By Andrew N. | April 3, 2013
I was sitting around thinking to myself “I wish I had a medium to share my ideas about OSU related happenings. Facebook? No, too annoying. Twitter? No, too short. Graffiti wall? No, too artsy…Oh wait, my stars and garters! I have a blog!
Today’s topic of choice is the university’s new policy on not allowing bicycles on The Oval. If you haven’t heard about it, you can read more on the issue in the Lantern here (I feel like I should be paid for advertising for the Lantern. You’re welcome). To sum it up, starting later this month, the oval will be a “Walk Zone”, meaning that any bicyclists must dismount and walk across the oval. The penalty for biking across starts at a $20 fine and possibly goes up from there.
This whole idea comes from the Traffic Safety Task Force. Since the rash of accidents, specifically involving bicycles, at the beginning of the year, the Task Force has been trying to come up with ideas to make traveling on campus safer for all modes of transportation. While I appreciate their efforts and think that it is a serious issue, I have some qualms with this particular attempt.
First of all, of the multiple accidents I have witnessed and the countless more close calls, a small percentage of them occurred on The Oval. I believe this is in part because the oval is a open space where sight lines are visible and there is room to detour into the grass if necessary. Many more accidents occur on sidewalks between buildings and in crosswalks with poor sight lines (think about the crosswalks by the construction on Woodruff). In my opinion, they are addressing the problem with an only partially related solution. It’s as if I was doing bad in Math, and decided the best way to improve was by studying Chemistry more. Yeah, I am studying more which is good, but not doing anything to help the real issue.
The other major concern I have is with enforcement. Anyone who has been on the oval during a class change period knows there are probably hundreds of bikes crossing in the span of minutes. If there are one or two people enforcing it, how in the world are they going to be able to decide who to give the citation to? Or are you telling me we are going to station a handful of officers to catch these now “criminals”? And if that is the case, is it really the best use of resources when there is the possibility of more pressing situations happening around campus?
That being said, I can’t think of a superior solution. Unless the whole campus becomes “Walk Only”, meaning eliminating not only bicycles but more importantly cars, I don’t see a way that the Task Force can make a significant impact on the safety of people. Best of luck to them though, they are going to need it.
Oval Picture: http://www.osu.edu/athletics/