Bicycles on campus: nuisance or necessity


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| Staff Photographer || A student rides his bike across a cross walk in front of the Park Library on the campus of Central Michigan University on Tuesday afternoon.


Bicycles, pedestrians and cars have been sharing campus concrete for years, but some consider the intermingling an accident waiting to happen.

Bike lanes can be found throughout campus, and although biking students get to class faster, it’s often difficult to ride through campus without having to stop every few minutes to weave through pedestrians. 

Stephen Lawrence, associate vice president of Facilities Management, said the university is making it a point in its campus master plan to include bike paths that offer a solution to pedestrian intermingling. These bike paths will be installed with the intent of keeping pedestrians and bike paths separated.

However, Lawrence said current bike lanes are generally ignored by the student.

“[The bike paths] by the library, no one has ever really gone by them,” Lawrence said. “People really just ignored them, the way it was done. They don’t seem to blend very well with sidewalks.

Jordan Musson, 19, from Byron, feels that bikes on campus are just an accident waiting to happen.

“I think it’s a hazard to cars,” Musson said. “If they’re in the street, they’re in the way of cars – if they’re on the sidewalk, they’re in the way of pedestrians who have the right of way.”

According to section 12.11 of the CMU Traffic Ordinance, available on the university website, every person who rides a bike “shall accord the right-of-way to pedestrians on the roads and streets of campus at all intersections and crosswalks.”

As an individual who frequently walks to class, Musson feels that the right of way should be given to pedestrians, but that bikers should be allowed to ride freely without fear of being hit or hitting another person.

“I think if biking is going to become bigger and bigger and more people are going to be on bikes, the university should put more money into making bigger bike paths so that no one is endangered,” Musson said.

The Michigan Motor Vehicle Code, Section C1 257.657, expects bicycles to follow similar traffic laws to that of cars, such as stopping at stop signs and yielding to pedestrians.

"Every person riding a bicycle or moped upon a roadway shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle," reads the ordinance.

As of July 16, 2008 – the last time that the CMU Traffic Ordinance was updated – cyclists are subjected to a number of laws and ordinances, such as needing to signal with hands before turning and having to equip a lamp “on the front which shall emit a white light visible from at least 500 feet,” as well as other types of reflectors and lights.

When following the correct laws and requirements, a campus of pedestrians and bikers can coexist at CMU.

For a bicycle to be on campus, the rider must first register it online for free with the CMU police department. A permit sticker will arrive in the mail about a week after the application is submitted, and it must be affixed on the bike prior to bringing it on campus.

If not secured with a permit sticker, or locked properly at a bike rack, a bicycle runs the risk of being impounded by the police department.

After 90 days, if an impounded bicycle is not collected and fees paid for, it could potentially be forwarded to the CMU Surplus Store and sold or destroyed.

To prevent theft, it is also recommended by cmich.edu to purchase “a heavy duty chain and lock or a ‘U Lock’”.

In the event of a bicycle being stolen, immediately contact CMU Police.


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