The other day, I was riding my bike across campus. All seemed well; the sun was shining, there was a breeze and the sky was perfectly blue. It seemed nothing could go wrong, until I passed by the library and suddenly stopped because of the pedestrians in the bike lane.
The sidewalks are divided into “bikes only” and “pedestrians only” for a reason. It’s not funny or safe to walk in front of a bicycle six feet away so that the cyclist has to swerve suddenly. The sidewalk by the library is more than wide enough to accommodate the flow of foot-traffic. There is no reason to deliberately walk in the bike lane and taunt the cyclists.
The problem with the clash between bikes and pedestrians is that the pedestrians will do dangerous stunts that they would never attempt with cars. People have slowed in front of me and refuse to acknowledge me when I’m trying to pass. There are people who will walk closer and closer, pretending they don’t notice and force me off the sidewalk. Perhaps it’s because they never heard of anyone being killed in a biking accident, but people seem to ignore us when we’re on the road.
If we could just follow a few simple rules, life could be a lot easier and happier for all of us getting around campus.
Rule One: Pedestrians, stay in your own lanes. Forcing to swerve around you all in a “bikes-only” lane can really ruin my day and raise my stress levels, because I really don’t want to hit anybody and wipe out. I should not have to play a game of live-action Frogger when getting across campus.
Rule Two: Take notice of your surroundings. Put down your phones and iPods and look around when you’re walking. There are signs posted, there are yellow lines, biking rams and pedestrians painted on the road. Look around and follow directions.
Rule Three: Be courteous. When someone comes behind you on a bike and says, “On your left/right,” move over and let them go. It’s really simple. Similarly, if you see a guy about to pass you and he’s going the other direction, move over well before he gets there. If you deliberately step in front of us, we might hit you, thereby ruining our days and forcing us to visit the health center and police station.
Rule Four: Stop walking in such huge groups. When you and your giggling bunch of friends take up the entire sidewalk, you’re impeding everybody trying to pass you.
Rule Five: Don’t steal our tires when we’ve locked our bikes into the racks. I don’t even know why you’d go to such trouble and risk getting caught for something you can just get at the BikeShop. The only real gain is that you’ve managed to ruin some guy’s day with your petty greed and cruelty.
Please guys, just think. If you’re in the bike lane by the library and someone asks you to move over, move over.
Allison Chase is a junior Creative Writing major who loves her little red bicycle and enjoys riding in autumn. Letters and feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, or just ring your bell.