Biking is better when rules are obeyed


August 28, 2009

Biking is a great way to navigate campus while staying physically fit. Of more than 900 bicycles now on the Mississippi State campus, 200 are provided free by the Office of Parking Services exclusively for use by the campus community.

When a few simple rules are ignored, however, a fun and healthy activity can become very dangerous for pedestrians, motorists and the riders themselves.

"We encourage bicycle use on campus and are happy to see a steady increase in their use," said Dean of Students Thomas Bourgeois. "When we made the change in parking policies, we knew there would be more people on bicycles, and that is what we wanted.

"Unfortunately," he said, "when individuals aren't riding in a manner consistent with university policies, it creates an environment that invites disaster. Every year, we have several students hit because they rode their bikes in front of cars in the pedestrian crosswalks."

Crosswalks are "only for pedestrian use," Bourgeois emphasized.

By university policy, bicycles (like skateboards) are prohibited on sidewalks and pedestrian pathways. They may only be ridden on designated bike paths and roadways.

Some other MSU "rules of the road" include:

--First and foremost, bicycles are vehicles and riders must observe the same operator regulations required for motor vehicle use.

--Riders always should exercise extreme caution and slow down or walk their bicycles when interacting with pedestrians, particularly when arriving at bike racks near buildings.

--When approaching sidewalks, pedestrian paths or crosswalks, riders should dismount and walk the vehicles.

--Bicycles may only be parked in bike racks, never--ever--parked or chained near entrances to campus buildings.

For more information about the university's policy about bicycles, skateboards and other alternate means of transportation on campus visit www.msstate.edu/dept/audit/91307.html.