Congested sidewalks demand courtesy
Thousands of 20-pound metal bicycles barreling down the streets of Farm Lane and Auditorium Road around noon is an unnerving sight to see while walking to class.
It’s absurd how fast some bikes zoom their way through crowded sidewalks. But with an enrollment of more than 40,000 students, everyone has to commute to class somehow — and in the warmer seasons, bikes seem to cause the most problems.
During a meeting with The State News Editorial Board, MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon explained why adding more bike paths to ease the congestion isn’t so easy.
“I haven’t found a donor for bike paths yet,” Simon said.
“The state is giving us no money for any deferred maintenance, which is one of the things they used to do.”
So what is a student to do to avoid getting run over by the crowds of swerving and unpredictable bikers?
For starters, it’s important to realize bikers aren’t all at fault. They could certainly cause injury to an unsuspecting walker, but both parties need make an effort to stay out of each other’s paths.
But an issue arises when a bike path is in between two car lanes, as is the case with one path located where Bogue Street and Shaw Lane used to intersect by a round-about. It was removed during the summer, and the brand-new path seems a little risky. Bikers likely feel less than safe wedged between two car lanes.
This isn’t the biker’s fault, but the lack of funds. Constructing separate pathways for bikers and walkers to coexist peacefully, much like the path near Chestnut Road and Spartan Stadium, sets the tone for what campus hopefully could be like in the future.
The growing enrollment might not be suited for an aging campus. Other issues prevent bike paths from being first on the pecking order of university planned improvements.
“Everything we’re doing to fix anything has to be … competitive with academic programs and faculty salaries and everything else that goes along the way,” Simon said.
Until the university implements permanent solutions to the bike issue on campus, there are some things students should be aware of.
Since it’s illegal to ride a bike on the sidewalk, bikers should make their way to the bike paths set aside in the roads.
In some areas, for example around Bogue Street where the sidewalk stretches over the Red Cedar River, bikers often stick to the sidewalk to avoid motor traffic. If you’re biking, be cautious of your surroundings and ride the brakes so as not to nudge into walkers.
During traffic-congested times of the day, students could walk their bikes at busy intersections instead of trying to navigate around the herds. It won’t hurt to bike halfway to class, park it and walk the rest of the way.
Walkers also could make an effort to avoid walking on bike lanes, both for their own safety and as a way to extend the olive branch. If pedestrians are nervous sharing the road with cyclists, avoid designated bike paths.
Courtesy toward fellow students making their way to class on any given mode of transportation is necessary to inspire change.
Until future plans for more paths are made by the university, slow down if you’re biking on the sidewalks.
Take a less-busy route when possible, and look out for busy intersections where there is potential for accidents to happen.