Better bike lanes mean better student safety Wednesday, Mar 23 2022 

By Catherine Brown–

Everyday, students ride bikes to get to class, to get home, or to get around the city. With better bike lanes, bike riding around campus could be made safer for everyone involved.

The biggest problem about bike lanes on campus is not necessarily the lanes themselves, but the lack thereof. Simply, there are too few bike lanes around campus for the number of people that ride bikes.

Without bike lanes, bikers either ride on the sidewalks or on the streets in car lanes — both of which are risky to the safety of the bikers and other pedestrians, as well as a danger to drivers.

And just like with electric scooters, bicycles are prohibited from being ridden on sidewalks.

Louisville Metro law states that bikes must be ridden on the sidewalk whenever feasible.

The Louisville Metro Government website says that “No person over 11 years of age or older shall operate a bicycle on any sidewalk within the geographical boundary limits of Louisville Metro, and nobody of any age shall ride on the sidewalk downtown.”

Lack of proper bike lanes makes following these rules and regulations difficult. As a result, cyclists ignore other bike safety laws put in place.

Unfortunately, the problem with asking for better bike lanes around the university is that many of the streets and sidewalks that surround the campus — like those beyond 2nd street near the residential areas — are not owned by U of L. Rather, many are owned by the city government. Thus, asking for improvements to be made means making appeals to the city council, not the university administration.

Nevertheless, poor bike lanes that end up affecting pedestrians and drivers are problematic and need to be fixed so that riders have more opportunity to ride in the lanes instead of sidewalks.

Additionally, improving the bike lanes could improve upon the problem of electric scooters on sidewalks.

When students take to riding scooters on the sidewalks, they get in the way of pedestrians and put everyone at risk. Plus, having a moving vehicle pass by you when walking is a nuisance.

If more bike lanes are added around campus — and if those bike lanes were widened –, riders would no longer have to share the sidewalk with those on foot. This would keep sidewalks safe for everyone and avoid accidents.

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Keep sidewalks safe and scooter-free Saturday, Mar 5 2022 

By Catherine Brown –

Electric scooters are a great way to get around campus. They’re fast, reliable and affordable. That being said – scooter users need to stop driving scooters through walking paths and leaving them in the middle of the sidewalk.

Bird, the company that provides electric scooters on Belknap Campus, clearly states on each scooter that the vehicle is not to be ridden on sidewalks. Still, students continually weave in between students on the sidewalks, causing frustration and a threat to safety. Riding scooters through high-traffic areas like outside the Belknap Academic Building or the Quad creates the danger of pedestrian accidents.

And when scooters are left out on walkways, they become an obstacle to the flow of foot traffic, especially when left lying down.

Furthermore, both U of L and Louisville Metro Council prohibit the use of electric scooters on sidewalks.

“That’s a dangerous habit – and it’s against the law in Louisville. Nobody of any age shall ride on the sidewalk downtown. Violations of the ordinance are punishable by fines of up to $50,” said Metro District 9 Councilman Bill Hollander.

U of L’s official policy on moped, scooter, and motorcycle use states that “The University of Louisville prohibits the operation of a moped, scooter, or motorcycle or other small-motorized transportation devices on any pedestrian walkways or sidewalks located on its campuses, in UofL buildings or other areas prohibited by UofL signs, state laws, or local ordinances.”

The policy also states that parked scooters blocking certain access areas – such as stairs, ramps and doors – could be fined.

Scooters can be parked anywhere: in designated parking spots, next to a building or off to the side of a sidewalk.

So why do people insist on parking their scooters in the middle of the sidewalk for everyone to have to walk around?

The inconvenience of trying to maneuver around a parked scooter is bad enough, but for students using wheelchairs or other mobility devices, the scooters are an obstacle.

The Bird app even incentivizes riders who use safety precautions, such as parking away from public pedestrian areas and wearing a helmet.

Riding an electric scooter or bike responsibly and in accordance with local laws creates a safer environment for all pedestrians who walk through campus. Please ensure to use scooters only in designated areas and to keep them parked away from walkways.

