As the volume of complaints hit record highs this fall, U of M police decided to crack down on annoying sidewalk bikers.
Cops are now writing $98 tickets for that infraction. University Police Chief Greg Hestness told the Minnesota Daily that while he'd rather not dole out fines, "Compliance this year has been completely absent... we need people to follow the rules."
The Daily reports that the number of cyclists on campus rose by 13 percent this year, to about 1,000. And not only are more students biking, they have no choice but to head through campus since Washington Avenue is closed to bikers thanks to Green Line LRT construction.
As you'd imagine, some Gophers think $98 is a steep price to pay for broke college students.
Asked about the fines, journalism sophomore Cindy Love told the daily, "It's ridiculous." Spoken like a true broke journo!
The Daily also notes that U of M cops are considering a policy where bikes left for more than a week on public racks would be confiscated. The problem is that some students are having a hard time finding rack space in heavily biked areas. That, in turn, can result in lateness for classes and meetings.
While this year sounds pretty rough for U of M bikers and the authorities charged with safely keeping pedestrian traffic moving through campus, there's reason to believe the situation could improve soon. The Green Line LRT is scheduled to open sometime next June or July, presumably reopening Washington Avenue to bikes and easing some of the on-campus congestion.