Don’t blame cyclists for safety problems

It seems like every year there is another iteration of the same anti-cyclist rhetoric in the Kernel that tries to pose as a high-minded safety warning. Evan Storck’s letter “Cyclists should follow campus safety rules” in the Kernel on Aug. 31 proves that this year is no exception. The fact is that this kind of attitude toward those who choose to bike on campus only serves to make it a much more dangerous activity than it should be.

The number of bike lanes in and around campus is a joke. There are none on South Limestone, University Avenue, Cooper Drive, Woodland Avenue, Columbia Avenue or virtually any other street in or around campus excluding Rose Street, Huguelet Avenue and Euclid Avenue. And no bike lanes means unsafe riding conditions for bicyclists who are mandated by “traffic law” to ride on the streets.

The attitude extends to motorists who distract bikers by cutting them off, roaring past or in some cases literally shouting at them to get off the road.

And it must be said that the bike lane on Rose Street should not count as a safety precaution for anyone. Riding there during class breaks is possibly the most dangerous thing one can do with a bike. Praying that none of the hundred cell-phone chatting students on the sidewalk decide to cut across the road without looking and thus step directly into the cyclists’ path is truly a stressful exercise. And they do frequently cross without looking.

Additionally, at this time when there is major construction throughout campus, including all areas surrounding the Medical Center and the administration building, even more understanding should be given to bicyclists who choose to ride on a sidewalk instead of taking a four block detour to get to class. Instead, there is only condemnation.

If you are truly concerned about the safety of the students and employees of the university, you should be worried about keeping the cyclists safe on the street and not about keeping them off of “No-Bike” zones. One will naturally follow the other.

Brian Vincent

Health sciences graduate student