Letters to the Editor
To the Editor:
The Thresher editorial "Bicycle Awareness Week antagonistic to cyclists" (Sep. 16) is a parody of evenhandedness in journalism. This misguided attempt at balance (http://en.wikipedia. org/wiki/False_balance) transforms scofflaw bikers into oppressed, saintly heroes.
We are told that "pedestrians, cars, scooters, and bikes all have equal responsibility to pay attention to the road." Presumably this also applies to sidewalks. Just what are our pedestrian responsibilities on sidewalks? Are we allowed to walk two abreast? May we talk or think or text? Or must we be constantly alert to yield to bikes and risk being ticketed for blocking traffic? In a game of Russian roulette, do we share "equal responsibility to pay attention" when bikers zoom through blind sidewalk intersections or right in front of a doorway?
What gives bikers the right to speed through four-way stops with the authority of an ambulance? Is it because these folks are performing "the environmentally-conscious act of biking?" Do the fossil fuels students save by biking instead of walking to class really foster Rice's commitment to reduce its carbon footprint? Do reckless bikers give our many considerate cyclists a bad reputation?
Supposedly the ticketing of law-breaking cyclists "will only dissuade students from using bikes on campus." Would cyclists then actually use their bikes as a cheap and fast alternative to cars? Like biking to a nearby Fiesta to get some real food.
It is reassuring that our "bikers seems to be quite responsible on the whole." By this logic, so are our government leaders.
Researcher in Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology
To the Editor:
While Houston is certainly known as a car-crazy city, over the last few years Rice has developed an increasingly active bicycle culture. This emerging interest in cycling is reflected in the bicycle-sharing programs and bicycle reps at several residential colleges, as well as the student-run bicycle repair shop open Saturday and Sunday afternoons from noon to 4:00 p.m. in the basement of Sid Rich College. It is also reflected in the proliferation of new bicycle racks, where in just the last three years the number of parking spaces in racks on campus has increased almost 30 percent to more than 2,000.
As a new academic year gets under way, I would like to remind cyclists in the Rice community of the rules that are a critical part of creating a successful and responsible campus bicycle culture:
At Rice, all bicycles must be registered. This helps RUPD to identify owners of lost, stolen or impounded bikes and to disseminate safety information. You can register free online at http:// www.rice.edu/bikesatrice/.
Cyclists riding in the street are required to comply with motor vehicle traffic regulations, including stopping at stop signs.
Riding on covered walkways is prohibited because of the blind corners, close proximity to building entrances and at times crowded and cramped spaces. Cyclists should dismount and walk their bikes through these areas.
When riding on a sidewalk, cyclists must give an audible signal before overtaking a pedestrian; they can either use a bell or shout out "on your left!" Pedestrians have the right-of-way on sidewalks, and cyclists must yield to them.
To prevent theft, I recommend that Rice cyclists always lock their bikes with a case-hardened "U" lock at a bike rack.
By following these simple steps, cyclists can help to create a safer environment for both themselves and pedestrians at Rice.
Richard Johnson Director of Energy and Sustainability
Rice Bicycle Safety Committee Member
More from The Rice Thresher
Before you attend a counseling session at the Rice counseling center, you will be told that “the RCC maintains strict standards regarding privacy.” You will find statements from the university that your mental health record will not be shared with anyone outside of extreme situations of imminent harm, and only then that your information will be shared with only the necessary officials. This sounds great, except that these assurances bear no teeth whatsoever — no enforcement agency ensures that Rice follows its public confidentiality promises, and there are no penalties for Rice if they break them. The Wellbeing and Counseling Centers should more directly communicate the limits of their confidentiality policies when compared to unaffiliated counseling centers, and students in sensitive situations should take the necessary precautions to protect their information.
This week marks the last issue of the Thresher for the year, and for the seniors like myself, our last issue ever. I have been a part of the Thresher since freshman year. And it would not be an exaggeration to say it has defined my Rice experience. As someone pursuing a career in journalism after graduation, there has been no better place to learn than at this paper.
In January, the Rice Board of Trustees announced plans to move the Founder’s memorial to another area of the academic quad as part of a whole redesign, adding additional context of his “entanglement” with slavery. This comes despite continual calls from the student body to not have the enslaver displayed in the quad regardless of the context provided. It would be just for these calls to action and the majority of the Task Force Committee who voted to not keep it there that the Board of Trustees decide to not keep the memorial prominently displayed in the quad at all.