The streets in and around the University of Texas at Austin are abuzz with students trying to get to their next class. Adding to the pedestrian traffic are bicyclists zipping by and more recently, people on electric scooters cutting across busy intersections.
University police say it has received numerous complaints of unsafe cycling and scooter use around campus. To make sure everyone stays safe, police are monitoring the chaotic 21st Street and University Boulevard intersection—right in front of the Littlefield Fountain—making sure people on two wheels are obeying the law.
“What we’ve noticed is that a lot of bicyclists and the new addition of scooters they’re traveling through this intersection, they’re not stopping at stop signs, they’re not yielding to pedestrians, they’re not yielding to right of ways,” says UTPD Cpl.Lepatrick Moore.
Officers are explaining to riders that if you’re operating on the road, you have to follow the basic rules of the road. UTPD stopped Ashleigh Wood to explain that stopping at a stop sign also applies to those on a scooter. “I would have stopped if I saw people or cars at the stop signs, but I didn’t because I didn’t see anybody, but I should of,” says Wood.
Daniel Lee also got caught rolling through the stop sign. Lee says he usually follows the traffic rules… “but like stop signs, to me, might have been the exception.”
The maximum speed limit on campus is 15 mph and 10 mph in the garages, unless otherwise posted.
“Technically a scooter or a skateboard is not supposed to operate on a roadway; however the University of Texas has a speed limit of 15 mph, so they can safely operate on our roadways. It’s just that if you’re operating on the roadways you need to be following the basic laws of the road,” explains Moore.
Moore says they’re not ticketing offenders right now, but that will soon change. He says the educational period will expire at the end of this week. Next week they will start issuing citations. Fines for those citations range from $25-100. Violations are the same for scooters, bikes and cars—all are considered motor vehicles.
The department says it is working on developing “swag” to hand out during orientation to remind students not only about the rules of the road on a bike or scooter but also their rights as riders.
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