Starting fall quarter, TAPS and the UC Davis Police Department will be implementing a new bicycle program in which students can take an online class and pay less for citations.
According to surveys, students often avoid riding bikes due to crowds on campus, said Clifford Contreras, director of TAPS.
“We’re trying to get more people to choose biking over driving for a variety of reasons: sustainability, cleaner air, less traffic congestion, minimize carbon dioxide emissions,” Contreras said. “We’re trying to educate people and make sure we have an adequate enforcement program to encourage more people to choose biking as an alternative.”
The fine for citations will be lowered from a range of $200 to $500 to roughly $70. The decrease will be applicable to moving violations, such as failure to stop at stop signs, failure to yield, wearing earphones in both ears and not stopping for pedestrians. The program might eventually expand to include equipment violations as well.
The educational component of the program can be completed online and will involve a video on bike safety followed by a quiz.
“[The video and quiz] will also be available to anybody who wants to view it just as an educational piece and there’s no fee involved in that,” said David Takemoto-Weerts, bicycle program coordinator at TAPS. “We hope to really encourage freshmen and will be pushing that at student orientations.”
The revenue from the citations will be kept on campus instead of being sent back to the county. TAPS and the police department are hoping that this will create another fund source to offset expenses and build the program, including replacing the educational video, advertising and adding another enforcement officer on campus.
The enforcement component might be high in the first few years, said UC Davis Police Lt. Matthew Carmichael, but it should level out once the program becomes better known.
“The key is that you’ll bike better after that,” Carmichael said. “In reality, this program should get successful to the point where our citations should drop.”
TAPS will be reapplying to Bicycle Friendly America’s best biking university contest next year to assess the university’s standing after the implementation of the bike program. UC Davis currently holds a gold level recognition but TAPS hopes that by continually working to improve the bicycle program on campus, UC Davis will eventually receive platinum level recognition.
AKSHAYA RAMANUJAM can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.