Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

University to enforce new bike policies

On July 12, the University Transportation Services introduced a new bicycle policy that will take effect in the fall semester. With a requirement to register bikes, regulations on where bikes can be parked and the possibility of fines for violations, this policy ushers in new changes that will affect cyclists on campus.

The bicycle policy is the first of its kind from the University. Prior to July, the University had a section regarding bikes in the Rules and Regulations section for Transportation Services, but not a separate policy. The policy enumerates several points of concern for both pedestrians and cyclists, seeking to enhance pedestrian and rider safety on campus, provide for a safe entry to and from University buildings and facilities, reduce bicycle theft and establish and publish written guidelines and regulations.

“In order to address the concerns of the entire community, the University has adopted a bicycle policy which seeks to balance the needs and concerns of all parties,” said Ronnie Robertson, director of Transportation Services. “The University encourages all students who bring bikes on campus to register their bikes with Transportation Services in order to help identify them if they are stolen or if there is a need to contact the owner.”

These guidelines, developed by a joint effort of University Recreation, Housing & Residential Communities, UAPD, University Planning & Design, Transportation Services and Risk Management & Facilities, require that all bicycles on campus be registered. The policy also states “there will be no charge to register your bicycle at this time.”

In addition to registration, the policy states that cyclists should “ride their vehicles on campus in bike lanes or in traffic lanes in accordance with Alabama State Law.” It adds that bicycles must be walked in pedestrian areas. Cyclists must also secure their bicycles to a bicycle rack – and not on any other object that may interfere with University facilities.

In order to ensure that cyclists comply with these new rules and regulations, the University plans to enforce the policy by using fines for those that violate certain rules. Although fines for every violation are not listed in the policy, it does state that if a bike is confiscated – due to parking violation – it will be released upon the payment of a $25 fee.

Kirby Simpson, a senior majoring in marketing, sees the policy as a way “for the University to gain revenue” and doesn’t find many positive outcomes. As a student who rides his bike to every class, as well as to his work at both the Student Recreation Center and the Aquatic Center, the policy directly affects his daily campus life.

After reading over the policy, Simpson said having a citation for an illegal use of a bike and requiring the placement of a decal are negative aspects of the policy.

Simpson said it is difficult to have a policy and require cyclists to comply with it when the University does not provide the infrastructure – bikes lanes and bike racks – necessary to safely and properly use a bike.

“If they want us to use bike lanes, they should supply more bike lanes,” Simpson said. “And they should educate drivers on how to deal with bicyclists, because nobody really knows.”

Simpson said the lack of bike lanes makes it difficult to ride around campus safely.

“Even if bicyclists are obeying the laws, I feel like it’s still unsafe for them, because drivers also need to be prosecuted for things like illegal crossing,” he said. “… you’re much more vulnerable on a bike than in a car.”

Although this is the first bicycle policy for the University, other universities have bicycle policies currently in use.

Clemson University in South Carolina does not require students to register their bikes on campus, but it is recommended by their university police department. Their policy also states that cyclists have “all of the rights and [are] subject to all of the duties applicable to a driver of a motor vehicle.” Most fines for parking violations are $40; a municipal judge determines traffic violation fines.

The University of Southern California also has a detailed policy. The school requires all faculty, staff and students who ride their bikes on campus register them. Registration is free. Similar to both UA and Clemson, the policy requires that cyclists comply with California’s bicycle laws. Fines are generally around $20 for violations.

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