If I had a nickel for every time during my tenure at Drew University that I was almost run over by a madman on a bicycle, I would have enough money for health insurance to cover the one time they don’t miss.
The bike riders at Drew are simply ludicrous. Once, I was walking peacefully down a hill when a bike went past me at about ten million miles per hour. The rider very kindly warned me that they were coming by shouting “Watch out!” when the bike was directly next to me. This is a shining example of exactly what not to do.
I didn’t think I would have to teach people this basic courtesy, but when you pass someone on a bike, you say “On your left” or “On your right.” You could even ring a bell. You do not yell “Watch out!” at the last possible second. It is not a pedestrian’s job to magically grow eyes in the back of their head so they can get out of your way. As the more dangerous party in a possible collision, it is your job to make people aware of you. Preferably well in advance.
While Drew does have rules that students are expected to follow when biking on campus, they aren’t very easy to access. I found the policy in the Alternative Transportation section of the Campus Sustainability portion of the About Us page on Drew’s website, under the bike rental program tab. This is a truly ridiculous number of subpages to go through to find out whether or not people are allowed to run me over.
Drew’s bike operation rules are very simple—bikers are just told to follow New Jersey’s bike laws. New Jersey’s bike laws, however, only concern obeying driving laws, so they only pertain to biking on actual streets. From this information, I assume that bikers on campus must follow Drew’s motor vehicle regulations, which all concern parking your car in appropriate locations. Clearly, Drew is a lawless wasteland.
Not only are bikers going too fast, they’re also becoming far too lazy with their safety equipment. I’ve seen about one student consistently wearing a helmet while riding a bike. This person will not, however, be receiving congratulations, because they’ve almost run me over about four times. Skateboarders are even worse. I’ve never seen anyone on a skateboard wear a helmet, much less any pads of any kind.
The fall is approximately the worst season to not be wearing a helmet. Despite Drew’s never-ending crusade to rid the world of leaves, there are still enough on the path to create a slipping hazard. It is remarkably easy to skid on a patch of slippery leaves and lose control. That’s where the head trauma comes in.
I propose that Drew should have more obvious rules about bikes on campus. Some kind of speed limit would go a long way in decreasing my anxiety levels on a daily basis. In addition, making the existing rules more obvious would be helpful. It could be a presentation during first-year orientation.
To the bike riders at Drew, slow down. I am tired of being a pawn in your obstacle course. If you absolutely must roleplay winning the Tour de France, at least give me a warning. Stop playing chicken with my frail human body, because I just can’t condone that kind of behavior.
Is something leaving tire tracks across your face? Send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll pull the brakes.
Ollie Arnold is a junior majoring in mathematics and minoring in computer science.