New policy aims to promote bicycling, safety

October 20, 2008

University Park, Pa. -- With the increase in the number of bicyclists on Penn State's University Park campus there is concern for bicyclist and pedestrian safety. To address this issue, the University has updated the policy covering regulations for bicycles and other wheeled devices. The goal of the update is to provide a comprehensive and practical strategy for improving bicycle circulation on the campus, to encourage bicycling as a mode of transportation, and to improve safety by providing an understandable, logical and enforceable bicycling program.

"It's great to see the increase in use of bicycles and mopeds as the transportation of choice on campus," said Steve Maruszewski, chair of the Finance and Business Environmental Strategy and deputy associate vice president for Physical Plant. "As a University, we are working hard to improve our environmental stewardship. Having our faculty, staff and students also doing their part to decrease their carbon footprint this way is good for everyone."

However, the increase in the number of bicycles on campus has led to an increase in dangerous bicycling practices. Clarifying the bicycle policy, and communicating those changes, should help alleviate this problem.

"Following the policy is really important for the bicyclists' safety, and for the safety of pedestrians and motor vehicles as well. We don't want to have an accident on campus," said Rebecca Berdine, Penn State Police officer.

Key changes to the policy, which can be found at online, are:

-- Bikes can be ridden on approved bike routes and automobile thoroughfares.

-- No bikes are permitted on any sidewalks along any campus road.

-- No bikes are permitted on any pedestrian road in central campus, which is defined as the areas bounded by Fraser Road, Curtin Road, Pollock Road and Shortlidge Road.

-- Bikes are allowed on malls and pedestrian paths other than those on central campus.

"Bicycles also may not be parked inside University buildings or certain other locations," said Berdine. "Bicycles need to be secured to the bike racks located throughout campus. We have more than 600 bike racks currently in place and additional bike racks are being added to many areas around campus to better accommodate the increased number of bikes."

Bicycles may not be parked in automobile parking spaces, on lawn areas, shrub or flower beds, streets, driveways or in any building, and cannot block sidewalks, entrance ways to buildings, or places intended for pedestrian travel. "We need to make sure that, in the event of an emergency, bicycles do not block evacuation paths, which is a serious safety concern," said Berdine.

The policy also covers use of electric personal assistive mobility devices (EPAMDs), such as Segways. All EPAMDs must be operated according to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Vehicle Code as well as to the rules and regulations contained in the policy. All EPAMDs must be registered, and users must sign an acknowledgement that they received written safety procedures developed by Environmental Health and Safety, University Police and Transportation Services. Those who use an EPAMD -- whether their own or one owned by the University -- for University business also must complete a hands-on training program. These devices are restricted to sidewalks only, and should use crosswalks to cross roads.

  • A bicyclist makes his way down Curtin Road, riding in the street and obeying traffic signs in accordance with University policy.

    IMAGE: Andy Colwell
Last Updated November 18, 2010