Just get buzzed by a bike on campus?
Wish people wouldn’t gallivant in groups in the bike lanes?
Get yelled at again while riding your longboard to class?
The exasperated comments from just one springtime post at recklessatcu.blogspot.com show the breadth of the conflicts between pedestrians, cyclists and skateboarders on the University of Colorado’s Boulder campus:
CU has a (roughly) equal number of spaces for bike parking as it has for car parking. The campus has about 8,000 parking spaces on campus for cars for faculty, staff and students — and about that number, too, for bikes. In recent years, CU has spent time updating, replacing and adding bike racks.
Cyclist and skateboarders by and large with the exception of a few, and I mean a few do not use common sense. I have been hit by both skateboarder and cyclist on the campus, I have had to jump out of their way.
Pedestrians are the actual problem; they’re the ones that walk three abreast in the bike lane, don’t obey crossing signals, et cetera.
The end of this semester will mark four years of skating on campus for me without a single collision. Not one.
Can’t we all just get along?
It’s an issue the administration is tackling from several angles.
Peter Roper, of the CU Environmental Center’s sustainable transportation program, said that no matter how you travel to and around campus, it’s about awareness and respect.
Roper’s office started the Reckless at CU blog (so people could vent) and the DIRC — Dangerous, Irresponsible, Reckless and Careless — campaign to target an attitude of recklessness on campus.
But Roper, a cyclist himself, said it’s not a slander campaign against cyclists. The principles apply to anyone going around campus “a little checked out,” he said.
“Upwards of 30,000 people share this campus on a daily basis,” said Carol Scolari, communications manager for parking and transportation services. “And everybody has a role in creating safety for everybody else.”
Beyond simple courtesy while commuting, Scolari said there are some rules students should know about riding bikes or boards — especially if they want to avoid a ticket that could carry some sticker shock.
“Where bikes are concerned, they can pretty easily get a $100 ticket,” Scolari said.
One of the most common tickets on campus is for failing to stop at a stop sign, she said.
“When riding in the streets, bikes must follow traffic laws,” she said, adding that stop signs are city signs — this applies all over Boulder, she added.
Also, skateboarding is not allowed on streets, in bike lanes on in parking lots on campus.
“They write about a $50 fine for skateboarding in the street,” Scolari said.
Finally: “Pedestrians have the right of way.”
Beyond the rules that can result in fines, Roper hopes a little awareness will go a long way in reducing animosity between pedestrians, cyclists and skateboarders.
“Cyclists are not allowed on city sidewalks. Pedestrians shouldn’t walk in high-speed bike paths. But it’s about the respect and the awareness more than it is about one given rule,” Roper said.
Knowing a few etiquette points and learning the best ways to get around will take you far, he said.
“We see students coming in from all over the place every semester who are brand new, and they don’t know that the city of Boulder is a fantastic place to ride a bike if you use the system,” Roper said.
“They don’t necessarily slow down in the crosswalks across Broadway — busses slam on their brakes, everyone’s in a tizzy.”
Another tip for cyclists:
“If you really want to rip through campus, you know you need to go to 18th, or Euclid or Colorado. Find the nearest road if you want to go fast.”
Roper said it’s not easy to be a skateboarder on campus.
“In transportation planning, the skateboard has always been thought of as a toy, and it’s only recently that it’s become a recognized means of commute,” he said.
“They’re not allowed on the road, yet when they get on the sidewalk they get yelled at for weaving.”
Still, Roper has tips for those commuting by skateboard:
“If you’re going to use your skateboard to get around, try to be predictable. If you’re going to do it to get from point A to point B, maybe focus on being straight, stop at stop signs, be a little bit more like a commuter.”