Street laws: Bicyclists and longboarders, modes of transportation that must follow the rules of the
Public Safety, Monmouth Police Department emphasize importance of all vehicles following laws
Published: Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Updated: Sunday, January 23, 2011 23:01
Bicycles, longboards, skateboards, roller blades – students can probably think of many popular ways to get around campus. And while students are getting a little exercise, using these forms of transportation serve little purpose if students are not aware of the laws regarding them.
According to the Monmouth Police Department (MPD), the laws regarding bicycles and other types of wheeled transportation such as skateboards, longboards, roller blades, etc., are not being followed on or off campus.
Some of the actions you regularly use on the way to class may be illegal, including:
-Riding on sidewalks
-Riding the wrong direction on a one-way street
-Not stopping for pedestrians or stop signs
-Locking up your bike anywhere besides a bike rack
In opposition to these aforementioned actions, the law states that:
-Bicycles and other wheeled transportation must be on the road
-You must ride with the flow of traffic, not against it
-You must stop for pedestrians and at stop signs
-Bicycles should be locked up on a bike rack. Not in doorways, walkways or on ramps.
Many of these sound like rules for vehicles because they are. What most people do not know is that laws written for "vehicles" also apply to bicycles and skateboards. And while these may also seem like relatively small traffic violations, the number of cyclists at Western can make failing to abide by these laws a cause for alarm. As student enrollment has gone up, so has the number of riders on campus and in the city of Monmouth.
"Using bikes is great," stated Jay Carey, director of Public Safety. "But it's even better to have riders know how to safely operate them on the road."
Alongside his position as director, Carey is the Risk Management Coordinator at Western. In addition to MPD, Carey has brought attention to the fact that more and more riders are not following the law as closely as they should.
The city of Monmouth and Western want to ensure a safe environment for every student and resident of Monmouth, which is why they believe individuals need to educate themselves on a few safety tips before they hit the road again.
Basic riding safety includes the use of helmets, pads, reflectors and being aware and courteous of others on the road.
Riding on the right side of the road is also important.
"There's an old adage," stated Carey. "Walk against the traffic, and ride facing it."
One of the biggest problems occurs when people decide to lock up their bikes when they go to class. A bike cannot be locked up just anywhere. There are bike racks for students outside most campus buildings, and the Physical Plant is also trying to place more bike racks around campus for students to use.
Examples of places where bikes are wrongly locked up include walkways, sidewalks and ramps. Bikes cannot be kept in any of these places for any length of time. All walkways and ramps are there to improve the mobility of students heading to class. When a bike is in the way, mobility is limited for others.
If a bike is left in an inappropriate spot, Public Safety will cut the lock and confiscate the bike. To get it back, the owner will have to go to the Public Safety office and provide proof of your ownership.
"We don't want to have to do that," Carey stated. "But it's not fair for other student's whose access may be blocked by your bike."
For more tips on bicycle safety and bicycle laws, students can refer to the Campus Community Safety Guide online at www.wou.edu/admin/safety/survivalguide.html This guide has helpful information on bicycle laws, locking up bikes, identifying bikes and reporting accidents. There is also a section of helpful information for skateboards, longboards, rollerblades and all other forms of wheeled transportation. For any additional information, visit Campus Public Safety or call (503) 838-8481.
Quick Facts: Five rules to keep in mind when riding at Western
1. Always ride on the right side and with the flow of traffic; ride on the road and not on the sidewalks when possible.
2. Ride predictably, whether in a roadway or a public area. Maintain a steady course and speed.
3. Obey all traffic laws. Bicyclists must stop at marked intersections. Pedestrians have the right-of-way.
4. Pay attention to your surroundings. Warn pedestrians or fellow riders when you are passing them.
5. Take extra care when passing parking lot exits.