Editorial: Keep bikes, mopeds off sidewalks

SidewalksAreForWalkingGetting from class to class on time can be tough, especially if you’re walking. There are several elements to consider: where your next class is, when your last professor let you out of class and how fast you walk. The last one of that list does not necessarily matter if you have a moped or a bicycle though.

It seems convenient, zooming around campus to all of your classes and meetings, swerving around pedestrians and hoping they do not decide to step in front of you.

However, some of these moped riders and bicyclists use inappropriate routes to get to class: the sidewalks.

Sidewalks are, by definition, a place where people can walk to the side of the road. At Baylor, it seems this definition has been expanded to include everyone from walkers to moped and motorcycle drivers.

In reality, it is dangerous and illegal for people ride on the sidewalks.

There should be more “no bike” zones on campus. These zones would apply to bicycles, motorcycles and mopeds. There are some places on campus that are no-bike zones – for example, the sidewalk in front of Waco Hall and the street in front of Morrison Hall.

On the Parking and Transportation Services website, it states, “Motorcycles and mopeds are prohibited from parking on walkways or near doorways. Motorcycles and mopeds are prohibited from using Fifth Street or green spaces as thoroughfares. Those areas are for pedestrians and bicycles only.”

People break this rule daily. For motorcycles and mopeds, these zones should be enforced with tickets.  According to the website, all motorized vehicles must be registered with the state and have a valid parking permit, which means ticketing is possible.

The same rules apply to bicyclists as to car drivers. Bicyclists are supposed to stop at stop signs, yield to pedestrians and ride with the traffic flow. If a car is not allowed on a sidewalk, then the bicycles shouldn’t be either.

However, it is not uncommon to see cyclists and moped riders zooming down the sidewalk without being stopped or ticketed. It is understandable that there are numerous offenders, so stopping every one of them would be difficult.

It is worth the effort to enforce these rules because of how dangerous riding on the sidewalk is.

People should be more respectful of the pedestrians, which means giving them the space to walk on the sidewalk without worrying they will be flattened by a passing bike.

Because bikes and mopeds get people to class faster, taking a little more time to go around sidewalks should not be a problem. It seems more convenient to zoom along the sidewalk on Fountain Mall instead of finding another road. For all its convenience, it is disrespectful at best.

For pedestrians, a passing bike could easily sideswipe them, causing damage to both the bike rider and the walker. These rules are in place for a reason, and that is to ensure the safety of everyone as they move around on campus.

Ultimately, these drivers must be held accountable. If they never receive any consequences for their actions, mopeds and bikes will continue to swarm sidewalks.

Let traffic flow more smoothly by following the rules. Just because it might seem inconvenient to go around a sidewalk instead of on it, this inconvenience is a lot shorter than it would be if a moped or bike actually hits a pedestrian.