The UCSB Police Dept. started a new bicycle and skateboard safety program Feb. 14 to give those who receive bicycle or skateboard citations an opportunity to take a $35 class on pedestrian safety instead of paying the $120 citation fee.
The one-hour class is scheduled to take place every other Saturday from 1 to 2 p.m. in the Environmental Health and Safety Building. Officer Mark Signa, the current instructor of the program, said the focus of the class is basic bicycle and skateboard safety issues.
“In the classes we will talk about pedestrian safety and we will go over safety techniques,” Signa said. “Our main objective is to provide a safer campus for pedestrians, bicyclists and skateboarders.”
The program was established in response to an increased number of bicycle and skateboard citations. The goal is to prevent future accidents by increasing the number of safe bicyclists and skateboarders, Signa said.
“There have been more citations this year and the last, and there have been 29 bike and six skateboard accidents that have needed rescue response,” Signa said. “A lot more officers will be giving bicycle citations because of the program, but the upside is that people will be given the opportunity to take the class.”
The Commission On Disability Access (CODA) promoted sidewalk etiquette Feb. 16 by organizing a wall of human bodies just two days after the safety program was enacted. Ali Sprott, CODA co-president and fourth-year political science major, said although the human wall promoted a message similar to that of the UCPD program, the wall was not in collaboration with the UCPD.
“The program was at a really good time,” Sprott said. “I think it’s great that they are promoting another outlet for pedestrian safety and that it is a positive effect for a small fee.”
Money collected from citations goes to the county and state, so the new, alternative lower payment program will not affect the overall budget of the UCPD, Signa said.
“The Police Dept. does not get any money from citations,” Signa said. “We are charging $35 to put on the class; it is not a moneymaker.”
Vera Didur, a bicyclist and freshman psychology major, said the program is a good financial alternative for students.
“For economically challenged students, I think it’s a great alternative,” Didur said. “I would take the class and save the money.”