Before you hop on your bike, STOP and THINK! Being a cyclist in a busy college town has various hazards, so there are some things you should consider. Whether you are on your way to or from class, work, or just out for a ride, complete the following checklist to be a smart rider:
- Wear a Helmet: By law, you are required to wear a helmet. To some this may be silly, but you will thank your cranium cradle when it cushions your head against the pavement.
- Maintain your Bike: Check and maintain your bicycle regularly. To avoid steering problems, minor breakdowns, and comfort issues; check your tire pressure, alignment, and seat cushion.
More maintenance info can be found HERE.
- Be Seen: Wear bright clothing while on your bike. It is a common misconception that a biker has the right of way. You must be aware and courteous when sharing the road with drivers or the sidewalk with pedestrians.
- Be Safe: The most important part of bike safety is being predictable. That means, follow the rules of the road.
- Ride with traffic, not against it. Riding on the left side of the road or the wrong way on a one-way street is a common cause of crashes; it increases your closing speed with a car and puts you in an unexpected position for car drivers. (If you are in the road, you can be cited for a moving violation this includes the speed limit)
- Scan all directions at intersections
- Pay attention to stop signs and red lights even when running late.
- Use sidewalks with caution. Drivers don’t expect you at an intersection, so be ready to yield to turning cars.
- Ride at a reasonable speed even if you are running late.
- Ride four feet out from parked cars to avoid being hit with a door. Some people are not polite to bikers.
- Keep hands clear of books or notebooks while you ride. Use a backpack, rack, or basket. This is a leading cause of crashes.
- Be Aware: Never assume a car or pedestrian can see you. The best way to avoid an accident is to be proactive, not reactive so, do not assume someone sees you riding. You should mount a bell to alert people around you that you are coming up on them or just use your lungs!
- Be Sober: Riding a bicycle requires skill, coordination, and your full attention. When you are inebriated, you compromise all of these. To avoid any incident or a ticket for be intoxicated, DO NOT SIP & CYCLE.
- Lock it Up: To avoid a theft, lock your bike in a high traffic area on campus. Most bike racks are visible to the public so, locking your bike in an area that many people pass will discourage a theft. You can also get an extra long chain that you can weave into the tires to avoid a run away wheel. All other valuables should be placed in your bag and taken with you.