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Opinion: Campus bicycle lanes dangerous for consistent rider use

By Chynna Davis
On February 19, 2013

The streets of UConn are all very well known to get congested, especially during moving days, class time changes and basketball games. A large part of the time, the congestion is mostly caused by pedestrians incessantly crossing the roads along with people on skateboards, but what category do people on bicycles fall into?
If you haven't noticed, just about every road on UConn's campus has been turned into bike lanes. There is a bicycle symbol about every 20 feet giving right for bicyclists to use a whole road lane. This is a very dangerous and ignorant decision on UConn's part.
Roads are meant for vehicles to drive on, not bikes. If bicyclists want an option to drive safely on the road, then UConn should have implemented legitimate bike lanes on the side of the main roads. It could have been done with all of the renovations that were just recently done on the sidewalks in the middle of campus.
The main danger that is presented with roads being bike lanes is that bikes now must be treated like a vehicle. People who have vehicles are required to have auto insurance on their vehicles, but where does that leave bicyclists? There is not insurance available for a bike and if a vehicle were to get into an accident with a bike, the bicyclist will most likely lose his or her life. If bicyclists aren't required to have some time of insurance for being in the middle of the roads, then they shouldn't have rightful access to the roads.
On a bicycle information website ran by writer Michael Bluejay called bicylceuniverse.info, his research indicated advocates for actual bike lanes are largely favored while "wide curb lanes," which is the type UConn has implanted, are widely opposed.
On Bluejay's site, he lists that "Low-speed or congested roadways where turning volume is high" are places where "not to put bike lanes," which are both done by UConn.
Even though the speed limit for most of UConn's campus is 25 mph, realistically, most drivers go faster than that, which makes it all the more dangerous for bicyclists on the road.
A lot of bicyclists on the road also do not practice safety measures like signaling when they turn. This is also deadly and is very unfair to the vehicle driver.
On Bluejay's website, he also states how vehicle drivers tend to think that bicyclists should not be in the street and that is something that is commonly on UConn's campus. Time after time there are vehicle drivers who go around a bicyclist to pass them, even when they are in the middle of the road because they are too slow. This still happens on UConn's campus today despite the plethora of spray painted bike lane signs on almost every road.
It seems that bikers really have no place to go on campus because vehicle drivers don't want them in the roads and they are a danger to pedestrians on sidewalks. While pedestrians can get severely hurt by bicyclists and vice versa, vehicles on the road could fatally injure bicyclists.
UConn needs to step up its game and come up with a more cohesive plan on bike lanes. Bike lanes should not be the actual roads of this congested campus. For a school like UConn where safety is one of its main priorities: the verbal alert on the campus' shuttle buses, shutting down the spring weekend festivities, not allowing water bottles into Gampel Pavilion during concerts, having effectively safe bike lanes should have been one of their top priorities.
Unfortunately, that's not the case.  


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