DPS works toward decreased bike traffic

Bike traffic — a perennially thorny issue on USC’s campus — is likely to be problematic around the new Ronald Tutor Campus Center and could result in a bike-free campus, according to Department of Public Safety officials, though DPS has not yet decided to start patrolling the area.

Traffic - DPS is searching for a solution to the high number of bikes that students ride on campus. - Aditya Tannu | Daily Trojan

Last year, DPS increased patrols around the university bookstore, placed signs forbidding students to ride bikes in certain areas and frequently stationed DPS officers in the area to enforce campus bike rules.

“I’ve seen on different campuses they have bike lanes,where people use their bikes on specific parts of the sidewalks,” said Daniel Wu, a senior majoring in urban studies. “But it’s hard to control because there are just too many bikes.”

There has been strong interest among students and faculty to reduce some of the issues the university has experienced with bike traffic, said DPS Chief Carey Drayton.

Last year, DPS created a traffic safety task force which aims to find solutions for the numerous bikes on campus that result in congested traffic flow.

One option that has been floating around, Drayton said, is for the university to go bike free.

“The idea hasn’t gone away, and there will still be discussion about it,” Drayton said. “The problem with bikes on campus is great … There are injuries that occur almost every other day.”

Short of creating a bike-free campus, the traffic safety task force believes it has found the solution: taking gradual steps to lessen congested areas on campus. Though the task force considers this a viable option, there will continue to be dialogue among students, faculty and the task force.

“I anticipate problems will occur and then [DPS] will respond and deal with real issues, as opposed to people questioning why DPS is bothering them when they are just going from point A to point B,” Drayton said.

Srinivasu Yerukonda, a graduate student studying mechanical engineering, said that a bike-free campus is too extreme.

“It is a big campus, so I think a bike is definitely necessary for students,” Yerukonda said.

Drayton has noticed the problem is not just the prevalence of bikes around campus, but it is also that students ride their bikes while heavily distracted.

“Students ride their bikes while listening to their iPods, holding a cup of coffee in their hands and, on top of all of that, they are holding 20 pounds of books on their backs,” Drayton said.

Though campus is crowded with bicyclists and pedestrians, some students find bikes are necessary to make the commute to campus easier.

“I’d be absolutely furious [if campus went bike free],” said Garett Figueroa, a junior majoring in business administration. “Most students, like me, live off campus and it would take much longer to get on campus if we had to walk.”

For students who live off campus, riding one’s bike across a crosswalk has become a point of contention between students and DPS officers.  Drayton said DPS is concentrating on enforcing safe travel across crosswalks instead of giving citations to students for simply riding their bikes through crosswalks.

“Bike riders should be cognizant of the fact that although the city of Los Angeles is not enforcing no bikes in the crosswalk, it is enforcing safe travel,” Drayton said. “The mere fact that you’re [in the crosswalk] won’t get you cited, but if you travel in an unsafe manner you will [be cited].”

4 replies
  1. Alison Kendall
    Alison Kendall says:

    This is really a sad commentary on how much USC administrators don’t understand or welcome bikes. The number of bikes on campus is a great opportunity to create a bike friendly sustainable campus and improve the traffic situation for USC and the surrounding neighborhood.

    I’m a city planner who works on bicycle and transportation plans, and who has founded a non-profit, Sustainable Streets, which offers Confident City Cycling and other classes accross LA to improve the safety of cyclists. We have contacted DPS and administrators offering to work with students on campus to provide bike skills classes AND to work out a system to allow biking on campus while decreasing the pedestrian and auto traffic conflicts cyclists face. USC has loads of room for improvement. Please contact us at Sustainable Streets on fb or at sustainablestreetsla.org if you’d like to help make USC bike friendly.

  2. Chris Kidd
    Chris Kidd says:

    Riding a bicycle in a crosswalk is not illegal in the City of Los Angeles. Riding in a crosswalk, in and of itself, is not equal to “riding in an unsafe manner”. This misconception is not, however, unique to DPS.

  3. Trojan T
    Trojan T says:

    Last year I saw a student texting while he ran the stop sign at 34th and McClintock. He ran over a 70 year old woman who was walking in the crosswalk. She was bleding from the head and it looked like her hip may have been broken. An ambulance was required to provide medical transport to an emergencey room.

    We all see other students riding around as if they own the place. We as students need to be more responsible and we need to offer solutions to DPS or we may be walking on campus very soon. I don’t like the idea of a “bike ban” but if they see no other option they may do it. I suggest bike lanes and student judical affair citations.

  4. Duke Yin
    Duke Yin says:

    Yeah, the real problem is that people are riding their bikes distracted, not that they’re riding bikes. I remember last year a girl was on my right, talking on her cellphone, then turned left into me, causing my backpack to fall hard on the sidewalk and bang up my laptop inside. Pretty sure it was because she couldn’t hear what was going on around her (and my bike auction bike is pretty noisy).

    I hope DPS realizes that banning bikes outright is a horrible idea.

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