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June 25, 2014

MORRIS: Big Four common sense

JEFFERSONVILLE — It’s funny where and when a story or column idea will hit you. The bell may go off in the middle of the night or after taking a stroll around the neighborhood.

Or maybe it’s during a jog on the Big Four pedestrian bridge.

Sunday afternoon my creative juices were missing in action. It was hot, vacation is still a few weeks away, and it’s a busy time of year here at the paper. But thanks to the Big Four Bridge, and those who were on it Sunday, something finally clicked — common sense is something that is slowly fading away in this me-only society.

First off, I love the bridge. I usually run it twice a week for a change of atmosphere and I like the ramps on both ends of the bridge. The Big Four is the best thing to hit this area in a long time. People are coming out, soaking up the sun and getting some exercise.

But it only takes a few of those people to ruin a good thing, right? And I think those few may have been on the bridge Sunday.

Here are a few dos and don’ts when it comes to the Big Four Bridge.

• Remember, the bridge is for everyone — young, old, athletic, nonathletic. So with that in mind, I ask, no I beg, cyclists dressed in racing gear to slow down while riding their bicycles across the bridge.

Yes, the center lane is for bikes, I get that. But when the bridge is packed sometimes walkers, runners or grandma and grandpa have to use that lane to pass someone who is not going at the same pace.

Some of these cyclists — like the ones Sunday who looked like they had taken a wrong turn from the Tour de France — ride way too fast. All it takes is for a small child, or an old 52-year-old jogger, to venture over into the lane and a bad situation is going to happen.

I think it’s great that cyclists dress the part with their matching uniforms and ride bikes across the bridge. What a great, safe way to get to the Louisville riverfront.

Just slow down please.

• Also, those groups of four or more walkers need to be a little more aware of what, or who, is around them.

Walkers and joggers need to be on the lookout for bikes or those behind them who are walking at a faster pace. Just because you come to the bridge with a large group doesn’t mean that group can walk six or eight abreast across the bridge, unaware that the Big Four is for everybody.

It is borderline rude that some of these people have no idea, or worse yet don’t care, that one section of the bridge goes in one direction and the other side goes in the opposite direction.

Just because you bring Aunt Polly to the bridge doesn’t mean you and your entire family have to walk in a way that blocks others from getting around you.

• I guess what amazes me more than anything are some of the parenting skills I see while being a frequent visitor to the Big Four. I find it odd that people expect a 3-year-old child to venture on the bridge without shoes in 90 degree heat, and not whine or cry midway across.

On Sunday, a little one was crying because his feet hurt, and were hot. Of course the mother yelled at him and said she was never bringing him back again. Ever!

Hey, the kid is welcome back anytime. Maybe the mother should stay away.

Also, if your think your small child under the age of 10 is going to ride his or her bike up the ramp to the bridge without stopping, crying or complaining, you may want to think again. The ramps are steep, and long. It’s not an easy ride.

• I don’t know about you, but I think the Indiana section of the Big Four opening was worth the wait. It’s really great to see so many people — of all ages — enjoying the bridge. I see people taking pictures, stopping to watch the new downtown bridge construction, or just enjoying the nice stroll to the other side.

There has been no trouble, and police are always parked on the Louisville side. Last Friday morning, there was a Louisville Metro Police Department officer just hanging out on the bridge.

Right now it may be the safest venue in the area. Let’s hope it says that way.

I am curious to see if the bridge’s popularity will drop off the same time its newness does. I don’t think it will. It’s perfect for people of all ages.

Just remember, use a little common sense and everyone will have an enjoyable experience.

— Assistant Editor Chris Morris can be reached at chris.morris@newsandtribune.com or by phone at 812-206-2155. Follow him on Twitter: @NAT_ChrisM

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