Jaywalkers, bicyclists to see increased enforcement for violations

WATCH WHERE YOU CROSS: Starting Aug. 30, ASU police will be ticketing jaywalkers around campus. (Photo by Andy Jeffreys)

ASU Police will begin increasing enforcement of pedestrian and cyclist traffic laws in Tempe by cracking down on violators next week.

Their efforts will help educate new students unfamiliar with Arizona law, ASU Police spokesman Cmdr. Jim Hardina said in an e-mail. It will also set the tone for the school year that everyone must obey even minor traffic laws to avoid accidents and traffic congestion.

Authorities will focus on violations that include jaywalking, walking against a “Don’t Walk” sign and riding a bicycle against the flow of traffic on the sidewalk, Hardina said.

“These violations are hazardous for pedestrians and disrupt the normal traffic flow,” he said, adding that police will be delivering warnings, as well as tickets, the second full week of classes. “We step up education [and] enforcement of pedestrian violations the first few weeks of each fall semester every year.”

Tempe Police Sgt. Steve Carbajal said Tempe Police will not be participating in ASU’s enforcement efforts.

Journalism junior Adno Muneno said the increased enforcement was a sensible move by ASU Police.

“Tempe campus is surrounded by four lanes on either side, and if you’re jaywalking across a freeway essentially, that does seem pretty stupid,” Muneno said.

He said he doesn’t jaywalk often because of safety issues.

“[Arizona drivers] drive too fast and I don’t trust my luck trying to cross the road,” Muneno said.

According to the city of Tempe’s website, failing to properly cross the street via crosswalk or walking against the “Don’t Walk” sign will result in a fine of up to $198.

Cyclists who ride against the flow of pedestrian traffic, along the sidewalk of streets where a bike lane is available, run stop signs or red lights and collide with other cyclists or pedestrians will be ticketed up to $208 after court fees, Tempe court spokeswoman Nancy Rodriguez said.

Similar to a vehicular traffic violation, bicyclists who violate the traffic laws are able to forfeit the fine and attend the “Bicycle Diversion Class,” a course similar to defensive driving school, Rodriguez said.

Traffic violators will have approximately 30 days to pay their fines at a Tempe court, said Tempe court spokesman Rick Rager.

Hardina said a warrant for arrest would be issued against a person who chooses not to pay the fine.

“I feel like the [fine charges] are ridiculous,” journalism freshman Sidney Coats said. “Obviously they are doing it for your safety and it’s up to the officer if there are going to be consequences, but for jaywalking I think it’s a little ridiculous.”

Although Coats disagreed with the fine amount, she believed enforcement should be increased in some areas of the campus.

“They should be stricter around the light rail, especially because people try and run across before the train comes,” Coats said.

Reach the reporter at tdmcknig@asu.edu