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The Blue & Gray Press | December 17, 2017

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UMW needs to create bike regulations to protect student safety

UMW needs to create bike regulations to protect student safety

By OLIVIA TAYLOR

Staff Writer

Imagine that you are walking through the tunnel connected to the Nest and Woodard Hall on a weekday morning. And all of the sudden you feel a whoosh of air as a bicyclist flies past you. They swerve around the students walking to class as they rush to where they are going. While everyone should have the right to get to class how they please, I should not feel like my safety is in jeopardy walking across campus.

There is a need for some sort of regulation and/or standards to be put in place for bike riding on the UMW campus. I have been hit by a biker in the tunnel. The biker came flying down the hill from the Monroe fountain, began swerving in and out of pedestrians, and hit me and pushed me into one of the columns. I sustained minor injuries because of this. While the biker did stop and profusely apologize, I feel as if this awkward and painful experience could have been avoided.

Junior Megan Liberty said that she has also noticed this problem. “Bikers go flying through the Nest and have little to no concern for others around them.

They go so fast and expect everyone to just get out of their way. I have seen several close calls where bikers have almost crashed into students walking in the tunnel at the Nest.” While no specific bicycle riding regulations are available on the UMW website, it is Virginia state and Fredericksburg City law that all bicycles must always yield to pedestrians. Yielding is not the same as aggressively ringing your bike bell until the pedestrians move out of the way. It is also noted in these laws that bikers must not have headphones, or be distracted by using a cell phone or other device. This however happens often with bikers on campus.

Common courtesy seems to be lacking from the bikers at UMW. Bikers act as if they own the sidewalk and that everyone needs to yield to them when it should be the reverse. A good regulation would be that in high traffic conditions where Campus Walk is crowded, bikes must be walked through by the rider. At the very least, there should be a regulation requiring a decrease in speed. Pedestrians should always have the right of way.

There also could be some sort of policy presented by the university for acceptable biking practices on campus. All students that register their bike or ride their bike on campus could be required to sign and agree in order to register. There should also be a way for students to report injuries or instances of irresponsible biking. Properly implemented channels would hold everyone accountable and keep all students safe. This can be boiled down to using common sense and having courtesy for your fellow Eagles. Being a responsible bike user is simple- your ride to class is never more important than the safety of a fellow student.

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