UI police to start ticketing cyclists for traffic violations

UI police to start ticketing cyclists for traffic violations

Updated 9:35 a.m. Saturday.

URBANA — University of Illinois police would like bicyclists who ignore the Illinois Vehicle Code to be warned: You will be ticketed. And the ticket will cost you money.

"The message we're trying to get out is while we have been active in doing educational enforcement, the problem has become so pervasive, we will begin issuing traffic tickets," said UI Deputy Chief of Police Skip Frost.

Educational enforcement is the nice term for a warning ticket. That's a stop by an officer, accompanied by an explanation of how the bicyclist violated the law, and a written warning.

Frost said there are more bicyclists on campus in recent years, given the increase in gas prices and the UI's push for sustainability. That has also meant an increase in the number of traffic violations by bicyclists, who are obligated to follow all the same laws as someone driving a vehicle.

"We're talking about people running stop signs, stop lights, not signaling when they turn, and here's a huge one: going the wrong way on a one-way street. It is a violation of the Illinois Vehicle Code and that is a standard traffic citation which will cost you $120," Frost reminded.

Frost spends a good deal of his time at work engaging in efforts to educate and re-educate those who live and work in and near campus.

"It's an every-year issue. It is not any different than our goals in setting pedestrian and vehicular safety. We roll out the education and education enforcement in the beginning of the semester, but we're no longer in the beginning of the semester," he said.

Frost added that he has been in touch with the Urbana and Champaign police departments to ask them to help in the effort to ticket bicyclists.

He's already bracing for the criticism that comes with such enforcement but is unapologetic about trying to make campus safer.

"There will be a mass hue and cry: 'Don't police have anything better to do?' Yes, we do, but if you'd just abide by the law, we wouldn't have to do it. In the end, it's a huge public-safety concern. We have people injured every day. Some of them are never reported to us," he said.

"Our goal is not to write any certain number of citations or to generate revenue. We're the state, so it goes to the general operating fund anyway. The goal is voluntary compliance. If we don't do this enforcement, the situation will not improve," he said.

Gary Cziko, a lifelong cyclist and safe-cycling instructor, is not bothered about the enforcement approach.

"There are rights and responsibilities. It is a good idea for cyclists to obey the laws so they can legitimately claim the rights they have. If they are operating opportunistically, motorists don't want to give them those rights. It's a good deal to follow the rules because you get the rights in return," said the retired professor of educational psychology, who has lived locally since 1979.

"I caught up with a cyclist today who blasted through a red light and I said, 'That can cost you $120.' He chuckled when I said that," Cziko said Thursday. "A cyclist puts me more at risk than they put motorists at risk. If I stop at a four-way and then go into the intersection and another cyclist goes through, he'll kill me. But he would only scratch the paint on a car. It's not going to injure or kill them (vehicle drivers) the way a cyclist can injure or kill another cyclist. And pedestrians," Cziko said.

Cziko has been certified as an instructor for the CyclingSavvy program. Started by the Florida Bicycling Association several years ago, the program has spread to other states.

The veteran bicyclist took it himself in May 2011 and was so impressed that he has been teaching it since last fall. He has done the three-hour classroom portion of the program six or seven times.

Thanks to help from the UI, that portion is offered free. There are two additional parts of the program that involve on-the-street training. There is a fee for those portions and registration is required. All have been well-received, he said.

"We market the course for anybody who wants to be able to use a bike to go anywhere they want to go," said Cziko.

The material examines why cyclists have problems as they try to move with vehicle traffic.

"We look at the cause of crashes bicyclists have. Roughly 40 percent ... have nothing to do with another vehicle or a bike. They are slip-and-fall, running into a hazard on the side of road. That's why bike handling skills are important."

"Then you look at the 18 percent of crashes that involve a motor vehicle. You can show that by doing basic things like riding on the right side, obeying traffic laws, you can eliminate more than half of those. There are other techniques such as position in the lane, communicating, and most often, not being too far to the right."

"If you obey the laws, stay sober, and learn some basic techniques, you can eliminate 90 percent of motorists' crashes. That's pretty empowering when you learn what causes the crashes. You can make it much safer than being a car," he said.

On the web:

Information about the CyclingSavvy courses can be found at CyclingSavvyIllinois.notlong.com.

Here are the rules for bicyclists in Champaign.

Here are guidelines from the University of Illinois.

And here are the rules for bicyclists in Urbana.

 

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GeneralLeePeeved wrote on September 29, 2012 at 8:09 am

Yahoo!  It's about time!   I've been driving in C-U for more than 30 years and I can safely say that the next bicyclist that I see who follows all of the rules....will be the first one that I've ever seen.   I'm sure that somewhere out there, a cyclist exist that follows the rules, but most seem to do whatever's convenient at that particular moment.  Whether it be riding on the street, then switching to the bike lane, then on to the sidewalk, blowing through stop signs and stop lights.....and my favorite....going down one-way streets the wrong way.  My fear, though, is that University administrators will hear so much whining from students....and more importantly, from tuition-paying parents.....that they'll pressure the police department to back off.....so, we'll see.

HorsePunchKid wrote on September 29, 2012 at 9:09 am

I've been cycling in C-U for about 10 years, and I can safely say that the next driver I see who follows all of the rules will be the first one that I've ever seen. I'm sure that somewhere out there, a driver exists that follows the rules, but most seem to do whatever's convenient at that particular moment, whether it be failing to use turn signals, talking on their cell phone, rolling through stop signs, taking shortcuts through parking lots, stopping in crosswalks, not yielding for pedestrians, slow-footing it in the left lane, or my favorite: crowding cyclists off the road.

I kid, but seriously, this is a good thing for both cyclists and motorists. Having laws and not enforcing them does no one any good.

Mark Taylor wrote on September 29, 2012 at 12:09 pm

How DARE you point out that motor vehicle operators have to respect the rights of crypto-unAmerican bicycle riders. REAL Americans pay through the nose at the pump and then we show those wimpy cyclists what's what by crowding them off the road as much as we want.

