What is the proper etiquette for dealing with obnoxious bikers on campus (i.e. the ones that brush past you going 30 mph)?
There is little you can do in the immediate situation you describe, short of vainly waving your fist and shouting, “I’m walkin’ here!” as Dustin Hoffman did in “Midnight Cowboy.” In such a case it is unlikely such cyclists will even notice you, let alone change their future behavior, as a result of your desperate plea for your personal safety.
Bellingham is the perfect size for getting around by bicycle. Since cycling is often one’s best and cheapest commuting option, our town and campus are teeming with cyclists who ride their bikes as their primary mode of transportation. As a pedestrian, your best defense is awareness. Considering that you cannot control where or how bicyclists choose to ride their bikes, always keep an eye out for them and stay clear of their paths. If you are involved in a bicycle accident, campus police are available to assist you.
Cyclists should be aware of the regulations regarding bicycles on campus, which are legally binding as part of the Washington Administrative Code. These are the regulations for which cyclists are responsible:
• Always yield the right of way to pedestrians.• Helmets should be worn and lights should be used when it’s dark.
• Talking on cell phones and using ear buds should be avoided while riding a bike.
• Cyclists should dismount when entering Walk Zones. The Walk Zones are: Red Square, Vendors Row at the Viking Union and the path along the north side of the Carver Gym and the Engineering Technology building.
• Avoid congested areas and use back roads when possible.
• Obey the walk zone signs, bicycle speed limits and all traffic laws.
• Ride slowly in crowded areas.
• Stay off the lawns.
• Park and lock bikes only at bike racks.
• The speed limit for bicycles is 3 mph on walkways or anywhere within 10 feet of a pedestrian and 7 mph elsewhere.
Students do have some say over bicycle regulations. Some of the above rules were drafted by the Student Bicycle Advisory Coalition and passed through the Central Health and Safety Committee. You can contact AS VP for Student Life Mike Pond if you are interested in being a part of that process. Interim Vice President for Business and Financial Affairs Kathy Wetherell also has the authority to designate additional walk zones at her discretion, so you can also contact her if there is a particular problem spot you are aware of.
I received two other questions this week that require only brief answers.
“What makes a family portrait awkward?”
See for yourself at AwkwardFamilyPhotos.com.
“Why should Beyoncé have won the MTV Video Music Awards?”
Because she received the most votes in the category for which she was nominated. It is widely reported that Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” video lost the Best Female Video award to rising country star Taylor Swift’s “You Belong With Me,” prompting rapper Kanye West to interrupt her acceptance speech with one of the most brazenly distasteful editorials ever broadcast. It is less widely reported that, later that evening, Beyoncé won the Video of the Year Award, graciously yielding the time allocated for her acceptance speech to Swift. I have not seen all the videos nominated for VMA Awards this year, so I can’t personally say who should have won, but I can say that Beyoncé’s graciousness should not have been overshadowed in the media by West’s show of disrespect.