UC Davis equals biking, period. One cannot walk anywhere in Davis without witnessing someone riding a bike. It’s just the way things are.
As a haven for bikes, riding on campus can create a breeding ground for accidents, citations and other riding problems. Here are a few guidelines from some UC Davis resources about surviving your tenure in the biking capital.
According to UC Davis’s Bike Cop Officer Ralph Nuño, up to 20,000 students ride bikes on campus during the year. He suggests students be aware of their surroundings when biking.
“Be cautious of all your surroundings and when making erratic maneuvers,” Nuño said. “Ride your bike as though driving a car obeying traffic laws and you’ll be alright.”
Since a bike is considered a vehicle, bikes are subject to normal traffic laws such as yielding to pedestrians and stopping at stop signs, often not followed by students. However, following the law can pay off. If spotted obeying traffic laws by Nuño, students can receive a coupon worth $7 for food at the Silo.
Another common student misstep applies to music lovers especially. Only one ear bud is allowed when riding a bike, in order to hear noises, sirens, other bikes pedestrians and approaching vehicles.
Bike theft is common in Davis so parking and locking your bike securely is important. Locks such as U-locks and cable locks are available at the Bike Barn, the bookstore and at other locations downtown. If there is no room to park on a bike rack, park and lock your bike on a nearby pole or some other object for the time being -as long as no signs prohibit it.
“Lock your bike to something,” Nuño said.
Environmental science and management first-year student Meghan Call thinks that riding around while school is in session will be pretty hectic. She’s making sure that her bike will be safe when she is away in class.
“I’ve already biked around a few times during the summer, or on the weekends, but with more people using the bike paths I’m a tad bit scared I’ll cut someone off or end up riding around a bike circle a few times,” Call said. “I’m slightly nervous about my bike getting stolen or coming out of class to find I have no seat, but I’ve been prepping my bike for that by removing the quick releases and getting two U-locks.” If your bike does get stolen, not all is lost. Students can register their bikes with Transportation and Parking Services (TAPS) for $10. Once registered, stolen bikes can be reported to TAPS, bettering the chances of it being returned to you.
While theft is an issue, being safe is equally important. Bike helmets are encouraged, but not a requirement for students over 18 years old. Biking wisely and defensively will prevent accidents from happening and bicyclists from falling, Nuño, said.
Bike maintenance goes hand in hand with bike safety. Student should check on their bike regularly to help keep your bike running smoothly. If you need repairs done, the Bike Barn offers all your on campus bike-fixing needs.
Quite possibly the most important safety guideline, knowing how to use the bike circles, or roundabouts, is crucial to navigating the campus safely. Remember, don’t stop but yield to oncoming traffic and enter counter-clockwise or with the flow of traffic when safe to do so. Using hand signals is also a safe way to let others know where you are going.
While biking during the day has its risks, nighttime biking is a completely different story. Students should have a white bike light in front of their bike and either a red light or red reflector on the back while riding at night. Students without them are often pulled over by police officers and ticketed.
Nighttime is also the usual time when BUIs are given out. Biking under the influence (BUI) has the same consequences as a DUI, so students should not be biking while intoxicated. Undeclared life sciences first-year student Dana Fritz is interested yet worried about how riding on the UCD campus for the first time will go.
“I definitely have not ridden a bike in years and I heard the upperclassmen stop, stare and laugh at the freshmen riding their bikes the first week,” Fritz said. “But other than that, it seems like fun – like channeling my inner child.”
More information about bike safety can be found on the TAPS’ web site. If you have any questions for Nuño, you can contact him on his Facebook page entitled “aggienunonation” or call the non-emergency police hotline at 752-1727.
LEA MURILLO can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.