In the past month, bike cops have issued 376 tickets, collecting a combined total of approximately $8,675 in fines.
The CSU bike cops are out and they are not slowing down. They are cracking down on and ticketing students on campus and making sure they abide by traffic laws.
“Our job is teach students how not to get into trouble and to keep them safe,” said Matthew Staley, Colorado State University officer.
Students who commute by bike are getting pulled over by CSU bike police. According to Officer Staley, the most common ticketing offenses are biking in a dismount zone, riding through stop signs, not registering their bikes and lacking a headlight when riding their bikes when it is dark out.
“Everything we pull students over for is regarding their safety … for instance, if a student gets pulled over at night without a light, we often hand out free lights,” Staley said.
According to Staley, it is not about pulling students over to make an income, but rather to educate them about their safety.
However, students are paying the price.
According to Joy Childress, Traffic and Bike Education and Enforcement program coordinator, there were 376 bike tickets issued last month.
According to Childress, only one student appealed their ticket and 58 of the 376 took the bike seminar online for ticket reduction. The money from tickets goes to funding the bike racks on campus, signage, student bike enforcement officers, student employees that handle the payments and appeals of bike tickets, the bike fleet and bicycle encouragement and education events.
“There were 1,090 bike tickets issued in the ‘11-’12 school year, so that breaks down to 3.6 tickets issued daily,” Childress said.
Last month, the ticket breakdown was approximately 12.5 — nearly four times what last year’s was.
Michael Faulkner, a wildlife biology major at CSU, has been a student bike cop for six years. According to Faulkner, if everyone follows the laws, working together does wonders.
“It never gets old. I’m a shy individual, but I love that people know about us and we can get our message out. It is kind of a community push for safety,” Faulkner said.
Faulkner works for the CSU community to keep students safe in hopes of everyone following the laws.
“How you interact with us will determine if you get a warning or not. No one likes writing tickets … (but) it’s necessary,” Faulkner said.
While safety is the reason for bike cops to be patrolling, the tickets go to generate money for bike racks, safety videos, employment and more.
“I think bike cops are a genius way to rob innocent college students of the few bucks they have,” said Pauline Mandel, a sophomore health and exercise major.
Mandel received a ticket from a cop patrolling in a police car and received several warnings. When having dealt with the bike cops on campus, Mandel has been treated in a polite manner.
“I disobey every bike law there is and I’ve only received one ticket,” Mandel said.
When Mandel received her ticket, there were also five other students who violated the same law. They were all rolling through the stop sign by the recreation center.
“I’m very curious as to how they choose their victims … but of course this was an actual cop, either way, he was on the prowl for innocent prey rolling on the only wheels they own,” Mandel said.
The law Mandel violated is coined, ‘the choo-choo train’ by the bike cops.
“Students will all seem to stop in a group and attach themselves. I pull over the one who is causing the most danger in that situation … like if one will not slow down and then pass on the outside of the original group,” Officer Staley said.
According to Spillar, students are generally safe.
“Sometimes I roll a stop sign here and there … but I don’t believe I am being a safety hazard to anyone. I’m very aware of what’s around me (and) I look around for those around me,” said McKenna Spillar, a freshman health and exercise major.
While students are generally aware of their surroundings, Faulkner had to chase down a student who was riding no-handed through a four-way intersection when he did not have the right of way.
Like Spillar, Mandel believes she is not negatively impacting the safety of those around her.
“I would never do anything to endanger someone’s safety — I look both ways before crossing the street at stop signs just as you if you were walking,” Mandel said. “There are so many pointless laws I didn’t even know existed until I got my ticket recently. If they really care about our safety, wearing a helmet should be a law, or maybe we should all ride with training wheels just in case we fall.”
The Colorado State bike police are concerned with keeping a safe community through bike enforcement.
“Education needs to come from us — we want to actively get out there because we are interested in educating the students. The more we educate, the less negative contacts we’ll have,” Officer Staley said.
Collegian Reporter Josephine Bush can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.