The University of Wisconsin Police Department plans to educate bicyclists and moped drivers this week about on-campus laws and regulations regarding their transportation choices.
Officer Kristin Radtke of the UWPD said moped drivers and bicyclists should be informed of the laws and regulations associated with their modes of transportation. Radtke added the UWPD spends time each semester educating students and then enforcing the laws so the traffic around campus becomes more stable.
The UWPD will spend this week educating students, patrolling the downtown and campus areas and issuing pamphlets and warnings to remind students of the traffic laws, Radtke said. However, Radtke said it was important students who choose to ride a bike or drive a moped know the traffic laws before they take it out on the streets.
“People should know laws related to their mode of transportation,” Radtke said.
Radtke estimated there are 1,000 mopeds on campus, and added there are definite concerns about bicyclists and moped drivers obeying the traffic laws.
“It’s apparent that there’s problems on campus between bikes, mopeds and pedestrians,” Radtke said.
UW freshman Grover Donlon disagreed with Radtke. A pedestrian on campus doesn’t experience problems with bikers or mopeds, Donlon said, adding that educating moped drivers of the law was unnecessary.
“I think that since they went through the testing to drive the vehicle and get the license, that’s all the education they need,” Donlon said.
There are a variety of violations UWPD stresses in its education, Radtke said. For bicyclists, the main concerns are stop-sign violations, going the wrong way in the bike lane and having proper lighting on bicycles at night.
Violations common to moped drivers include stop-sign and red-light violations, driving on sidewalks and riding with two people on a moped. As of next week, the UWPD will be enforcing these laws and issuing citations for violations around campus, Radtke said.
According to Radtke, the UWPD conducts two weeks of education during the fall semester to make sure they inform freshman, transfer and international students about the laws on campus. Then they spend two weeks issuing citations to make sure students follow the law. Radtke said the police are a little more lenient when issuing citations during the fall semester and offer a way for students to redeem themselves if they have received a citation.
“When you get a citation in the fall, you can go to a [transportation education] class and the citation will be voided,” Radtke said.
Radtke, however, said the UWPD sees a problem on campus and uses this time of education and enforcement to remind students of the proper way to conduct themselves when getting around campus. The weeks the UWPD spends trying to correct these problems seem to be beneficial, even though the police department is understaffed for this program, Radtke added.
“I think it seems to help,” Radtke said. “Sometimes we don’t necessarily have the staffing to do as much as we want. Unfortunately, there’s no way to get to everybody.”