Bike safety class offered instead of tickets

Robyn Hearne, University Police chief. Photo credit: Yessenia Funes

Students ride their bikes and boards through campus all the time.

Within a few weeks, students caught breaking the rules can skip the court date. University Police will offer an alternative: a $60 bike-safety course through Blackboard, said University Police Chief Robyn Hearne. Students will save about $100.

Throughout the past few semesters, students have asked officers for information, but finding a complete list of the laws is difficult, said Sgt. Bryce Davison. Thus the idea of the program was born.

“We decided to create the equivalent to a traffic school,” he said.

Once users pay the reduced fee, which will be used for future programs, they can use an ID card and password to access the Blackboard course, said Mark Kauffman, information technology consultant for the Distributed Learning Technologies department.

The user IDs and passwords will be different than students’ usual Blackboard login information, Kauffman said. This provides access to nonstudents who take the course.

However, students count for about 90 percent of the bike citations, Hearne said.

The course consists of informative slides, pages, video clips and voice-overs, Davison said. It ends with a 50-question quiz.

The rule-breakers need to score at least a 90 percent to pass, Davison said. If they fail, they must start from scratch.

They can take the quiz as many times they need, and it is different each time, he said.

The program hopes to design each course to be unique, Davison said. The course should force people to interact with and learn from it.

“What I don’t want people doing is to cheat the system,” he said.

Davison encourages users to take their time with the course, he said. It should take about 45 minutes.

Davison hopes this program will help avoid dangerous situations like the bicycling deaths of Chico State nursing student Kristina Chesterman and Butte College student Janee Nickerson, he said.

University Police believes enforcement that works with education is a positive thing, Hearne said.

“It still has a bite to it,” she said. “The violators still are going to have to pay that $60 fee in order not to go to court and pay the fine, so that’s a very reduced cost. But at the same time, it is an expense, so hopefully it’s a deterrent.”

Yessenia Funes can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_yfunes on Twitter.