Tips For Biking Around Campus 2013
For the 3rd year in a row, I am putting forth these tips on how to bike safely and avoid an accident or ticket while riding around Davis. HEED THESE WARNINGS!
The first week of all the students being back in Davis is an exciting time but, also an especially hazardous time. The main danger being, riding your bike in a sea of inexperienced freshmen who are unfamiliar with the rules of the road and the responsibilities of riding a bike in Davis. Here are some tips to help avoid an embarrassing, costly and potentially harmful situation on your bike.
First tip: Get familiar with the laws/rules for riding a bike. A summary of the rules of the road can be found here thanks to TAPS. Cops in Davis will pull you over and ticket you on your bike for: running a stop sign or red light, not using your hand to signal, riding with both headphones in (one is alright), riding inebriated (can lead to losing your drivers license) or otherwise biking irresponsibly/dangerously, and I think most importantly – for not having a bike light at night. A strong front light, back light, even wheel lights, and ideally white or reflective clothing are strongly recommended while biking at night.
Second Tip: Pay attention while entering/exiting rotaries on campus! Most sensible people are familiar with rotaries (or roundabouts as we call them on the east coast), but unfortunately most freshman are not very sensible. Technically the riders in the rotary have the right of way. Bikes entering the rotary must yield to bikes already in the rotary however, do not count on other riders to adhere to this rule. Many people will just bike right into a rotary without looking, so just be aware of this. When exiting the rotary it is never a bad idea to signal, and check over your shoulder that you will not hit another rider as you turn out of the rotary. Also be wary of actual traffic in the rotaries, buses, trucks, and cop cars can cause mass confusion when a high volume of bike traffic is present. Rotaries mishaps account for the majority of collisions and injuries on campus, so just be careful!
Third tip: Don’t be afraid to speak up! While riding around campus, especially around lunch of in between classes you will run into groups of slow moving bikes or people walking in the bike lane. Occasionally you can easily pass them by, but it is often necessary to alert those blocking the way of your presence. Just a quick “On your left/right” can save you from getting nailed by a swerving bike or errant pedestrian. Also very helpful with riders who are unable to ride in a straight line or are completely unaware of their surroundings (be especially aware of Cruiser bikes as they tend to be harder to control).
Davis is a great place to ride a bike, just make sure you do it safely and responsibly. If anyone has any other recommendations or stories please feel free to chime in!
Updates: When walking in a bike lane, remember to walk on the left side so you can see oncoming traffic. It is also a good idea to buy a U-lock, almost any other kind of lock can be easily cut (and there is nothing worse than finishing a long day in lab, and finding out that your bike has been stolen). Also a good idea to register your bike with the campus police for a variety of reasons.
Also, during the day, especially during class transition times, DO NOT ride beside someone (especially in a bigger group), this prevents other bikers from passing you and is generally not a good idea anytime of day.
Pro tip: As we transition from Summer/Fall into winter remember that the weather changes dramatically. Equipping yourself with splash guards on your front and rear bike tires can save you from getting an impromtu mud facial next time it rains. Riding your bike in the rain is not that bad, as long as you have the right equipment. Getting a solid rain jacket, rain pants, and a pair of water resistant gloves will make you much happier when you arrive at your destination.
Remember to stay alert while biking, and always put safety first. Happy Riding!