They just make me so ANGRY!!!!1!

cyclifist wrote on October 01, 2012 at 7:10 am
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@Mark Taylor, Are you serious?  REAL Americans pay through the nose at the pump?  REAL Americans look for alternatives rather than pushing an agenda of failure.  I hope you are being sarcastic, because if you are not, you are a dinosaur (i.e. obsolete, soon to be extinct).

Mark Taylor wrote on October 01, 2012 at 9:10 am

I am more serious than serious can be. All you cyclo-communistics need is to cook a steak (WELL DONE), pop a cold one, then cruise around town with your hand bent all cool like over the steering wheel. Then you'd know the TRUE PATRIOTIC PLEASURE of driving a motor vehicle as opposed to those motorless bikes that make you wimpy and socialistical. I was so PROUD to pay $150 at the pump this morning that I even cried a little (they were PATRIOTIC TEARS!!!1!).

EL YATIRI wrote on September 30, 2012 at 9:09 am
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I am a cyclist and a driver.  I have more problems with drivers no understanding the rules of the road than I do with cyclists.  

Some drivers become absolutely enraged as if they believed bicyclists don't have a right to be on the roadway.

The police should ticket anyone not following the rules of the road.

deangrossm wrote on September 29, 2012 at 9:09 am

I am all for sharing the road with bicyclists and support bicyclists' efforts to save money and go green, but the situation has become dangerous.  I can't tell you how many times a bicyclist has whizzed across the road at a pedestrian crossing right in front of my oncoming car.  The life the cops save by giving you a ticket may be your own.

ScottC wrote on September 29, 2012 at 11:09 pm

Stop driving.  The roads will instantly become fatality-free.

emilnes wrote on September 29, 2012 at 9:09 am

Bravo for the University Police! The Green Energy crowd loves regulations, so here are some regulations they can personally enjoy. Of course, this new policy of enforcement will have the consequence of encouraging more people to leave their bicycles at home and get back into their gas-guzzling automobiles, since for most people who choose to ride a bicycle, the main incentive was increased mobility through increased latitude. If I have to follow all the same rules as an automobile, I might as well enjoy all the advantages of one too. The petroleum industry must be loving you right now. Given that bicyclists are "obligated to follow all the same laws as someone driving a vehicle", a good place to begin your crackdown would be at the local elementary schools--I've seen lots of underage drivers driving bicycles to school. Those kids will learn their lesson fast once they have to try to pay off that $120 fine with their paper route money. Good work guys, and thanks for restoring law and order to this rough-and-tumble town. I hope you'll extend your crackdown to pedestrians next!

ScottC wrote on September 29, 2012 at 10:09 pm

We all know a seven-year-old on a Schwinn is a threat to life and limb for all around him.  I think five sweet old women were killed by these hooligans on bikes last week in Urbana alone. And those little deviants are getting exercise to boot.  They may not be morbidly obese before their teens.  What then?  What if they continue to move under their own power?  It will be the end of the american auto industry.  Think of the jobs!  It's about time we wiped this menace from our town and made the streets safe again for real americans.  

 

Brought to you by AASP- the American Association of Sedintary People.

rufoustfirefly wrote on September 29, 2012 at 9:09 am

Yes, many cyclists absolutely do not obey any rules.  However, as someone who tries to cycle safely, I have to say that many, many places exist in this town where the layout of the "bike lanes" just lead to more problems.  Try to cycle from Champaign to Urbana, say, to get from the Champaign Library to Lincoln Square.  The two safest underpasses are Logan Street and Oak Street.  Getting to Logan Street safely is a bear because the marked bike lane goes right beside parked cars.  I have to watch for the drivers opening car doors because they never seem to remember a bike may be in the bike lane.  Yet at least when I use the Logan underpass I do not have to share a lane with cars.  Oak Street is easier to approach but then you have to cope with cars not willing to share the underpass.  And then you have the crazy maze of campus bike lanes.  The paint is wearing off the original lanes.  The crazy intersection of bike lanes and pedestrians on the south quad has never been fixed. 

The new Champaign bike lanes puzzle me--they tell me to ride up close to parked cars but then end before intersections.  Intersections are where I have the most concerns about cars but evidently if a driver turning right wants to cut in front me as I wait to go straight, that's OK. Where is the instruction book for both drivers and cyclists about what to do when the bike lanes end before the intersection?  We're back to the Illinois Vehicle code?  But drivers do not respect cyclists who do follow the Illinois Vehicle code--at least when it comes to cutting in front of cyclists who aren't turning right.

Next pet peeve--the Illinois Vehicle code believes that a cyclist will be able to turn left just like a car.  Fact of the matter is that cars just do not slow up so we can work our way over to the left lane.  The new bike lanes seem to assume that we will not make left hand turns.  How would the police suggest that cyclists turn left into the Champaign Public Library safely?  BTW, I am not being sarcastic--I really don't know.  What I usually end up having to do is stop, turn my bike 90 degrees and then cross the street like a pedestrian. 

Bottom line, the Illinois Vehicle code tells a cyclist to operate as if driving a car.  Well, as someone who has cycled over 30 years, my experience is that a bike cannot be safely ridden following the rules of the road for cars.  A bike is not a car.   We need a better set of rules than the Illinois Vehicle code AND we need both drivers and cyclists to be aware of the rules for bikes.

 

 

 

rufoustfirefly wrote on September 29, 2012 at 10:09 am

Just reread the article.  Yes, I use signals and, yes, they help.  However, in the case of getting to the library when coming up Randolph from the south, when I am in the bike lane on the right, I have half a block to signal my left hand turn into the library and cross two lanes of traffic.  Has the officer tried that?  When more than a car or two is present?

As for riding on the right generally, yes, it makes sense to get out of the way of the cars because the cars insist that the lane is theirs and cyclists are interlopers.  However, on the right hand side of lanes you find broken pavement and debris.  Drivers may think I'm riding erractically when I swerve to avoid broken glass, accumulated deep sand or dangerous (for my tires) broken pavement. 

