USC will roll out a new campaign today in an effort to improve bike safety and encourage riders to develop more courteous bike behavior.
The “We are Considerate, We are USC” initiative is an effort to use the strength of the Trojan Family to enact positive changes on campus. The university plans to use the programs’ principles to address the problems related to bikes on campus.
“It is not just about us enforcing a code of conduct, but looking out for one another, being safe on campus and not being distracted when we are on a bike, or even on foot,” said Thomas Studdert, the campaign’s project manager and director of Orientation Programs.
The campaign will be announced in a letter to students, faculty and staff from Vice President for Student Affairs Michael L. Jackson, Vice President of Career and Protective Services Charles Lane, Undergraduate Student Government President Monish Tyagi and Graduate and Professional Student Senate President Ryan Estes. The letter attributes the increase in congestion from biking to USC becoming a more residential university.
With the campaign, Studdert said he hopes to make “considerate” the sixth “Trait of a Trojan,” after faithful, scholarly, skillful, courageous and ambitious.
“It’s going to be part of a larger campaign where people are more considerate on campus,” Tyagi said.
The campaign includes an Operations committee, which comprises representatives from a diverse range of parties, including the Dept. of Public Safety, USG, GPSS, the athletics department, Career and Protective Services and departments in Student Affairs.
“It’s out of hand for a university perspective as a whole,” Studdert said. “We are not just addressing bikes, we are addressing the culture of being considerate community members to one another. We are talking about a bigger picture. This is something that, as members of a Trojan Family, we need to do for one another.”
The bike initiative encompasses five key points: “share the pathways and yield to pedestrians,” “walk your bikes,” “encourage safety,” “park it” and “watch the road.” Studdert said the goals will be publicized in the coming months and at a kickoff event Nov. 7.
In addition to launching the campaign, the university has hired an external consulting firm, Kendall Planning and Design, to analyze the bike situation.
Though the ultimate goal of the campaign is to reduce reliance on DPS to enforce bike policy, Studdert said the university will increase bike rule enforcement in the coming months.
“We are going to have to move into a strict enforcement phase,” he said. “Over the course of the next couple of months, we are going to ratchet up the enforcement of existing bike policy or [policies] that might be suggested as part of the consulting process.”
The consulting firm will gather information, including the number of bikes on campus at various times of the day and student opinion for about eight to 12 months, after which the firm will make suggestions about bike policy on campus, Studdert said.
“They have done this at other campuses,” Studdert said. “They come in and look at the design and infrastructure of a campus.”
The school is not ruling out any possible policy changes, including bike bans or bike parking on the campus perimeter, Studdert said at last week’s USG Senate meeting.
“Everything and anything is on the table to have discussions throughout the process,” Studdert said.
Tyagi said although students would be upset by a bike ban, they will be equally upset if bike traffic becomes so congested pedestrians cannot walk safely on campus.
“Most students are on the same page and they are looking for some sort of compromise … where pedestrians and bikers can share the space safely and considerately,” Tyagi said.
Studdert said that unlike past campaigns, this effort has the support of key university officials.
“We have a president, provost and vice president for student affairs who are interested in addressing this problem,” he said.
The one-hour kickoff event next Wednesday, Nov. 9 near Tommy Trojan will include remarks from Tyagi, a performance from Kenton Chen, who graduated in 2010 and is a member of the a capella group Backbeats, and other activities. DPS will also be available for students to register their bikes.
Kendall Planning and Design will distribute surveys at the event.
CLICK HERE for a podcast with USG President Monish Tyagi and Daily Trojan News Editor Rachel Bracker about the ‘We Are Considerate’ Campaign.