Campus Biking 101

Jake Tapley

Okay USI, it’s time to have a little talk about bicycle ettiquette.

We all love our bicycles – they are convenient, eco-friendly and faster than walking. On a bike, you can fly past those who trudge to class on foot and park your vehicle within feet of the entrance of any building on campus. All of these perks make it easy to forget that the bicycle-riding community has certain responsibilities to uphold within its own population and within the university as a whole.

The bicyclist, who is operating a road vehicle, must heed pedestrian traffic. I’m not a physicist, but I do know that if a bicyclist hits someone walking to class, one or both parties involved is going to have a bad day. Thankfully, avoiding that situation is easy.

First off, be aware. If you know where people are, you can direct your bike in a different direction. Second, use your voice. Making sure that people know that you are there can mean the difference between an uneventful afternoon and tire tracks on someone’s back.

Being an effective bicyclist means you also have to be familiar with bicycle rack etiquette. These rules include never blocking walkways, never parking more bikes to a rack than it is designed to hold and never, EVER chaining your bike to another’s bike. There are more specific guidelines for the different racks around campus.

The first type of bike rack is the green T-shaped poles that are often found near the entrances of buildings on campus. These green poles are designed for two bikes, which can either be chained directly to the pole or hung by the seat on the arm of the T-shape before being secured.

The second is the traditional style rack that looks something like a drying rack for dishes. I’ve seen upwards of 10 or 12 bikes on a rack that is built for maybe five or so bikes.

There is an easy fix, though: find another rack.

You can walk the extra 30 or 40 yards to the building that you need to go in. If you are really in a hurry and only need to go into the building for 10 to 15 minutes, you can do what is called “fly parking,” which is when you lock your bike to a bench or light pole.

Remember, just because you are late to class doesn’t mean you can park like an idiot.

As a general rule, just be courteous and you will be fine. Above all else, ride smart, stay safe and have fun.