Bike regulation requires a more cohesive plan

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.

4 replies
  1. SoapBoxLA
    SoapBoxLA says:

    What is the violation they are citing when they ticket the cyclists who ride through the intersection? I’m unfamiliar with the “dismount” code, maybe there isn’t one. If they’re using the “ride with traffic” approach, the intersection is an extension of the sidewalk and there is no direction of traffic. What’s the violation?

    • Christopher Miranda
      Christopher Miranda says:

      There are yellow signs (with black legend) reading “Walk Bikes in Crosswalk.” I believe cyclists are being cited for failing to follow these signs.

  2. ubrayj02
    ubrayj02 says:

    I like how bike riders being “careless” is the focus of the story. What responsibility does USC have to protect its own students? With the all-star lobbying team USC throws at local government each year, you’re telling me that they can’t wrest some pro-bike planning decisions for streets leading from student housing onto campus?

    USC has to do an AQMD filing each year under Rule 2202 – to show how they are reducing green house gas emissions. Building massive parking lots and throwing hundreds of dollars in fees at bicycle riders doesn’t seem to jibe with what the school ought to be doing – calming traffic and making all the streets leading into campus “complete streets”.

    For a school with so much intellectual capacity, this whole debacle makes the place look plain stupid.

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