Pedaling to Safety

Aug 212005
Authors: Elena Ulyanova


Bike Safety Rules

No Speeding- 20 mph on streets, 10 mph in parking lots

No Riding in a dismount zone

Failure to obey traffic control

Do not go the wrong way down a one way street

No riding without proper lighting equipment

No riding double

Failed to yield right of way

Failed to signal

No clinging to a moving vehicle

No riding on a landscaped area

No riding on sidewalks except on College Ave. where the city of Fort Collins requires riding on the sidewalk

A pregnant woman was walking through the Lory Student Center Plaza 13 years ago when she was struck by a bicyclist who was riding at a fast speed.

Joy Vukodinovich, bicycle education enforcement supervisor for the CSU Police Department, said the woman had a miscarriage as a result of the accident.

Although the details of this report have been lost over time, Vukodinovich said the story has been passed down at CSUPD. The current bicycle safety rules were created to prevent a similar incident from occurring in the future.

On a 2-to-3 hour shift, Sean Fitzpatrick, bike enforcement officer for CSUPD and a junior sociology major, stops about 10-to-20 bicyclists and writes about 4-to-6 university bicycle traffic violations.

"A lot times we will stop people and educate them as opposed to writing them a ticket. In general we will write tickets if it's really bad. If the plaza is packed with people and you are riding 20 mph, we will write you a ticket," Fitzpatrick said.

Every bicyclist must obey the same traffic regulations as other vehicles. In addition, there is no bike riding in dismount zones, such as the Plaza, and bicyclists must ride on streets unless posted signs say otherwise.

"In the state of Colorado you are considered a vehicle on a bike so you have to drive like a vehicle," Vukodinovich said. "There are so many people walking around that it is dangerous."

To ensure that the 15,000 bikers on campus each day follow the traffic regulations, campus service officers and police patrol the campus.

Any bike that is not registered or is not following traffic regulations is subject to a $15 fine.

"Of course it is never fun to get a ticket but there are a lot of cars, bikes and pedestrians, so people need to follow the rules so car and bike accidents can be avoided or at least minimized," said Karen Colbert, a senior biochemistry major.

Students can register their bikes as CSUPD, located in Green Hall. The registration fee is $5 and the registration decal is valid for as long as the owner has the bike. The registration price covers the use of bike racks, posted traffic signs for bikes and bike lane maintenance.

If a registered bike is stolen, the information in the CSUPD database, such as the serial number, will help file a sufficient police report that will help locate the stolen bike.

"I think registering your bike is a good idea, especially since bike theft is an issue," Colbert said. "I feel much better that if my bike was stolen there is a better way to identify it and hopefully find it. Not to mention that it is the rule."

Due to several fatal bike accidents that occurred last year, Vukodinovich said CSUPD is going to be stricter about enforcing bicycle regulations.

"They are going to crack down on people in the dismount zone. There are a lot of accidents because people are careless and they don't really think about other people," Vukodinovich said.

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