Imagining a Bike-Free Stanford
October 18, 2011
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Imagine for a second that bikes never existed (at Stanford, anyways).
Students would walk to class, meeting classmates and strangers alike, building friendships on foot. The contorted face of a biker in a hurry—because she left her dorm three minutes before class—barreling down on the Circle of Death (you know, the roundabout between the language corner and the clock tower) would fade to a smile as she congenially ambled (with their friends!) by other students she had yet to meet. Heck, the Circle of Death wouldn’t ever have been called the ‘circle of death’; we may not even have a name for it! Instead of “Bro, I was biking through the circle of death today and saw this chick totally ram into this dude on a bike!” it might be, “Dude, I was walking past the clock tower today and I noticed how beautiful the School of Education is!”
There would be no need for the snooty campus police to patrol the arcades in the quad, scolding helmeted freshman (or grad students—sometimes it’s hard to tell) for their habits, nor would there be collisions with Asian tourists. There would be no ‘good’ bike racks and ‘bad’ bike racks (or leaning bikes on trees) or frustrated bikers, walkers, and drivers who all believe only they have the right of way. And there would be no campus bike store, ripping you off for a tire tube and the “extensive” labor that goes along with its installation, or dodging old people as you bike past the bookstore. We might also spend more time admiring the architecture and greenery around our beautiful, beautiful campus.
Then again, when I walk around the real Stanford, I get a little more of the splendor to myself.