DPS cracks down on bikes at USC Village

According to DPS, bikes have always been banned at USC Village but the policy had not been strongly enforced. (Emily Smith | Daily Trojan)

The Department of Public Safety is cracking down on the use of bicycles, skateboards and motorized vehicles at USC Village. On Tuesday, an increased number of DPS officers patrolled the Village area, passing out flyers and stopping students who failed to dismount their vehicles.

Some students were surprised by the seemingly new strict oversight; but since its conception, the USC Village quad has always banned the use of bicycles, according to DPS training coordinator Michelle Velasco.

“Today we put up signs indicating that this is a dismount zone,” Velasco said. “We want students to dismount before entering the center quad. And it’s really just because we’re trying to create that safe environment for all the guests of the Village in that quad area, because of all the restaurants and businesses and people out there. ”

Because the bike ban was loosely implemented until now, many students were confused by the new regulations.

“It was kind of ridiculous that there was six police officers standing there,” said Leah James, a sophomore studying international relations and global business. “But, I do understand why they don’t want me riding my bike in the crowded village.”

Velasco explained that DPS has been unable to commit to a complete enforcement of the bike ban due to staff shortages. However, DPS had a surplus of officers working on Tuesday which presented the opportunity to strictly patrol USC Village.

“It’s been a lot harder to enforce [the ban] this year,” Velasco said. “We’ve pushed the [ban] information to all the resident advisors that are at the Village so they can push the information up to their students.”

DPS hopes to create a safer experience for both students and guests alike. Velasco said that she hopes students become more educated about where they can ride by putting up A-frames and handing out flyers with USC Village’s rules.

“I firmly oppose the ban,” said Joshua Shaw, a junior studying international relations and economics. “If you have basic coordination skills, you won’t hit anyone. I have also seen DPS ride through the Village and it seems hypocritical.”

Velasco pointed out that although no one has yet been hit by a bike at USC Village, there have been several “close calls.”

“When we have a lot of bicycles, it’s almost like the center of campus [where] people almost get hit all the time,” Velasco said.

Starting next Tuesday, DPS will be enforcing a zero-tolerance policy in the dismount zone and offenders will be given citations for non-compliance.

“This week, it’s all just verbal warnings. Next week, it will be like a verbal warning, but we’re documenting your information now,” Velasco said. “We’ve got numerous complaints from the retail people, we’ve got numerous complaints from residents, from faculty and staff [and] guests, saying, ‘I almost got hit today.’ That is really why we are trying to push this education and [are] putting these signs up.”