Tips for keeping yourself, bike out of harm

Riley Mundia Dustin Stene, a 23-year-old recreation major, rides his bike home through campus.
Riley Mundia
Dustin Stene, a 23-year-old recreation major, rides his bike home through campus.

It’s a skill that most people learn as a child. Learning how to balance, pedal and steer a bicycle becomes natural after years of practice. However, staying safe while riding your bike becomes much more than a set of training wheels and wearing a helmet.

Obeying Traffic Laws

In 2011, 677 cyclists were killed in California according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Bicyclists must follow the same traffic laws as cars, University Police Sgt. Bryce Davison said.

That includes not talking or texting on the phone while riding a bike and always stopping at stop signs and stop lights.

People driving cars will anticipate a bicyclist will stop at an intersection, Davison said. Running a stop sign while riding a bike can result in injury.

Unplugging your headphones will help you stay safe and reduce the risk of getting into an accident. It’s a California law to have only one headphone in your ear while riding a bike or driving a vehicle.

“A lot of the collisions that occur could be prevented if people were more aware of their surroundings,” Davison said.

Riding on and around campus

Students frequently ride their bikes across campus to get to class but it’s not the safest idea.

“It is illegal to ride your bike on campus,” Davison said.

Most of the complaints the University Police receive during the day are about people riding their bikes on campus and nearly hitting pedestrians.

Riding against traffic is also dangerous and can lead to an accident.

“If you have two bicyclists riding in the bike lane are traveling opposite directions, it’s going to require one of those two people to move out toward traffic,” Davison said.

Preventing Theft

Many bike thefts have occurred across campus lately and students can take steps to make sure they’re not robbed.

Davison advises students to do some research and purchase a quality U-lock.

“There’s some really good resources online where they’ve actually tested the different brands and models of U-locks,” he said.

Along with locking up your bike, try not to leave it locked up overnight or over the weekend.

Registering your bike can increase the chances of getting your bike back if it does happen to be stolen. It costs $12 and stores the bike serial number into a database. This makes it easier for the police to track down your bike if it gets stolen.

 

Sharon Martin can be reached at [email protected]