LAFAYETTE — Make sure you look both ways before crossing the street on the University of Louisiana at Lafayette campus these days. University police have been enforcing unpopular jaywalking laws on students trying to cut time on their commutes to class.
O fficers have issued more citations in general since new bikes lanes opened on St. Mary Boulevard this year, u niversity police spokesman Sgt. Billy Abrams said Friday. However, he said, the amount of jaywalking on campus far exceeds the number of other traffic violations on campus because of the number of pedestrians.
The enforcement effort has not been well received by some students.
“I’m not going to stop,” said Terry Smith, a sophomore business major. “It is kind of dangerous, though. Cars could not be paying attention.”
Smith said he thought it was stupid to give out citations to students on campus who are just trying to walk to class.
“We get cyclists complaining about pedestrians,” Abrams said. “The pedestrians complain about cars. The cars complain about the cyclists. We try to provide a safe environment for everyone.”
The department has issued far more warnings than citations, especially around St. Mary Boulevard, which Abrams said is worst area on campus because it separates the two main portions.
“I don’t see it too much on St. Mary, but on Rex Street, a lot of people do it,” freshman kinesiology major Heidi Redd said. “I do it a lot actually. I heard about some people getting tickets this week. I think giving them a ticket is a little overboard.”
Abrams said a jaywalking ticket can cost up to $240 in court fees, and that is before the judge sets a fine for each case.
“I think it’s too expensive for something so minor,” said Anthony Triche, a senior in industrial design who said he uses crosswalks and obeys the traffic signals.
He said he recognizes that jaywalking is against the rules and that university police have a right to cite students for it but questioned whether it’s necessary to go that far.
“It can be unreasonable given how much of a hurry everyone is in all the time,” Triche said. “If they’re not causing any danger, I don’t see why it’s that big of a deal.”
Abrams said he empathizes with students.
“I know it’s hard when you have so many minutes to get to your next class and you see everyone doing it,” he said. But, he said, university police would come under fire if someone were to get run over.
“Then they’d say, ‘Well, what are y’all doing to prevent it?’ ”