Cal Poly students have noticed an increase in biking citations for those commuting to campus, sparking interest over whether the University Police Department (UPD) is cracking down on traffic violations this year.
The intersection at California St. and Foothill Blvd. has become a recurring spot for traffic violations on bikes, according to reports from multiple students.
Mechanical engineering sophomore Matt Leung experienced this first-hand a few weeks ago while biking up Foothill and California blvd.
“I was riding up near the railroad tracks and typically there’s a stop light and people just wait for the crosswalk, but often a lot of bikers, if they seen an opening, they’ll cross from the right side of the road to the left into the left bike lane, just to avoid the light,” Leung said.
Leung’s citation was for riding in the opposite bike lane and wearing headphones while on a bike.
“He could have just given me a warning, that would have been just as effective in deterring me from riding in the bike lane again, you don’t have to write me a $100 ticket,” Leung said.
UPD has not changed its philosophy or approach to bicycle violations this year compared to previous years, according to University Spokesperson Matt Lazier, despite students’ concerns.
“Unsafe cycling has been an issue on campus for several years, particularly with cyclists ignoring or missing stop signs, and with collisions or near-collisions in pedestrian crosswalks and walk-only zones,” Lazier said. “As in previous years, UPD’s enforcement remains heavily weighted toward warning cyclists when they violate the rules, versus issuing citations.”
Since the start of this school year, UPD has made 196 stops for various bike violations, according to Lazier. Out of those stops, only 31 received citations. The remaining 165 received warnings.
Last year, there were only 136 stops with 17 citations.
Lazier added that while the overall numbers are up, the percentage of citations compared to overall stops remains about the same.
“Anecdotally, UPD reports that we are seeing more students than ever utilizing bicycles on campus, given the campus’s limited parking resources. That is likely playing a part in the overall number of stops of cyclists being up this year,” Lazier said. “UPD is actively enforcing bicycling rules, to try and keep everyone safe — but the focus has not changed this year versus previous years,” Lazier said.
So, while there seems to be no change in the number of citations, it might be best to follow street laws, even on your bike.