Bicycle citations necessary to keep students safe
The police have been making a point to crack down on bicyclist and pedestrian traffic infractions on campus. You might have seen people being pulled over on their beach cruisers and given a ticket for running a stop sign, which is necessary step for the University of Arizona Police Department to take to keep students safe.
Since the beginning of the school year, UAPD has issued 231 bicycle citations and six pedestrian citations for traffic infractions. UAPD has also responded to 57 accidents involving bikes, pedestrians and cars that resulted in injury.
While I am admittedly a very aggressive pedestrian, there is no reason I should be hit by a bike on a sidewalk. But somehow, in my year and a half at the UA, I’ve been hit by four bicyclists — three of whom were willfully riding their bikes on narrow sidewalks and one who turned too tight and crashed into the bench I was sitting on. Although I’ve been lucky to escape serious injury, not everyone can say the same.
In 2011, a UA student walking in a crosswalk near the Nugent building was struck by a careless bicyclist and knocked into the street. She hit her head on the curb as she fell, causing massive trauma. Emergency Medical Technicians said the victim sustained serious brain damage and fell into a coma. The injuries she sustained forced her to drop out of the UA, according to Jon Heine, a retired UA professor who knew the student because he was an advisor for the International Student Association club.
The truth is, if you’re careless enough to breeze through a stop sign on your bike or hop a curb, potentially endangering pedestrians, you deserve that ticket. The sidewalks of campus should be treated with the same respect as our roads and highways. Citations will ensure that everyone uses a little more caution, which is important to the safety of our campus.
Police officers are cracking down on bicyclists all over the country for their traffic infractions. The New York City Police Department has been citing far more cyclists than ever before — Brooklyn and its precincts saw an estimated 81 percent increase in citations just this year.
“Although I don’t like their presence [officers], seeing them makes me a safer and more alert bicyclist,” said Khoianh Nguyen, a biochemistry sophomore.
Title 28 of the Arizona Revised Statutes states that bicyclists are subject to the same traffic laws as vehicles while on roadways or near other vehicles or pedestrians. Citations can range from $25-$190, which is comparable to running a red light in a motor vehicle.
“If you get a ticket, it’s for your own good,” said Sgt. Filbert Barrera, UAPD’s public information officer. “We’d stop UAPD employees if they were caught running a stop sign. It’s all about prevention and safety.”
No one should have to worry about being struck by a bike while walking to class, and if the threat of a $100 ticket forces you to halt at stop signs in the future, it is a small price to pay to prevent the injuries and accidents that could be caused if you didn’t.
Nick Havey is a sophomore studying Spanish and pre-physiology. Follow him @nihavey.