I drive my car defensively,  I ride my bike defensively.  I plan bike routes to avoid traffic and as many "bad" (for bikes) intersections as possible.  The Illinois Vehicle code allows a bicyclist to ride on Kirby at 5 pm; I think that riding on Kirby at that time is folly.   On the other hand, when no other traffic is present at a four way stop, I do not come to a full stop.  I slow down, look and all directions, am ready to stop but I choose not to lose my momentum.  Breaking the Vehicle Code?  Yes.  Good cycling?  Yes. 

 

 

 

svirpridon wrote on September 30, 2012 at 8:09 am

You count as a car. That means you have the whole width of the lane as 'yours' if appropriate. You are within your rights (and, actually, may be required to) occupy the whole lane (ie: to ride down the left of the lane, because otherwise drivers try to pass unsafely) if the road isn't sufficiently wide to let a car <em>safely</em> pass you within the lane.

And yes I'm 'that guy'. Honk all you like.

gamera wrote on October 01, 2012 at 2:10 pm

I worry when people suggest to other cyclists that they take up the whole lane. As the driver directly behind you, I *may* see you and slow down to 18 mph on University Avenue like I did last night. However, I am now driving half the posted speed limit on that street and the vehicle that comes up behind me at 35 mph and rear-ends me because they cannot see you---thereby sending me careening into you and your bicycle---will injure you nonetheless. 

svirpridon wrote on October 02, 2012 at 12:10 pm

I don't tend to be out at night, but when I am I'm lit. You won't miss the obnoxious blinking led tail light.

 

In terms of the moron behind you -- these are the same idiots who jump curbs (and kill people) or drift into bike lanes (and kill people) or run red lights/stops (and maim/kill people depending how bad a wreck it is). You can't be safe from them. You can only hope they encounter a power pole rather than another human and wise up.

 

That said, if you're following me so close 18mph that a collision from behind at 35mph causes you to hit me before due to the impact, you're following me too close. On a bike I can stop damn near instantly (particularly if a cyclist falls, friction over the whole body surface does a wonderful job of stopping you next-to-instantly) compared to a(n) one/multi- ton vehicle's reaction time and stopping distance.

Orbiter wrote on September 29, 2012 at 10:09 am

Indeed, this is good news. I've had a few near-misses by wrong-way and no-stop cyclists.  I would also like to see some enforcement on pedestrians who can't even walk and talk on the phone safely.  That said, only yesterday I came within inches of a collision with a redlight-running driver--blithely unaware of her action as she talked away on the phone.  I think we all could use some road-safety awareness.

bernies wrote on September 29, 2012 at 10:09 am

Here's something I've always wondered about. If you're ticketed for a traffic violation on a bicycle, does it count against the moving violations on your drivers license?

Orbiter wrote on September 29, 2012 at 11:09 am

bernies, it probably depends upon the state. I'm not sure about IL because this state is so poor about communicating its laws to its people.  In California, the answeris definitely yes, though there is a notation that it was a bicycle violation. A friend of mine was questioned about his running a red light a couple years previous by the judge at his naturalization hearing; the judge then expressed surprise when he saw it was on a bicycle. So even those enforcing the laws sometimes aren't so aware of things.

whatithink wrote on September 29, 2012 at 10:09 am

I hope they also start ticketing the idiots on bicycles that pass every car at a stoplight and go to the front of the line and get in the way when light turns green.  Rules of the road state they are to stay in line just like a vehicle.  One day of these idiots are going to get a mirror full from trying to squeeze through there.

areader wrote on September 29, 2012 at 10:09 am

I see points from both sides . . .those who ride bikes need to obey the rules like the rest of us--no questions asked!


I will add that there are some absolutely TERRIBLE drivers in vehicles around C-U who need to pay attention while driving in general traffic as well as around campus, for example, where there is more bike traffic!  Some drivers are simply not concentrating while behind the wheel of a vehicle and that's not good!    


l

dw wrote on September 29, 2012 at 11:09 am

Whether it be riding on the street, then switching to the bike lane, then on to the sidewalk

All of which are perfectly legal.  In Illinois a bicyclist may operate their vehicle in any of these modes:  street/bike lane motor vehicle rules apply, and on the sidewalk pedestrian rules apply.  There is no wording in the Illlinois Vehicle Code Section XV Bicycles that restricts when and how a bicyclist can flow between the different paths/operating modes.

Nor does it state anywhere in the vehcile code that a bicyclist is required to use the bicycle lane, which is good because in this town there are many bicycle lanes that are dangerous (next to parallel parked cars, a bicyclist can easily get 'doored')

from: www.illinois.edu/goto/ivc

625 ILCS 5/11-1512 

(c) A person propelling a bicycle upon and along a sidewalk, or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk, shall have all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian under the same circumstances.

 

 

GeneralLeePeeved wrote on September 29, 2012 at 12:09 pm

Sorry, dw, but that's not entirely accurate.  It is illegal to ride a bicycle on the sidewalk in the business district area of both, Champaign and Urbana, and has been for some time.  Also, there are posted areas on campus where it is prohibitied.

dw wrote on September 29, 2012 at 4:09 pm

Ahhh, accuracy, that little bugger.  Indeed, in Illinois:

    (625 ILCS 5/11-1512) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-1512)
    Sec. 11-1512. Bicycles on sidewalks. (a) A person propelling a bicycle upon and along a sidewalk, or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk, shall yield the right of way to any pedestrian and shall give audible signal before overtaking and passing such pedestrian.
    (b) A person shall not ride a bicycle upon and along a sidewalk, or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk, where such use of bicycles is prohibited by official traffic-control devices.
    (c) A person propelling a bicycle upon and along a sidewalk, or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk, shall have all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian under the same circumstances.
(Source: P.A. 82-132.)

"official traffic-control devices" otherwise known as signage. 

