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UA campaign seeks to promote bike safety, up enforcement of traffic laws

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Bicyclists beware — the UA has launched a campaign to make riders more aware of traffic laws.

The University of Arizona Police Department and Parking and Transportation Services launched their Bicycle Safety and Education Campaign to promote “a safe travel environment for everyone.” Officers will be on campus throughout September to educate cyclists on traffic regulations and provide pointers on bicycle theft. Although violators will be ticketed when the campaign ends in October, officers can begin ticketing now depending on the violation and the officer’s discretion, according to Sgt. Juan Alvarez, the public information officer at UAPD.

“Bikes have to follow the same laws as a car, like stopping at red lights,” he said.

Alvarez said officers will approach violators to talk to them about infractions, give them a brochure about bike laws, and give them maps and diversion information if they get a ticket in the future. The goal of the campaign, he said, is to inform violators about their mistakes so they can learn to make better decisions in the future and to achieve “voluntary compliance” — having the community “play their part” by choosing to follow the law.

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Joyce Childers, a program coordinator at PTS, said violations likely to be enforced are failing to stop at stop signs, riding against traffic, failing to watch for pedestrians and being generally unaware of surroundings. She said the annual campaign, started in 2005, is aimed to create a safer environment for bicyclists and hopes to result in less bike accidents.

About 12,000 cyclists ride on and around the UA campus on any given school day. Although the campaign is mainly geared at cyclists, Alvarez said pedestrians and drivers must also be aware of their surroundings and look out for bicyclists.

Nick DePratti, a pre-architecture freshman, said he has been riding his bike around campus since coming to the UA and believes the campaign will be “highly effective” because he is “legitimately ignorant” to all bike laws and codes.

“I would follow more rules if I actually knew them,” he said. “I guess I break the bike laws without knowing.”

DePratti said he yields to pedestrians and is considerate to cars, however the rule he “constantly breaks” is not stopping at stop signs, which he said an officer in a patrol car has pulled him over for.

“Again, I was not aware that as a cyclist I had to make a full stop, and therefore found myself in trouble,” he added.


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