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Leave the training wheels

But don't forget the rules of the road

 by Jacki Rovner
 published on Tuesday, August 21, 2007

<b>SIGN LANGUAGE</b>| A bicyclist rides by a traffic safety sign east of the Language and Literature Building on the Tempe campus Monday. ASU Police will be stepping up enforcement of local bike laws over the coming weeks./issues/news/701372
Jeffrey Lowman / THE STATE PRESS
SIGN LANGUAGE| A bicyclist rides by a traffic safety sign east of the Language and Literature Building on the Tempe campus Monday. ASU Police will be stepping up enforcement of local bike laws over the coming weeks.
 

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Traffics laws aren't just for motorists.

The ASU Police Department, in conjunction with Tempe Police, is handing out bicycle safety pamphlets today before beginning to issue citations Wednesday.
Officers are handing out bicycle safety pamphlets at University Drive and Rural Road and Apache Boulevard and Rural Road — two intersections that consistently have many violations on the outskirts of campus — to prevent collisions, said Cmdr. Jim Hardina, of the ASU Police Department.

"We want to educate the public on the rules and laws of being safe," Hardina said, "because every year, someone gets run over."

Beginning Wednesday, officers will be issuing citations to riders who break serious bicycling laws, including riding against the flow of traffic and failure to yield to oncoming cars.

Riding against the flow of traffic is the most common bicycle violation, said Tempe Police Sgt. Joe Williams.

Last year, Tempe police issued 293 violations within the first two weeks of school, Williams said. Tickets cost $123, but for $51 a bicycle safety class is offered in lieu of the ticket. Violators must also spend a day on campus learning what one can and cannot do while riding a bicycle.

Amanda Kekich, a nursing junior, said she was issued a ticket when she was a new freshman on campus in fall 2005. Riding her bicycle on the sidewalk during the third week of classes, Kekich was surprised when a police officer jumped out of a bush.

"He asked me if I was aware I was on the wrong side of the road," Kekich said. "I told him I was a freshman and I didn't fully understand the rules of the road… I thought it was ridiculous that I wasn't let off with a warning, I didn't know I was doing anything wrong."

With all of the incoming students, many of whom are out of state students, Hardina said it is easy to understand why both police departments would team up to enforce bike and pedestrian laws for the first few weeks at the beginning of the school year.

Information about bicycle safety and the rules of the road have been readily available to new students on campus, from orientation to freshman move-in Hardina said.

"It takes initiative from the public to seek information," Hardina said. "It normally takes something bad to happen for people to look into information about public safety."

Reach the reporter at: jaqueline.rovner@asu.edu.



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