Boarders and Bikers Beware, UCSD Police Clamping Down

    Thurgood Marshall College senior Alaina Guevara thought it would be fine to ride her bike on Library Walk one Friday afternoon. Then the campus police stopped her, recorded her name and took her photograph.

    Ben Decamp/Guardian
    UCSD police officers Edward Garcia and Robert Syto issue a citation to economics graduate student Adam Sanjurjo for riding a bicycle on Library Walk.

    The routine was Guevara’s first warning, and part of UCSD police’s specialized enforcement against bike- and skateboard-riding on several parts of campus.

    While the department is assigning police officers to bar bicyclists and skateboarders from riding in all areas with heavy foot traffic between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., most patrolling has been concentrated on Library Walk and Price Center.

    The new enforcement began recently because of a large number of complaints from the campus community about skateboarders and bicyclists in particular.

    “Bicyclists and skaters are nearly striking pedestrians, causing them alarm and they want to see it enforced more,” Cpl. Kristeen McCollough said. “When we get the community complaining about something, it needs to be addressed.”

    If campus police stop students like Guevara a second time, the student will receive a citation, according to Officer Edward Garcia. The cost of a citation varies, determined by municipal court orders, although it has increased from past years.

    “I wrote my first citation today,” Officer Robert Syto said. “I felt bad because it’s a new policy and we started this just last week. People have been responding pretty well about it, but some are not so kind when they get tickets.”

    The goal of the new policy is not enforcement but to educate bicyclists and skateboarders about established rules, according to McCollough.

    “We try to give warnings, but if they violate it again, we have to give them a citation, which we’d rather not do,” she said. “We don’t want to hammer people out of the blue. We want to let people know it does exist and it’s not a policy that can be ignored.”

    Guevara and skateboarder John Muir College freshman John Yang blame others for the implementation of the new policy.

    “It is a safety and traffic concern because of the skateboarders that are stupid enough to run into pedestrians,” he said. “I’ve never crashed into anyone.”

    Guevara also said that signs indicating where bicyclists and skateboarders cannot ride aren’t properly visible, a problem campus police acknowledged and are trying to improve upon.

    “Some signs are somewhat obscure,” Syto said.

    It will take some time for new signs to be posted, but they need to be strategically placed in entrances to walkways such as in the middle of Library Walk, according to Garcia.

    However, even some skateboarders who see the signs do not follow them.

    “For students who don’t follow the signs, that’s their gamble, and they’ll end up with a citation,” McCollough said. “I’ve written up many skateboarders and bikers before.”

    Students find that these restrictions will make it more difficult for them to get around.

    “I skate anyway because I have to get around … this campus is huge,” Eleanor Roosevelt College freshman Andrew Park said.

    Park considers his skateboard his primary form of transportation. The longest distance Park said he travels is from ERC to York Hall.

    “I’ll be walking a lot more or taking the shuttle with this new enforcement,” Park said. “I’ll be late to my classes, but I’ll probably keep skating.”

    Garcia suggested the creation of bike or skate paths to travel across campus. Guevara, already with her first warning, is going to take dirt roads to class now to avoid areas with high foot traffic.

    Earl Warren College sophomore Nathaniel Kwak said that he respects the new enforcement.

    “At times when it’s crowded, it’s dangerous, so I pick up my skateboard,” he said. “It restricts a complete time period though and there are places we can’t skate. But when I have a bike and there is a lot of traffic, I get off it.”

    Kwak said he does novt find the time restraints in going to class a concern either.

    “I’ll just leave my apartment earlier if I can’t bike.,” he said. “It’s not much faster when it’s congested anyway. Walking is just a little bit slower than biking.”

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