Disregarding stop signs, other violations likely to result in citations for bikers

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Cyclists bike through the intersection of Speedway and East 24th Street on campus.
Photo Credit: Maddox Price | Daily Texan Staff

Disregarding stop signs is the most common bike violation on campus and results in the most citations for biking incidents per year, according to UTPD. 

According to bicycle citations records, UTPD has issued 82 citations for bike violations within the past five years. A total of 68 of those citations were issued for disregarding a stop sign. UTPD has only issued one citation in response to a bike violation this year so far. The incident involved a biker disregarding a traffic control device.

UTPD officer William Pieper said other violations, such as traveling above the 15 mph speed limit and failing to yield to pedestrians, also happen occasionally.

“We see [disregarding stop signs] frequently,” Pieper said. “Occasionally, we’ll have a failure to yield right of way, which is usually the result of a collision happening where a bicyclist hit a pedestrian on a crosswalk or something of that nature.”

Pieper said bikers are required to follow the same laws as motor vehicle drivers and violations are typically classified as class C misdemeanors. Violators typically receive a fine in which the amount is determined by the specific violation, but usually does not exceed $500.

Intersections are the most common locations where bikers violate traffic laws because of a large crowd of people moving in various directions, Pieper said.

French sophomore Barrett Smith said she received a warning from an officer for running the stop sign on 24th Street and Speedway while biking through campus.

Smith said she was not aware of the enforcement of bike laws on campus and does not see other bikers following the same rules as a driver would.

“Bikes don’t follow traffic laws because they’re not cars,” Smith said. “It takes so much more energy to stop at a stop sign and then start going again, and as a [cyclist], you’re going slow enough and you’re small enough that you can just kind of dodge obstacles.”

Anthony Jreij, biochemistry and Middle Eastern studies sophomore, said he does not ride a bike around campus but believes bikers should stay safe and follow the rules of the road.

“They put themselves in harm’s way, should a car not expect them to run a stop sign,” Jreij said. “As a biker, they agree to follow the laws that other vehicles do, and if they are putting people in danger, then a ticket might be necessary.”

Focus patrols, an initiative in which officers monitor a certain location that has high reports of violations, help officers enforce bike laws, Pieper said. He said officers usually warn students for the first few days, but then start writing tickets if violations continue in the area.

Pieper said UTPD collaborates with Parking and Transportation Services to hold presentations on transportation safety for students. To remind students of bike laws, Pieper said UTPD also includes a notice on Campus Watch reports and sends occasional email blasts of the rules.

“It’s everyone’s responsibility to make sure that we all remain safe on our roadways,” Pieper said. “We all need to do our part to make sure we’re safe, and the people we’re sharing the road with are safe.”