Bicyclist etiquette to follow at UConn
Published: Monday, October 14, 2013
Updated: Monday, October 14, 2013 22:10
One of the greatest contributing factors to UConn’s green campus success is the number of the students who ride bicycles around campus. Biking is an efficient way to not only save on the burning of fossil fuels, but to also stay in shape and minimize traffic and parking concerns. However, the number of bicyclists on campus is starting to put pedestrians at risk. It seems as if everyday someone sees bicyclists almost hit a pedestrian or get hit by a car. While traffic accidents are an inevitable part of life, there are several laws to follow to avoid biking related accidents.
The most important thing to understand as a bicyclist is your place on the road or sidewalk. If you are riding on a road, you are a part of traffic and must travel on the same side as car traffic going the same way. It is unsafe to do otherwise, and you put yourself and others at risk by disobeying this law. Furthermore, Connecticut State Law states that bicyclists must “signal their turns and obey traffic signals and signs.” The ignoring of this law, according to the Connecticut Bike Safety website, results in the majority of bike-related traffic accidents. In accordance with this law, bikers must signal their turns and must stop at stop signs, yield appropriately, stop at cross walks for pedestrians and obey traffic signals just as cars do. Traffic laws are enforced on bicyclists as well, not only cars.
Ideally, bicycles should not be ridden on the sidewalk. Connecticut State Law stipulates that bicycles are to be ridden on road alone. UConn, however, has a number of large sidewalks that allows for pedestrian and bicycle traffic to coexist. Unless the sidewalk or walkway is large enough for a car to pass, bicyclists should yield to pedestrians and walk their bike down the narrow sidewalk. Riding your bike through the congested sidewalk behind the Student Union is dangerous and unproductive as you cannot feasibly ride at a regular pace through the throng of people. In fact, Connecticut law says that biking on the sidewalks must be done at a walking pace and bicyclists must yield at every intersection for pedestrians.
If for some reason it is unavoidable to ride on a sidewalk, bikers should be courteous to pedestrians and dismount, or at least give pedestrians the appropriate amount of walking space. If you must pass a pedestrian, alert the pedestrian by saying, “On your left or right” or at the very least, “I’m sorry, excuse me.” By doing so, you obey traffic laws and avoid the complication of hitting a pedestrian who is unaware of your position on the sidewalk.
To prevent injury to oneself in the event of a traffic accident, it is highly advisable that one wear a helmet. You never know what might happen to you on the road, and a helmet could save your life.