Students on campus cannot help but stop and gawk at the four additions to the bridges. The bike blockers, the technical name which is chicanes, can be seen as both an annoyance and a safety necessity.
Students feel that the chicanes are a nuisance and not necessary.
“They are actually becoming irritating,” Stacey Silman, senior, said. “People can not even walk side by side each other on the bridges anymore and bikers just pass through them anyway.”
People accidently bump into them, students have to make a single file line to get through them if they are walking in a group, and dog leashes get tangled up in them. Students feel that the chicanes are not effective.
Aubree Schlepp, sophomore, said she saw a man ride his bike right through them, not even phasing bikers.
Even though students do not see a need for the chicanes, President Dianne Lynch said they are essential for safety. Lynch is concerned with the number of people who ride bikes too fast through campus disregarding the signs that state bikers must walk their bikes over the bridges. She is particularly worried about the bikers who zoom across the bridges passing the front doors of Stamper Commons endangering pedestrians.
Lynch and security attempted to get riders to slow down, but nothing has worked.
“We have done everything you can imagine to encourage them to stop and walk,” Lynch said. “Our security officers often stand on the bridges and literally physically try to stop them. Sometimes it works; more often, it doesn’t.”
That is when Lynch and the security team sat down, discussed the situation, and came to the decision that installing the chicanes was a solution that would at least require bikers to slow down.
According to Lynch, students have already complained to her that bikers simply weave around the barriers pretty easily while going downhill.
“One of my greatest concerns was that our ‘calming measures’-and yes, that’s what they’re called: traffic calming measures-would not in any way obstruct or make difficult the movement of students and community residents in wheelchairs. We want to be sure that pedestrians and those in wheelchairs have safe, easy passage through our campus,” Lynch said.
Last semester, chicanes were installed but were removed almost immediately because people with wheelchairs could not get through.
Lynch says that it has been a challenge to balance student safety, easy movement for those with disabilities and controlling speeding cyclists on pedestrian paths. She does not want anyone to get hurt and has everyone’s best interests at heart.
The chicanes can be frustrating, but are needed to at least hinder the progress of cyclists. They are not a perfect solution, but maybe a better solution will be devised by the end of the semester.