Love bikes. Hate enforcement.
Recently, we've seen some interesting activity on Cady Mall, specifically the Walk-Only Zones. Beginning on April 1, ASU began giving citations to those who, after a warning, do not walk their wheels through the section of Cady Mall from the Memorial Union to the Matthews Center. The citation is $15, and offenders are required to take a class on bike safety. Upon third offense, they're referred to the dean of students, dean or vice president.
Bike safety and etiquette is extremely important, as serious accidents occur where pedestrians and wheeled objects collide. We need to feel safe while walking around campus. However, is the answer to this hazard really a $15 sanction?
In 2011, USG Tempe spearheaded a campaign called "Walk Your Wheels." USG Tempe worked with Parking and Transit Services in order to reduce injuries. When we wrote an editorial on this subject in June 2013, we had no idea that ASU would think that charging money would be in the realm of possibility. We don't like the idea of badly implemented and oxymoronic fee-wrangling in the name of safety.
Well, it's 2014, and we have a bizarre, unpublicized effort to sanction students with $15 and a bike safety class. You may have seen the video, if you happen to frequent ASU B&F's Vimeo page or have been awake on the ASU inter-campus shuttle in recent weeks.
Aside from the practical considerations like bipedal enforcement officers running down bicycles, this enforcement was not given to students to approve and does not protect anyone — it only sets out more and more hoops to jump through.
The point is, this message was not brought to the students for approval or consent. While ASU has a right to enforce its will upon its students, we'd rather have a chance to speak our minds — and hopefully change how things are done.
When we asked ASU President Michael Crow at last fall's editorial board meeting about possible citations to enforce Walk-Only Zones, he responded, "I mean, I don't want other people giving citations but police officers. So I just don't think that's a good idea."
As of April 1, a hazy enforcement body gives those citations and effectively turns a cooperative safety effort into a Kafka-esque nightmare of bureaucratic proportions.
If ASU wants so badly to educate those who ride bikes, scooters, skateboards or rollerblades on campus, there are a few ways we could work together to make this a fair process.
If students are given the information during ASU 101 or freshman orientation, there wouldn't be any excuse for a new crop of residential freshmen to break rules they only slightly understand.
Additionally, ASU could require Tempe campus students to take an online bike safety class so that everyone gets the same information and can make informed choices. While you're required to get a driver's license to drive a car, other wheeled vehicles do not stand up to the same scrutiny even though they can be equally dangerous.
The process by which this sanction came to be as well as the implementation of it is just a terrible statement to make to students. Actions by ASU make us feel like we're just spinning our wheels. Want to join the conversation? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Keep letters under 300 words and be sure to include your university affiliation. Anonymity will not be granted.