Crack down on pedestrians, too

Pedestrians should be kept from walking in campus bike lanes.

The University of Minnesota Police DepartmentâÄôs crackdown on bikers who ride in designated dismount areas âÄî such as ScholarâÄôs Walk and along certain sections of Washington Avenue that are under construction âÄî seems to be a great idea to help reduce congestion and improve safety in busy campus thoroughfares.

The possibility of a $115 fine is enough to deter most college bikers from encroaching upon the space reserved for pedestrians. I know I have changed my own riding habits to keep some more green in my wallet.

However, this crackdown is only addressing half of the problem âÄî the half that has only recently come to the forefront. While better enforcement of biking laws is welcome news, nothing is being done to address the timeless pet peeve of thousands of students here on the Twin Cities campus: pedestrians in the bike lane.

Too often, these pedestrians âÄî intentionally or simply because they are not paying attention âÄî endanger themselves by casually strolling in designated biking areas, not only on the West Bank but also on the Washington Avenue bridge and Pleasant Street, where the bike lane is in the road.

If a $115 fine is being used to force bikers to be more respectful of pedestrian areas, then I propose that an equivalent fine be used to force pedestrians to be more respectful of biking territory.

The problem of bikers and pedestrians sharing the same space cannot be solved by only one of the parties involved. Bikers and pedestrians must both be a part of the solution âÄî each side blaming the other for the problem would get no one anywhere.

Mutual respect for each otherâÄôs space is the only real solution for the transportation issues that have plagued this campus for so long.