Photo by Catherine Brown // The Louisville Cardinal

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Light up Louisville: Install more lights around campus for student safety Saturday, Nov 20 2021 

By Catherine Brown —

As the sky gets darker at an earlier time each day, it’s imperative that students can commute around campus safely. U of L needs to fix the lighting situation around Belknap Campus that fosters an unsafe environment at night.

If you’ve ever walked past the parking lot at the corner of 3rd St. and Brandeis Ave. at night (between the Ville Grill and Cardinal Towne apartment building), you might be familiar with one significant problem that poses a threat to your safety.

A street light.

The problem with this particular streetlight is that it stays on until someone walks beneath it, during which it immediately turns off. For students walking around late at night to get to class or get home, the lack of lighting on campus can become a threat to safety as serious crimes are more likely to happen at night.

After the unfortunate events that took place at The Retreat in early October, and with no report from ULPD of the perpetrator’s capture, students are left on edge as they travel late at night.

Destiny Smith, a junior nursing major, said that when she lived on campus during her freshman year, she was not fond of walking around campus at night. For that reason, Smith avoided taking evening classes that would require her to be on campus after sunset. 

On the main area of the Belknap Campus, another streetlight problem exists. There are areas of campus where the lights are either too few in numbers or there are no lights at all. 

For instance, the sidewalk between the Speed Art Museum and 2nd St. has no streetlights whatsoever. The entire sidewalk is dark, with the only illumination coming from the street lights on the other side of the road. If something heinous were to happen in that area, it would become harder for passersby to notice or for the perpetrator to be identified.

Fortunately, the University of Louisville Physical Plant has plans to fix the problematic street lights, according to Sajid Mian, Assistant Vice President of U of L Physical Plant Operations.

Unfortunately, however, Mian said that installing new lights around campus is difficult because there are conflicts over ownership of areas around campus. For instance, the sidewalk near Speed and 2nd St. is a grey area because it’s hard to determine whether that sidewalk belongs to U of L or not. And there are certain areas of the city in which the city government is responsible for lighting.

But U of L needs to work with those responsible to fix this lighting issue. Students shouldn’t have to worry about walking around in the dark or taking another route to get home safely.

If the administration worked with the physical plant and with the city to install more street lights around campus, then maybe students can walk around at night with just a little more peace of mind.

Photo by Kyeland Jackson // The Louisville Cardinal

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Bringing awareness to ULPD safety tips for students Thursday, Oct 21 2021 

By Catherine Brown–

After a break-in and sexual assault of a female student at The Retreat was reported on October 11, students have been worried of the consequences to their personal safety around campus.

To ease these concerns, please keep in mind the following tips for staying safe on and around U of L campuses.

Never travel alone when in an unfamiliar area or late at night.

When traveling late at night, you should be aware of your surroundings at all times. This is hard to do when walking alone. As such, consider bringing a travel companion with you — a friend, a classmate, a roommate, sibling, etc.

When you travel with others, you double the opportunity to spot any oddities in your area. Both you and your companion can be on the lookout for any weird noises, sights, or suspicious happenings. Please stay off of your phone.

If both of you are traveling to different places, you might want to walk together until one person gets to their destination. Once you know that they’re inside a building or around people that either of you trust, then you can leave. 

And be sure that you communicate with the other person at all times. Text or call the other person to let them know when you arrive. 

If you travel late at night, be sure to stay in well-lit areas. Belknap Campus has a walking trail called the “L Trail.” The L Trail is a long sidewalk path accompanied by streetlights to provide safer, well-lit travel between the SAC, the Quad, Ville Grill, and a few residence halls.

Keep doors and windows closed and locked at all times.

After the incident at The Retreat, U of L administration along with ULPD sent out reminders for students to keep all doors and windows locked when not in use. Before leaving for class, ensure that your doors and windows are closed and locked properly. When you go to bed, do the same thing. 

By keeping your doors and windows locked, you can protect yourself against potential break-ins.

Always have a police number on hand. 

Ensure that you know the numbers of any safety department on and around campus. U of L Chief of Police Gary Lewis that if you “see something, say something.” He urges anyone to use the campus police dispatch number (502) 852-6111 or 911.

If you have to call the dispatch for any reason, provide the dispatcher with your location and state of emergency. Give any details that you can about the emergency or about any possible perpetrators of a crime (if applicable). 

