Oil and water, Israelis and Palestinians, Vlad and our stomachs. Some things just do not get along and it’s a well-known fact that Pitt has its own conflicting duo: pedestrians and bikers. No, we’re not talking about the raw hide Easy Rider type bikers. We’re talking about the people who use bicycles to get where they want to go. This rivalry has gotten bad enough to be considered a war, and if anyone is going to cover a clash in Oakland, you can bet your Panther Funds it’s gonna be The Black Sheep. To find the root of a conflict this atrocious, it is best to get both sides, luckily we were able to get members of each faction to sit down and talk to us.
“Hey man, we’re just trying to get to where we need to go,” explained Keith Schwinn, junior and official spokes-person for the bikers. “Do you know how much time I save by pedaling? A crap ton. It’s also great exercise and totally hip. So what if we come close to hitting pedestrians? They should get out of our way! I spent over $500 constructing my very own fixie and I’ll be damned if people don’t step to the side when I kick it into high gear.”
Schwinn provided a solution to “Maybe if they didn’t walk at a snail’s pace three people deep, they wouldn’t have to worry about getting a tread mark to the back of the head. I’m so tired of the complaints that I started my own Twitter campaign.” It was then that Schwinn unbuttoned his flannel and exposed his #BikeRidesMatter shirt. “I am sick of my people being treated as second class traffic. The road is too dangerous, we deserve as much of the sidewalk as we need!”
“Technically, they shouldn’t even be on the sidewalk,” remarked Candice Marche, sophomore and de facto leader of those who choose to walk around campus. “It’s actually ridiculous that they think we should share the concrete. Foot traffic is far more gentle and organized than a flimsy piece of metal strapped to two wheels. I’m in the process of getting Pitt to ban the things outright. In the past three weeks since classes have started I’ve almost been run over 12 times. Bikes are fine and dandy, but when the asshole riding one doesn’t signal his turns, zigzags as he crosses your path, or speeds past you after gaining momentum from a hill, then I start to have issues.”
Marche explained the lengths she is willing to take to prevent bikes from getting in her way: “The university has already reported an increase in bike theft this year, and while this is not an admission, I will say that those taking the bikes aren’t using them as transportation.” Marche showed us a piece of metal around her wrist that looked suspiciously like a bike chain. “One of these babies goes for like $20 on Etsy. I bought my books this semester from the profits.”
Both sides of the battle bring up valid points and the stalemate may finally be broken by extra bike lanes being added to Oakland. In the meantime, stay safe loyal readers. If you’re riding a bike, try to be more courteous with the sidewalk and if you’re walking, try to get out of the bikers’ way. Perhaps the two forces will one day be able to live in harmony and gang up on the real scourge of the road: the 10A.