Speaking of being entirely accurate, it is indeed quite legal to ride on the sidewalk of most of campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign:  they took the signs down several years ago (Six Pack/Ikenberry Commons, Main Quad, Engineering Quad, Business/Ag Quad).  I ride 'em almost daily -- far safer and more pleasant than riding with or alongside the cars, and pedestrian-free all summer and during the semesters as long as it's not 10 'til the hour or lunch time! 

If there's no official signage prohibiting it, it's legal (unless perhaps if you're in the state of Chicago -- they play by a different ruleset there, usually designated by the words "municipalities or counties with a population of 1 million or more")  I don't ride in downtown Champaign that much, but if it's not posted, then it is indeed legal (I know that Urbana has signs posted in parts of their downtown... at least as of a couple of years ago).

wdlandsaw wrote on September 29, 2012 at 11:09 am
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Personally I'd like to see them return to having license plates on bikes in C-U for riders over 16, the cost of licensing would help pay for bike lanes and other improvements, an inspection would make sure the bike has all the required safety equipment and that it works, it would make reporting violations easier, and it would help reduce bike theft by giving police an easy way to check if a bike is stolen.

svirpridon wrote on September 30, 2012 at 9:09 am

You want the people who subsidze your roads and do less wear&tear than your car does to them... to pay for their bike lanes too so you don't have to subsidize them? Really?

betuana wrote on September 29, 2012 at 12:09 pm

Big thumbs up to the police for deciding to enforce the laws. It will be safer to motorists and cyclists! I agree there are good and bad riders and drivers on both sides, but while there are regular crackdowns on motor vehicle violations, there rarely seem to be ones on bicycle violations.

An important link that was left out of this article but that should really be read by motorists and cyclists is the Illinois Bicycle Rules of the Road (which is actually a separate publication fron the Rules of the Road given to motorists)

http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/publications/pdf_publications/dsd_a143...

Mary Schenk wrote on September 29, 2012 at 7:09 pm

Thanks for adding that link. You're right. I should have.

Orbiter wrote on September 29, 2012 at 2:09 pm

If the City police (both C & U) would similarly begin enforcing bicycle laws, they might nab a bank robber as a bonus, since it seems that lately the robbers have been using bikes as escape vehicles!

shurstrike wrote on September 29, 2012 at 2:09 pm

Excellent!  This is LONG overdue.  I'm just wondering why they haven't been enforced all along????

Now if only Champaign and Urbana will do the same, the roads may begin to be safe again. 

ScottC wrote on September 29, 2012 at 11:09 pm

Yes, clearly it's people on bikes making the roads dangerous.  It wouldn't be the drunks, the cell-phone yappers, the texters, the make-up artists, the speeders, the idiot mid-western drivers who don't know what the blinky lights at the corners of their cars are for...  yep, it's a 150lb hipster on a 20 lb bike that's a danger for everyone, not the two tons of steel moving at high speed. 

 

ClearVision wrote on October 02, 2012 at 11:10 am

What are you implying here? That since some drivers disobey laws bicyclists should also be free to do so? That 170 pounds of metal, flesh, and bone moving at up to 30 mph cannot harm anybody?  That drivers aren't already cited for illegal behaviors at a rate far higher than either bicyclists or pedestrians?

Here's a simple concept: laws exist to help protect everytbody; follow the laws and you won't get cited.

ScottC wrote on October 03, 2012 at 9:10 am

For some reason my response posted as a primary post.When we are talking about threats posed it's always a matter of comparison.  So, No, compared to the cars, 2 tons of metal, rolling through town often at 40 or 50 MPH, the bike poses an insignificant threat.  When There are enough cops on the street to ticket all of those drivers, then we should worry about the minor threat posed by bad cyclists.   And yes, in proportion to the threat posed to public safety, Drivers are NOT ticketed at an appropriately high rate.  

 

I think you miss the basic point.  I obey the rules.  I've never been ticketed or warned.  I have sevral times been the victim of lawbreakers in cars.  I want the cops protecting me from real threats, not wasting their time ticketing  bad cyclists.

danrice56 wrote on September 29, 2012 at 4:09 pm

So even though state law doesn't prohibit bikes on sidewalks anywhere, local law does. I know federal law trumps state; doesn't state trump local? If not, it should.

Riding on the street nearly anywhere is taking your life in your hands. Motorists who act like you're invading their territory by riding on the street, even as far over as you can get.

 

Motorists who personally hold no animosity toward you, but could not be paying any less attention to you.

 

When I ride on the sidewalk, business district or otherwise, I ride as slow as possible, stop to let pedestrians go by, and follow the same rules I do when on the road.

 

If the police want riders off the sidewalks in certain areas, then government needs to get off their butts and build bike paths asap in those areas, or shut up about riders on the sidewalks, otherwise they'll be scraping a lot of cyclists off the road.

ROB McCOLLEY wrote on September 29, 2012 at 4:09 pm
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Yep. More bike lanes, including both directions on all the one way streets.

 

If I can't ride the wrong way on all the side streets, and I can't cycle on the sidewalks, that means

l'll be right in fron of you, in the heavy car traffic on Green.

 

Is that what all you angry drivers want?

ScottC wrote on September 29, 2012 at 11:09 pm

" If I stop at a four-way and then go into the intersection and another cyclist goes through, he'll kill me. But he would only scratch the paint on a car. It's not going to injure or kill them (vehicle drivers) the way a cyclist can injure or kill another cyclist. And pedestrians," Cziko said.

<p>

Sorry, this is a ridiculous position.  I am a cyclist.  I obey the rules.  I've never felt in mortal danger from another cyclist.   I am threatened daily with sever harm by you hypocrit car drivers who seem to throw a hissy fit when a cyclist rolls an empty 4-way stop, but none of you seem to know how to use a turn signal, turn onto a four-lane road, or obey a speed limit.  No one in Champaign has been killed by a cyclist, not in the 11 years I've lived here, but cyclists are killed by you homocidal maniacs in cars every year.  Cars are a danger. Period.  Pursuing cyclists like this is an absurd missuse of police resources as long as traffic laws are being flaunted (and they are) by car drivers.  

