MAILED: Aug. 2, 2001
EAU CLAIRE — The University of
Wisconsin-Eau Claire Office of Public Safety was recently awarded two state
grants to ensure bicycle and pedestrian safety.
The grants, awarded by the Wisconsin Department of
Transportation, total $1,000 each. The department will match each grant with an
award of $250 for each project.
Seeing a need to increase awareness of bike and
pedestrian safety, Officer Doug Hubbard, the department’s grant coordinator,
applied for the state grants hoping the department would receive financial help.
“We worry about the speed of cyclists, especially on
the campus hill,” Hubbard said. “Most accidents are with bikes. People go
down the hill too fast and lose control.”
According to Hubbard, most people riding a bike down the
campus hill are moving faster than the 15-mile-per-hour speed limit which cars
also are required to obey.
University police are busy each day and night responding
to emergencies, doing investigations and attending to other assigned duties. The
money from the grants will be used to pay the officers’ extra shifts to spend
more time on bicycle and pedestrian safety enforcement.
“We’ve seen these problems over the years and need to
spend more time enforcing traffic safety for pedestrians and cyclists,”
Hubbard said. “This will allow our officers to be more proactive. It’s
difficult to give officers overtime without the assistance of grant awards.”
According to Hubbard, the officers have been using radar
for many years but have not been able to use it regularly. This grant will allow
officers to use radar on a more consistent basis. Officers will be looking for
pedestrians walking out in front of traffic without looking or walking against
traffic signals, as well as for motorists weaving in between bicyclists and
“The campus is probably the most highly congested area
in the city,” Hubbard said. “We’re lucky we don’t have more injuries
than we do.”
The grants will provide for enforcement throughout the
month of September when students are moving into the dorms and 2,200 new
freshmen will be new to the campus. “For their safety, we want the new
freshmen to know our rules,” Hubbard said.
Hubbard is hopeful that the state will see that they need
this money to help correct a problem, and that future grants will allow them to
do more patrolling throughout the school year.
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: Aug. 2, 2001