A significant number of students on two wheels at UC Berkeley are being stung with hefty fines from Berkeley campus police officers — and they’re mad about it, according to an article in today’s San Francisco Chronicle.
The fines — often as high as $220 — are for offenses such as rolling through a stop sign, locking a bike to a railing rather than to a bike rack, and riding through dismount zones. The Chronicle reports that the UC Police has caught 41% more bikers this semester than during the same period last year: 103, up from 73.
Campus police say they didn’t know the fines were so high until students began complaining, the article reports. Capt. Margo Bennett of the UCPD says they will look for a less expensive legal code to enforce their campus dismount zone.
A student group calling itself BikeBusters has set up a Facebook page to protest what it sees as excessive penalties on a constituency which is already under financial duress given recent fee hikes at the university.
“It does not seem just nor ethical that the UC and affiliated institutions should exploit their power and position against those who are suffering as much — if not more — from these financially challenging times,” writes one student on BikeBusters, who acknowledges a slip-up in riding a bike through a dismount zone, but feels a $220 fine is “outrageous”.