Bike lanes make for easier commute

By Ryan Lee

NIU’s plan to make traveling across campus easier is progressing through changes to the university’s mass transit system, especially for cyclists.

The large bike lanes on the sidewalks along Lucinda Avenue are impossible to miss and are new this fall. Many students might prefer to ride the recently revamped Huskie Bus system over pedaling through the bike lanes, but the bike lanes are tremendously helpful in quickly and safely getting from point A to point B on campus.

Compared to the bicycle infrastructure in other cities where I’ve have ridden, DeKalb’s lanes provide a superior travel experience over bigger cities such as Gurnee, Champaign and even Chicago. When I rode in Champaign, it was not uncommon for me to brush someone’s backpack with my handlebars as I went around them (which understandably startled people), but that never happens for me at NIU.

These lanes show how much NIU’s mass transit system administrators caters to students. The sidewalks were expanded to accommodate bike lanes. That, along with the revamped Huskie Bus System and the electric tram coming soon, is going to simplify travel to and within campus, said Brett Williams, Student Association director of Mass Transit.

“The Huskie Buses will bring you from … wherever you live to campus,” Williams said. “The trolleys will take you around on the inside of campus, and then … if you have a bike or you rent a bike, that’s where the bike lanes come in.”

Flexibility is what makes the lanes so handy — cyclists are free to utilize them to make their ride more enjoyable, but walking students are equally free to take advantage of the sidewalks.

The bike lanes are “a very smart idea … especially with how much traffic there is,” said Michael Sheridan, sophomore theater studies major. “People on bikes screeching to a stop [to avoid pedestrians] … but I see it a lot less now.”