The Georgia Tech campus is frequently lauded as a friendly place for cyclists, even being named a silver-level Bicycle Friendly University by the League of American Bicyclists last year.
With a growing number of cyclists on campus and May being National Bike Month, now is a good time to be reminded of safety measures all cyclists can take to enhance the safety of themselves, those around them and their equipment.
Know the Rules
If knowing is half the battle, then knowing the rules of the road is imperative for safe cycling. A few reminders for city cycling:
- Keep as far to the right as practicable, riding in a single-file line, but know you are legally allowed to take the lane when it is necessary or safer.
- Bicycles are considered motor vehicles in traffic, meaning stop signs, red lights and other traffic signals and devices always apply.
- On multi-use paths (like those around campus), cyclists are required to yield to pedestrians.
- Riding on the sidewalk is illegal, and you are actually safer on the road than on a sidewalk. (When you ride on the sidewalk and through crosswalks you may come too quickly for drivers to see you and from a different direction than is expected.)
Lock It Up
The Georgia Tech Police Department has seen a significant decline in bicycle theft during the past year. Only 12 bikes were reported stolen, with the majority being from residence halls.
GTPD advises that the best defense is using both a U-lock and cable lock to secure your bike and that thieves are not discriminating when it comes to the choice of bikes.
“Inexpensive bikes are stolen as frequently as expensive bikes,” said Captain Randy Barrone of GTPD’s Crime Prevention Unit.
A few other tips from GTPD:
- One lock is good; two locks are better. Use a U-lock to secure the frame to the bike rack and a cable lock to secure the frame to the wheels. (U-locks are available at Barnes & Noble @ Georgia Tech for a 10 percent discount with your BuzzCard.)
- Register your bicycle with GTPD at www.police.gatech.edu/services.
- If you have a quick release for the seat or front tire, take it with you.
Get the Right Gear
A bike in good repair is just the start if you want to be safe and comfortable cycling in a variety of situations.
- Helmet: While not required by law, this will protect your brain in a fall or collision. (Your brain got you to Georgia Tech, so treat it kindly.)
- Pump: Keeping tires filled at their designated pressure level can help prevent flats.
- Repair kit: Even so, flats will happen, but with a travel repair kit and pump, they can be an easy fix.
- Lights: Having lights on the front and rear of your bike makes you more visible to cars and is required by law when riding at night.
- Fenders: Attaching a fender to the rear tire can prevent water from splashing onto you when streets are wet.
- Waterproof bag/jacket: If you plan to be an all-weather cyclist, these will get you to your destination in a slightly drier state.
For more information and resources for campus cycling, visit www.bike.gatech.edu.