Feb. 21, 2023
VCU Police seek to change driver habits with increased traffic and parking enforcement
More citations issued to motorists as part of effort to improve street safety on VCU campuses.
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Drivers traveling through Virginia Commonwealth University’s campuses in Richmond may have noticed a recent increase in traffic and parking violations issued by VCU Police.
Earlier this month, police announced a concentrated campaign to promote pedestrian, cyclist and driver safety, including an increase in the number of citations issued to motorists. The announcement came after the death of a student, Mahrokh Khan, who was killed in a traffic accident while crossing the street last month.
VCU Police are launching multiple, targeted enforcement initiatives this semester, which start this week.
“Officers have been watching drivers more closely and issuing a range of citations on both campuses,” Chief John Venuti said. “Concentrating officers in specific areas helps us increase the ability to find drivers who are driving unsafely and who are potentially putting others at risk.”
Officers will look for drivers who speed. Richmond drivers are reminded that the highest posted travel speed for drivers along Broad Street is 35 mph, and the speed drops to 25 mph in VCU Police jurisdiction. The majority of streets on the campuses are also 25 mph.
Drivers will also be cited for:
- Failing to stop at red lights and stop signs.
- Disregarding traffic signs. For example, there are multiple signs along North Harrison Street prohibiting drivers from turning left on select streets between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday.
- Failing to yield the right of way to pedestrians in crosswalks.
- Illegally parking vehicles, specifically those near the corners of intersections and that obstruct sight lines for pedestrians at crosswalks.
Cyclists riding on roadways are expected to follow traffic signals and can be ticketed for failing to follow signage and failing to yield the right of way to pedestrians and drivers.
“Drivers have the responsibility to keep their eyes on the road, follow posted speeds and signs and yield to pedestrians,” Venuti said. “We’re increasing enforcement for drivers, but everyone plays a role in this effort. Cyclists and pedestrians should be aware at all times and be following signage appropriately.”
General safety tips for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians:
- Buckle up and drive sober.
- Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, including at unmarked intersections.
- When passing cyclists, give at least 3 feet of passing space and drive at a safe speed.
- Obey posted speed limits.
- Follow traffic signs and signals.
- Use hands-free technology to talk on the phone while driving. Alternatively, consider using a “do not disturb” setting. (It is illegal for drivers to hold a cell phone while driving.)
- Listen to music or audio without using earbuds or headphones.
- Always be aware of your surroundings.
- When riding on roadways, follow traffic signals and signage.
- Riding a bike on the sidewalk is legal, but you must yield to people walking or rolling.
- Use hand signals.
- If one is available, use a bike path.
- Always be aware of your surroundings; avoid using headphones or earbuds while riding.
- Consider wearing bright/reflective clothing and bike lights, especially at night, to make yourself more visible. (A front light and rear reflector are required after dark, and a red tail light is required on roadways with posted speeds of 35 mph or greater.)
- Wearing a helmet is recommended.
- Always be aware of your surroundings; using headphones or earbuds may block sound around you.
- Cross at crosswalks instead of crossing streets mid-block; cross when you have the “walk” light. (If you do not have the “walk light,” stay on the sidewalk if there is oncoming traffic.)
- Look both ways before crossing any crosswalk, intersection or roadway.
- Look up from your phone or electronic device every time you cross a street.
- Consider wearing bright/reflective clothing at night or carrying a flashlight.
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