The Arizona Desert Lamp

Reaper on wheels: Bike-pedemic strikes campus!

Posted in Campus by Connor Mendenhall on 15 September 2009
Skeleton on a bike

Roll through that stop sign on 2nd and this could be you.

Today’s Daily Wildcat leads with a look at the startling surge in bicycle accidents thus far this academic year. According to the story, bike-related incidents and accidents have already doubled compared last year’s total, and UAPD has a handful of hints and allegations for cyclists who fail to observe traffic laws. Could this be…The Semester of the Bike?

Campus police intend to crack down on cyclists who don’t obey traffic rules to make the UA campus safer for cyclists and pedestrians alike.

Campus officials say many cyclists are not aware that they are required to follow the same traffic laws as automobiles, which has lead to an increase in bicycle-related traffic accidents reported this year.

From Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2008, five bicycle-related accidents were reported, according to University of Arizona Police Department documents. Already this year, that number has doubled, and UAPD officials added that many bicycle accidents go unreported.

[…]

Bethany Wilson, a UAPD crime prevention official, attributed the problem to the huge number of bicycles on campus, which she estimated to be between 10,000 and 11,000 on a normal day.

Wilson said she has received dozens of phone calls from concerned students and community members saying that cyclists on campus are not following the “rules of the road.” She added that UAPD has programs in the works to both educate the cycling public on traffic laws and crack down on violators.

This author, who rides to campus every day and does his best to stop, signal, and swerve around vapid pedestrians, is happy to see UAPD making an effort to enforce the rules. Careless cyclists don’t just knock over pedestrians–they also clog up bike lanes that might move much faster with a bit of enforced order.

But though students and campus police alike may be “frustrated by the increasingly dangerous bike situation on campus,” they’re doing a lot of fussing over nothing. If cyclists keep crashing at their current alarming rate, the UA campus may see as many as 38 accidents by semester’s end. Assuming normal traffic and weekday use, that’s an expected accident probability of about .000043 per cyclist per day. It seems the latest campus crisis may have more to do with riding the news cycle than the real thing.

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