Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Free Bikes on Campus?
I feel strongly about bikes. In my case, the bike represents not only an active and serious hobby but a way of life. On the average, I cover about 50 miles a week which is much more during warmer seasons. I believe in notions like 'agito ergo sum' and being on my Cannondale brings that very thing to fruition.
However, I find many examples from my quotidian routes of drivers who seem to have a hard time with the idea of bikers safely riding on the lanes. Biking and bikers are featured on driving manuals and, based on that bit alone, I assumed that people would be aware of the biking breed and respectfully acknowledge them on the road. Alas, this is not the case all the time.
I have biked in different countries and US states and I find that there where biking is used more by people be it recreationally or transportationally, it is safer to ride.
But drivers are not the only ones at fault. Many bikers seem to forget to abide by traffic rules as well. Hand signals are not always used and the red light is seen as optional. So, drivers and bikers, safe traffic goes both ways. While driving I have caught myself making comments like: "Grh [insert eye-rolling], where did you learn how to ride?! It's a LEFT turn, Armstrong!" And as a rider I often think: "Oy! Driver's manual and the law says I need to be on the road not on the sidewalk!"
I was very happy to read about this practice some US campuses are following. A snippet says:
"When Kylie Galliani started at the University of New England in August, she was given a key to her dorm, a class schedule and something more unusual: a $480 bicycle. Bicycles to be given to freshmen at the University of New England in Biddeford, Me.
The University of New England bikes are personalized. Free or subsidized bike programs at colleges have had mixed success.
“I was like, ‘A free bike, no catch?’ ” Ms. Galliani, 17, a freshman from Fort Bragg, Calif., asked. “It’s really an ideal way to get around the campus.”
University administrators and students nationwide are increasingly feeling that way too.
The University of New England and Ripon College in Wisconsin are giving free bikes to freshmen who promise to leave their cars at home. Other colleges are setting up free bike sharing or rental programs, and some universities are partnering with bike shops to offer discounts on purchases.
The goal, college and university officials said, is to ease critical shortages of parking and to change the car culture that clogs campus roadways and erodes the community feel that comes with walking or biking around campus."
Read it all here.