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U to Warn Reckless Riders

Safety personnel educated or warned more than 500 cyclists and skateboarders on campus last month alone. This was part of the university’s SAFE (Sidewalks are for Everyone) campaign, which was instituted after the U’s sidewalk policy was updated in August to enhance safety for pedestrians across campus.

Nov. 21, 2013 – The University of Utah launched its campaign in August to make campus sidewalks safer. Officials found that 3-7 p.m. is the busiest time for recreational use of non-motorized riding vehicles, including bicycles, skateboards, rollerblades, etc.

Through the university’s Sidewalks are for Everyone, or SAFE, campaign, Commuter Services personnel as well as contracted security staff have educated or warned more than 500 cyclists and skateboarders in the last month alone. This was part of the first phase of the campaign, which focused on educating the campus community about the policy.

“We’ve had a lot of success with this phase,” said Gordon Wilson, assistant vice president for auxiliary services. “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.”

The policy enforces a 10-mph speed limit for all motorized and non-motorized vehicles, prohibits skateboarders from riding in parking lots or roadways, requires riders to yield to pedestrians, bans non-motorized vehicles from stairways, grass, benches, etc., among other precautionary measures.

As the SAFE campaign heads into the fifth month, safety officers will begin citing violators with written warnings for their first offense. For the second offense, riders will have their vehicle impounded for a minimum of 48 hours and receive a minimum $100 fine. After the second violation, riders will have their vehicles impounded for a minimum of 30 days and be subject to an escalating schedule of fines.

“We invite everyone to visit campus and enjoy the beautiful scenery, museums, theaters and other resources it offers,” said Wilson. “Our first priority is to make campus a safe place, and this policy is designed to promote safe behaviors. We hope all sidewalk users, including pedestrians, will be respectful and courteous to one another.”

The university’s policy for non-motorized riding devices is available here.