Rules that target unsafe use of human-powered vehicles at the University of Utah have been approved by the U’s Board of Trustees following months of debate. Sidewalks and bike lanes are now the only places to ride on campus and speeds are limited to 10 miles per hour. Skaters or riders who break the rules get a probationary warning that lasts for two years. If a person gets a second violation within that two year window, it will cost at least $100 plus a fee to get an impounded bike or skateboard back. University Communications Director Keith Sterling says the warning program is an important part of Sidewalks are for Everyone, or SAFE. He says the U is doing all it can to encourage non-motorized transportation on campus.
“That’s why we’re doing this educational campaign at the beginning and giving that leeway in the beginning because we know it’s going to be a change for some folks,” says Sterling.
University of Utah Police Chief Scott Folsom says no one is going to be out there writing a bunch of tickets at first but this has been needed for a long time for improved safety on campus.
“The sidewalks sort of belong to everybody so everybody has to exercise a lot of care and restraint as they’re traveling around them so that no one gets hurt,” Folsom says.
Trevor Brady, manager at Milosport, an East Millcreek skate and snow board shop, says the 2-year warning window and fine is too harsh.
“I think that might not be necessary but we’re stoked to be able to skate there and it’ll be alright I think,” says Brady.
He says being a student at the U, he’s also concerned about how this program is being funded. Commuter Services and Administrative Services, including funds from fines, are paying for additional security staff and the SAFE campaign.