Letters to the editor

Distracted riders problematic

In the classic arcade game Frogger, one must maneuver from point to point while avoiding numerous hazards in the road. Jumping from left to right, one must always be on the lookout for potential collisions, as even a slight misstep could result in devastating catastrophe. Constant vigilance is key to traversing these treacherously congested paths unscathed.

No amount of successfully saving Frogger, however, adequately prepares one for the utter train-wreck of the mobile USC campus. From pathways to plazas, getting from class to class with ease is an absolute impossibility.  This disaster of traffic is not completely brought on by the convergence of riders and walkers into campus. In fact, the influx would be totally manageable if it weren’t for one thing: distracted riding.

We’ve all seen it: the over-confident student balanced on their bike with handle bars in one hand, and a cell phone in the other, not bothering to look around.

As if it weren’t bad enough that we all have to be up in the morning to get to class, these texting fools have decided to turn the drudgery of the weekday commute to class into a massacre of spokes.

Their lack of attention and egotistical riding style lead to the collisions that are (admittedly) fantastic to watch but horrible to be a part of.

Some would say the fault does not rest on the phone-happy riders, but rather with the slow-moving pedestrians. But since when did walking become a full contact sport — where one has to dart, dash and side-step to avoid being tackled by swerving steel? It seems unfair to force those without bicycles to have to plan their routes around unfocused pedalers.

And what about those on bikes who remain vigilant? Those who are wise enough to keep their phones tucked safely away until they reach their destination; surely they don’t deserve to be victims of accidents caused by a texting rider.

Riding a bike in a sea of people on a campus inadequately designed to handle bicycles and pedestrians harmoniously is hard enough, but riding a bike knowing that at any second you could be struck by another bicycle because the rider is too focused on his or her phone to look where they are going is frustrating. Not only does it put the bike rider’s safety at risk, but their cargo as well.

Therefore, I propose we actually pay attention to KURTSC. While general apathy is typical in regard to campus community initiatives, this call for campus-wide consideration of others is one that should not be ignored. Not only for the safety of everyone else, but for the rider’s safety as well.

Tara sim

Sophomore, public relations


DREAM Act a needed avenue

When it comes to the dollars and cents of the immigration issue, the most effective path is through the DREAM Act. One of the most common misconceptions about the act is that taxpayers’ money will be going toward funding the education of another country’s population.

The main fallacy of this argument is that the act will provide access to public funding for AB 540 students, those who have, at a minimum, gone through three years of high school in the United States.

Many of these students, however, have been here much longer, making this country the only home they know. Therefore, investing in their education will not lead to trained individuals returning to a foreign country — this is their country, it is where they want to live and where they will continue to live.

Herein lies the economic dilemma: Do we continue to allow the undocumented population to underachieve and not reach their potential, thus, posing a greater strain to public services? Or do we make it possible for them to better themselves by providing an easier path toward citizenship for those who have proven they aim to better their situations (through education or military service), thereby improving the overall condition of our economy (more taxes being paid, more money invested and less stress on the social services that the impoverished need to survive)?

Here we are presented with the possibility to create a brighter future for America, led by educated and talented individuals from all backgrounds.

The DREAM Act is not mass amnesty. It does not encourage more illegal immigration as it contains cut off dates and is made to help those who are already here.

The requirements of the DREAM Act are very straightforward: Enter the country before the age of 16, graduate from high school or obtain a GED, have good moral character (clean criminal record) and spend at least five continuous years in the United States.

There remain concerns, however, about the implementation of the legislation and how it will affect students (both undocumented and citizens) and all of California’s residents.

For more information, you can attend the California DREAM Act Educational Panel this Thursday from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. at THH 102. Hosted by the USC Redefining Engagement in Active Leadership Project and El Centro Chicano, the event is for all who want to learn more about the DREAM Act, the legislation and the effects of its implementation on all Californians. We look to foster a respectful and all-inclusive conversation, so please bring your questions, concerns and comments.

Michael P. Varela

Lead organizer, IDEAS Movement at USC

1 reply
  1. What about distracted pedestrians?
    What about distracted pedestrians? says:

    With the new policies and talk surrounding cyclists and traffic on campus, it seems to have been overlooked that distracted pedestrians cause problems too. I regularly ride my bike on campus and have frequently had to swerve or quickly brake in order to avoid hitting a pedestrian who decided to stop walking or turn sharply in the middle of a pathway. Once, while riding in the bike lane on the street, I almost hit a pedestrian who jumped off the curb (not even at a crosswalk) without even looking to check for traffic. Forget cyclists- he could have been hit by a car with that kind of cavalier behavior. And how did your parents forget to teach you to look both ways before crossing the street?

    Distracted cyclists definitely cause their share of problems, but let’s not forget pedestrians are often just as inconsiderate.

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