Students react to bike enforcement on campus


Despite recent student complaints about increased enforcement of bicycle rules by the Dept. of Public Safety and Los Angeles Police Department, DPS said the enforcement was intended to educate students about bike rules on campus and LAPD said enforcement was not targeted at students.

Parking spot · Bikes that are not locked to a rack can be impounded by the Dept. of Public Safety and recovered for a $20 fee, according to SCampus guidelines. - Katelynn Whitaker | Daily Trojan

DPS Capt. David Carlisle said bikes have been impounded without attached fines because informing students of bicycle-related rules was the primary intention. SCampus says students can receive a $20 fine for each impoundment.

“We are trying to educate students about appropriate bike protocols, not punish,” Carlisle said in an email. “Bicyclists need to be considerate of others.”

Students have also expressed concern over intermittent enforcement of bike violations by LAPD.

According to LAPD Sgt. C. Mayberry, increases in LAPD presence is directly related to officer availability.

“We can only do what we have resources for at the time, and we cannot sit [on the streets] for 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Mayberry said. “If we’re out handling radio calls, we might not be on the street enforcing basic traffic violations.”

DPS had a station on campus Thursday for students to claim bikes that were confiscated because of violations of USC’s bicycle policy, including being illegally parked. Carlisle said approximately 320 bicycles were impounded.

Though students were not fined this time, Carlisle said students who deliberately disregard campus bicycle policy from now on will be fined.

“Sometimes fines are appropriate for students who intentionally ignore the rules such as when they block handicapped ramps,” Carlisle said. “During the last [Disability Task Force] meeting there were complaints of bikes blocking the handicapped ramp at Leavey, which is a chronic problem.”

SCampus says students who block building access, wheelchair ramps or handicapped ramps receive a $35 impound fee and those who lock their bikes to a ramp receive a $75 fee.

Rachel Bensimon, a freshman majoring in communication who had her bike confiscated by DPS, said the university could easily reduce the number of bikes that are in violation of USC bicycle policy by increasing the number of bike racks around campus.

“I had my bicycle confiscated by [DPS] after I parked it outside of EVK because all the spots on the bike rack near EVK were full,” Bensimon said. “If [the university] wants to see fewer bike violations in the future, [it] should build more bike racks, because [it] will help prevent bikes from being parked in places that obstruct key areas on campus.”

Other students said a strict enforcement of bicycle policy is critical for bicycle security, particularly in regards to the locking and parking student bikes.

“It’s great that DPS is taking the initiative [to impound bikes], so we know that they care about bicycle security,” said Kathryn Kinas, a freshman majoring in business. “Bicycle [theft] is a major crime on campus, so DPS should show students that they are addressing the issue seriously.”

Some students also said there are more important things LAPD can focus its limited resources on.

“I received a $300 ticket for not walking my bike 20 feet across an intersection, and there are people who speed [in their cars] and are ignored,” said Daniella Acuna, a senior majoring in international relations. “If DPS and LAPD want to make a big difference on and off campus, they should focus on reducing crime, since I’ve had four bikes stolen since I’ve been at USC.”

The California Department of Motor Vehicles considers bicyclists moving vehicles, so it is illegal to not stop for pedestrians, ride on the wrong side of the road, ride on the sidewalk without prioritizing the safety of others, wear headphones while riding or talk on a cell phone when riding.

The Undergraduate Student Government hosted a forum about bicycle usage on campus last year and intends to address the issue with its newest task force, “We are considerate, we are USC.” The task force will discuss the issue during its first meeting later this month.

 

Correction: A previous version of this article stated that it was illegal to ride bicycles on sidewalk. Under LAMC 56.15, it is only illegal to ride a bicycle on the sidewalk with a “willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property,” according to bicyclela.org.

8 replies
  1. Tom
    Tom says:

    Here another note. If LAPD and/or DPS feels the bicycling on the sidewalk is a hazard in certain places

    Another little unknown law is in effect. LAMC 85.07, which is unlisted on the city’s “Bicycle and the Law” page, regulates rollerskating, skateboarding and bicycling:

    SEC. 85.07. REGULATION OF ROLLER-SKATING, SKATEBOARDING AND BICYCLING. (Added by Ord. No. 166,526, Eff. 1/27/91.) (a) The Department of Transportation is hereby authorized to install any traffic control devices it determines necessary to regulate roller-skating, skateboarding and bicycling on sidewalks and roadways in order to improve vehicular or pedestrian movement, reduce congestion or diminish accident potential. Such determinations shall be made only on the basis of traffic engineering principles and traffic investigations. When such determinations have been made, the Department is authorized to install signs giving notice as to the nature of the regulation as well as signs that provide such safety warnings as it determines will assist those engaged in the regulated activities.

    (b) No person shall roller-skate, skateboard, or operate a bicycle in violation of the limitations set forth on regulatory signs posted pursuant to this section.

  2. Tom
    Tom says:

    SEC. 56.15. BICYCLE RIDING – SIDEWALKS.

    (Amended by Ord. No. 148,990, Eff. 12/17/76.)

    1. No person shall ride, operate or use a bicycle, unicycle, skateboard, cart, wagon, wheelchair, rollerskates, or any other device moved exclusively by human power, on a sidewalk, bikeway or boardwalk in a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property. (Amended by Ord. No. 166,189, Eff. 10/7/90.)

  3. Tom
    Tom says:

    As a motorist, bike rider, and pedestrian, I’m in favor of everyone leaning the “rules of the road”. However, there is much misinformation circulation around town, including among law enforcement personnel and journals.

    Your article states, incorrectly that

    “The California Department of Motor Vehicles considers bicyclists moving vehicles, so it is illegal to not stop for pedestrians, ride on the wrong side of the road, ride on the sidewalk….”

    L.A.M>C ordinances for bicycle have several important exceptions, including riding on sidewalk. Which is permitted with care in Los Angeles under

    ( LAMC 56.15) Prohibits the riding of bicycles (or other human power devices) on sidewalks (bikeways or boardwalks) with a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property

    May I suggest the following website for accurate information
    http://www.bicyclela.org/Law.htm

    You should print a correction in your paper.and inform the USG forum.

    The article also did not state where and when the meeting would be held.

    • Tom
      Tom says:

      Could not correct posing

      In case I did not make it clear 56.15 does allow the riding of bicycle on the sidewalk with care!

  4. Bucky
    Bucky says:

    I received a ticket for not having a night light on my bicycle when I was riding it just before sunset. WTF LAPD. Bicycle manufacturers should be required to equip their bikes with lights, not consumers. This is equivalent to Ford selling cars without headlights and then seeing the government punish drivers instead of the vehicle manufacturer. The LAPD is a joke around USC. Why don’t they do some real good and prevent students from getting mugged or worse.

  5. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    The penultimate paragraph of this article is wrong. The DMV does not prohibit riding bicycles on sidewalks or in crosswalks; those are county or municipal decisions. Neither LA city nor county have laws in this regard, except to disallow sidewalk riding “with a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.”

    See http://www.bicyclela.org/Law.htm

  6. Daniel
    Daniel says:

    It is ridiculous how many bikes there are on campus. it takes 10 minutes to walk from one side to the other. Additionally, the people on bikes don’t care about anyone else around them, which is why DPS is impounding bicycles. Try walking across campus without almost being hit. I’d say the overwhelming majority of students never rode a bike as legitimate transportation before they came here, hence why they are all clueless.

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