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Davis, California

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Some helpful tips for safe biking in Davis

Remember to equip bikes with lights, reflectors and fenders

Biking on campus is already hazardous enough, with bikers navigating through bike circles, other cyclists and clueless pedestrians. The upcoming rainy season and daylight savings will add limited visibility to this list of challenges, so with that in mind, here are some biking tips to remember.

    Using hand signals is common courtesy while biking, since it can prevent accidents by alerting other cyclists and pedestrians about where you want to go. You should always signal before turning and look behind your shoulder (just like in a car) to ensure you won’t run into anyone. 

Helmets can save cyclists’ lives, reducing head injury by at least 48% for cyclists in crashes. Despite their protective value, helmets aren’t cheap, but TAPS offers a free helmet to everyone who completes its “Cycling Savvy” Canvas course and its “Helmet Hair Don’t Care” training session. Keep in mind that it’s not safe to wear a hat or hood beneath a helmet, so consider investing in ear-warming headbands if you want to keep your ears toasty while riding.

    It’s important to have reflectors and working bike lights since both are required by law during periods of limited visibility, which include darkness and rain. If you don’t already have lights, the UC Davis Police Department gives them out for free, and if you’re worried about someone stealing your lights, take them inside with you. 

Biking without a light isn’t only dangerous for your health — it could be dangerous for your bank account. Cyclists can be fined $200 or more if they’re not compliant with the law in Yolo County. Additionally, bicyclists can be held liable for damages if they’re found negligent in an accident, and in California, negligent parties also receive less compensation for their own damages.

    Before it starts raining in earnest, do yourself a favor and buy fenders for your tires. If your bike doesn’t have fenders in the rain, your tires will spray mud onto your clothes and backpack in what has been lovingly dubbed the “freshman stripe.” Many bike seats, especially the comfortable foam ones, soak up water and can stay wet for a while, so some students keep their seats dry by covering them with a plastic shopping bag. 

    If biking stresses you out, you can probably still get everywhere you need to go on campus by walking. But if you’re a pedestrian, please don’t cross without looking, walk diagonally through bike circles or jump in front of bikes and expect them to stop. Biking on campus can already be hectic enough without needing to worry about people running out in front of you without warning. 

    Stay safe out there, Aggies.

Written by: The Editorial Board


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