Bike riders to face fines at SF State
April 29, 2009 7:46 PM
Justin Collasco leaves his apartment on 45th Avenue and Vicente Street and rides his bike to campus every day, securing the bike to the rails in front of the ATMs outside the Cesar Chavez Student Center.
But beginning in May, he will no longer be able to do so, as the University Police Department has started issuing written warnings stating that those who park on the rails will be fined $55.
"I understand why they are [ticketing], but it's not going to stop me from doing that," Collasco said in response to the warnings.
According to University Police Chief Kirk Gaston, the UPD has begun issuing warnings because they fear the weather will cause a spike in these kinds of violations.
"The warnings were an attempt to gain voluntary compliance," Gaston said. "We are trying to prevent a rash of violations through education rather than enforcement."
Safety was another concern, said Gaston.
"Bikes on railings are a safety issue and an access issue, and that is why we've been stepping up enforcement," he wrote in an e-mail.
Disability Access Compliance Analyst Bill Grubaugh considers it a civil rights issue.
"Who do you want not to be able to get into that building?" Grubaugh said. "It's a civil rights law for people with disabilities to have the same access as others.
UPD began issuing warnings only after the bicycle advocacy group on campus advised them to warn students rather than issue citations -- the equivalent of a parking ticket.
Another concern is students riding their bikes on campus rather than walking them, Gaston said.
According to Melissa Gordon of the bicycle advocacy group, informing students is more effective.
"There are no warnings or postings that warn you are not allowed to ride or park your bike on campus," Gordon said.
Jacob Schultz has been at SF State for four years and did not know he couldn't ride his bike on campus or park by the rails until he got a warning last week.
"I've never actually [seen] someone actually get hit or cause an accident," said Schultz, after being warned by campus police to walk his bike. "I believe if you are a responsible rider and don't ride in a crowded situation it's okay."
Schultz added that for most cyclists, it is just common sense not to ride in a crowded area.
This is something some pedestrians agreed with.
"I don't think it's dangerous, really, as long as they are paying attention, because they are not really going that fast," said business major Laura Zanze. "I think the warnings are good for safety, but I don't think it's really that big of a deal."
The money collected from fees will go to the parking and transportation program on campus.
"I like the idea of students riding their bikes to school, but it does scare me when the bike riders come at a fast pace and close to people," said Yvette Wakefield, a 63-year-old returning student.
Gordon defended students who ride their bikes and park where they see fit. "They are using bikes for what they are made for - to be more convenient."
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