Today, many student cyclists will dismount and walk their bikes through the two major intersections along Jefferson Boulevard, under the threat of a ticket.
But tomorrow, they will most likely keep riding through.
Today marks only the second day this semester that Los Angeles Police Department and Department of Public Safety officers have made a significant push to patrol the Jefferson intersections at Hoover Street and McClintock Avenue, ticketing wayward students who don’t walk their bikes.
On Sept. 18, the first time they did it, LAPD gave out 120 tickets; DPS hopes that the number will be lower this time, as students will have learned their lesson. With such sparse shows of force, however, this is foolish optimism.
The department has, admittedly, had many problems enforcing the growing number of bikers on campus this year; its efforts to create any real change have been few and far between.
In September, DPS announced that it planned to start pushing bike security and safety, in part by impounding all bicycles not secured to racks. A month later, DPS admitted that it didn’t, in fact, have the resources to put this plan in action. Despite punctuated episodes of impoundment, such as Tuesday’s incident outside the Lyon Center, DPS has not had the capabilities to enforce any sweeping changes to campus bike regulation.
The Los Angeles Department of Transportation is currently pushing through an initiative to make the city more bike-friendly — including installing a bicycle lane on Adams Boulevard. With these efforts, the university needs to decide whether or not it will be a cyclist’s campus and act accordingly.
Intermittent tickets and impounding will do little to curb bikers’ careless riding. If DPS is serious about solving the problem, it needs to work with administrators and student leaders to make a strong statement about bike safety. This may mean putting more bike racks on campus or making the area a wheels-free zone altogether.
But one thing is for sure: Hollow displays of force promote a freewheeling attitude.