Distracted biking is becoming a growing issue for bicyclists and pedestrians.
Biking is a common way students commute from class to class.
Michigan State University student Mattie Hancock says, “ I bike like everyday.”
Crashes happen more often than not.
“Over the summer I got into two bike accidents actually,” says Hancock.
Most are caused by distractions.
Hancock says, “I was trying to take a picture and I just wiped out.”
Another is common issues is headphone use.
“I listen to music but I don’t text after I crashed when I tried to do that,” says Hancock.
Students believe they can multitask.
“ I think the headphones are fine. I’m still like aware of my surroundings. I make sure its not too loud or anything so I can still hear what’s going on,” says another MSU student.
Riding on sidewalks alone can be just as dangerous as distracted biking.
“When I was walking I was hit by a bike like twice,” says student.
Distraction.gov says nearly 500 thousand bike, car, and pedestrian accidents occur each year in the United States.
To keep yourself and others safe be sure to ride in the bike lanes and avoid wearing ear buds.
MSU grad student Andew Grason conducted an on campus study where distracted and undistracted riding was documented.
Andrew Grayson says, “ just tally every biker you see that’s distracted and every biker you see that’s not distracted. There were a lot of tick marks in the distracted column and not many in undistracted.”
As an incentive riders were rewarded.
“Giving away Sparty bucks coupon to get five dollars at Spartys and they were giving it to people who were riding in the bike lane who didn’t have ear buds in or weren’t staring at their phones,” says Tim potter MSU Bikes manager.
Potter says,“ people are weaving in and out of pedestrians, they’re just looking for a gap and often times another bicycle approaching doesn’t know whose going left who’s going left whose going right because there’s no rules of bicycles on sidewalks because they’re not suppose to be on the sidewalks so they’re basically playing chicken.”
To encourage students to use the bike lanes MSU has improved the pathway along the south side of the red cedar river and is clearing out brush near the pedestrian bridges so that students have a clear view.