University of Utah cops ticket reckless skateboarders, cyclists
More than 500 skateboarders and cyclists have been warned or spoken with about new safety rules at the University of Utah over the last four months, and now police will begin issuing citations to violators.
"What they've been doing is stopping students who might be going over the speed limit or engaging in reckless behavior and just talking about the policy and making sure everyone is up to speed," said Alexandra Zimmermann, SAFE (Sidewalks Are for Everyone) campaign coordinator at the U.'s commuter services department.
"Sidewalk ambassadors," or commuter services and contracted security staff, hand out brochures and let people know about a new 10 mph speed limit and other restrictions. The rule applies to anyone on campus.
University police will now give written warnings for the first violation, according to a U. statement. A second violation comes with a minimum $100 fine and 48-hour impound for offending skateboards and bikes.
For subsequent violations, the impound extends to a minimum of 30 days and fines increase.
"Our first priority is to make campus a safe place, and this policy is designed to promote safe behaviors," said Gordon Wilson, assistant vice president for auxiliary services, in a statement.
The busiest time for bikes, skateboards, Rollerblades and other non-motorized vehicles appears to be 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., according to the statement.
The university started the safety campaign about a year after communication professor Leonard Hawes was seriously injured in a collision with a skateboarder on campus that appeared intentional.
The U. considered banning recreational skateboard and bike riding outright but eventually settled on a set of stricter rules. Those also include a prohibition on skateboarders riding in parking lots or roadways, a requirement to yield to pedestrians and a ban on riding on stairways, grass or benches.
"We've had a lot of success with this phase," Wilson said. "The majority of people we talk to are very receptive, but we've continued to see a handful of accidents involving non-motorized vehicles when people haven't followed the safety rules."