Letters to the Editor – Sharing the sidewalk

First off, I ride a bike just about everywhere I can and it comes in especially handy here on campus.  I just flat out love to ride and I know there are many students and faculty that share my enthusiasm for  wheeling through the gauntlet of sprinklers and  across the everglades otherwise known as Ankeny Field in pursuit of the last bike rack at the RCC.  However, along with the halcyon joys of biking there comes a responsibility toward those who prefer to wear out shoe leather in there transits across campus.  I would just like to remind the cyclists of a few common courtesies that would make for a safer commute and improve the over all relationships we share with the foot traffic.

First off unless you are doing a time trial there is really no reason to be trying to break the land speed record while crossing the campus.  Slow down during times of congestion such as during change of classes and especially after dark.  Having a cyclist scream by with 2 inches of clearance is not appreciated.  If you want to break the sound barrier do it on the streets and not on the campus sidewalks.  I might add that the stopping distance for a bike on wet exposed aggregate sidewalks is comparable to the stopping distance of the Exxon Valdez.

Secondly, as a matter of courtesy,  a simple announcement of,   “passing on your left/right” when you approach a pedestrian from the rear gives them a warning of your approach and protects you from an inadvertent change of direction by the people you are passing resulting in a few extra pages in your medical records.  If you are too shy to announce your approach, a cheap bell or squeeze type horn will do the trick.  Unlike a car, on a bike you can actually communicate with others, what a concept!

Thirdly, refrain from chaining your bikes to stair rails especially ramps which can really hinder people who need to use the banisters in accessing the buildings .  It is college policy not to use railings for bike tethering.

While I’m at it, one of the best ways to keep from becoming another statistic on a police stolen bicycle report is to register your bike down at the WWPD headquarter on 3rd Ave., for 5.00 it’s a bargain.  And it goes without saying that a lock and cable are a necessity whenever you leave your bike unattended.

Have a great year and ride safely and courteously.

Tim Wright, Whitman Security Officer

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