If traveling at night without a companion, call the university escort service to be taken to your destination. The service is free and easy to use. Call the Cardinal Cruiser escort service at 852-6111 to request an escort to anywhere within 4 blocks from Belknap Campus or to parking lots around the Health Sciences Center Campus.

You can also download the RAVE Guardian app to easily reach emergency services, report a tip on a crime, or make friends/emergency services aware of your ETA.

The university provides a variety of resources for students and faculty to be safe while on campus. You have a right to feel safe in public and especially at U of L. Don’t hesitate to utilize any resources necessary.

Graphic by Eli Hughes//The Louisville Cardinal

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Police foil attempted robbery near University Towers Thursday, Aug 26 2021 


By Eli Hughes–

The University of Louisville Police Department says it stopped an attempted robbery and assault of a student near University Tower Apartments early Wednesday morning. The info came in an Aug. 25  RAVE alert.

“A UofL police officer on patrol identified an attempted robbery and assault Wednesday at about 2:30 a.m. near University Tower Apartments,” the alert read. “The officer interrupted the assault and pursued the suspect, who fled the scene. UofL Police secured the immediate area. Staff are providing support and resources to the student. ULPD is expanding patrols in the area.”

ULPD Chief of Police Gary Lewis said that the investigation is ongoing and a physical description of the suspect cannot be released at this time. Lewis did not release any further information regarding property lost or injury suffered by the victim but said the victim received immediate care.

The RAVE alert was sent out at 9:59 a.m. Wednesday morning and Lewis said the alert was delayed because police did not perceive any urgent threat.

“The suspect fled the scene eliminating any immediate threat to the campus community. The investigation later revealed that an assault and attempted robbery had occurred and the notification was distributed to the campus community,” Lewis said.

ULPD reminds students to keep the following safety guidelines in mind:

  • Stay alert and be aware of your surroundings.
  • Walk with confidence and purpose.
  • Use well-lit public walkways.
  • Walk with a friend.
  • Avoid texting or displaying a smartphone while traveling.
  • Use the Cardinal Cruiser escort service by calling (502) 852-6111.
  • Download the free RAVE safety app for your iPhone or Android phone.

Anybody who has any information on this incident is encouraged to call (502) 852-6111.

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Student removed from campus apartments after accidentally discharging firearm Wednesday, Nov 27 2019 

By Matthew Keck —

A University of Louisville student living in the Cardinal Towne apartments accidentally discharged a firearm Nov. 23, sending the bullet through the above room. No one was injured in this situation, but the student who fired the gun has been removed from Cardinal Towne and is facing disciplinary actions.

Executive Vice President and Provost Beth Boehm sent out a letter to students Nov. 26. “The student who discharged the weapon has been removed from campus housing and is facing disciplinary action as defined by the code of student conduct,” said Boehm. “Our housing office reached out to the affected students, offering them the opportunity to move to other housing, and the Dean of Students’ office and ULPD have engaged with the students to provide additional support.”

U of L Dean of Students Michael Mardis addressed the media Nov. 26 and said the gun was immediately seized from the student in question. He also said that the student wasn’t removed from the housing complex until Nov. 25, even though the incident happened two days before.

There was no RAVE alert sent out for this incident on Nov. 23. “As a reminder, U of L issues RAVE alerts when there is an imminent danger to students, faculty and staff,” said Boehm. “Because ULPD and Campus Housing quickly engaged the situation, there was no further threat to other students.”

Boehm also said in the letter that safety is the university’s top priority. She mentioned U of L’s weapon policy which prohibits deadly weapons on any property owned, leased, operated or controlled by U of L. This policy has been in place since 1996.

While both Boehm and Mardis said that the bullet went into the student’s closet, images from the student in the above room show the bullet was inches from her bed.

Boehm urged students, faculty and staff to call ULPD if they see something that concerns them on campus. She also highlighted the Cardinal Principle, being a “community of care.”

“Our safety is in large part determined by the quality of our response and the strength of the ties between us,” she said.

The student who fired the shot isn’t facing criminal charges, but is facing possible expulsion from U of L.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal 

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