Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


‘Park it like a bike, drive it like a car’

As treacherous roads approach with winter weather, students
with mopeds and bicycles could prevent accidents by increasing their visibility
and awareness of traffic rules, the University of Wisconsin Police Department
said Tuesday.

According to UWPD Lt. Eric Holen, the No. 1 cause of moped
accidents is visibility issues. Though students may be aware of traffic, not
all people are used to keeping an eye out for two-wheel vehicles, Holen said.

"It gets darker much earlier now," he said. "We always
notice late and early in the year that people aren't as watchful for mopeds or
bicycles as they once would have been."


In a statement, UWPD officer Kristin Radtke also encouraged
students to be more careful about icy roads and poor winter driving practices.
According to Radtke, mopeds are involved in 30 to 40 injury-producing accidents
on campus per year.

"Obviously people need to be concerned about being stranded
when roads are slippery," Holen said. "We've seen people riding in the snow
using their feet like outriggers and lose control and crash. A [moped's]
natural position of rest is on its side, so it's definitely something to think
about when it's slippery."

Other precautions students can take are keeping moped
headlights on at all times, using eyewear and yielding to pedestrians, Radtke
said. Leaving room for skidding and testing the bike's breaks could also
prevent accidents.

Radtke is one of UWPD's designated moped specialists, who
organize area initiatives on moped safety. A joint pamphlet with UW's
Transportation Services was published earlier this year with campus moped
rules, registration information and a parking map, according to Holen.

"We could give the pamphlet out on enforcement stops," Holen
said. "Our goal is to make people safer, that's why traffic enforcement
happens. We try to make the stop so we can educate and enforce the rules."

According to Radtke, UW has the highest concentration of
mopeds in the country, so UWPD also encourages moped drivers to become more
familiar with driving and parking rules.

"We always say 'park it like a bike, and drive it like a
car.'" Holen said. "The biggest thing for a moped operator is to drive under
the same rules as a car, even though they can park on sidewalks. Remember to
stick with the designated roadways and not to drive on the sidewalks."

Mopeds are also not allowed in bike lanes, according to Radtke.
She also encourages moped drivers to only use designated parking areas and
familiarize themselves with moped parking locations.

"[Moped drivers] have to know where to park," Holen said.
"Remember, mopeds also collide with bicycles and pedestrians, it's not just
mopeds versus cars. It's all those groups coming together that we need to be
concerned about."

Holen emphasized moped drivers must be defensive and
anticipate the actions of other vehicles, especially when making left turns.
Accidents are most dangerous and most common when oncoming traffic makes a left
in front of a moped or a bike, Holen said.

"Whether it be a verbal or written warning or an actual
citation, we hope that has an impact," Holen said. "We hope that it doesn't
come down to seeing an accident to understand the risks."

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