My right to free sidewalks
Letter to the Editor | Sunday, September 27, 2009
Being subject to second-hand biking, also called “being hit by a bike” or “road kill” may be even more harmful than actually biking. That’s because the front of the bike that hits the innocent pedestrian contains more harmful substances (spinning tires, handlebars, basket) than the soft seat the rider sits on. This is widely known; if you ask someone randomly if being hit by a bike is bad for them, most people will answer affirmatively.
Yet, at Notre Dame we still allow biking on campus. At this University, renowned for its intelligent inhabitants, we still allow a known danger to careen into student’s bodies regardless of how they feel about it. Make no mistake, it is a danger. Second hand biking can cause as many, if not more, health problems than biking.
There is no “safe” level of second-hand biking. Being hit by a bike really hurts. It can cause bleeding, broken bones, owies and boo-boos. Those who may argue that they have a right to allow potential harms to their bodies state that disallowing biking on campus would violate this right. I would answer yes, you do have a right to bike and cause horrible things to happen to others. I would continue that I also have a right – a right to personal health. A person biking on the sidewalk where I need to walk is violating my right to keep myself safe and healthy by forcing me to either risk a collision or climb a tree.
So please, Notre Dame, revoke the privilege of biking on campus. At least construct a 10-foot high suspended sidewalk over the ground level so that bikers may ride above the students and be banned everywhere else, so those of us who do not wish to encounter second-hand biking may avoid an unexpected collision with it. I for one do not wish to have my parents scrape my flattened remains off the sidewalk, like a pancake off a skillet, after being run down by a rogue bike because someone was inconsiderately biking on the sidewalk.