UW News

September 28, 2006

Safety is goal in Look Up! campaign

UW News

The UW Transportation Office has a question for bike riders and pedestrians alike: If you don’t heed stop signs and traffic laws, what makes you think the other person will?

With the new school year, the Transportation Office has updated its rules of the road. It’s no longer enough to dismount during class breaks when you ride in the bike/walk zone around the HUB — now you need to walk your bike whenever pedestrians are present.

The change reflects a new, more serious approach to safety along UW walkways. And to make the point, UW Transportation is teaming with the UW Police and Metro Transit for a bike and pedestrian safety campaign called “Look Up!”

Elena Fox of the Transportation Office explained: “When we say ‘Look Up!’ it’s not to the sky — it’s look up and look at what is around you, at what is moving and what is not moving, what is safely navigable.”

While the earlier emphasis focused on bikes, Fox said, the new approach embraces both bike and pedestrian safety, mixed with personal responsibility. “The message here is, in order for the entire campus to be safe for everyone, you have to take responsibility for yourself, every single person.”

The Look Up! campaign will feature an informational display today in Red Square as part of the Dawg Daze activities. It’s free and all are welcome, to the information and to free blinking safety lights, postcards with safety tips and even lollipops bearing the “Look Up!” message.

The campus also will be decorated with banners announcing the new safety focus, Fox said, and a Metro bus will be parked on campus, so visitors can sit in the driver’s seat and see what the drivers see.

That should be enlightening. Over the years, many Metro drivers have noted the difficulty of driving campus routes and even requested transfers to other routes because of the apparent low awareness of traffic and pedestrian safety at the UW. Students and others on campus often wear headphones or talk on cell phones, which reduces their ability to notice and react quickly to traffic.

Fox said there will be “teeth” in the new policy, too. “The UW Police are right with us on this. They’re going to enforce this,” Fox added. Those violating the new policy may face a penalty of $81, the same amount as citations for other vehicles. Failure to wear a bike helmet — it’s the law, you know — can prompt a fine of $30, but even such citations as defective or missing equipment or lacking lights in darkness are at the full $81 level.

Fox said, “This makes it much clearer — that if (bike riders) are riding in a congested area, they are doing so outside of what is allowed.”

For more information on the Look Up! information campaign and the revised rules of the road for the UW, visit online at http://www.washington.edu/upass/lookup/Look_up2.html.

BICYCLE SAFETY STARTS WITH YOU — Information from the UW Police.

Unsafe bicycle riding creates a hazard for riders, pedestrians, and drivers. The University of Washington Police Department emphasizes bicycle safety and enforces bicycle laws throughout the year. Violations of the following may result in a citation:

Riding in the street

  • Obey all traffic laws. Bicyclists are required to follow the same rules of the road as driver of vehicles.
  • Use hand signals.
  • Stay to the right, except with turning left or unpractical, and allow vehicles to pass.
  • Yield to all pedestrians in crosswalks or driveways.
  • LOOK UP! and be aware of buses on the roadway.

Riding on sidewalks and pathways

  • Obey all applicable pedestrian-related laws.
  • Yield to all pedestrians in all situations.
  • Ride in a slow, controlled, reasonable manner with the flow of traffic.
  • Dismount and walk your bike in the Bike Walk Zones.
  • LOOK UP! and be aware of buses as you enter the roadway.

On the Burke-Gilman Trail

  • Yield to all pedestrians in all situations.
  • Obey stop and yield signs.

These are specifically for YOU.

  • Yield to motor vehicle traffic when crossing roadways, unless a signal (not person) grants you the right-of-way.
  • Stay to the right, except when passing.
  • Pass pedestrians and slower cyclists safely.
  • Give audible signal and pass on the left.
  • There is no speed limit in the City of Seattle, however any speed deemed unreasonable is a violation.

*** WARNING: Bicycle riding can be very expensive ***

  • Failure to stop at stop sign $81.
  • Passing in No Passing Zone $81.
  • Failure to Yield to Pedestrian $81.
  • Bicyclists suddenly entering roadway $81.
  • Unsafe/negligent action $81.
  • Speeding $81.
  • Defective/missing equipment $81.
  • Seats, brakes, and reflectors are mandatory.
  • No light during darkness $81.
  • White light must be visible to the front 500 feet away; red light to the rear is optional but highly recommended.
  • Failure to wear helmet $30. Mandatory and must be worn properly

Bike theft prevention tips: 

  • Three ways to reduce the chance of becoming a victim of bike theft:
    GOOD: Purchase a U-shaped lock and lock it through the bike frame, front tire, and bike rack. U-shaped locks are more difficult and time- consuming to defeat.
    BETTER: Purchase a cable lock along with a U-shaped lock and secure your rear tire to the frame using the cable lock. A cable lock alone is easy for a bike thief to defeat. A combination of the two locks may deter bike thieves.
    BEST: Rent a bike locker through UW Transportation Office at 1127 NE Boat St., 206-685-4761. Lockers are available for rent to currently enrolled UW students and employees who live off campus and regularly commute by bicycle to work or school on the Seattle campus.

– University of Washington Police Department