Today @ Colorado State has been replaced by SOURCE. This site exists as an archive of Today @ Colorado State stories between January 1, 2009 and September 8, 2014.

Ask Cam

The good, the bad, and the biking

June 30, 2009

Question: Cam, can you work with your four-legged partners at the Today website and please push more rules and education when you publicize next year's bike-to-work day? This morning I had to dodge multiple rules-ignoring bicyclists; the carnival-like atmosphere on the surface roads of Fort Collins was beyond irritating, it was downright maddening! Cars cannot blast from a side street across a four-lane arterial without stopping at a stop sign – why don't our bicyclists think they have to stop? Do cars turn left from the right lane? Some bikers do…

I know there are law-abiding cyclists. Not all of them are rude jerks… but please, my wooly friend, consider forcing education (and perhaps request enhanced two-wheel law enforcement) before next year's bike-to-work day.

Cam’s answer: Believe it or not, I’ve been known to bike around campus (and wool rash, also known as road rash, happens even to thick hides like mine).

In principle, I can’t argue with most of what you say. I’ve seen some hazardous behavior by bike riders – and also by motorists. Sometimes it seems like the streets are getting meaner these days.

But I’m not sure that “forcing” education on bike riders is the best answer. It’s human nature (according to my animal viewpoint) to resist such measures, or to just put up with mandatory education while it lasts, then go back to the same-old, same-old.

Part of the problem is that some bicyclists consider their bikes to be toys and not serious means of transportation, and they’ll ride like young kids on an empty country road, oblivious of the rules. In Colorado, though, a bicycle is consider the same as a car and held to the same rules and regulations as motor vehicles. If a bicyclist runs a stop sign or commits other offenses, he’s risking a ticket.

Rules of the road

So how can we convince people that bicycles carry the same weight of responsibility as any other vehicle on the road? I talked with our campus police, and they assured me that the Bicycle Education and Enforcement Program, or BEEP, is actively devoted to educating bicyclists and enforcing rules and regulations for bicycles and skateboards on campus. (Remember that bicycle registration is required on campus.)

As the website says:

The goal of the program is to provide a safe traffic environment for all modes of transportation.
Education is an ongoing effort through brochures, media releases, personal contact at bicycle licensing sessions, enforcement warning periods, and a bicycle safety seminar hosted by the Choice City Coalition for Cycling (C4), among other efforts.
Enforcement includes targeting specific violations and/or locations based on violation trends, complaints, accidents, circulation patterns, road and weather conditions, and other factors.
Head’s up

In the end, it’s important to remember that police can’t cover every street, alley, artery, and bike path on campus or anywhere else. The sheer number of bikers means that officers can’t control every scofflaw or dangerous (albeit sometimes oblivious) biker out there.

It’s up to us to be vigilant and aware of what’s around us to avoid tangling with bikes, trikes, skateboards, SUVs, limos, buses, bollards, bullies, or frumious bandersnatches.

Have you seen the personal perspective on bike safety by one of our own CSU employees? It sums up the topic pretty well. Take a look – you’ll love it.

Here’s to bugs in your teeth and wind in your hair,
Cam the Ram