C-U Townie wrote on September 30, 2012 at 1:09 am

Can we apply the same enforcement to the college students who can't take the time to look up from their electronics to see if a car is coming... but continue crossing the street with the assumption that traffic will stop for them automatically? And I'm not talking about places where signs designate traffic has to stop for student crossing. It happens all over campus. I shouldn't single out those who stare at their electronics. A good majority of the students do it. They come to a street they must cross and just keep walking. When did "stop and look both ways" go out the window?

You're pursuing a 4 year degree but you're not intelligent enough to stop and look to see if a car is coming? Hm. Better give mommy, daddy, Uncle Sam... whoever... back their money because if you don't have simple common sense you really shouldn't try to be a professional anything. I've lived in C-U most of my life and this issue has become its worst in the last few years. The college students walk in front of traffic... hold up traffic by walking slowly (because their attention isn't on walking, it's on their electronics)... or (as in this case) riding irresponsibly. Students who can't walk responsibly should be discliplined, too. But i doubt it will happen. There are issues with grade level students who do this same thing around their schools and nothing seems to be improving there. I guess it shouldn't be a surprise that when they get to college they're continuing their bad habits (that have gone unchecked). 

rsp wrote on September 30, 2012 at 12:09 pm

Don't you know that one of the things in freshman orientation is about crossing the street? Clearly they don't get anything out of the program judging by the results. And imo the added crossings are just making it worse. There are streets in Urbana where if you walk close to the edge the traffic stops. Before you even get to the street. It's absurd. It's teaching people to just walk out into traffic without looking but not all the cars stop. These are not marked crosswalks. I've seen it happen in a few places in Champaign too. 

rachamim wrote on September 30, 2012 at 11:09 am

From the perspective of a pedestrian, this is great news. Having nearly killed bicyclists as a driver and having almost been killed by bicyclists, EVERYONE needs to share accountability on the road.

gcziko wrote on September 30, 2012 at 9:09 pm

Some responses to some of the preceding comments:

rufoustfirefl
 

Bottom line, the Illinois Vehicle code tells a cyclist to operate as if driving a car.  Well, as someone who has cycled over 30 years, my experience is that a bike cannot be safely ridden following the rules of the road for cars.  A bike is not a car.   We need a better set of rules than the Illinois Vehicle code AND we need both drivers and cyclists to be aware of the rules for bikes.


Bikes can definitely be driven following the rules of the road for cars. I do so and and can go anywhere I want safely and confidently. To learn how, take the free CyclingSavvy course to be offered on Tuesday, October 23 at 6:30 in the ARC Auditorium on campus. This video at https://vimeo.com/9827254 will give you some clues about how it is done.
 

As for riding on the right generally, yes, it makes sense to get out of the way of the cars because the cars insist that the lane is theirs and cyclists are interlopers.  However, on the right hand side of lanes you find broken pavement and debris.  Drivers may think I'm riding erractically when I swerve to avoid broken glass, accumulated deep sand or dangerous (for my tires) broken pavement.


By "riding on the right" I meant riding on the right side (as opposed to the left side) of the road. Definitely not on the right edge of the road or closer than five feet to parked cars. Cyclists have the right to use the full lane on any lane that is narrower than 14 feet (16 feet where trucks and buses are present). Most traffic lanes in C-U are no wider than 12 feet. I control the lane on the bike. Occasionally a motorists will honk to show disapproval. But it is rare and they always pass me with a safe margin.

bernies
 

Here's something I've always wondered about. If you're ticketed for a traffic violation on a bicycle, does it count against the moving violations on your drivers license?


Yes. And it could cost you more on auto insurance, too.

Rob McColley

If I can't ride the wrong way on all the side streets, and I can't cycle on the sidewalks, that means

l'll be right in fron of you, in the heavy car traffic on Green.

Is that what all you angry drivers want?

I often use Green Street with no problem. When the traffic is heavy, I'm about as fast as the motor traffic. When it is lighter, motorist have no problem passing in the center lane.

ScottC
 

" If I stop at a four-way and then go into the intersection and another cyclist goes through, he'll kill me. But he would only scratch the paint on a car. It's not going to injure or kill them (vehicle drivers) the way a cyclist can injure or kill another cyclist. And pedestrians," Cziko said.

<p>

Sorry, this is a ridiculous position.  I am a cyclist.  I obey the rules.  I've never felt in mortal danger from another cyclist.   I am threatened daily with sever harm by you hypocrit car drivers who seem to throw a hissy fit when a cyclist rolls an empty 4-way stop, but none of you seem to know how to use a turn signal, turn onto a four-lane road, or obey a speed limit.  No one in Champaign has been killed by a cyclist, not in the 11 years I've lived here, but cyclists are killed by you homocidal maniacs in cars every year.  Cars are a danger. Period.  Pursuing cyclists like this is an absurd missuse of police resources as long as traffic laws are being flaunted (and they are) by car drivers. 

The point I was making (which was not cited completely accurately) is that cyclists are more endangered by irresponsible cyclists than motorists are. I have had many cyclists speed through in front of me (some at night without lights) without even slowing at an all-way stop. I have had a motorist do this to me only once in over 30 years of cycling in C-U. Yes, most motorists drive over the speed limit. And they roll through STOP signs (after slowing and yielding). But it is rare that they drive the wrong way on one-way streets, ride on the left side of the road and drive at night without lights. Most also signals their turns, which cyclists rarely do.

ClearVision wrote on October 02, 2012 at 11:10 am

"Cyclists have the right to use the full lane on any lane that is narrower than 14 feet (16 feet where trucks and buses are present)..."

Where is this specified? The only thing I've ever found in the materials from the Illinois DMV states that one must  ride "as close to the right edge of the road as practical. Certain conditions allow a bicyclist to move farther to the left if necessary, such as broken glass, drain grates, parked cars, left turns and passing."

