Associated Student Government, in partnership with University administration and the Evanston bikeshop Wheel and Sprocket, will distribute free bicycle helmets to Northwestern students Monday afternoon.
ASG will give out 330 helmets at The Arch from noon to 2 p.m. to any undergraduate student with a valid Wildcard. University Police will also sell bike locks, register bikes and sell informational material on biker safety. The Office of the President granted $10,000 to ASG for the initiative, and Wheel and Sprocket offered ASG a $10 discount on helmets.
The initiative follows a unanimously-passed resolution in ASG Senate to improve transportation safety following the death of Chuyuan Qiu, who was killed in a crash with a cement truck while biking on Sheridan Road. The resolution, passed in coordination with Faculty Senate, also called for lowering the speed limit on Sheridan Road between Davis and Central streets to 25 mph. Christina Cilento, president of ASG,said she wanted to initiate a distribution for free helmets the day after Qiu died.
“Helmets were something I knew fewer students have and sometimes are stigmatized as being uncool on campus,” the SESP senior said.
ASG partnered with Evanston to host a similar event, “Pedal Bright,” on Oct. 13 to distribute free flashing front bike lights at The Arch and at the Gibbs-Morrison Cultural Center, 1823 Church St. Although this is the first year ASG has distributed helmets, the city has distributed lights for years, Cilento said.
ASG is moving forward in creating the Transportation Safety Task Force, which will continuously examine ways to improve the safety of students as they move about campus. The task force comes from the same resolution and will be coordinated with the offices of Risk Management, Facilities Management and Neighborhood and Community Relations, as well as Faculty Senate, she said. In addition to pedestrian and biker safety, Cilento said the task force will examine other ways to improve student safety, including transit accessibility for students with disabilities.
“We wanted to make sure we could do something more sustained,” Cilento said. “We’re just trying to create a group responsible for talking with students about the way they use campus and where things are currently unsafe and ways to improve.”
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