athletics—and balk at any new fees, Kidd said.

“It’s clear the administration is pushing us too far. They’re pushing us too hard,” Kidd said. “While they’re making a bunch of investments, they’re telling us times are tough and we can’t afford to pay our teachers more.”

Mechanical engineering senior Anthony Robertson said he was wary about the bicycle permit fee when it was initially announced, but he warmed up to the idea. There are not many bike racks near the engineering buildings, he said, and the fee could have provided needed services.

“If you’ve got money, you can get things done,” Robertson said. “If you don’t, you can’t, and they’ll start towing bikes and people will get upset because their bikes have been sold to someone else.”

For more information on UK’s parking policies, visit the Parking and Transportation Services Web site, (

View the broadcast e-mail sent out to the UK community here.