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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Soundbite: Parking and Transportation Services radar guns waste resources

    When I heard that UA Parking and Transportation Services had spent $1,200 on mobile radar guns to track bicycles’ speeds around campus, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes. PTS makes $14.9 million in total revenue during one school year. Looks like it has more money that it knows what to do with, if it’s spending it trying to slow down cyclists with a guy in a red shirt and a fancy radar gun.

    “We may see it [a fast speed] and give a verbal warning — yell out, ‘Hey, you’re going too fast,’” said Mark Napier, associate director of operations for PTS. “It’s a little hard to issue a ticket, though.”

    Did PTS really not foresee that as being a problem? If someone is actually going “too fast” on a bicycle, hopping on your golf cart and chasing after them doesn’t seem like a very efficient use of resources.

    That’s not to mention that “too fast” is entirely subjective. There are no legal grounds for issuing a citation since there are no bike speed limits posted around campus. Even if there were marked speed limits, I’m not legally required to have a speedometer on my bike, so it would be a tough sell to say I have to estimate what speed is considered “too fast.”

    Napier told the Wildcat “we wanted to reduce the possibility of collisions” between cyclists and people crossing the street. Yet nothing is being done to stop people from texting while they cross the bike path. If PTS is targeting cyclists, it only seems fair to ticket the people crossing the bike path with their noses in their phones, too.

    PTS might have its heart in the right place with this project, but using a radar gun to slow cyclists down is an entirely ineffective approach and a waste of resources.

    Napier said the purpose of the project is to increase awareness about bicycle safety, but having someone randomly yell at a few cyclists that they need to slow down doesn’t really impact the 40,000 plus student population. If PTS is serious about making cyclists aware of their speed, it could offer free bicycle speedometers, which are reasonably priced compared to the bike lights PTS already gives away.

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