Skip to Content

Law Enforcement and Safety


Traffic Safety

With so many moving parts and people, understanding the university's traffic and vehicular policies is essential to campus safety. Be informed of requirements, obey laws and help every member of our campus community stay as safe as possible.

All Motor Vehicles

Speed Limits

Drivers of vehicles are expected to drive at safe speeds for conditions such as adverse weather, lightning and traffic conditions. Posted speed limits must always be obeyed.

Driving On Campus

Drivers should be especially careful at crosswalks, intersections, stoplights, and during peak class hours when areas are often congested with pedestrians. A reduced speed is appropriate at these times.

Walkways, sidewalks and the area between the gates of Greene Street are pedestrian-only areas. Driving mopeds or scooters on these areas is prohibited. Violators may be ticketed and fined.

 

Mopeds, Motorcycles and Scooters

If you own and operate a moped,motorcycle or scooter, it’s essential to know that they're very different even though they may look alike. Because the power of their motors varies, the laws governing each vary, too. Learn and follow the correct laws to keep yourself and others safe from harm.

Register Your Vehicle

University policy requires mopeds, motorcycles and scooters to be registered with Parking Services.

Parking

Mopeds, motorcycles and scooters have designated parking spaces.

Parking on the sidewalk or securing your moped to a bicycle rack is prohibited.

Mopeds should never be brought inside any university building.

Licenses and Tags

Motorcycles and Scooters
Must have a vehicle license tag from the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles.

To operate a motorcycle or scooter, you must have a Class M driver's license.

All vehicles that are considered scooters must be registered and insured as motorcycles, regardless of whether or not they have a transmission with gears or a single-speed unit.

Mopeds
Moped tags are issued by a moped dealer and must meet certain specifications. Moped tags must be:

  • made of reflective metal.
  • have a validation sticker on the tag.

To operate a moped, you must have a Class D, G or M driver’s license.
A moped driver must have his or her license in possession at all times when operating a moped.

Moped drivers are subject to traffic laws governing other motor vehicles.

Mopeds are not motorcycles or scooters.

 

Bicycles

Reporting Driver Harassment
Any time a driver makes conditions unsafe for bicyclists or harasses riders, note the tag number and a description of the vehicle and report the incident to USCPD at 803-777-4215 or Columbia Police Department at 803-252-2911. Even if an injury did not occur, report the incident.

Rules for Bicycles

The University of South Carolina promotes bicycle riding and has earned the League of American Bicyclists’ Bike Friendly University Silver Level Award. While cycling is a healthy and cost-effective alternative to driving a car, it does come with the need for increased safety precautions and a greater awareness of your surroundings.

Register Your Bicycle

Register with Parking Services
All bicycles parked on campus at UofSC must be registered with Parking Services.

Register with USCPD
Visit Register Your Property, email Sgt. Kenny Adams at ADAMSKL@mailbox.sc.edu or call 803-777-0855.

Parking

On campus, parked bicycles must be secured to a bike rack. Do not secure your bike to any of the following:

  • light poles
  • handrails
  • parking meters
  • street signs
Follow All Traffic Laws

Bicyclists must obey all applicable traffic laws, just the same as an operator of any other vehicle.

Riding on the Sidewalk
Many municipalities ban cyclists from riding on sidewalks. Check your area to see if sidewalk riding is permitted. Riding a bicycle on the sidewalk is not allowed in many crowded city areas, including downtown Columbia.

Bike Lanes
If an exclusive bike lane exists, cyclists must travel in this lane unless it is blocked. Cyclists may use the road to pass other cyclists. A recreational bike path does NOT have to be used. Cyclists can use the road if they prefer, for instance, if the bike path is poorly maintained or clogged with pedestrians.

There is a difference between an exclusive bike lane and a recreational bike path. A bike lane is paved, and is usually on the roadway. Recreational bike paths are usually adjacent to the road and may or may not be paved.

Riding on the Road
When there is no bicycle lane, cyclists should stay as far to the right of the road lane as possible. Cyclists can ride on the shoulder if there is one.

Cyclists should ride to the right third of the road lane as long as it is safe to do so. An exception would be in the case of making a left turn going straight in an intersection that has a right turning lane. A cyclist should remain in the right third of the lane going straight and not enter the right turning lane.

Bicyclists are not permitted to ride more than two abreast (more than two riders side-by-side) unless in a bicycle lane or on a recreational bike path.

Multiple Riders
Unless a bicycle was designed and equipped to carry more than one person, only one rider is allowed.

Safety

Visibility
Maintaining visibility is a key part of bicycle safety, especially at night. Bicycles driven at night in South Carolina are required to have a front lamp, illuminating at least 500 feet in front of the bike, and a red rear reflector that must be visible 50 to 300 feet in front of the headlights of a vehicle.

Ankle reflectors are easily seen with the movement of pedaling feet and further enhance your visibility.

Although bicycle helmets are not required by law in South Carolina, they are an essential piece of safety gear. In addition to protecting the head, they provide an extra surface on which to place reflective tape and increase visibility.

A red, rear-flashing light and reflective clothing are also recommended to increase visibility.

Laws For Drivers

Distance
Drivers must maintain a safe operating distance from cyclists. Driving too close, whether unintentionally or as a form of harassment, is called buzzing.

Shouting and Throwing Objects
It is illegal for drivers to maliciously shout or throw objects at cyclists. This is also a criminal offense, and punishable by a fine of no less than $250 and up to 30 days in jail.
 

Pedestrians

It is up to pedestrians to be alert, travel inside crosswalks and on sidewalks and to obey traffic lights. 

Sidewalks

Under South Carolina law, pedestrians (including people pushing strollers, traveling on rollerblades and skateboards, and those in wheelchairs or traveling with other assistive devices) must walk on sidewalks whenever they are present. Pedestrians have complete right-of-way on the sidewalk.

If there are no sidewalks, pedestrians should travel on the shoulder of the road.

If there is no shoulder or sidewalk, pedestrians must then walk on the far left side of the road.

Crossing a Street

When a crosswalk is present, this is the safest place to cross a street or intersection. Push the button, and wait for the crossing signal indicating that it’s safe. Look both ways before crossing the intersection.

If crossing somewhere other than a crosswalk, pedestrians must always yield to oncoming vehicles.

Safety

Be Aware of Your Surroundings

Keep one ear free. If listening to music or a Bluetooth device, do not insert headphones into both ears — you need to be able to hear oncoming traffic, car horns, or someone shouting a warning.

Do not stare down at your mobile device, tablet or e-reader while traveling down a sidewalk, the side of a road, or while walking around campus.

Walking while drunk or high enough to become a hazard is not only dangerous, but illegal! If you become very intoxicated or impaired by drugs, call a friend, cab or one of the university’s transportation options.

Be Mindful of Driver Behavior
Assume that oncoming cars can’t see you, and modify your movements accordingly.

Do not assume that an activated turn signal means that a car is turning at an intersection.