Better Bike Safety Needed on Campus

The headline for this article was originally “Bike Safety on Campus” but has been changed to differentiate it from an article on the front page with the same headline.

Ever wished you were gliding down the learning-community hill on two wheels to ensure a spot in the front of the exhibition line? I sure do! Bikes are an essential asset to our community. In World Language Faculty and avid bike enthusiast Ralf Borrmann’s words, bikes are “an everyday means for efficient transportation, a good tool for a workout, and environmentally friendly.” Other forms of transportation can pollute the environment with carbon emissions. Especially with the addition of the pods, bikes are an enjoyable, clean and efficient way to get from point A to point B.

New to campus this year after tremendous effort and energy, Andrew Huang 20, Xi Gong 18, and Rain Wu 18 initiated Western Reserve Academy’s first Bike-Share Program, a child of a system popular in major cities around the world. Huang realized the growing potential for such a program during his time in Shanghai, where he found their services were “cheap and convenient”. He believes bikes are beneficial to campus as they provide “freedom, efficient travel, and a workout.”

Despite the obvious advantages of bikes circulating campus, there are also potential cons that are expected when introducing a new mode of travel. Faculty members and students alike have sustained some serious injuries after bike-related accidents. Rather than being pessimistic and regulatory, we must react with open-mindedness and take such instances as an opportunity to learn. “Our reaction is crucial,” stated Borrmann. The bikes themselves are not the problem, but rather students ignorance of bike etiquette and lack of exposure to a world ingrained with bikes as a normal mode of travel. Dr. Borrmann insists that “we are in the learning phase, and must learn to adapt to simple rules such as traveling without earbuds, biker and pedestrian”. Another solution is to have designated bike and pedestrian paths to avoid collisions. Bikes simply are a faster mode of travel and bikers in turn must be aware of the potential hazard they pose. Pedestrians must also be conscious of their surroundings. Borrmann also noted that “bikes, cars, and pedestrians have and will continue to coexist. It’s a learned behavior that functions when the community adopts a kind, courteous, respectful mindset.”

With hazardous winter weather approaching, simple behaviors such as staying aware, walking to the right as a pedestrian, and calling out clear directions as a biker are essential to creating a safe environment for everyone. Bikes are more difficult to maneuver than they seem! As a community, we must learn to act with conscious courtesy and attentiveness rather than careless behavior. No more flying down hills or weaving between walkers. After all, no one wants to another cycling accident!

– Chloe Tomblin ’19

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