Learning to share the roads with bicycles and pedestrians can be an adjustment for people when they visit our campus or become a member of the UK community, whether they are in a motor vehicle, on a bike or on foot.
UK is the single largest generator of bicycle and pedestrian trips in Lexington, actively working to increase the number of people cycling and walking to campus through both education and infrastructure improvements.
In the past month, an alarming number of collisions between automobiles and people on bicycles and people on foot have made local headlines. Between Nov. 6 and Nov. 24, there have been nine incidents between motor vehicles, people on foot or bicycles in the Lexington area. Two of these were fatal.
We all have a role to play in promoting roadway safety and protecting ourselves and fellow citizens.
It is imperative that all roadway users remain attentive and alert and understand the rules of the road. Those operating any vehicle — automobile or bicycle — have the same rights, rules and responsibilities on most Kentucky roads. All roadway users should exercise caution and patience, particularly on campus where bicycle and pedestrian traffic is especially heavy.
I have been very deliberate in not using the labels “cyclist” or “driver.” That is because we are all people, first and foremost — whether we are behind the wheel of a car or truck, on a bicycle or on foot.
Regardless of how we choose to traverse campus and Lexington, we are students, employees, alumni and friends. Sometimes people on bicycles or on foot do not pay full attention to their surroundings or are in a hurry, and they do not obey traffic laws — just as people in motor vehicles do not always pay full attention to their surroundings or are in a hurry, and do not always obey traffic laws.
Inattention in a roadway, no matter how brief, can quickly lead to life-changing, even deadly, consequences. “Share the Road” is not just a catchy slogan — it is a responsibility that we all share as people and roadway users. Please be safe out there, Wildcats.
Stuart Kearns is the associate director of transportation for Parking and Transportation Services and chair of the university’s Bicycle Advisory Committee.