As a cyclist, pedestrian, and  motorist (and bus rider!), I'd really like to know what the law actually states. Because all those signs in Champaign saying that bicyclists may use the full lane seem to be at odds with state law.

dw wrote on October 03, 2012 at 11:10 pm

 

You won't find a lot of stuff in the "Rules of the Road" publications at the DMV -- they're interpretations and recommendations based on the acutal laws, not the actual laws themselves (in several cases their interpreations are wrong/dangerous)   In the Illinois Vehicle Code, 625 ILCS 5/11-1505  states (elipses denote where I've cut out non-relevant sections of the law): ...Any person operating a bicycle or motorized pedal cycle upon a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall ride as close as practicable and safe to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except under the following situations... when reasonably necessary to avoid conditions including, but not limited to... substandard width lanes that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge. For purposes of this subsection, a "substandard width lane" means a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle or motorized pedal cycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.

I'm not really sure where/how a substandard width lane gets defined in the IVC as less-than 14' or 16' if trucks/busses, but a standard width lane in the US from a quick googling is 12' (highway) and a standard bicycle lane is 4' (5' if it runs by parked cars) so maybe that has something to do with it...

So that's the section of the IVC that the right to use full lane signage is derived from.

#jailhouselawyer - your mileage may vary.

ScottC wrote on October 03, 2012 at 9:10 am

gcziko: I'm not sure how copying a direct quote 4 lines long is in anyway not an accurate quote.  Yes pretty much everything bad that can happen in the world is more of a threat to cyclists than motorists.  Motorists sit in a big metal box.  So What?  The threat to other cycists by bad cyclists is still infititsimal compared to the regular daily threat drivers pose to cyclists.  To insert into the discussion the idea that somehow bad cyclists are a danger to good cyclists is specious.  You shoulld be embarrassed.  Hundreds of cyclists are killed in the US every year by murderous car drivers and you distract from the basic problem by going out there and spouting this nonsense.  And yes, bad cyclists pose a threat to pedestrians, but when was the last time a pedestrian was killed by a cyclist?  There are a couple nationally every year.  There are a couple of pedestrians killed in CU aone by autos almost every year!  

 

Yes I want cyclists to obey the rules, but this garbage you put out there is only giving fuel to these idiots who think that our streets will be markedly safer if a cop is ticketing a cyclist for rolling a stop sign rather than spending his time ticketing speeders or phone users in school zones or other dangerous lunatics.  It's a question of priorities.  It's not a question of whether everyone should obey the rules, it's that there are a litmited number of cop hours.  Every time a cop writes a ticket to a cyclist, he's spending time not ticketing an enourmously bigger threat.  When we've brough death by cars down to levels comparable to death by cycles we should start spending police resources on ticketing cyclists.  Until then, let try to remember where the real danger lies.

dw wrote on October 03, 2012 at 11:10 pm

Having worked for this newspaper, and been quoted by said newspaper I think that I can hazard an accurate guess that gcziko was not referring to your abilities to copy and paste a 4-line direct quote from the article, but rather the accuracy of the original transcription of his quote by the author of the article.

If you re-read his clarification carefully he states that bad bicyclists are more of a danger to other bicyclists than bad bicyclists are to drivers of multi-ton vehicles. The irony is that vehicle drivers get mad at the close calls and they may get a door ding, but a bicycle on bicycle full-speed collision has a high likelihood of one or both ending up needing professional medical help. Or having to swerve out of the way of another bicyclist going the wrong way down a street at night with no light and ending up getting hit by a car (or hitting another solid stationary object). So I think his point is that bicyclists should be very, very thankful for this enforcement and training as it's predominantly for our safety -- not to trivialize the harsh realitiy that collisions with cars kill bicyclists. Honestly it's a viewpoint that as a bicyclist has never really occured to me: bad bicyclists pose more of a safety danger to me than to cars, but car drivers get far more irrate about bad bicyclists than I do. Interesting.

With respect to the problem on campus it's not just slow-n-going/rolling a stop sign as you use as an example -- we're talking bicycling on the streets at night without lights. Bicyclists going the wrong way down one-way streets (both day and night and with/without lights). While talking on a cell phone/wearing headphones. And blowing through stoplights/signs at full speed without even looking to see if there's a car/other bicyclist going through.

Not every cyclist on campus, mind you. But enough to make it problematic and aggravate the car drivers and make them upset/impatient with bicyclists as a general class -- which includes the "good" ones! The last thing you want on a bicycle is some driver of a 4,000 pound vehicle to be cut off by and get steamed at "those !@#$%!@ bicyclists" and you, the good bicyclist he sees afterwards receiving the brunt of his frustration/impatience!

As for slow-n-going at stop signs (bicylists' terminology for strolling through a stop) I do it both on and off campus and frankly if I get a ticket, then I deserve the safety reminder as it would be obvious that I wasn't observant enough to notice the multi-ton police car nearby.

cyclifist wrote on October 01, 2012 at 7:10 am
Profile Picture

@Mark Taylor, Are you serious?  REAL Americans pay through the nose at the pump?  REAL Americans look for alternatives rather than pushing an agenda of failure.  I hope you are being sarcastic, because if you are not, you are a dinosaur (i.e. obsolete, soon to be extinct).

ROB McCOLLEY wrote on October 04, 2012 at 11:10 pm
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You're new here. We'll give you a pass this time, mkay?

Bulldogmojo wrote on October 01, 2012 at 9:10 am

The headline should read "UI Adds a New Way to Generate Cash". Lets have our already limited campus police working on preventing sexual assaults and robberies not out spending their time trying to offset this University not being able to collect the money its owed by the state.

Tomorrow's headline "Campus Police Ticket Students with Drinks Over 20oz"

savinglives wrote on October 01, 2012 at 7:10 pm

This is about SAVING LIVES period, this is NOT about genrating revenue!   You really need to sit back at class change times and observe these BAD BICYLISTS that are breaking the law and risking the lives of others and risking their own lives.   This is NOT an effort to pick on bicylists in general, the MAJORITY obey most laws and do not risk their lives.  But there are many U of I campus bike riders who blow through stop lights, roll in front of buses, ride down the center line between cars and buses, and ride at high rates of speed at pedestrians and at other bike riders!  I saw a older lady who works for the University who was walking almost run down by a bike on a sidewalk last week.  Now do you really think thats its ok or legal to act like this?   Sit back and observe and watch the bad bicylists that are breaking the law on campus every day at class changes, then your mind may change.  Those bad ones are giving the rest of you good bike riders a bad name.  You should applaud the efforts of the police if they ever become reality.  I still have my doubts if they will follow through. 

