Commuter Corner: The Threat of Bikes

A cyclist performs a stunt at the top of Fairfield Way. Occasionally cyclists get in the way and injure pedestrians. (Jason Jiang/The Daily Campus)

So there I am, once again eavesdropping on the conversations of my peers and giving my own take on their stories in my head. With this time in particular, the two girls I’m standing next to at the bus stop delve into the times they’ve been hit by a bike. I laugh at the absurdity of this under my breath. I notice how fast those motorists go, but to actually hit someone seems like something out of a comedy sketch.

My laughter stops at the girls’ looks of alarm. I subconsciously follow their movements away from the center of the sidewalk.  A man on a bicycle drove straight through us, without even announcing his presence. We weren’t a large gathering, but we were definitely a group. To just cut right through us was quite bizarre and outright dangerous. It gave the girls even more outrage as they continued their stories, and I actually began listening to their tales with true curiosity, inspired by this recent occurrence.

One of them, a brunette in a baggy sweatshirt recalls the time she was hit by a cyclist who just kept on going. She noted how he wobbled and had to regain his balance, but never managed an apology. After a quick comment on how the cyclists are crazy, another voice joined the fray. The blonde girl next to her clothed in a lovely jacket and scarf began her story. Her voice rose as she cried at the indignity of her own troubles.

I listened on for a couple of minutes and from what I heard, the girl had been minding her own business, heading to her next class. This cyclist came up the path and completely ran her down.  Not only did she topple onto the ground, but also did the guy on the bike. As if in a rush, he just hopped on his bike again and sped off, leaving her splayed out on the path.

As the bus careened into our stop, the conversation halted, though it was clear there were more stories that could have followed. I was struck by the fact that not only had people been hit by bicycles, but that the people on the bikes didn’t seem to care. They just went on their merry way, while those who were hit were left to watch their progression and dust themselves off.

There have to be some cyclists who would stop and help someone they’d hit, but there definitely should be more. As I was walking to that same bus stop from the day before, I was almost hit as someone sped across the road toward central campus. I wasn’t on my phone, and I wasn’t talking to anyone. I was about to round the corner and my gaze focused there. I had just enough time to move out of the way before the guy plowed me over.

Heading into college I was warned about boys, drugs, parties and all the other choices I would have to make in this new environment.  Amidst all of these talks about what to do and what not to do, my parents never mentioned the imminent threat of the bikes. Weird.


Hannah Desrosiers is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at hannah.desrosiers@uconn.edu