Here at Bike at Illinois, we take pride in safely riding around the Champaign-Urbana community! To make sure you can get the most out of your riding adventures this Spring, here are a few basic tips and rules to keep you safe:
The Basics: Helmet, lock, and lights
- Riders are highly encouraged to wear a helmet to protect their heads because of the risks associated with riding. You are exposed to the risk of falling on the pavement and hitting your head or untimely collisions with vehicles and pedestrians on the street. You buy a helmet for under $30 online or the Campus Bike Center or from a nearby bike shop.
- Locks are the primary deterrent from bike theft. As we mentioned in last week’s post, you should use a sturdy U-lock (use two locks if possible) and lock your wheels as well, not just the frame of the bike. You can purchase a U-lock from the Campus Bike Center or a nearby bike shop or online.
- The front white light and red back light are required for riding at night, so you can be seen on the road. Riding in the dark presents more risks than riding during daylight hours, so it is of the utmost importance to have lights on your bike. If you do not have any you can buy them online. The university also organizes a free bike light giveaway event every year in fall.
The Pre-Ride Checklist:
- Air: Check the air level of the tires by pressing your thumb against it
- Brakes: Pull the brakes to make sure they are fully functioning
- Chain: Check the chain for rust and to make sure its not caught on anything
Some additional tips you might find helpful include:
- Commuting with bikes: If you plan on commuting by bus with your bike, all MTD buses are equipped with bike racks holding up to 2 bikes at a time at no charge. There is also the option to bring bikes on board, as long as they do not block the aisle or doors. Learn more about the Transit system on-campus here.
- Report unsafe driving behavior: If you are subject to illegal driving behavior or involved in a traffic incident from a car, bus, or pedestrians, contact the University of Illinois Police Department (UIPD) at their non-emergency phone number (217) 333-1216.
Rules of the Road:
- Bikers are expected to follow the same rules as cars. Citations can be given out for violating state, local, or university traffic laws on a bicycle
- Always ride with the flow of traffic in the bike lanes. Riding on the wrong side of a one-way street can result in getting a moving violation on your driver’s license.
- Follow all traffic signs and signals.
- Pedestrian traffic still comes first! Share paths and sidewalks at all intersections. If traffic becomes heavy, it is better to walk your bike to avoid running into others by accident.
- Avoid sidewalks and weaving between parked cars to make sure you cars around you can see you at all times
- Make sure to signal when changing lanes and making turns. Follow the hand signal guide for additional instructions Hand Signal Guide.
- Always avoid passing a bus/truck on the right hand side, even in bicycle lanes, because oftentimes they won’t be able to see you in their blind spot as they pull over to the side of the road.
- Communicate with pedestrians ahead of time to avoid collisions in walkways
- As previously mentioned, use your front/back light reflectors at night to make sure you are seen by the cars as they approach.
- If you would like additional clarification on the laws enforced by the State of Illinois, please read this link for more details: State of Illinois Vehicle Code.
- Check out the University Bicycle Ordinance that all individuals must follow when riding on campus. It’s meant to promote education, awareness, and safety for all of campus.
Also, don’t forget to fill out the bike registration form on our website if your bike hasn’t been registered yet. Bike registration and bike maintenance is critical to keeping you and your bike safe. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Written by Max Weiss