bike summit

Rantspace: USC's Bike Summit

All I’ve heard about for the past two semesters on campus is this Bike Summit. A counsel is getting together to determine the best possible way to make pedestrian and biker travel on campus cohesive and friendly. We are considerate has been the campaign slogan, but I’ve started to question toward who we are being considerate. Pedestrians? Bikers? Skaters? All of the above? There seems to be little emphasis placed on being considerate towards those of us on wheels, and I am fed up with having pedestrians scowl at me for almost running them over after they purposefully walked out in front of my bicycle. You saw me coming, you still walked out in front of me expecting me to stop. Considerate? I think not. Even when I am trying to avoid you, dear pedestrian, and stay as far away from you as humanly possible, you find a way to make my life a living hell.

Now, not all pedestrians are bad eggs, in fact most of them are not ill intentioned at all, but a bunch of them are plain stupid about where they walk. Would you walk out in front of a moving car? No, you wouldn’t. So don’t walk out in front of a moving bike. Don’t cut me off when I’m speeding to class because I’m late thinking I can stop on a dime. Newsflash: I can’t. The likelihood of me hitting you with my bike is higher when you walk out in front of me. Or scowl at me, because I try to hit those who scowl at me. Just kidding.

Another concern are these satellite bike racks on the outskirts of campus. What!? As if I haven’t had two bikes stolen already! Let’s just place everyone’s bike in a secluded area at the edge of an open campus where any random passerby can walk by, cut my locks off, and roll away with my bike. And I won’t know until 2am when I’m getting off work and have to go home (which is 2 blocks from campus) that uh-oh my $300 bike has been stolen, again. This is a bad idea unless you’re planning on having security there 24/7 to guard my expensive transportation device. Also, how does this address the fact that people still have skateboards and scooters? Are they allowed to roll around campus with the pedestrians like it’s no big deal? Do they have to leave their boards on the outskirts of campus in a remote satellite location? Right, you never addressed that. I can see where the bias in this plan is already. Very considerate.

Or what about the talk of banning bikes from campus altogether? This would obviously be a large mistake on USC’s part. It will cause total chaos. Some of us don’t live in dorms on campus or across the street from campus anymore. Unless you plan on giving me free parking in PSX, you can scratch this plan.

And don’t get me started on this whole “hours you can and cannot bike on campus” thing. Really? Are you actually going to ban me from biking around campus for a certain number of hours? No offense, but I very highly doubt that bikers will listen to this sentiment. Even if you begged and pleaded with them. Biking is far too convenient for those that bike to ever give it up. You might as well ask me to walk to campus, which is essentially what you’re doing by suggesting this plan.

However, I do not disagree that pedestrians and bikers/skaters/scooter(ers?) need to be separated. There is a serious problem with respect from all parties.

A viable idea would be to establish some kind of bike lane. It doesn’t have to look tacky, but is has to be large enough for more than one bike to pass through at a time, or else we bikers will start wandering out into the pedestrian aisles (oh god, not again).

A viable idea would be to promote pedestrian to biker kindness, biker to biker kindness, pedestrian to pedestrian kindness, and any other combination of kindness you can think of.

A viable idea would be to create satellite locations on campus where I can check on my bike every so often.

It truly angers me that bikers get the short end of the stick in every conversation about this Bike Summit. We should all be respecting one another equally.

Overall, I think that bikers are willing to come to a settlement with the pedestrian population on campus. We are not here to maim you with our two wheeled beasts, we are here to go to class and do our work like any other student, and we want the on campus experience to be just as enjoyable as you do. Just reason with us.