Sep 192011
 
Authors: Emily Kribs, Libby Williams

Emily Kribs, freshman

Biking is a form of transportation that’s healthy, environmentally friendly, convenient and popular on campus.

On the other hand, I often wish bikes were a little heftier, or came with a snowplow. You know, so people would have some incentive not to be idiots about this.

I’ve yet to witness any collisions, but they never seem far at hand when I bike to class in the morning, especially when you factor in the cyclists who swerve into the lane of oncoming traffic to escape from behind slower-moving people. Throw in some cars and a dusting of longboarders in a few places, and getting to class without a serious injury can feel like a big accomplishment.

My favorite part is when there are pedestrians insisting on walking in the bike lane despite a perfectly good sidewalk right next to it. You see that picture of a bike on the ground? That ground is not for you. Get out of the bike lane.

And, of course, you always go and get stuck behind them. It’s invariably a pack of girls too busy trying to remain in formation with the perfect mix of personal space and audibility to go faster than a mile an hour. At that point, you may as well hop off and walk your damn bike home. I mean, you’re going to tip over otherwise.

Of course, not all the blame goes to pedestrians. There are slow cyclists, too, or those who just don’t seem to know what they’re doing. Yes, you have to stop at stop signs, but after any earlier arrivals have departed, you’re allowed to take off. You don’t have to wait until everyone else in the world and their dog has enjoyed a nice traversal across that intersection before you can go.
Did you fail your driving test or something? Maybe there should be a biking test.

Bikes can be pretty inconvenient now that I think about it. They’re always off getting stolen or knocking the chain off its perch. I, for one, am still sporting a week-old bruise from falling off at the dismount zone. I-I mean, yeah, I have every right to complain about incompetent cyclists!

Totally!

And then you have to find a place to park your bike, which is doubly fun if it’s raining. The only plus is that no one wants to steal your soggy pair of wheels.

It’s almost enough to make a person want to walk, or something ridiculous like that.

Libby Williams, senior

Don’t be ridiculous: keep riding your bike. I mean, school is hard enough without adding walking to the mix.

To avoid excessive walking, I prefer the good ole’ automobile. A Buick, actually. I may be the only 23-year-old sporting a white LeSabre in Fort Collins, but I’m not humiliated. At least I am not walking. Navigating campus by foot is enough for me, and I live too far away (like in a different town) to make walking or even biking, feasible.

But I think that the principle behind biking is a good one. Poor college students need a cheap way to get around. It’s healthy, it’s quicker than walking and you don’t have to fuel it up every three days.

Yet, I’ve still never in my five and a half years of college biked to school. The biggest reason is that I haven’t owned a bike. Another still very important basis for me not biking is that I’m totally petrified of riding among traffic, especially in the middle of people who drive like I do.

Let’s face it: there are good drivers and there are bad drivers. I’m probably in the “bad driver” category. I’ve never been malicious toward bikers; I’m just not great at remembering that we share the road.

There have been instances when the Buick scared a biker or two, without me even knowing it. There are a couple of times that I have come close to running a biker into a curb. Fort Collins bikers might have a warrant out for my car.

And I’m not the only bad driver in this town. I’ve heard stories about bikers actually being hit by drivers. That’s enough to make a cyclist rethink their route to class.

At the same time, just like drivers, there are good and bad bikers. The bad ones, as Emily suggested, are the ones who swerve into traffic (usually right in front of my car) to overtake slower bikers. They are the ones who don’t remember that traffic signs are for them, too.

Thankfully, here at CSU, we have bicycle cops. They sit mounted, waiting for perpetrators to roll through stop signs on the way back to the dorms, chase them down and then embarrass them in front of 50 of their peers to remind them of their biking responsibilities.

I have no practice biking on campus, but Emily, it sounds like you’ve got it figured out. Just beware when snow and ice blow in. Not only will you have to avoid bad drivers, other bikers and bike cops, but you’ll also have to worry about maintaining a consistent speed and balancing on sheets of glass, with snow blowing in your face.

Maybe then you will rethink walking.

 Posted by at 4:00 pm

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