‘Walk your wheels’ campaign encourages bicyclist, pedestrian safety

A cyclist rides past The Dusty Bookshelf in Aggieville on Aug. 23, 2016. (Shelton Burch | The Collegian)

Like drivers in their cars, bicyclists are expected to stay in their lane—and that lane is on the road.

It is illegal to ride bicycles, skateboards and scooters on sidewalks in Aggieville and in the downtown Manhattan business area. There are also areas on campus marked to indicate that riders should dismount and walk their bike.

According to local ordinance Section 31-181, “No person shall ride any bicycle, skateboard, coaster, roller skates or similar devices upon any public sidewalk within that portion of the city zoned either C-3 or C-4.”

While it may appear commonplace on campus that people do not want to dismount their bikes on their way to class, the ordinance will start to be enforced in the Aggieville area this year, according to Traci Taylor, executive director for the Aggieville Business Association.

“We just want people to be aware of the rules,” Taylor said. “Not only is it dangerous for people walking and opening doors, but it’s dangerous for the riders.”

Taylor said according to data from the city, there are an average of three pedestrian accidents per year in Aggieville.

This year the City of Manhattan launched the Aggieville Community Vision community survey, which found that “recent transportation patterns have indicated a rise in bicycling activity in Manhattan and especially around the university,” according to Taylor.

“We want to tell people, students especially, that there are a lot of people and it’s important to walk your wheels,” Taylor said.

‘Walk your wheels’ is the Aggieville campaign slogan to encourage safety in the area, she said.

Rules for riding on the street in Manhattan can be found on the city’s website, but include that riders are expected to ride in bike lanes when present. In the absence of a designated lane, riders should ride on the right side of the lane, with traffic.

Additionally, Kansas state law requires bicyclists to have a white headlight on the front of the bike to increase visibility. While bikes come with reflectors on the front and rear ends, white headlights can help with safety on cloudy days or while riding at night. A red light is not necessary to have on the back, but can also be used in addition to the red reflector.