UCPD enforces bicyclist, pedestrian safety

Nicole White/Staff

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UCPD will be stepping up enforcement of bicycle walk-zone and pedestrian red-light regulations.

The department starts every school year by issuing warnings, which do not carry a fine, instead of citations. Over the next few weeks, however, the department will issue more citations, according to Lt. Marc DeCoulode, spokesperson for the department.

DeCoulode said the “most egregious” of pedestrian and bicycle violations involves pedestrians crossing intersections against red lights, when cross traffic has the right of way. This violation is particularly common at the intersection of Bancroft Way and Telegraph Avenue, he said, where there are a lot of “near misses.”

In addition, motor vehicles and bicycles commonly violate pedestrians’ right of way near the intersection of Bancroft Way and Barrow Lane and near the intersection of Bancroft Way and Dana Street, where pedestrians frequently cross the street, DeCoulode said.

UCPD will also begin enforcing the mandatory bicycle walk-zone, which covers Upper Sproul Plaza and the areas in front of Dwinelle and Wheeler halls. Bicyclists are required to dismount and walk their bicycles through these zones Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The department issued three “field interview cards,” or documented warnings, for walk-zone violations Sept. 11 and five on Sept. 18, according to DeCoulode. The citation carries a fee of several hundred dollars, though it can be reduced to $50 if offenders attend a bicycle-safety class.

Noah Cho, a senior, said that although not all cyclists dismount in the walk zone, “everybody knows.” He was stopped the summer after his freshman year, though he was only issued a warning.

Sophomore Huy Do was stopped during his first semester of freshman year. He, too, was not fined — only issued a warning. He said that if a walk zone is to exist, it should be enforced across campus.

“Sproul has a lot of people, but it’s inconvenient for bikers to have to stop,” he said.

This week, members of the Berkeley Police Department traffic bureau will also be in Downtown Berkeley to focus on pedestrian violations and pedestrian safety as well as enforcing violations related to vehicle and bicycle safety. DeCoulode said that although this year hasn’t seen many more accidents than years previous, the number of serious bicycle and pedestrian accidents in other communities has encouraged UCPD to be more proactive.

“We just want to try to get the word out so we don’t have a tragic accident,” he said.

Contact Sahil Chinoy at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @sahilchinoy_dc.