bikes on campus

Every day, hundreds of cyclists compete for road space with drivers, pedestrians and CyRide buses. Iowa State’s campus follows the same rules for cyclists as the state of Iowa, which means that bicycles are given the same rights and responsibilities as any other driver according to the Ames Municipal Code.

Last week, a friend of mine suffered a concussion from a hit-and-run accident in which a bicyclist knocked my friend over. The accident occurred on one of the walking paths near central campus. The cyclist saw that my friend, who had hit her head on the sidewalk, was unconscious. When my friend regained consciousness, the cyclist asked her if she was OK before getting back on their bike and riding off without offering to call for help or even giving my friend their name or contact information.

When I started attending ISU a few years ago, we had signs around the walking paths that instructed cyclists and skateboarders to dismount and walk. I don't understand why these signs are no longer posted during regular sessions. There is no reason why people should be riding bicycles or skateboards, let alone bicycles and skateboards with electric motors, on walkways with heavy pedestrian traffic. It is a dangerous nuisance that inevitably leads to injuries for both cyclists and pedestrians.

But what is worse is that the cyclists and skateboarders on campus don't observe basic etiquette that you would expect on any mixed-use path. They pass pedestrians without warning, when they should (at a minimum) ring a bell or shout to let a pedestrian know where they are. If an accident occurs, then basic human decency should dictate that each person involved should stay on the scene until help arrives.

My friend had to go to the emergency room and missed days of work and class due to this accident. This is a disgrace, not only because ISU has done nothing to address the dangerous situation posed by bicycles and skateboards on walking paths, but also because the cyclist who injured my friend was too selfish and heartless to stay and help her afterward. We should not accept this "every person for themselves" mentality as the status quo. If we want to cultivate a community of excellence, then we need to be accountable to one another.

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(1) comment

Steve Gregg

In and around Central Park in Manhattan, racing bicyclists kill a pedestrian every year.

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