It’s a tale as old as time in The Gator Nation. The fierce dichotomy between bicyclists and pedestrians has been going strong as long as I can remember. There has been a constant struggle over who truly controls the pavement and where each party should dominate.
Bicycle lanes and paths are clearly delineated with friendly markings on the pavement. I am certain we have all seen the white, headless figures on bicycles painted on the ground. These serve as well-defined indicators of who controls that turf. The markings are not meant to exclude pedestrians, but rather to create a safe connector so bicyclists can seamlessly maneuver through campus without inhibiting pedestrian traffic.
Lately, I have been disgruntled by the blatant disregard for transportation planning at UF. Each day, the Hare Krishna organization serves what has become a popular lunch choice among students, faculty and staff. This large luncheon used to take place on the east side of the Plaza of the Americas, away from heavy bicycle traffic. This year, the entire affair has moved and is now partially occupying the historically designated bicycle lane that connects Newell Road to University Avenue on the west side of Library West. During lunchtime, which is the busiest time of day on campus, Hare Krishna lovers crowd this area, often blocking bicycles and slowing the natural flow of bicycles traffic.
Bicyclists and pedestrians should be in a symbiotic relationship, especially since we both share a common enemy: the automobile. If the Hare Krishna organization and its following continue to crowd this area, the potential for serious injury will continue to increase. Since the bike lane has long been in existence and experiences heavy traffic, a simple remedy would be to relocate the Hare Krishna lunch to a more pedestrian-friendly zone. There is a number of green spaces dispersed throughout this beautiful campus that would be more appropriate for this type of gathering. It is time for bicyclists to take back what is rightfully theirs.
UF geography senior
[The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the Alligator.]
[A version of this story ran on page 7 on 12/5/2014]