Bulldogmojo wrote on October 02, 2012 at 11:10 am

Well I have been working on campus for twenty years and I have to say it's just about new revenue. They are counting on the fact that bikers will continue to behave badly in large numbers as to be ticketed and to pay. The police have better things to do

ScottC wrote on October 03, 2012 at 9:10 am

"This is about SAVING LIVES period, this is NOT about genrating revenue!  "

 

I'm glad to see Mark Taylor isn't the only funny one here.

Virago wrote on October 01, 2012 at 3:10 pm

Lemme get this straight:  the argument some posters are making is because some (okay, most) motorists fail to obey all the statutes in the IL Vehicle Code all bicyclists should be exempt from them?  If anything, this makes it even more important that the cyclists exhibit greater care and attention to the road and its rules.  If I break a traffic law in my car, I understand there is a very good chance I could get a ticket, as could every other bad driver on the street, as we share the right to use the roadway and the responsibility to do it safely.  A bike rider has the same right to the use the street, and I would argue this means s/he has the same obligation to obey the laws and do it safely.  The position that someone gets to act badly because someone else somewhere is misbehaving is a ridiculous one, and a dangerous one at that.  Two wrongs don’t make a right—in this case, they make a wreck. 

Mark Taylor wrote on October 01, 2012 at 4:10 pm

That's absolutely right, and an excellent read of what these communistical bicyclators are in fact really arguing. Now, just because none of them has actually, literally said what you and I know they really mean, doesn't mean they haven't said it, if you know what I mean.

But you and I and the other REAL AMERICANS know that's what they're really saying, even if they didn't actually technically say it, per se. So, you laid out an excellent dismantling of their argument and they should shut up, become REAL AMERICANS and start driving cars like the rest of us non socialistics, right?

ScottC wrote on October 03, 2012 at 9:10 am

No this is about limited resources.  Bad cyclists principally endanger themselves.  Bad motorists endanger everyone around them.  In a system with limited police resources, I want cops working to eliminate real threats to me by the idiot homocidal motorists in town, not working to protect dumb riders from themselves.  

Janet wrote on October 01, 2012 at 5:10 pm

A couple of weeks ago I was crossing John street at 6th in a crosswalk and on a walk sign.  Five (yes, 5) bicycles riding the wrong way down John street dodged me in the crosswalk. Breaking 3 laws at once. I'd hazard a guess (as others have pointed out) that these kinds of scenarios play out multiple times a day. Every time I round a corner of campustown I wonder if I'm going to be hit in the knees by a bike (which, at my age, would be the end of my walking). I think more people are at risk from this kind of behavior than from muggings, etc. It seems funny to me to suggest that police should not try to curb this type of lawbreaking because they should be watching out for more serious crimes.   

ScottC wrote on October 03, 2012 at 10:10 am

On behalf of the cycling community, I'd like to apologize.  I don't think any of us condone that behavior.  However, the statistics simply don't bear out that cyclists are a real danger.  There is some trouble with reporting as it is conceivable that not all cycle-pedestrian collisions are appropriately reported while most car- pedestrian accidents are, but generally, you are in much more danger from the cars in town.

mlincoln wrote on October 02, 2012 at 12:10 am

Not sure why this is news. I was ticketed for running a red light in Champaign a few years ago. I'm pretty sure I know of several others who have been ticketed for traffic violations.

ScottC wrote on October 03, 2012 at 9:10 am

It's a "new initiative" by campus cops.  You probably got nabbed by a city cop.  Campus cops apparently have stopped the assaults,  and thefts, eliminated dangerous driving, enoforce the phone ban in school zones and now have nothing better to do than protect us all from cyclists.  

Sidney61877 wrote on October 02, 2012 at 12:10 pm

I was driving on Homer Lake Road south of St. Joseph one weekend when I came upon 4 bicyclists riding side by side.  I had to slow down because there was a vehicle approaching from the opposite direction.  When I got the opportunity to pass the bike riders, I rolled down my right window and asked, "aren't you guys supposed to be riding single file?"  I got a big "F.U." and got flipped the bird.  True story. 

Mark Taylor wrote on October 02, 2012 at 1:10 pm

I know!!!!11! These unAmerican bike riders make me SO ANGRY!!!

HOW DARE THEY THINK THEY HAVE A RIGHT TO BE ON THE ROAD??

Can you believe their arrogance. They, clearly, should have stopped, removed their devil machines from that good clean American road, and let the REAL AMERICANS driving motor vehicles get about their patriotic real American business.

Mark Taylor wrote on October 02, 2012 at 1:10 pm

I know!!!!11! These unAmerican bike riders make me SO ANGRY!!!

HOW DARE THEY THINK THEY HAVE A RIGHT TO BE ON THE ROAD??

Can you believe their arrogance. They, clearly, should have stopped, removed their devil machines from that good clean American road, and let the REAL AMERICANS driving motor vehicles get about their patriotic real American business.

Mark Taylor wrote on October 02, 2012 at 1:10 pm

I know!!!!11! These unAmerican bike riders make me SO ANGRY!!!

HOW DARE THEY THINK THEY HAVE A RIGHT TO BE ON THE ROAD??

Can you believe their arrogance. They, clearly, should have stopped, removed their devil machines from that good clean American road, and let the REAL AMERICANS driving motor vehicles get about their patriotic real American business.

UIUCHoopFan wrote on October 02, 2012 at 1:10 pm

Lots of discussion and banter here!  What it boils down to is this......

If you don't want a ticket don't break the law! 

