DPS lessens USC Village presence enforcing bike ban

The Department of Public Safety said most students have complied with the ban of bicycles, skateboards and motorized vehicles at USC Village since it publicized the dismount zone in September. (Emily Smith | Daily Trojan)

The Department of Public Safety has not been able to maintain a high presence of patrolling officers in USC Village since it began to re-enforce the ban of bicycles, skateboards and motorized vehicles in September. DPS said it does not have enough personnel to watch over the USC Village.

“At the beginning of the semester, we had additional personnel to help emphasize and publicize the rule,” DPS Assistant Chief David Carlisle said. “Since then, for several weeks now, it’s been our normal, daily deployment of personnel.”

Carlisle explained that typical oversight in USC Village includes unarmed community officers and at least one armed public safety officer who patrols USC Village on bike.

Although DPS has set up large, A-frame signs detailing the rules of the dismount zone, many students continue to ride freely throughout USC Village.

In September, DPS noted that they would be enforcing a zero-tolerance policy in the dismount zone by increasing the number of DPS officers, handing out informational flyers and putting up dismount signs. Repeat offenders would be cited to Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards, the office that oversees judicial processes at USC.  

“There are always people who don’t obey they rules. So we do our best to inform and educate,” Carlisle said. “To my knowledge, there have not been any citations citing students into SJACS for failure to comply. That is generally a last resort.”

Carlisle noted that most students have been complying with the rules and that DPS’ publicizing of the dismount zone has greatly contributed to  this.

“For the most part, the majority of people do comply,” Carlisle said. “But, it is something that we will continually evaluate … and [we will] continually ask people for their cooperation.”

Andy Woods, a freshman in the Iovine and Young Academy, said dismounting his skateboard in USC Village is not a big burden.

DPS has received periodic complaints about the dangers of bikes and other vehicles from businesses in USC Village and from individuals not affiliated with the University.

“Someone said that they were walking with their children through the village, and DPS officers were enforcing the ‘no biking’ rule,” Carlisle said. “[The woman said] how much [she] appreciated it because it made it easier for her to stroll through with her small children.”

Kaela Gallagher, a freshman in the World Bachelor in Business Program, said she supported looser enforcement because DPS’ time is better spent elsewhere.

Similar to USC Village, Childs Way from Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism to the Ronald Tutor Campus Center to Hahn Plaza, is a dismount zone, despite still seeing heavy amounts of foot and wheel-traffic.

Carlisle said dismount signs are in place in this area, but that enforcement is weak because officer presence is low. Yet, DPS remains certain of the ban’s necessity on campus.

“There are always new visitors to the Village, some people not affiliated with the University [and] customers, so we think the signs need to remain,” Carlisle said.