Bike safety laws improve campus life

Jenny Goldade

On a fall morning at UW Oshkosh, the air is cool and the crisp apple red and golden-yellow leaves are scattered on the ground. Suddenly there is a swift breeze. The leaves go flying, and there is a quick high pitched buzz as a biker rides passes the walkers, and their moment of panic eases. Bikers are allowed on the sidewalks but there are university rules they should follow, according to UWO Interim Police Chief Christopher Tarmann. Tarmann said he believes the most broken rules by bikers would be going the wrong direction on one-way streets and not stopping at traffic lights. “[Bikers] go the wrong way, and then people aren’t paying attention to that potential of somebody coming the wrong way, and they’ve almost been hit by a bike…or they stepped into traffic because they’re trying to get away from the bike, so that’s a big deal,” Tarmann said. Crime Prevention and Public Information Officer Joseph Nichols said he notices bikers riding against traffic. “[Bikers] are considered vehicles and should be with traffic, including one-way streets,” Nichols said. Tarmann said bikers should also stay as close to the curb as possible. They also need to obey traffic signals like vehicles and resist the temptation to blow through the stop signs to get to class quicker. Depending on the offense, violators can receive tickets more than $100. It is a $150 fine for riding at night without a light. When UWO student Monika Greco rides her bike, she said she tries to go in between class times to avoid the rush of students walking. UWO student William Reardon walks when going to his classes and said most of the time bikers seem to stay out of the way of people walking. “I’ve had a few [bikers] that have actually come pretty close [to hitting me],” Reardon said. “I almost got hit…it was actually a couple weeks ago if I remember correctly.” When the students arrive to class, they are able to park their bikes in the bike racks around campus. They do not need a permit for parking around campus, but they do if they are parking it at their residence hall. Even if students live off campus, they are encouraged to register their bikes because it makes it easier to locate if it gets stolen. Mopeds and skateboards are some other common fast ways to travel for students to get around campus. Unlike bikes, mopeds are not allowed on the sidewalks, but they can park by the bike racks if they are not in the way of people walking, or in designated parking spots. Skateboards are not allowed on the road or bike lanes. The main goal is to educate the students, so they are aware of these rules. “We just want people to be safe,” Nichols said.