If someone set up a poll of every University of Wisconsin student, I wonder what the percentage of students who have been or have almost been hit by a moped would be.
According to a 2011 UW statistic, mopeds on campus are involved in 30 to 40 campus accidents a year. I would venture a guess the number reported is probably the same today, but the true number has been and is far higher. Many incidents just probably aren’t reported.
There is no question mopeds serve as a convenient way of transportation for students with busy schedules or classes far away. If you live on Mifflin but have a class down in the School of Nursing, I totally get wanting to use a moped instead of waiting for the 80 then cramming in with all of the Lakeshore residents heading home.
But it seems like just about every week I hear a story or personally experience a situation where someone nearly gets hit by someone driving recklessly on one of those noisy little scooters.
Mopeds are dangerous if not used safely and they’re bad for the environment.
On top of the dangers they pose, according to some studies, mopeds produce more air pollution than today’s cars. On a campus where many students preach about the dangers of climate change and pollution, that statistic alone should be enough to make you want to get rid of your ride.
But if you still want your moped because mass transit doesn’t sound fun to you, fine. Then please remember a couple things things.
Madison is, first and foremost, a pedestrian town. While most other cities in America seem to not follow the idea that “pedestrians always have the right of way,” we do. Why? Because as we all know, Madison at 12:15 p.m. on a Tuesday has ridiculously crowded streets. Respect that and chill the hell out about going 40 miles an hour down Park Street between College Library and Humanities.
Also, respect the fact that just because not all of us have a moped doesn’t mean we don’t have places to be. I get that wherever you’re going on your moped is probably further away and has a strict deadline for you to get there, but your deadline is not any more important than anyone else’s. We all have stuff to do.
I’m well aware how arbitrary this column is. I know in the big picture, even on campus, it isn’t a huge deal. But since we all have to coexist with each other for the duration of our UW experience, we might as well try not to go to the hospital for an avoidable accident while we’re here.
So please, ride safe, Madison.
Connor Touhey ([email protected]) is a senior majoring in political science, history and journalism.