Misleading signs intimidate cyclists, skaters

Posted restrictions conflict with bike-friendly movement

By Benjamin Bassham, News Editor

Inaccurate signs have been placed on campus saying use of bicycles, skateboards and inline skates is prohibited, and will be cited, but Police Services has “no intention of ticketing” responsible users.

Buildings and Grounds Manager Bruce King said when the Contra Costa Community College District Governing Board decided to ban hover boards, Police Services said the signs were necessary to enforce the ban.

The signs, placed at three entrances to the campus, are a district-standard design that hasn’t been brought up to date, and they don’t mention hover boards.

King said Police Services has no intention of ticketing bike users.

“It’s the letter of the law versus the intent of the law,” he said.

Police Services Corporal Tom Holt said, “I can’t say they are not unlawful, (but) we don’t write everyone a ticket that rolls through a stop sign at one mph, even though it is illegal.”

Even hover boards are not necessarily banned. Holt said, “Everything is generally permitted. We probably won’t stop people who are using hover boards in a responsible manner.” It only became an issue because “hover boards were being ridden in hallways, not showing courtesy to pedestrians,” he said.

King and automotive technology assistant Jim Gardner both stated dissatisfaction with the signs.

“They are the most unwelcoming signs I’ve seen on this campus,” Gardner said. “I’m upset and I’m not even a biker. We spent a lot of energy making this a bicycle-friendly campus. When they see that sign, the law abiding (students) will be intimidated,” he said.

King and Gardner, both members of the Sustainability Committee, said the effort and expense that went into putting bicycle racks in front of every building on campus, and installing two bike lockers, and a bike repair station by the Bookstore, are somewhat sabotaged by the threats of the red on white sign.

The Sustainability Committee hosted Bike to School Day on Thursday, like every other May 12, in defiance of the signs.

“I’m confused, and you can quote me on that,” Gardner said.

District Police Chief Ed Carney said an internal discussion about consistency is beginning. 

“We understand, and we are working on it,” he said. (The signs) may be clarified by fall and standardized across the district.

Gardner said that Diablo Valley College already has far more suitable signs saying that skateboards, skates and bicycles are regulated, and in more reassuring colors. The signs are just intended to show that Police Services has authority over the reckless, regardless of that they’re riding. Even if no one cares enough to update the sign to mention hover boards, DVC’s style of sign would be an improvement.

King said the issue would have to go back to the Governing Board to make that change.