:: Running from the Thought Police ::

Reality-Based Thoughts, Ruminations, and Unsolicited Opinions of a University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign student alumnus and employee.
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:: Wednesday, August 31, 2005 ::

Cycling Etiquette

Many cyclists, including myself, take great pride in buzzing pedestrians and being all manner of annoying. Our ire, usually justified, is generally directed at said pedestrians for walking along our bike paths, and at the occasional car for parking across the bike path or doing something else incredibly stupid. However, in light of word that a cyclist was hit by a car on campus, I think it wise to go over some points of decent biking on campus.

1. Wear a helmet. You, your folks, or some group is paying thousands of dollars so that you can put knowledge into your head. You can lower yourself to wearing a $30 piece of foam to protect that investment.

2. Register your bike with campus police - there's a form that you can fill out in the parking office to do so. You'll get a purty little UIUC sticker with an ID number on it to put on your bike. Not only is this useful if your bike is stolen and then found, but also if UIPD decides that your bike is parked improperly. Improperly parked bikes that are registered are impounded and their owners assessed a $50 fine; those that aren't registered have their locks cut and are sold at auction.

3. Lock your bike when you park it. Bike theives look for easy targets.

4. Use your bike. Bike theives are more likely to take bikes they know aren't being used often because it'll be longer until the rightful owner notices the absence.

5. Where there's a bike path, use the bike path. Seeing cyclists off the bike path annoys me almost as much as seeing pedestrians on the bike paths.

6. When cycling on sidewalks, give pedestrians the right of way. Since we're generally merciless to them when they wander onto the bike paths, we should respect them when they stay where they're supposed to be.
Corollary: Avoid biking on the quad between 8:45 am and 3pm or so, except on the bike path that runs along where Daniels Street would be. It's usually faster to go around
7. When approaching a place where the bike path crosses the road and you have no stop sign/signal, be aware of cars approaching the intersection and be prepared to yield if necessary. While we, as cyclists, may have the right of way in such situations, cars are bigger than we are and they hurt us more than we hurt them in a collision.

8. The City of Champaign prohibits all cyclists over the age of twelve from riding on the sidewalk. While riding along Neil street during rush hour, I leave it to you to decide whether or not it's prudent for you to actually obey this law. (In this particular situation, it's usually a lot easier just to go one block West and travel along Randolph, which parallels Neil. There's less traffic and the cars have a lower speed limit.)

9. Intentionally Schwinning pedestrians isn't cool. Planned near-misses are generally much more fun and a more effective way of keeping the bike paths clear. However, if you're not that skilled a cyclist, please refrain from the latter so as to prevent the former.

While we may think otherwise, we as cyclists do not own the campus. We need to take better care to respect other vehicular traffic and our own safety as we scare the pants off of pedestrians on the way to class.

:: The Squire 6:50 PM :: email this post :: ::


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