The independent news organization of Duke University

Letter to the editor

What an unpleasant surprise to return to campus to find it even less bike-friendly than it was in the spring. For those unaware, bicyclists must now dismount in the Abele Quad and Bryan Center Plaza (mopeds and motorcycles are banned). As someone who walks, bicycles, and motorcycles, I consider myself an authority on the subject. I do not believe this will make Duke's campus any safer.

The pedestrians I come closest to running over are those who are oblivious to their surroundings because they have their noses stuck to cell phones. If Duke wants to make campus safer for pedestrians, why not consider banning walking with cell phones? As is, hungover undergrads will continue to bump into each other and trip on cracks in the sidewalk outside their dorms as they stumble around Snapchatting pictures of themselves in a bicycle-free quad.

The 10 percent of the Duke community that commutes by bike will continue to do so, but it will take us longer and our journey will become more dangerous. I have switched my route—now I must choose between riding among the dangerous traffic on Cameron Boulevard or passing through the hospital plaza that contains pedestrians, cars, AND wheelchairs. Banning bikes from the quad shifts the risk to other locations; it does not remove it.

Bikes/pedestrians/cars is not rock/paper/scissors; cyclists almost always come out the loser in a collision. Furthermore, cyclists are unique in that there is no space intended specifically for them; pedestrians have sidewalks and cars have highways, but bike lanes are always shared with either pedestrians or cars. Cyclists already know how to share.

I will obey the ban, and I encourage other cyclists to do so as well. But I also expect that Duke will test to see if this reduces the number of incidents. If not, maybe it's time to expect pedestrians to attend to their surroundings.

Brendan Hannon, Nicholas School of the Environment '18

Discussion

Share and discuss “Letter to the editor” on social media.