Tawnya: "Cyclists need skills."

Tawnya suggests: "Cyclists need skills."

Blog Staff Two: Ouch. Harsh. I think you've fallen culprit to the unfortunate circumstance of generalizing fault to all cyclists. Here in Boulder, let's not kid ourselves, our per-cyclist average bicycle-handling-IQ is probably eras ahead of the national average. However, we see an influx of thousands of new students coming to CU from "out-of-town". We do need to help them raise their skills, but we're not going to improve quickly if everyone, teachers included, get generalized like this.

Blog Staff Three: What separates a DIRC from a cyclist or skater is their skills. As an avid cyclist, I pride myself on my skills. I definitely maintain respect for pedestrians, roads, and disabled people alike but I still enjoy my ride and get a good wind through my hair. A skilled cyclist/skater is one who looks like a pro riding while maintaining a position of safety, respect, and keen awareness. Basically, a ninja on wheels.

Blog Staff Four: Well, there are skills and then there is common sense. I think what is lacking in many cyclists, skateboarders, and pedestrians alike is common sense. Those with skills and common sense are my favorite type of cyclist because they know how to ride, are educated on the "rules of the road", but also know when they might be putting themselves or others into a dangerous situation and therefore modify their behavior. I don't know how to educate the ones without skills or common sense, because they don't even have the sense to think about the fact that they don't have skills and therefore will never make the effort to improve. I guess when they hurt themselves or others they might just get a clue.

Blog Staff Five: How quickly you forget your formative years. I'm a believer that everyone capable needs to learn how to ride a bike, it should be a part of elementary school's required curriculum. With this being said, I understand and appreciate frustrations around lower skilled bikers and skaters, but recognize their attempt to progress. Remember: if an unskilled rider hops on their bike, they're working to improve. What bothers me aren't the unskilled riders but those who hate on people for trying. I didn't learn how to ride a bike until 7th grade, and for many years would refuse to go out with friend in fear of embarrassing myself. If you really want to improve unskilled riders, encourage them to ride, don't haze them; you may end up ruining their motivation to keep on truckin'.

Blog Staff Six: WRONG. Sorry if you happened to be the victim of a cycling accident or two, but so have many of us, even while cycling completely without fault. Many cyclists do not need skills on this campus so much as they need to check their speed and pay more attention. Cyclists are often traveling at higher speeds, which makes them slightly more predictable than the wandering pedestrians on campus...they're not going to suddenly make a 180 degree turn and collide right into whoever is behind them, unlike pedestrians. Cyclists should be more wary of the speed of their commute, and should maybe pay a little more attention, but if anyone on this campus needs more skills, it's the unpredictable pedestrians strolling into the bike lanes.


  1. I have cycled in and around CU for about 10 years with only one or two incidents, as an undergraduate, staff member, and graduate student. I attribute my success to good bike handling skills and awareness of my surroundings, and I wholeheartedly agree that these things can and should be taught to incoming students and anyone who wants to learn them.

    I also think that pedestrians on campus need skills. Many people have never negotiated a mixed-use path before coming here, and don't realize, for instance, that it is important to walk/ride to the right and pass to the left, and to look around before making a major change of trajectory.

  2. I understand that sometimes accidents to happen, i understand that there are certain individuals are jerks and/or out of control, but for the most part people just need to get over it. I skateboard through crowds of people every single day and have been for four years, i have had maybe two incidents and both were caused by pedestrians. Not trying to be a jerk but people walking through campus and not paying attention because they are too busy texting or something is the main reason why there are accidents. Don't get mad cause pedestrians are dumb. Again, i do understand that there are a few jerks out there who may have hurt people or animals but the majority of us do not and are having to suffer the consequences....

  3. I have to laugh at Allison, she states in 10 years she "personally has only had one or two incidents" lets multiply that by let's say 50% of the 26K students, and we will come up with over 25,000 to 50,000 incidents in ten years. and she has stated she is success.

    First and formost pedestrians have right of way, do you know if the person you are behind is deaf or cannot see? It is up to you the cyclist use restraint or the privelage should be taken away from the entire campus because of those that lack sense.

  4. My biggest problem with biking in CU, and partly why I have stopped is the pedestrians. I pay attention when I bike. However the people wandering the campus plugged into every device known to man aren't. I will crash into a tree to avoid hitting a pedestrian, but when I have to dodge people jumping into the bike lanes with their eyes glued to their phones and plugged into their ipods, I feel like I have legitimate reason to be angry. My bike is broken because of people not paying attention to the world around them.

  5. Has anyone noticed that the campus infrastructure is really not set up for cyclists? Most paths cannot contain both pedestrians and cyclists. I feel that though there are some in the community that use care and safety, most who bike across campus, do not get off and walk when needed or slow down when unsafe. To many just don't care about others. with that said, pedestrians have to walk across bicycle lanes at some time, and use the crosswalks. Both need to be held responsible for thier actions. Walk and look up from your electronically attached device, and cyclist, get off your bike anywhere that is not specifically designed for you.

  6. @Z-Dub

    If you have had any incidents at all then there is a problem. At least with bicycles, most of them have breaks, thus giving you the ability to stop if you need to. Skateboarders/Longboarders barreling down campus pose a safety threat to peds, cyclists, and themselves. Weaving around peds on the sidewalk while riding a skateboard is just plain dumb. Pedestrians may be weaving to, so you need the ability to avoid accidents without bailing and sending you skateboard off like a missile.

