Staying safe on bikes

In Campus News, News

Walking to and from class can be time-consuming and tiresome. Some students and faculty depend on alternate means of transportation, like riding their bicycle. Although cycling is the faster choice, it can be dangerous for everyone sharing the road.

Kevin Buechler and Brian Feinzimer, president and vice president of the Cycling Club, host weekly meetings on campus and give tips on bicycle safety.

To avoid accidents, Feinzimer said it is typically best to avoid streets you drive on, take up the whole bike lane whenever possible and wear your helmet correctly at all times.

“At nighttime (riders) definitely want to have some kind of light on their bicycle,” said Feinzimer. “Pretend like nobody can see you, like you are invisible.”

Intersections such as Nutwood Avenue and State College Boulevard can become very congested with pedestrians, cars and cyclists during the mid-afternoon and early evening.

“You shouldn’t try to be more cautious at any intersection. They are all dangerous,” Feinzimer said.

Buechler stated he has been involved in many cycling accidents, although none were on campus. He said the cause was usually exceeding safe speeds. He urges riders to always ride at a pace they feel comfortable with.
If a student is involved in an accident, Buechler breaks down a few steps students should follow.

“Do not let the driver leave without providing you with his or her driver’s license and proof of insurance. If the driver is not willing to provide them, then call the police,” he said. “Note the make, color and license plate number. Get this immediately in case the driver tries to flee the scene.”

When you are just riding to and from class, Buechler suggests following all designated bike paths on campus, since they are specifically marked for a reason.

A common risk he sees cyclists take is riding in low visibility without proper lighting.

“It is very important to use lights to make yourself visible to motorists. Another is riding on sidewalks. They may seem safer but it makes it more difficult for motorists to see you,” he said.

Cpl. Paul McClain, a University Police officer with Community Services and Crime Prevention, also has a few tips on bicycle safety. “Adhere to the basic bicycle safety laws, stopping at all the stop signs, not riding a bicycle with ear buds,” he said.

McCain said it is important to note that while operating any vehicle, including a bicycle, it is against the law to wear headphones.
“Be aware and pay attention when riding on the correct side of the road, which is the right,” he said.

According to McClain, in 2010 there were six injury-traffic collisions, 25 non-injury traffic collisions and one hit-and-run collision.

In 2011, there were four injury-traffic collisions, 16 non-injury and zero hit and runs. These statistics include bicycle accidents, but they are not specified.

For more information on bicycle safety, visit BicycleSafe.com.

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