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      Getting Around on Guam

     Guam is just a little island, a little fly-speck in the Pacific... or so it seems until you want to go from one place on Guam to another. Then you realize just how big Guam really is! 

    If you are going to live on Guam, you have to have a car, unfortunately. The roads of Guam are overcrowded and consequently in fairly poor condition, and there are always construction projects disrupting traffic in the busiest areas. But there aren't any other realistic options for getting around on Guam. 
    There is a limited public transportation system, but  the buses run infrequently and irregularly. You have to schedule your life around the public transportation system, and then have a back-up ride in reserve. 
    It would be lovely to be able to get around Guam by bicycle, and there are people who do it, but bicycling on Guam is truly dangerous. There are no bicycle paths, and most of the roads have no shoulders. There is just no place to ride a bicycle except out in the middle of heavy car traffic. There are two kinds of cyclists on Guam: the children who cruise the small neighborhood streets but for the most part stay off the main roads, and the adult sport cyclists, most of whom are aggressive Statesiders who ride in the middle of the main roads and obstruct traffic. The latter engender so much resentment among car drivers that many cyclists complain that they have been deliberately attacked. Another hazard to bicycling on Guam is the high incidence of drug-impaired (alcohol and ice, mostly) drivers on Guam's roads. Drunks pick off a lot of cyclists. Yet another hazard is dogs. Guam has a very large stray dog population, and they believe that cyclists were placed on Earth just for their enjoyment. Guam would benefit enormously from the construction of a system of bicycle paths. A lot of people would bicycle if it were safe, and it would help reduce the car population on Guam's roads. But, with the current economic crunch, the prospect of building bike paths on Guam is virtually nonexistent. 
    Many of the same problems that beset cyclists on Guam also apply to pedestrians. There are some areas with sidewalks, but not many. A distressingly large number of school children walking to their bus stops have been struck down by cars, as have several joggers. Pedestrians must travel with large sticks to beat off dogs. 
    In spite of the fact that Guam suffers perhaps more than its share of drunks and hotdogs, we also enjoy an exceptionally large number of generous and accommodating drivers. Guam's drivers are always willing to let another driver into or out of a tough spot, and it is commonplace to see three lanes of heavy traffic stop to let someone make a left turn out of some business on Marine Drive. 

 

by Brenna Lorenz and Mike Pulte.

 
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