NO ONE is above following the rules of the road no matter what type of vehicle they choose to operate.  Start by saving your own life.....another big perk may be saving the life of someone else as well.

UIUCHoopFan wrote on October 02, 2012 at 2:10 pm

Lots of discussion and banter here!  What it boils down to is this......

If you don't want a ticket don't break the law! 

NO ONE is above following the rules of the road no matter what type of vehicle they choose to operate.  Start by saving your own life.....another big perk may be saving the life of someone else as well.

UIUCHoopFan wrote on October 02, 2012 at 2:10 pm

Lots of discussion and banter here!  What it boils down to is this......

If you don't want a ticket don't break the law! 

NO ONE is above following the rules of the road no matter what type of vehicle they choose to operate.  Start by saving your own life.....another big perk may be saving the life of someone else as well.

AerieDweller wrote on October 02, 2012 at 11:10 pm

There are a few things to know about the links listed in this story and comments:

1.  Local governments may enact ordinances which are stricter than the Illinois Vehicle Code.  That's why Champaign and Urbana can restrict bicycle riding on the sidewalks.

2.  The Secretary of State's Bicycle Rules of the Road is NOT an exact copy of the IVC.  It includes advice which is not included in the statutes and is not law.  For instance, while bicycle helmets are useful and (imo) should be worn, they are not required by law.  

The BRotR also fails to include many of the IVC's exceptions to riding as far right as "practical," (which is not the word used in the IVC).  Bicycle riders may move away from the right side of the lane for many reasons, including when the bicyclist believes it is dangerous to stay to the right, or when the road lane is too narrow to allow a bicycle and a car or truck to ride side-by-side within that lane.  Considering the width of the bicycle, the 3-foot-passing law, and the width of other vehicles on the road, there are very few roads in the C-U area that are wide enough to allow side-by-side riding entirely within the lane.

3.  If you'd like to actually read the IVC statutes related to bicycles, go to:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=062500050HCh%2E+11+Art%2E+XV&ActID=1815&ChapterID=49&SeqStart=125200000&SeqEnd=127100000

These are the bicycle-specific statutes.  

ClearVision wrote on October 03, 2012 at 3:10 pm

Thanks for the link. They sure don't make that easy to find.

dw wrote on October 04, 2012 at 12:10 am

Nope, which is why I did:

www.illinois.edu/goto/ivc

You can either do a quick search through the main article index, or hit the "view entire act" and use the search functionality of your browser...

ScottC wrote on October 03, 2012 at 8:10 am

Here's a concept for you: limited resources.  That's right, there aren't enough cops to vigilantly enforce all the laws all the time.  Could a cyclist hurt somebody?  Sure.  Could a cyclist kill somebody?  Possible, but very very rare (happens a couple of times a year nationally).  Will cars kill people?  Yes.  30,000 a year nationally and a few  people in the greater CU area every year.  Cops ticketing cyclists is like putting bandaids on splinters while the next guy is bleeding to death.  It's a stupid waste of resources.  The fact that I want cops out there dealing with the biggest threats first does not imply that I don't obey the rules.  You need to work on your reading comprehension.

 

 

Bulldogmojo wrote on October 03, 2012 at 2:10 pm

Yes, lets take the police off of investigating this and have them spend their time giving tickets to bicyclists who don't use hand signals...

INCIDENT: Three Arrests in Campus Battery

OCCURRED: September 30, 2012

LOCATION:300 E. Springfield Avenue, Champaign

The Champaign Police has relesased the following information:

Over the weekend, Champaign Police responded to four reports of batteries and thefts that appear to be related.  The victims in these incidents reported being "punched" in the head by someone in a group as they were walking down the sidewalk.  The victims reported that the offenders were among a group of three males and three females.  These incidents occurred after curfew, between 1:30 a.m. and 3:22 a.m., and in the areas of 500 E. Healey, 700 S. Sixth, 300 E. Springfield, and 200 E. John.

The Champaign Police is concerned that these incidents are similar to a recent phenomenon circulating on the internet called "Point them out, knock them out". Simply stated, the offending group identifies an unsuspecting victim and one of the offenders punches the victim in the head then flees the area.  The Champaign Police Department has been investigating five similar random incidents on campus over the past few weeks.  But, this weekend's events are clearly a spike in this type of activity.

ClearVision wrote on October 03, 2012 at 3:10 pm

Reading comprehension. That article is about Champaign Police. The traffic violation crackdown is coming from Campus Police. Different organizations.

However, the whole "but *this* crime is worse than *that* crime" argument is specious. What, no crimes of lesser severity should be addressed until what you deem more severe is completely wiped out? I'd personally rather not have you be the sole arbiter of what should and should not be enforced.

Bulldogmojo wrote on October 03, 2012 at 4:10 pm

There are no demarcation lines when it comes to CU crime. Its not a national border although I'm sure the University community would like there to be. My posting was from an email the campus police sent out an hour ago.

I am using the perspective of available law enforcement resources leveraged against the victim oriented crimes in the entire CU area.

raw5463 wrote on October 04, 2012 at 2:10 pm

If they're getting a ticket, then they've broken the law, not because they're "bad" cyclists.

Bulldogmojo wrote on October 04, 2012 at 2:10 pm

And of course lets not forget the potential profiling and 4th amendment (back pack searches)  probable cause lawsuits we will have to spend money to defend.

pattsi wrote on October 05, 2012 at 11:10 am

This story in today's Tribune    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-bicyclist-struck-k...

brings to mind the question as to why the bicycling czars in the community keep pushing for bicycle lanes on busy streets right next to parked cars as compared to working toward separation of traffic frictions. For example in Perth, Australia, bike lanes are next to the curbing. Then to the left of the lane is concrete barriers. Next to the left is car parking. These lanes have been fitted into already existing street structures. The configuation provides safety and convenient for all by separating traffic frictions.

We can always learn from other countries.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cycling_in_Perth

http://www.transport.wa.gov.au/activetransport/24022.asp

http://perthbikepaths.com.au/