Bikers strike fear, handle bars in the hearts of many

Kristine Gill

I’ll admit, sometimes I walk along the red brick path that winds down to Cartwright and Franklin halls. It makes the walk a little more fun, and it’s the perfect width for one person to walk along. It was not until recently that I learned this path is for bicycle riders.

Now I have to break my habit. This path was not made for me and despite the lack of obvious markers or signs that would alert a Dorothy-wannabe to the fact that this path was not laid for her, I have to stop walking on it.

It’s a habit that’s easy to break, considering the imminent danger I’m in whilst tra-la-la-ing around the bends and dips. It’s easy because I think the bikers are angry.

I’ve noticed a subtle yet terrifying difference in the bikers at Kent State this year. They ride around a little faster, they swerve around people a lot more, and they like to come out of nowhere just to watch the look on my face while I stiffen and grip my iPod a little too firmly.

My roommate has also noticed this. She claims that once on her way to class, a biker rode straight at her until she assumed a football-like stance, ready to dodge the approaching catastrophe of twisted metal and bodies. The biker flew ever closer until he veered at the last moment and pulled away laughing.

Yes, laughing.

I guess it would have been a funny little spectacle from the other side of those handle bars. I might have laughed, too. But I would have laughed to myself, not out loud after I’d almost flattened someone, seemingly with intention.

Now it’s possible that someone is after my roommate. Maybe she ticked someone off who happens to be tight with a biker and that person made a little deal. But let’s assume she’s innocent. Let’s assume everyone is at risk: Even other bikers.

I’ve seen you guys play chicken with each other. Sometimes I’m laughing to myself when I picture you two having to pick up your bikes and resecure your backpacks. But I don’t wish ill on anyone, biker or not.

That’s why I’m proposing we all start wearing helmets. Everyone. Come on. If everyone wears one it’ll be cool. Girls, you won’t even have to do your hair anymore. Just throw on a helmet and hide it all. You can sleep in for another hour. It’ll be great for everyone.

People won’t scream when they hear the “click, click” of a bike chain behind them. They won’t cringe as the wind whips past their face and ankles. They won’t hold their breath until the danger has passed. Everyone will smile at each other knowing that no amount of forceful contact with concrete can crack their skull while three inches of plastic and Styrofoam surround their cranium.

Of course if you’re all too broke, like I am, to go out and invest in a helmet, then the only solution is to stay away from those bike paths, give the bikers their space and smile, even though you aren’t wearing that helmet. Then again, if your grin is looking a little less full, maybe your lip’s a little bruised from your last round with a biker, smiling might not be the best idea.

Kristine Gill is a journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].