DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) - A new bike path connects the University of Dayton's campus to 330 miles of paved bikeways throughout the Miami Valley, but giving students the option to venture off campus is causing some concern for safety.
With kickstands up and helmets secure, students and faculty at the University of Dayton rolled out Friday to explore the new stretch of pavement that connects campus with the rest of the community.
"It's a connecting corridor that's going from Brown Street all the way through campus and going up into Kettering and into Oakwood" explained Emily Wilk, Assistant Director for Outdoor Education and Camps.
While bikers put their feet to the pedals, the wheels in their heads turn with concerns of safety.
"The city of Dayton has done a really good job to make sure that this path is safe, but those are realities," said Wilk.
The campus saw at least eight reported assaults or robberies during the 2012-2013 school year. With the installation of the bike path into the city, the university wants to make sure the route is safe for riders traveling beyond the bubble of campus life and taking to the trail.
"We have public safety officers who are patrolling our campus very regularly and so they're making sure campus is safe," said Wilk.
Wilk said UD's recreational program has a fleet of about 20 bikes. She said she expects all of them to be whizzing down the bikeway, which has caused UD to step up its campus safety classes.
"For about two and a half years, we've had over 6,000 miles ridden on these bikes," said Wilk.
While campus police will be on the lookout for any type of criminal activity near the path, there are currently no plans to step up patrols. The university said it will make sure the trek leading to the outskirts of the city is well lit, and students can call for help with the push of a button.
"So we have the blue lights on campus, and any student can push that button and public safety will respond," said Wilk.
Wilk said overall education is key to safety.
"It's all about awareness and knowing where you are and where you're going and being smart about how you're traveling," said Wilk.
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