Pave the way for bike paths

Time to rethink the walk-only zones at ASU

ASU, voted the No. 1 most innovative school for the second year in a row, is 10 years behind UC Berkeley when it comes to one of the most simple and essential elements required to get an education: mobility between classes.

I'm not talking about ASU's walk-only zones here — those nifty, slow-moving areas that threaten with a $15 fine, even if literally no one is on the sidewalk at 3:55 p.m. I’m talking about bike paths, a system of lanes devoted solely to bike traffic on campus, an idea UC Berkeley drafted in 2006.

Not only is this helpful for bikers so that they can travel all across campus at their own pace without interruption of pedestrians, but it is also helpful for pedestrians. Removing the population of bikers from UC Berkeley walkways did significantly lessen the congestion on campus. ASU seems to have overlooked the pertinent fact that a biker walking a bike takes up more space than when the rider is actually riding their bike.

When I get stuck moving in the crowds on campus, I feel like everyone is being herded like sheep (which is the opposite purpose of having an individualized school experience). 

There are walk-only zones but no bike-only zones, even though many students would benefit from such areas. Designated bike paths could be the shining answer to safety on campus.

People on wheels are pushed to use the shared-use paths, where bikes and pedestrians share the concrete. These are the areas where threat looms of crashing into other wheeled riders, as they attempt to move at faster pace, weaving in and out of pedestrians.

There have been more than a few times I have moved around a pedestrian and almost crashed head-on with another wheeled rider, as they suddenly come into view. It would be easier if there was an area where bikers could institute the "stay to the right side of the road" rule, but instead it is like being Pacman, scurrying through a maze, trying to avoid running into ghosts around corners.

President of Student Planning Association at ASU, Leslie Taege, agrees that we could create a more bike-friendly infrastructure and culture on campus.

“Having a dedicated lane adds an extra element of safety for cyclists," she said. "Furthermore, educating cyclists, pedestrians and drivers about road etiquette will make for a safer and more enjoyable experience for everyone as they get from point A to point B.”

I won’t deny that bike lanes exist in places on campus, but to say they are pleasant, efficient or safe is something I cannot agree with. Taking into account how much traffic there is on campus, there need to be more measures to make transportation easier and, quite frankly, smarter

Designated bike-only paths are an innovative response to the need for more comfortable and accessible on-campus travel. 


Reach the columnist at ralydfor@asu.edu or follow @ralydford on Twitter.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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