Two wheel dangers

The August 3 column by Rachel Becknell concerning her conflicts with riding her bicycle on the road and being told by car drivers to get on the sidewalk refocused me upon a situation which seems to be getting out of hand. Within the last few months I have had several unpleasant experiences on the sidewalks of NIU with bike riders forcing their way through our group of pedestrians from behind and with bike riders speeding off to somewhere and coming very close. In one instance the person was headed right at me until I hollered. According to Illinois laws, bicycles are considered to be vehicles and subject to the “Rules of the Road” with all the rights and privileges thereof. This does not include riding upon pedestrian sidewalks, riding through stop signs, being on the wrong side of the road, going the wrong way on one way streets, etc. These are not city ordinances but state laws. The acceptable method for bicyclists on sidewalks is walking bikes and not riding them as fast as they can. Most persons, including myself, think children should be on the sidewalks for safety reasons, but when they become adults, this attitude should cease.

Interestingly, the University Police are sworn to uphold all state laws which I assume includes all vehicle laws. I have yet to see much enforcement with regard to bicycles on sidewalks let alone blatant failure to obey stop signs and traveling in proper lanes. Perhaps someone needs to get injured and sue the university for failure to properly enforce state laws before routine enforcement occurs.

David M. Piatak

Professor and Director of Graduate Studies