Bike safety concerns escalate on campus: UPD-issued traffic citations continue to stack against cyclists

From The Battalion

By Aaron Deering

Published: Tuesday, July 17, 2012

When driving around campus, it can be hard to find a parking spot. Or, the bus schedule might not meet your class schedule. One alternative is to ride your bike.

There are more than 2,000 bicycles registered at Texas A&M University according to Transportations Services. And riders of these bikes are under the same scrutiny as those driving cars.

Lt. Allan Baron, of the A&M University Police Department, said he hopes more students will realize this for everyone’s safety.

“A bicycle is a vehicle and a person operating a bicycle has the same responsibilities as a driver operating a motor vehicle,” Baron said. “All laws and signs that regulate the movement of vehicles on the roadway also apply to bicycles.”

One of the most frequent violations is running signs at intersections. The most highly ticketed are East Main Circle, South Bizzell and Ireland Street.

With an increase of bike riders over the last few years, the department has also seen an increase of citations written to bike riders. UPD writes an estimated 10 to 15 citations or warnings a week.

Along with not obeying stop signs, cyclists can be issued tickets for ignoring speed limits. Cyclists exceeding the speed limit can be issued a citation by the police through the Brazos County Justice of the Peace that can range from $140 to $500.

Joe Wright, senior kinesiology major, rides his bike frequently on campus and said as long as he follows the rules, both he and pedestrians will be safe.

“I always try to slow down and be more careful when I’m riding on campus because I share the same pathways as pedestrians,” Wright said. “I believe it is safe for everyone as long as bike riders always remember to respect the other people using sidewalks.”

Transportation Services also has influence over bikes on campus, but they don’t hand out citations for traffic violations.

Ronald Steedly, Sustainable Transportation manager, said they do not boot bikes for being parked incorrectly.

“When we need to cut a bike off a handicap railing, gas meter or just those that are locked to themselves, we will move the bike to a rack and boot it so it doesn’t get stolen,” Steedly said. “There is no fine for booting. We just want the owner to get their bike back and use a rack next time.”

They also want students to know that this summer they are sectioning off areas where they are replacing bike racks, any bikes in those areas will be moved.