Thrill rides through campus

By on September 21, 2011

By Anna Meany–

Can you recall being seconds from death along these campus sidewalks? I certainly can. Every day, pedestrians take the chance of their lives as we share the walkways with reckless bicyclists.

Apart from spontaneous squirrel attacks, train derailment and low-lying planes, a serious danger exists within campus boundaries.

If you weren’t concerned about this danger before, hopefully I’ve got your attention now. All of us have experienced the terror of being surprised by a bicycle on the way to class. I’m sure, like myself, you’ve often imagined what would happen if you hadn’t stepped out of the way. How does pavement sound for lunch? Picture the bicycle flattening your body as your schoolmates cry out in horror. Even the slightest nudge would send you head first into a puddle of concrete.

What’s really embarrassing is shrieking when a bicycle whizzes past you. Add embarrassment to the list of problems that bicycling causes. It’s understood that many students ride bicycles because it reduces the amount of carbon emissions released to our atmosphere; it’s a more healthy and cost-efficient alternative to driving a car. While I’m happy that it’s a convenient and eco-friendly means of travel to class, it’s obvious that these bicyclists believe they run the world. Arrogantly, they whiz past pedestrians without any polite warning. These hippies are so concerned with helping the environment that they completely disregard human life.

The absence of any recorded injuries by bicycle is irrelevant. Some may call this extreme paranoia. But those who make fun will be totally oblivious before they encounter a determined bicyclist. Where is the care? Shouldn’t the university be taking every measure to ensure our safety? I often lay awake at night worried that the next day will be my last. It’s evident that action needs to be taken.

Establishing mandatory bells, horns or sirens is a must. Or perhaps segregating the bicyclists from us is a good suggestion; I propose some sort of elevated walkway surrounding the entire campus. It would certainly be a costly project, but well worth it. Lives will be saved. Of course, the easiest solution would be to forbid bicycles on campus. Until that day, I hope pedestrians keep aware of the eminent danger posed to them on our sidewalks.

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Photo: Nathan Gardener/The Louisville Cardinal

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  1. Hannah

    September 22, 2011 at 11:14 am

    WOW! Really? This is ridiculous. I was so offended when I first read this in the newspaper. First of all, this author obviously has an irrational fear of bicycles and an unfair prejudice against cyclists. Not all of us are “HIPPIES”! And I most certainly don’t think I “run the world” just because I ride my bike to class. And not everyone, myself included, “whizz by without any polite warning”. Often times the sidewalks are so congested I have no choice but to ride very slowly BECAUSE I care about not running into people! I also try to say EXCUSE ME and SORRY whenever I get close to someone! And the absence of any recorded injuries IS relevant, it shows that people don’t get FLATTENED by cyclists!! I wouldn’t be opposed to a separate bike path or something to that degree simply because of how congested the sidewalks get and it is very difficult to maneuver around people. Sometimes I even get off my bike and walk with it. The accusations in this column are offensive. What about people who ride mopeds to class? I would think they would be a bigger threat than a bicycle. Apparently this author has many phobias, cyclists being just one. I would recommend seeing a counselor if these thoughts keep you up at night as they are completely irrational.

  2. Angie

    September 24, 2011 at 10:13 am

    I just got around to reading the paper yesterday and hadn’t even finished this before I was angrily scribbling down my thoughts. I agree with everything Hannah said and have a few more comments on the myriad critical thinking failures here:

    When you say that “all of us have experienced the terror of being surprised…” and that you are “sure [that], like myself, you’ve often imagined…” you are wrong, because I- and I AM sure, at least a few others, have not. What you’re doing here is called ‘assuming’, and it’s not a very good way to form the basis of an argument.

    Further, you make it quite clear that your primary concern is not actually safety- which you address with hyperbole and assumptions- but the indignity suffered after “shrieking when a bicycle whizzes past you.” Thanks, but I won’t “add embarrassment to the list of problems bicycling causes” because I don’t have a conniption every time something startles me. I wonder, do you shriek when a skateboarder rides by? Do you shriek if a student late for class runs past you? Do you shriek if someone you didn’t see WALKS by and- quelle horreur!- bumps into you? I imagine that contact is comparable to the “slight nudge” that “would send you headfirst into a puddle of concrete.”

    Perhaps the issue is two-sided and the bicyclists are just as annoyed by people crossing their paths without so much as a glance over the shoulder before ‘merging’. Take off the iPod, stop blathering obliviously with your friends, and pay attention to where you’re walking.

    See what I did there? I made some assumptions, and if you’re reading this and spluttering about how you’re actually a very observant and conscientious pedestrian, thank you very much, maybe you’re starting to see how your statements about “these hippies” who “believe they run the world” and “completely disregard human life” are really offensive on a number of levels. It IS relevant, too, that there are no recorded injuries because evidence (and the lack thereof) is ALWAYS relevant, even when it doesn’t support your position.

    But you choose to dismiss that as being of no importance and offer solutions so ludicrous that I began to hope you were joking. I wouldn’t ask bicyclists to submit to being belled unless everyone else is also outfitted with turn signals, and you’d just be writing another rant in a few months about all the noise pollution if bikers used horns or sirens. ‘Segregation’, for Pete’s sake, is a word a public university student in 2011 should be ashamed to use in this context. Your proposal for an elevated walkway is absurd, and I’m not sure how you can claim “lives will be saved” when you can’t even find proof that anyone’s been INJURED thus far- nevermind your throwaway acknowledgment of the huge expense involved. Banning bicycles on campus so they can’t scare you anymore is just a ridiculous piece of self-centered idiocy.

    Finally, a small grammatical concern. ‘Eminent’ is a word indicating that something is extremely obvious and important in comparison to other things. You wanted the word ‘imminent’, which means that something is about to happen right now.

    The EMINENT danger here is that of bad writers (and worse thinkers) continuing to shape opinions on campus.

  3. John

    September 24, 2011 at 8:04 pm

    I agree with Hannah, this was such an absurd article. Train derailment? Reffering to bicyclists as hippies? Lets not forget that not all students can get parking tickets, I live 3 blocks from school and I ride my bike. I agree that widening sidewalks is a must, elevated…no. Also, don’t put stuff that goes against your article, “The absence of any recorded injuries by bicycle is irrelevant.” It is relevant. Students are not in danger, and no more lives will be saved. Ridiculous.

  4. ------

    September 26, 2011 at 1:23 am

    There is another epidemic on campus we should be aware of……crappy journalism

  5. Chris

    September 26, 2011 at 1:44 am

    such poor journalism at the college level is much more worrisome.

  6. Ryan Fenwick

    September 27, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    Dear Anna,

    Don’t be such a meanie! Obviously cyclists should respect pedestrians. However, it clearly is relevant that there are no reported accidents involving a bicycle and pedestrian on campus.

    While you are awake at night worrying about I propose you instead think of the Africans who are dying of famine probably in part as a negative externality of U.S. car culture. Saving the environment isn’t just for hippies.

  7. John

    September 28, 2011 at 1:41 am

    Anna, really great piece of satire.

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