Step up your bike game, Chico

Amanda Irons
Amanda Irons

I have seen the face of a bicyclist moments before an inevitable collision.

This is not a story about bicyclists fighting for their rightful place on the road as they save the planet one alternative transportation vehicle at a time. This is about a bicyclist who was involved in a head-on collision due to sheer disregard.

As I rode my bike home from campus, I was stopped at the light at the corner of Legion and Warner streets. In front of me was a small pack of about five other bicyclists. In the distance, you could see what will later be referred to as “the culprit.” As the light turned green and the pack inched forward, the culprit barreled toward us unfalteringly. In this instance, the culprit was a bicyclist who was traveling in the wrong bike lane. In a total disregard for the appropriate turn lane, the culprit decided to opt for the alternative bike lane. As soon as they made their decision to be above the law, a look of terror crept over their face. In front of them was a wall of oncoming bicyclists. The culprit swerved left, then right, all in a failed attempt to dodge the inevitable. Then they collided with another bicyclist.

Being a few bikes back, I saw the whole ordeal play out in a sort of surreal play on bicycle safety. I watched as an impromptu joust between innocence and a forgivable evil took place. This by no means was my first bicyclists-in-the-wrong-lane sighting, but this was the first time that I could have been the one affected by their negligence.

Like any other college student, I love riding my bike and pedaling until my thighs burn and my lungs sting. Free to travel over rock, road, and, my personal favorite, crunchy leaves. On a bike, I have the ability to go anywhere I want, but that does not mean I should.

When I witness a bicyclist veering through a crowd on campus or the sidewalk at high speeds, I can’t help but silently assume they are selfish people. They care more about what is easiest for them and not about the safety of others.

I can hear the faint cry of the wrongdoers now. They’re assuring me they know what they are doing as they whiz past while I gingerly walk to class. They claim they can easily navigate their way around me as long as I stick to walking the path. The audacity of that notion! Neither parties are mind readers. No one can predict the flight plan of the other. This behavior is inviting bad news in a big way.

I know a handful of gentleman on the bike team. I have witnessed Bobby Zidek, a Chico State cyclist who has topped the charts in national collegiate competitions, make his way down three flights of stairs, open doors, and pretty much dominate any bipedal task while on his bike.

You are not Zidek.

When it comes to biking, do not be that person who makes everyone else feel uncomfortable. If you are feeling rowdy on two wheels, hit the trails. Go do wheelies in the parking lot. Do that that fishtail thing that I could never master as a kid. Have fun, but do not put others’ safety in jeopardy doing so.


Amanda Irons can be reached at [email protected] or @amanda_irons on Twitter.