Updated: 10/25/2013 10:35 PM
Created: 10/25/2013 4:16 PM KSTP.com
By: Josh Rosenthal
Getting around the University of Minnesota campus on bike isn't always easy. Now it can be expensive too, $98 expensive.
"They're kind of wasting resources in my opinion," said Charlie Crawford.
"It sucks," said Jenna Bloom. "I mean I'm not trying to spend $98 on a fine."
Added Sam Boddicker, "they're kind of inhibiting your ability to ride around."
Those students are talking about a rule -- and the fine that comes with breaking it -- that police haven't always strictly enforced. On campus, you can't ride your bike on a sidewalk unless it's a designated bike lane. Now police are cracking down. Last week, they started dishing out $98 fines.
"We'd prefer not to issue citations in regards to riding your bikes on the sidewalk," said UMPD Lt. David Wilske. "There's more, sometimes more important things that we could be doing also, but there is a public safety concern out there."
Here's why: police say more than 8500 students bike to class. That's about 1,000 more per day than at the same time last year, and according to an email from Vice President Pam Wheelock, it's led to "a growing number of interactions between bikers and pedestrians that don't meet the definition of Minnesota Nice."
The school did put out warning signs about six weeks before they started citing bikers, but that doesn't mean everyone listened. All together, more than 50 students have been fined so far.
University of Minnesota police hope campus bikers will have more room soon, and they're preaching patience. That's because once the Washington Ave. light rail construction is complete, one full lane will be for bikes.