ON BIKE CULTURE IN EUGENE | Fine blogging since 2010 (with periodic long breaks)
After our tribute to the bike-pedestrian chaos that is 13th Avenue on campus, we spotted this urgent breaking news story, which we will excerpt here in its entirety:
Pedestrians fight back; Rowdy protest erupts on UO campus
After a University of Oregon honors student had her foot run over by a badly hungover sociology major riding a bakfiets, angry student pedestrian advocates marched to Johnson Hall, demanding more respect, safer travels and fewer bicycles.
The student, Courtney Walker, 20, held a sign that read “Italy, my foot!” as she hobbled in a fiberglass walking cast toward the steps of the massive building, home to the upper crust of UO administrators.
“It’s a response to that boneheaded blogger, Eugene Bicyclist,” Courtney said, explaining her sign. “He was romanticizing the chaos and carnage out there, saying the mix of bikes and pedestrians weaving around was like a trip to Italy. Give me a break!”
She raised her cast. “A day after he wrote that post, some jerk on a bakfiets breaks three bones in my foot!”
Then she pointed to her head, on which she was wearing a helmet. She rapped it with her knuckles.
“So now I’ve started walking around campus with a helmet and a reflective orange safety vest! Do you think I like that? No, I don’t. But because I choose to be responsible, and walk and be kind to the planet, I have to risk my life?! Our society has it all wrong!”
She paused to take a few deep breaths. Then she added: “But I want people to know this is not just about my foot. This is a global issue. Do you realize what the demand for Chris King titanium bike parts is doing to the Earth? Have you ever seen a titanium mine?”
She pulled a photo from her backpack.
“Not a pretty picture, is it?” she said. “And do you realize titanium ore is dug from the Earth mostly by orphans?”
Meanwhile, out in 13th Avenue, a campus thoroughfare often dominated by cyclists, the mass of pedestrians refused to make room for the controversial two-wheelers.
A few militant protesters used keys to scratch bikes abandoned in bike racks, and then beat violently on their grocery-sack-covered saddles with their bleeding fists.
After kicking a vintage Italian road bike in the spokes, one shouted, “No more 20-pound chrome-moly killing machines!”
Asked why he was attending the protest, the young man blurted: “We have to get these people off their bikes, make them understand what they’re doing to our neighborhoods, our planet. Just the other day, I saw a guy on a fixie run over a squirrel!”
A friend standing nearby, added: “Look. There’s a perfectly good form a transportation that uses no natural resources. It’s safe. It’s gentle. It’s natural. Right down there, those things on the bottom of your legs. We need to get rid of the bikes. More than that, we simply need to go back in time and eliminate the invention of the wheel all together. Kind of Terminator-style.”
It wasn’t clear that the organizers of the march approved of these more radical activists, who left smoking rubble in their wake.
Somewhat more restrained, the event’s official organizers, nevertheless demanded an audience with UO President Richard Lariviere.
“We have something we need to show him,” the limping Courtney told a reporter. “We don’t want to be seen only as complainers. We have an idea. I’m not calling for a ban on bicycles. I own a bicycle myself! But what we want to do is to separate the pedestrians from the cyclists. It is the best way to keep things safe.”
She dug through her backpack again, pulling out what appeared to be a rolled-up blueprint.
“One of my friends is an architecture major, and she worked this up for me,” she said, unrolling it on the lawn. “You can see here what we want to do. We are going to have cyclists on the right and pedestrians on the left, separated by a real physical barrier, not just a stripe of paint.”
Asked to explain the barrier, she said, “Well that’s the beauty of our plan. We’ve designed it in a way that it will totally have to be taken seriously when it comes to funding.”
She pointed to the rendering of the barrier on the blueprint: “It’s a big acrylic plastic tube, big enough for really tall people to walk through. It’ll be rainproof, heated in the winter, air conditioned in summer. It will run from the bookstore down 13th all the way to the Jaqua Center for the Private Education of the Strong, Fast and Agile.
“Like the Jaqua Center, the tube also will be reserved for student athletes only — so they don’t have to get wet or hot or cold while walking around campus. So they can concentrate on their studies.
“We have a call in to Phil Knight asking for a little cash to build it. If it helps at all, we are willing to call it the ‘Phil-evard,’ like ‘boulevard,’ get it?”
What the effect this whole affair might have on an unrelated proposal to rip out the amphitheater outside the EMU and replace it with a recreational student velodrome in the shape of the university’s “O” logo was unclear at press time.