Hey, it’s Carol. I ride a bike. I know there are a lot of you around, going to and from various classes, meetings, etc., and I also know that neither you nor I want any sort of pedestrian/bicyclist collision. So I thought I would write this and try to help, maybe even lay down some ground rules.
If I’m on my bike and I’m riding behind you with the intent to pass, I will say “On your left,” or “Excuse me.” If I say I’m on your left, do NOT, and I repeat, DO NOT move immediately to your left. I am there. On my bike.
If you see me biking toward you, do NOT, and I repeat DO NOT change your direction. You are a pedestrian; you move slower than I do, thus it is MY responsibility to avoid YOU. It is that much harder for me to avoid you if you haphazardly and unpredictably change your path. I don’t want to hit you, but please don’t give me the opportunity.
I know as a bike-owner on campus I am in the minority, and you pedestrians hate people like me for good reason (I can leave later and still be on time to class, for example), so I try to be nice when I am riding around. I will always apologize when I pass you, even if it’s not my fault. I want this to be a working relationship, and so should you.
However, it’s difficult when I have to pass people who are texting or listening to music. People walking three to four abreast are also very unpleasant to deal with, especially when passing from behind. If you have three or four friends that you insist on walking shoulder-to-shoulder with everywhere, please have the foresight to glance around and make sure I’m not behind you. That goes for those who like to text and walk at the same time. Please be aware of your surroundings. I just want us to get along, is that too much to ask?
I know with the new UBike initiatives, more people will be biking around this semester, and so as pedestrians you have a responsibility to be aware of us, and we of you. I will do my part to be polite and not hit you, as long as you do your part to be alert. I hope we can all make this work together.
Carol Perry is a senior majoring in vocal performance.