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.
Check out the bikeleadgue.org maintenance page for even more tips.
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.
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.
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!
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.