By Maddie Sievers
The infamous electric teal, rentable VeoRide bicycles have plagued the University of Illinois for half a semester now. It sounds like an ingenious idea: find a bike, rent it for less than a dollar, ride it where you need to go, and park it whenever and wherever you’re done with it. Everyone seems to have some sort of opinion about them, whether they think they are convenient or just downright annoying. While there a few good qualities of the VeoRide system, like how it provides a quick and inexpensive mode of transportation in a pinch, there are also undeniably a lot of bad things associated with it. However, many members of the campus community seem to think that these negatives outweigh the positives, so on behalf of everyone irritated with VeoRides, here are a few things anyone who rents these bikes should take note of.
Learn the rules of the road.
Believe it or not, cyclists are considered motorists if they are riding on the streets! It’s important to know the rules of the road so you can not only protect yourself, but prevent traffic accidents as well. One of the biggest problems with VeoRides is that anyone can rent them, so there are lots of VeoRide cyclists who are unaware of proper etiquette when sharing the road with other vehicles.
Use the bike lanes.
Champaign-Urbana, and campustown in particular, has an enormous amount of designated bike lanes, so use them! Bikes are slower than traffic and faster than pedestrians, so there’s a reason there are often specific roads just for them. VeoRide users should use these lanes whenever possible. Again, this is not only for their own safety, but to protect other types of travellers! It’s also important to remember that whenever cyclists are acting as motorists (including when riding on the main roads or in bike lanes), pedestrians still always have the right-of-way. Keep an eye out for people crossing the street and cutting through bicycle lanes.
If you ride on the sidewalk, respect other pedestrians.
Another problem is that cyclists, including VeoRide users, tend to switch between acting as motorists and as pedestrians, depending on which is more convenient at the time. It can be incredibly dangerous (and annoying!) to be walking down the sidewalk and nearly be hit by a biker who is weaving in and out of crowds. If you are bicycling on a sidewalk with a VeoRide, please don’t be obnoxious! Go at a reasonable speed and be alert. Finally, always wait for the signal at the crosswalk and walk – don’t ride – the bike as you cross the street if you are acting as a pedestrian. Riding a bike through a crosswalk automatically forfeits your rights as a pedestrian!
Don’t park the bikes wherever you darn well please!
The social media feeds of every student on this campus have been blowing up with pictures and memes of VeoRides parked in utterly outrageous spots. While these can be pretty funny, it’s suddenly not very humorous when encountering a VeoRide parked smack-dab in the middle of the sidewalk, on the centerline of the road, or toppled over in front of a bus shelter.
Overall, it would make our campus a much better and safer place if VeoRide users would just slow down, extend a few common courtesies to pedestrians and motorized vehicles, and use a little common sense. This a busy campus, and no matter how you travel, everyone has to be able to safely coexist as they get from place to place.
A student very irritated with VeoRides