After a little over a month at Boston University, I, like many others, have developed a sense of invincibility when it comes to crossing the infamous Commonwealth Avenue. Comm Ave., the ultimate inconvenience to anyone running late to class, is an essential part of what gives BU the atmosphere of being immersed in a city. However, to put it simply, it is also a death trap.
While that last claim admittedly may have been hyperbolic, crossing Commonwealth Avenue truly is no walk in the park. Finessing one’s way between speeding cars during a green light is an acquired skill — practice makes perfect. Once that perfection is attained, the danger no longer lays in menacing automobiles; the less-intimidating bicycles become the new source of peril. Twice last week, I was almost hit by bikers, carelessly zooming by me. Yet those bikers may have a different side to the story. They may say that they almost hit a pedestrian, carelessly standing in the road’s bike lane.
The hazardous combination of the carelessness of pedestrians and the carelessness of bikers results in numerous near-death experiences, such as mine. In my case, one biker stopped short and hollered a profanity at me. Unfortunately, I had no time to process what just occurred and he rode away without a chance for an apology. A few days later, I was sufficiently adept on how to handle the interaction. I immediately apologized; the biker did the same. Hopefully, my next inevitable encounter will go as smoothly.
No blame can be placed on either parties — to an extent, both bikers and walkers are equally responsible. People on foot need to be more aware of their surroundings and understand that, no matter how important you may think you are, traffic will never stop for you. People on wheels need to accept the fact that the bike lane is frequently used as a loading dock, where pedestrians can observe traffic while waiting to cross. Perhaps one day walkers and bikers can put their differences aside and unite against an undeniable common enemy: drivers.