Rice University’s Student Newspaper — Since 1916

Wednesday, May 22, 2024 — Houston, TX

Letters to the Editor

9/21/11 7:00pm

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.

Bill Wilson

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

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