A new citation for bicycle tickets has been in place on the UC Davis campus since Fall 2011. Students have the option of taking an online safety class instead of paying the original $200 fine.
Statistics show that people are mostly taking the class instead of paying the $200 fine for a ticket. Since last year, 512 tickets were written and 459 of those completed the traffic school. Additionally, 643 people have completed the traffic school just for educational purposes.
David Takemoto-Weerts, bicycle program coordinator for UC Davis Transportation and Parking Services (TAPS), said that when he started his job in 1987, the fine for a bike ticket was $20. He has seen it slowly increase over the years and a normal bike ticket is now about $200.
“The University police and the City of Davis police were becoming reluctant to write bike tickets, especially to freshmen,” Takemoto-Weerts said. “There was a corresponding increase in unsafe behavior and bike crashes.”
So far the program has just been implemented on campus, and the University police and the City of Davis are discussing implementing it throughout the city.
If someone is pulled over for a bicycle infraction, the officer will give them the option of taking the online bike school class instead of paying the fine. People must complete the course within two weeks of the incident and pay a $70 course fee.
The class itself takes about 45 to 50 minutes. A 20-minute video is shown and then a quiz on the video is given. In order to pass the course, people need to get 19 out of 25 questions correct.
People have the option to take the $200 ticket and try to contest it in court if they feel that they don’t deserve a ticket.
“We have been successful at bringing bicycle education to people who have received bike citations,” said Dave Kemp, the city’s active transportation coordinator.
The Bicycle Education and Enforcement Program (BEEP) also provides general bicycle education to those interested. For example, it was used during student orientation last year as a way to educate incoming students about bike safety and rules.
“It is possible that many of these students may be at higher risk for a crash due to being first-time or returning bicyclists needing an adjustment period to become comfortable riding safely,” said Jimmy Fong, the city’s active transportation intern, in a statement.
PAAYAL ZAVERI can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.