USC’s Department of Public Safety announced in September that they would be cracking down on bike safety and security, but more than a month later students continue to break the rules of the road without consequence and DPS says they don’t have the resources to follow through.
“Quite frankly, there are so many bicycles that it’s impractical,” DPS Capt. David Carlisle said. “We would impound more bicycles than we have room to store.”
Early in the semester, DPS sent emails warning students that bikes not secured to racks would be impounded. But students said they have not noticed any change, and DPS says it simply doesn’t have the resources necessary to handle all bike offenses.
Unsecured bikes can be found all over campus, but few are ever actually impounded.
Instead of impounding, Carlisle said DPS has been relocating bikes to areas near racks.
In an effort to combat another bike safety issue — riding in crosswalks and on the wrong side of the street — DPS also distributed fliers listing the “Rules of the Road” and cautioned students that bicyclists who broke traffic laws would be ticketed by LAPD.
Though LAPD, in conjunction with DPS, cracked down on biking laws one day in late September, and occasionally stations an officer at major intersections, students continue to violate traffic laws, biking through intersections and riding on the wrong side of the road.
“It’s still the same,” said Franklin Lopez, a sophomore majoring in civil engineering, of the new initiatives. “Nothing has changed.”
DPS Chief John Thomas said that though bike safety is a big problem, DPS hasn’t put the brake on bicycle violations because they want to give students an opportunity to change their habits themselves.
“We have been giving students an opportunity to correct the behavior themselves,” Thomas said. “We’re giving as much time as possible for students to self-regulate.”
But some students think the infrequent LAPD presence is already too much.
“It’s a waste of time; they should be doing something else,” Lopez said. “It’s a waste of resources.”
Thomas agreed that LAPD has more important things to do than hand out tickets to bikers.
Carlisle added that the problem was complex, and would require more work than just citations and tickets.
“There’s no simple answer to the problem,” Carlisle said. “It’s not uncommon for students to ride on the wrong side of the road. I find it particularly annoying that I have to stop for bikes — annoying and illegal — but bikes are a problem with no simple solution.”
Last year, DPS specifically dedicated more of their resources to the campus bike problem, with more DPS officers warning students about violations. The problem became more manageable and it seemed students were better handling the situation, Thomas said.
“Now students are regressing,” he said. “We’re seeing more students going back to the way it was, going back to the same old habits.”