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Keep the kid in you alive and follow the rules of the road

Do you remember when you first learned to ride a bike?
I do.
In fact, I remember not being able to ride a bike even more distinctly. It sucked. Being a kid unable to ride a bike meant my adventures were confined to the neighborhood, and that could get old quick. And I absolutely still remember the first time I successfully rode a bike. My stepfather gave me that fateful shove and “Chariots of Fire” played in the sky while I took my first solo pedals. It was awesome.
But those great bicycle memories are steadily being erased around Ohio State’s campus these days. Bikers have hit students. Trucks have hit bikers. OSU’s student population is larger than ever and campus is noticeably packed. It’s mayhem and I understand the tension surrounding the issue. No walker wants to check over his or her shoulder every few seconds in fear that some maniac is living out a Tour de France fantasy on The Oval.
But as someone who has never grown up and continues to ride his bike everywhere, the soured feeling toward bikes and bikers themselves makes me sad. I want people to remember that these brilliant machines offer tons of benefits that have helped them endure since the early 1800s.
They’re faster than walking. They’re greener than cars. They provide an oasis of exercise lazy college students like myself desperately need.
All of this is to say that it is unfair for bikes to be scapegoated in the way they have been in the past few weeks.
The real guilty party in this situation is the reckless rider behind the handlebars. Now, I would be lying if I didn’t admit to having been part of the problem in the past. I even tweeted once that I enjoy riding my bike “Like Dale Jr. at Daytona.” But the incidents in recent weeks have forced me to change my ways. I’ve found myself stopping at red lights and even the occasional stop sign. I’ve tried to ride solely on the roads and avoid popular walkways.
We need all bikers to come to this realization. The glory days are over. It’s no longer acceptable to treat a bike like anything other than it is.
As bikers, we need to find the happy medium between a fun riding experience and keeping safe those around us on foot. Otherwise I’ll be forced to vote against my own party and start hating bikers – even though I am one.

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