Students who are used to riding their bicycles over the 38th Street bridge may want to change their habits. Waiting on the other side of the rise may be a University Police officer. In an effort to cut down on bicycle accidents on campus, University Police will periodically station an officer at the Locust Walk bridge to enforce the often-ignored rule requiring riders to walk their bikes over, not ride them. University Police Captain John Richardson said the University Council's Safety and Security Committee discussed bicycle safety on campus Friday and decided changes were needed. Richardson said there are signs on each side of the bridge telling bicyclists to walk over, but added, tongue-in-cheek, that students sometimes don't notice these signs. For now, he said, police will give out friendly reminders, stopping people and making them walk over. "Perhaps by doing that for a period of time we can educate the people who are not aware of the fact, and enforce it," he said. The police captain said the bridge is the most dangerous part of campus because riders and pedestrians can not see over its top. "They're riding their bicycles in a reckless manner, at a high speed and endangering students," he said. "It is a problem," Safety and Security Committee co-chairman Jeffrey Jacobson said. "Most people are usually careful about it but some people go flying over it." If students ignore police warnings, officers will start enforcing the rule. Richardson said students who have bad attitudes or who disobey the officers will be reported to the University judiciary system. And in the near future, the police might have even more power to stop offenders. The department has applied to the city for the power to give traffic summonses. Richardson said bicycle traffic is included in the city's traffic safety ordinances. Students would then face fines through the city court system. Unpaid fines would be treated like those for motor vehicle violations and listed under students' drivers' licenses. "That would put some teeth into it," Richardson said. Jacobson said students usually do not complain about bicycles on campus, but there have been some serious accidents and some older professors feel like "sitting ducks." He said the problem extends to the whole campus, not just the bridge. He said some professors would like to ban bicycles from the Walk entirely. "They say it's Locust Walk, not Locust Ride," he said. He urged students to be reasonable and ride slowly enough to be able to stop quickly.Comments powered by Disqus
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