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From off the beaten path

Photo
Lisa Schumaier
By Lisa Schumaier
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday September 26, 2002

I cannot wait to run somebody over tomorrow. The second my bike tire makes contact with the heel of whomever is in my way, I will laugh like the wicked witch in "The Wizard of Oz" when she has stolen Toto and is riding away with him in her basket. I will be riding away with the flesh of your much-needed appendage stuck in my spokes.

Pedestrians are in need of a major lesson, and bikers all over campus are going to teach you that lesson. College is not just about what you learn in class, but what knowledge you consistently bump into between classes. As denizens of the university community, pedestrian students are putting our unity at stake. They have created sidewalk rage and they have created the animosity that exists between bikers and pedestrians.

Bikers stick to standard bike procedure ¸ staying on the bike paths and going the speed limit. However, there is no such thing as standard walking procedure. Pedestrians stop as much as they want, when they want and where they want. Walkers, two words: domino effect.

One of the major safety issues that separate the two factions are cell phones. It is a known fact that bikers do not talk on these apparatuses of destruction while riding. However, the ten minutes in between classes is a cellular orgy for pedestrians.

People on one side of campus are gossiping with people on the other side of campus, and they act like whomever they are talking to must be giving them traffic instructions because you know they never look before stepping off the curb. If those people cause an accident, their bones heal, but bike frames do not.

Another typical scenario occurs on the bike paths. Walkers seem to think that the two asphalt lanes are simply extensions of their concrete sidewalks. Therefore, crossing the "sidewalk extensions" can be done without any forewarning and as often as the fascist foot soldiers see fit.

FYI to all walkers: The sidewalk is not a suggestion for pedestrians, just like the bike path is not a suggestion for bikers. No, let us call it the bike highway, and then people will realize the severity of crossing it at random.

Pedestrians are cattle. Riding my bike on campus is like driving on a dirt road in Central America. Cattle roam over and frequent the roads as if they were a green pasture. They have no concept of the dangers they put their herd in or the families behind the wheel. And I have seen girls haul in herds of 20 before. A polite "excuse me" does not suffice when confronting these types of cattle.

As of this moment, I am rusting my bike chain. My method of counter attack involves a conditioned stimuli of warning noise. Bikes are quiet and undisruptive in their innocence. Not for long. I have studied the golf carts and people get out of the way for them because they can hear the mechanical engine sound, which reminds them of the hierarchy of transportation. Pedestrians are on the bottom of the food chain.

One day soon, you all will be obliviously hoofing it to class, breaking laws each step as usual, and just when you start to make a sharp left onto the bike path you will hear a distant screeching that amplifies each millisecond more you think about marching across the battlefield.

The sound will be reminiscent of a rocking chair over broken glass, and you will turn around and see my mountain bike barreling toward you.

The difference is that tomorrow I will not stop to re-gather the contents of your backpack or help you find your other reef sandal.

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