Cyclist rule breaking leads to road redesign on the Oval

Julia Rentsch

For bicyclists on their way to class, turning against a one-way sign can buy some time — but this danger may not be worth it.

By mid-October, a re-striping project will make it both easier and safer for bikers to travel on the one-way streets leading to the Oval.

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A re-striping project on streets near the Oval. (Photo Credit: CSU).
A re-striping project on streets near the Oval. (Photo Courtesy: CSU).

After seeing bicyclists running stop signs, riding against the flow of traffic and riding on sidewalks parallel to roads in this area, officials proposed changes to streets in the name of safety.

Currently, bike lanes on roads leading up to the Oval travel in the same direction as the streets. There is no option for a bicyclist to travel against the flow of traffic on a one-way street. Amy Van Dyken Way and East Drive are two of the one-way streets leading up to the Oval.

Officials are planning to create a contra-flow bike lane on Amy Van Dyken Way and East DriveThis means cars will still travel only north on East Drive, and only south on Amy Van Dyken Way, but the bike lane will allow travel in the respective opposite directions.

The cars will be traveling in a shared-use lane, indicated by two arrows above the usual bike-riding ram. According to Alternative Transportation Manager Aaron Fodge, this sharrowmeans that if a biker wishes to go in the same direction as the cars, they can do so by sharing the lane.

A buffer will be put in place between the bike lane and the shared-use lane.

“The rationale is that there are not a lot of cars on campus, and they have to go at a slow speed,” Fodge said. “This is something that the students have requested.”

The RamBassadors are a group of students trained to assist commuters by giving advice on safety and how to avoid committing violations against CSU transportation regulations. It was members of this group who initially drew attention to the need for a change in road design.

“I believe that people biking tend to take the stance of a pedestrian law to get places more quickly,” said Joy Childress, supervisor of the Bicycle Education and Enforcement Program. “However, in the state of Colorado, bicycles are considered vehicles, so the correct stance is to follow all the same laws that cars do.”

Fodge cites this redesign as a measure to both utilize existing infrastructure and eliminate unnecessary enforcement in the area. Additionally, a stop sign was removed, and replaced with a yield sign, from the end of East Drive connecting to the Oval.

Someone biking the wrong way on the Oval. (Photo Credit: Julia Rentsch).
A student rides their bike the wrong direction on the Oval. (Photo Credit: Julia Rentsch).

“This allows a student bicyclists to move quickly through the intersection without having to stop if traffic is clear,” Fodge said. “And it removes unnecessary enforcement for students blowing the stop sign.

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The term “unnecessary enforcement” does not imply that there will be no law enforcement in these areas. It will be required for cyclists to travel according to the arrows in the shared lane. 

According to Fodge, a number of other re-striping projects will soon be taking place around campus. The road redesigns may take some getting used to, but cyclists should take this message to heart: Just go with the flow.

Collegian Sustainability Reporter Julia Rentsch can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @julia_rentsch.