Bikers beware and mind the signs

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I do not have a car on campus. My main (and only) form of personal transportation is my legs. My friends often laugh at the distances I walk on an average day. Freshman year I walked three miles to go to Panera for lunch with my fellow non-automotive-friend, after which we walked three miles back to our resident hall.

Being from Minnesota, along with having five siblings, having a car on campus is not very efficient for me. While I genuinely enjoy walking everywhere I go, I do have another option: biking.

Biking is right up there with walking and driving as a viable mode of transportation for a variety of reasons. For starters, it provides environmental, health and monetary benefits.

One of the major sources of pollution to our environment today is cars. When I think about students commuting to and from campus in cars, all I can think about is the traffic, traffic, traffic and pollution. Biking reduces traffic, and thereby the pollution.

Not only can biking improve our planet’s health, but ours as well.

Biking not only strengthen muscles in our legs, but it is also a great source of aerobic exercise. Lisa Callahan, medical director of the Women’s Sport Medical Center in New York City, said in a Healthy Women’s article that biking provides the same cardiovascular benefits as walking, jogging or even dancing.

Beyond the cardiovascular advantages, biking is an effective calorie burner too. According to the Men’s Health article, “10 Reasons You Should Start Biking to Work, Now,” a biker could lose up to 19 pounds in one year just cycling to and from work. Not to mention how much driving to work costs in monetary terms.

According to the book “Bikenomics” by Elly Blue, the average American family spends $10,000 every year on transportation. One of the greatest contributors to this excessive spending is purchasing gas for cars.

Once again, biking appears to be an excellent substitution. Forbes reports that the average annual cost of a bike is just over $300, whereas a car cost over $8,000 annually. That is a big chunk of change, especially for a college student.

All these benefits aside, biking comes with responsibilities. As an avid campus walker, I have to trust the operators of these two-wheel transportation vehicles.

One of my biggest pet peeves on the road is when a biker blows through a stop sign. In my opinion, if you are a transportation vehicle on the road, you better obey the laws that any motor vehicle has to. If you do not want to stop, you are more than welcome to walk your bike in crosswalks. But if a car arrives at a four-way stop before you, you do not get the right of way just because you are emitting less carbon dioxide.

Bikers who choose to take the crosswalk and sidewalk route are not completely innocent either. I fear being hit by a biker more on the sidewalk than I do in the crosswalk. K-State’s sidewalks are filled with directions for bikers to dismount, but seldom do I see anyone follow those instructions.

I am all for the benefits of riding a bike, but only if the benefits do not sacrifice safety in the process.

Mallory Diekmann is a junior in agricultural communications and journalism.

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