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Bike Etiquette

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Notre Dame chapter.

Even though the snow on the ground and the morbidly obese squirrels imply otherwise, spring has sprung. And with the beauty of spring, I can finally ride my rusty, red beach cruiser without the fear of slipping on black ice and wiping out on South Quad (like that kid I accidentally laughed at freshman year).

That is, after repairing my chain and flat tire and brakes and everything else I messed up while constructing my bike from scratch last year (On that note, anybody practiced in the art of bicycle mechanics should aptly contact me with assistance. Compensation can only be guaranteed in the form of Flex-Point attainable goods.).

But with the dawn of biking season comes the mutual biker-pedestrian war in which we are all practiced in passive-aggressively participating. Having been on both sides of the spectrum, I find it necessary to document and offer advice on how to be a better person, whether you prefer walking to class or or attempting to dodge poor chipmunks on your bike (Also, please stop running over chipmunks with your bikes, it makes me really sad and sometimes gets my sandals messy).

So, let’s talk.

Have you ever been peacefully walking to class along with other pedestrians when suddenly a bicyclist blasts past you and almost knocks everybody into the snow with their aggressive maneuvers? Do they think they’re in Portland or something?

Conversely, have you ever been biking to class when a lovely pedestrian shoots in front of your bike that they know darn well they can’t clear in time, forcing you to slam on your rusty non-functioning brakes and embarrassingly crash into a trash can? Yeah, me neither. But I’m sure it’s embarrassing.

Sometimes I have the urge to push bikers over because they think they’re being so slick when they ride straight in front of me while I’m trying to walk into DBart.

But then sometimes I’m rushing to class along with 8,000 other students and I cannot resist handlebar-checking self-absorbed pedestrians who insist on texting and walking, completely ignoring my attempts at biking around them.

It’s a two way street. Literally.

How do we resolve the animosity so prevalent in the Notre Dame community? How do we fix these tensions that penetrate our campus on a daily basis? I encourage our student body to come together and begin constructive conversation in order to fix the issue plaguing our pedestrian community.

The animosity needs to end!

Furthermore, I encourage the administration to tailor to the needs of its environmentally and health conscious students. Surely they should understand that by biking to class we reduce our carbon footprint by walking less, and therefore should be a priority over any other campus-wide issue. Just kidding, that’s not at all what a carbon footprint is.

But actually, there are alternatives to being an annoying bicyclist and an annoying pedestrian. Might I suggest bikers take to the roads along with the cars on campus? And where such alternatives are unavailable, ride in the grass instead, as it is much easier to deal with muddy bike wheels than muddy shoes.

And pedestrians, I suggest putting down the phone. You don’t need to be texting and walking all the time. Just enjoy the scenery. Did you know we have actual nature you can appreciate while walking to class? It’s pretty amazing. The leading cause of bicyclist-pedestrian accidents on campus are caused by inattentive students thinking people will magically move out of their way. That’s not proven, but I’m sure it’s true.

I’ve started the dialogue. I know once we take action, amazing things are possible.

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Kat L

Notre Dame

Katrina Linden is an American Studies and Latino Studies Double Major. When she's not drinking coffee or sleeping, she's running HCND with her co-CC, assissting the director of Undergraduate Studies at the Institute for Latino Studies, or pretending to work at NDH. Message her at katrinalinden@hercampus.com if you're interested in writing for HCND.