Letter to the Editor: Serious Accident Should Not Lead to a Cross-Campus Bike Ban

On October 3, 2008 two St. Mary’s students were injured during a head on collision while riding their bikes across campus.

First-years,  Ian Burnstein and Larry Issac Emmerfield were seriously injured when their  bikes collided.  Ian was riding his bike from the Campus Center toward his dorm; Larry (also riding a bike) was coming down the big hill from Dorchester.  Not seeing one another, they collided at the turn at the bottom of the hill.

Because of this accident and a series of other lesser accidents, the administration is considering banning bikes on campus altogether.  This is ridiculous!

Granted, we feel horrible about what happened to our fellow students, but should all students be punished because of this unfortunate occurance?  We think not!

St. Mary’s campus is swarmed with bikes.  It’s part of who we are as a campus community.  Everywhere you look you see students riding their bikes, either for easy and fast transportation or for healthy exercise.

Stand outside the library or the Great Room and you’ll see at least seven out of ten students go by on their bikes.

It seems that the administration recognizes this fact, given that they have supported the free ride program and recently invested $14,000 for a bike shop in QA.

We understand that the free ride program failed because a few students caused problems:  taking the bikes off campus, vandalizing the bikes, even throwing them in St. John’s Pond.  And rightly, the administration banned the program.

But with the recent investment in the repair shop, it seems ironic to now completely ban bikes on our campus.

Personally, we are both frequent bike riders around campus.  And we recognize that the campus is small compared to other, bigger colleges and universities, but we all know how long the walk is from Waring Commons to Kent.

Using our bikes has been the only way to make it to our back-to-back classes on time.  We’re sure we’re not the only students who feel this way.

We would like to reiterate that we feel awful for Ian and Larry, and our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends of these two students.

However, to Dean Bayless and all others who make decisions at St. Mary’s, please do not take away our bikes because of an accident.

One of our fellow riders, Hahndell (Amy) Barluski said it best:  “Take away our bikes, you take away a part of St. Mary’s.”

-Dan Incontrera ‘12 and Julia Malanka’12

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