A steadily growing problem, not unlike the cycling woes of pedestrians in the past, has become quite evident this semester as students continue to use sidewalks as moped lanes.
One needs only to walk the short distance between Thomas Cooper Library and Russell House to see the ever-increasing number of mopeds incorrectly parked at bike racks in front of both buildings.
There are rows of Taotaos and Vespas taking up the spaces bicycles should be occupying, according to campus parking policy.
The Parking Services web page states, “Motorcycles and motor scooters must have a valid permit to park on campus. They may park only in designated motorcycle spaces in surface parking lots.” There are several lots for motorcycle and moped parking including lots near the Honors Residence Hall, LeConte College, and the School of Public Health, and while they may be less convenient, they’re there for a reason. Leave the bicycle racks for the bicycles.
The main issue, however, lies with students riding their five-horsepower steeds somewhat dangerously through campus sidewalks. When roads crisscross campus, traveling by street is easy to nearly any building, especially considering the roads have speed limits greater than that of walking. Taking your moped or motorcycle onto the sidewalk is foolish for many reasons: The danger it poses to pedestrians is one, and the fact it’s against the law is another.
Maybe you’re only riding a short distance and have no choice but to take sidewalks — for example, you want to take your hot pink Vespa from Capstone House to Gambrell Hall — but if zipping between classes is your goal, a bicycle is a far more sustainable, and healthier, option.
Furthermore, Parking Services bans the operation of motor scooters, mopeds and motorcycles on sidewalks and any pedestrian walkway. Enforcement of these policies is lacking, and Parking Services should take steps to uphold its own rules for the safety of students.
Tickets, fines or some other form of penalties should be given out to curtail this growing practice. Sidewalks are for pedestrians and, on campus, man-powered bicycles. Mopeds and other motorized cycles should stay on the road and off the sidewalks before someone fails to clear the way from an oncoming motorist.