  7. To Anonymous at 3:27... To be clear, what I mean by "incident" is "there was an interaction between at least two people and someone fell off a bike." In neither case was anyone hurt.

  8. I've been a pedestrian on campus for almost five years now, and have never been hit by a biker or a skater. These signs are idiotic and offensive. The gross hyperbole implied by their scenes depicting mass explosions and injuries is ridiculous. Also, the entirely ambiguous acronym "DIRC" doesn't mean anything without being explained.

    It's as much up to the distracted pedestrians as it is to others to watch out. I have never seen anyone texting on a bike, whereas more than half of the pedestrians on campus have their faces buried in some gadget or other at any given time.

    @johnb to say that the existence any incidents whatsoever indicate that there is a problem seems like a flawed statement to me. If that is the case than this group's efforts would be better spent focusing on the recent slew of accidents caused by buses, or the innumerable car accidents that happen every day everywhere across the state.

  9. As it was said earlier, this is a collective action problem.

    Anonymous said...

    I have to laugh at Allison, she states in 10 years she "personally has only had one or two incidents" lets multiply that by let's say 50% of the 26K students, and we will come up with over 25,000 to 50,000 incidents in ten years. and she has stated she is success.

    One or two incidents wouldn't be a problem if it were only looking at a single person. When you address the campus as a whole, the number of incidents becomes a noticeable problem.

    I am not saying that I am happy with the smear campaign against bicyclists that is running rampant on our campus and in our newspaper is a good thing. As an avid cyclist I am also offending by the polarization that is being promoted by this campaign. Education is more economic than slanderous advertisements and reenactments. For every conscious and aware cyclist, there are two that always have headphones in (which is illegal in Boulder). But for every conscious and aware pedestrian, then are a dozen that are so plugged in that they would not notice a clown on a unicycle.

    http://www.livescience.com/culture/091019-cell-phone-clown.html (posted earlier in this blog)

  10. With all due respect to my fellow cyclists (I commute in to campus from Longmont), bicycles are legally classified as vehicles for a reason--basic physics. When bicycles move at fast enough speeds to be stable, they create a significant risk to everyone in the area, including the cyclist. That's why helmets and bike paths are a good idea. When bicycles move more slowly, they are less stable and more difficult to maneuver, creating a different kind of risk, especially to pedestrians.

    In this situation, I believe that the burden of responsibility lies with the individual creating the risk. No educational program will be able to change the behavior of every student cyclist or skateboarder, so some fundamental rules need to be set and ENFORCED. Pedestrians have traditionally been a protected group for good reason--they are diverse and vulnerable. They may be distracted in conversation, have an unpredictable toddler or pet in tow, or be differently abled for some reason. We need to protect the safety of ALL pedestrians who are, after all, using a mode of transport that has much less environmental impact than those relying on manufactured items such as bicycles or skateboards.

    While I understand the need for some students to hustle from one side of campus to another, I think that mixed-use paths are a bad idea. Mixed-use paths merely throw disparate groups into uncomfortable conflict, making none of them happy or safe. From the standpoint of a responsible cyclist, being attentive to the pedestrians is irritating at best and dangerous at worst. From the standpoint of a pedestrian (I don't ride on campus at all), the cyclists who insist on riding through crowds seem to possess a sense of entitlement that makes me want to stand in their way and give them a long lecture about physics and social responsibility.

    I sincerely hope that this discussion results the designation of "wheeled transport only" zones on campus, which are crossed by pedestrian crosswalks at which the riders are expected to STOP or, even better, some sort of overpass/underpass system. While this would certainly require a large initial capital outlay, this sort of system is precisely what we need to effectively encourage any sort of human-powered transportation in the future. It could be a model for other campuses and hopefully larger regional systems. If we want to replace cars with human transport, we need to start investing in a future that considers safety for all impacted groups and encourages a pleasurable experience for everyone.

  11. I am a grad student here and have attended classes or have been enrolled at five different schools. This is the first campus that I have been on where cyclists and skateboarders are allowed to ride on campus. I know that Boulder is a very "progressive" town, but it shouldn't be at the sacrifice of safety. In the past year I have been knocked over once by a cyclist not watching where he was going and have received two skinned up ankles from reckless skateboarders. Eventually someone will be seriously hurt. At that point, who will be at fault? Since the campus is private property, will they be legally responsible for condoning reckless behavior? I know that banning bikes and boards is out of the question, so lets at least restrict them to paths with dedicated bike lanes. From my experience, it seems the most problems happen on bottle necks where there is no room to maneuver. Or, how about requiring bells and lights on all bikes to give pedestrians warning? Cyclists request that we need to share the road on the highways and byways, I think it is only appropriate that they give pedestrians the same consideration on campus.

  12. I think that the comment, "Has anyone noticed that the campus infrastructure is really not set up for cyclists?" is very important and something that many cyclists/skateboarders forget.

    Overall I think it is an issue of self awareness and courtesy. Just because I didn't get admitted to the ICU when you buzzed by me full speed on your bike or skateboard, doesn't mean it didn't negatively impact my shared experience of getting around campus. Biking is progressive and good for the world, but so is walking so cut the elitist attitude and respect other people trying to get around campus.

    To be honest, when I first came here (I'm a grad student) I was shocked that bikes/skateboarders weren't banned on campus, at least during the peak foot traffic times. My undergrad campus had the appropriate infrastructure and there were still accidents but it was usually bike on bike which is to be expected. Anyway, I'm grateful for this blog and DIRC because omething needs to happen, this problem is out of hand.