Online course penalty for riding on campus is ridiculous

Megan Mann

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Illustration by Trevor Moore

A little while ago, The Orion ran a story about the University Police decreasing fines and punishments for bikers and skateboarders who ride on campus.

Is the University Police smoking something?

As the current repercussions stand for riding bikes on campus, there’s a $200 fine, and the person must appear in court.

Now, individuals who defy one of the most broken regulations on campus will only face a $60 fine as well as needing to complete an online safety course.

This easygoing punishment needs to be taken back to the drawing board.

I get that $200 is a really steep fine, considering that my illegal U-turn ticket was about that much. The fine should definitely be lowered for something like riding a bike on campus.

But students need to accept responsibility for their actions, and making them complete an online safety course isn’t going to cut it.

People don’t realize how dangerous riding a bike or skateboarding on campus can be. People get hit, run over or thrown off their noble steeds, which can lead to very serious injuries, especially if people ride on the bridges.

Ultimately, Chico State is not built to be biker- or skateboarder-friendly. This isn’t UC Davis, people. This campus isn’t built with integrated bike lanes.

I get it. Students want to get to class on time or just have a need for speed.

But I’ve almost been hit three times by bikers, and I don’t feel like going to the hospital because people can’t leave their apartments 10 minutes earlier and as a result, I now have internal bleeding.

By reducing the fines and letting students off with just an online safety course that anyone could breeze through while watching “Game of Thrones,” students don’t have to be responsible or think about how their actions might hurt others and themselves — even if it’s just their wallets.

I don’t know who came up with these policy changes, but I can safely bet that this fine decrease is only going make people break the law more.

And I’m not a betting woman.

So, let me offer my alternative policy for riding on campus violations.

Reduce the fine but keep the mandated court appearance.

It’s undeniable that $200 is too steep of a fine for broke college students whose tuition goes up almost every academic year. And it is a petty crime after all, so $60 is about right.

But students still need to realize that riding their bikes on campus is a crime, and they can’t be expected to learn the error of their ways if they get off with a slap on the wrist.

Excuse me, an “online safety course.” Yeah, that’s like AlcoholEdu, and does anyone even pay attention to that their freshman year?

Make students acknowledge their wrongdoings. After all, the real world isn’t as forgiving of crimes as the University Police apparently is.

Megan Mann can be reached at [email protected] or @meganisthemann on Twitter.

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