Headaches of a student cyclist

Tanner Cole

Three weeks ago, my bicycle was stolen from a bike rack on campus. The lock was cut, and police have been unable to find it since. I decided to cut my losses and buy a new bike.

A week later, I was riding down the Hill to see a friend. While crossing Regents Drive I rode over a water grate in the road. Unfortunately for my face and I, the grate was improperly installed. The drainage holes were lined up with the road rather than perpendicular to it, and my tire went straight through rather than coasting over as intended. I was sent flying forward into the concrete.

Several hours in the emergency room later, I was given eight stitches and prescriptions to heavy painkillers and antibiotics. I had two lacerations on my face, a black eye, dozens of cuts and bruises and a broken bike. 

In less than a month, WKU claimed two bicycles from me. I missed class, work and plenty of time because of the accident. 

I started biking this year after moving off campus. Driving isn’t really an option for anyone that can avoid it this year, but at this point biking isn’t an option for me either.  

As far as I’m concerned, this campus isn’t completely bicycle-safe. I’ve heard stories from fellow students in the past few weeks that have experienced the exact same wreck around campus. We don’t have bike lanes everywhere, and it makes riding a nervous wreck for most cyclists.

Two of my friends went and fixed the grate after my accident, but who knows how many others are installed just like it around campus. 

Basic biker safety needs to be a priority for WKU even when they have an acceptable parking situation, but this year there are no excuses.  For now, I’m afraid to buy another bike for fear that Gary Ransdell himself will walk into my house and smash it into pieces.