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UNF Spinnaker

Legislation in preparation stages for non-motorized motorists' safety

UNF is making strides to promote better safety standards for students who use non-motorized vehicles (NMV) by proposing various plans, legislation and restrictions for bikers and skaters.

Several committees on campus are pushing for approval of a new legislation which requires NMV users to dismount their non-motorized vehicles and walk across crosswalks. The only NMV user that will not be affected is the rollerblader/skater, who will not be required to dismount, said UPD Chief John Dean. All others face a $30 citation if they do not comply.

The regulation will go to the Board of Trustees April 13 for approval.

Meanwhile, UNF’s current revisions of the Master Plan include bike lanes that would circle the campus and connect Jacksonville’s bike lanes.

The push for these changes come after two NMV-related accidents during this semester, as well as several incidents where accidents almost occurred, Dean said.

Everett Malcolm, associate vice president of student affairs, said most NMV issues on campus are involving skateboarders losing control of their boards, which turn them into projectiles that damage university property.

Students can get involved in the process and share their opinion at the board meeting April 13 or on Student Government’s NMV safety survey, which will be released to faculty, staff and students after the NMV Task Force reviews it.

‘Stroll, Don’t Roll’ campaign

The NMV task force, led by Vice President of Student and International Affairs Mauricio Gonzalez, is a group on campus that makes NMV recommendations to the Safety Council Committee.

The task force met March 29 to discuss its new marketing campaign, “Stroll, Don’t Roll,” which will promote the regulation if the BOT approves it April 13.

Gonzalez said the task force’s intent is not to ban NMVs but to provide new methods to promote safety on campus. It’s difficult to find a balance between safety promotions and restrictions, he said.

“I would hate to see a university that restricts bicycles to the point that we don’t see them on campus,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez said the NMV task force will instead focus on the “Stroll, Don’t Roll” campaign, putting up flyers and posters around campus.

Gonzalez also recommended sign changes to be made across campus to further inform students of safety protocol.

Dean and Malcolm showed concern for the issue of on-campus signage, posing the idea of creating signs on the ground for skateboarders to see. The proposed idea involves using materials which adhere to the concrete to notify students about the changes.

“If I’m on a skateboard, my eyes are focused on the ground, so we almost have to create ground signage,” Malcolm said. “Right now, the signage we have accommodates one audience [bikers] and not the other [skateboarders].”

UPD will also increase public awareness of NMV rules by positioning officers at crosswalks on campus. Dean said the goal of the marketing campaign is compliance, but if the legislation is approved, UPD will have the right to ticket.

“We’re going to start off with education … we’re going to warn people with warnings,” Dean said. “And then if we can’t get compliance, it will lead to citations.”

Master Plan proposes bike lanes

Current Master Plan deliberations, which have yet to be finalized, also propose creating bike lanes on campus which connect students to the biking network found throughout Jacksonville.

Statute requires the university to revisit the Master Plan every five years. The idea for bike lanes has been discussed before but was not financially possible.

Director of Facilities Planning Zak Ovadia said the plans to make bike lanes will take at least three years to finalize. UNF is hoping to receive state funding to create them.

“The will is there, the means are not,” he said. “Things do take time, and things depend — especially nowadays — 100 percent on funding.”

Dean said UNF is currently playing “catch-up” with other universities in terms of bike lanes and NMV accommodations. Dean, who is an avid biker, feels the bike lanes would benefit NMV users on campus.

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