Column: A brief guide to biking around campus

Mike Finnegan

When the immense size of The University of Alabama campus is coupled with short passing times in between classes, many students find that the only way they can make it to their classes on the other side of campus is by riding a bike. That is certainly one of the larger reasons for the growing number of cyclists on campus, but cycling’s environmental, health and monetary benefits are also some of the motivating factors people see in cycling. Whatever your reason for having a bike on campus, you can avoid all the hassle and risks associated with cycling by following these 13 simple rules:

1) Realize that while on your bicycle, you are considered a vehicle. In the eye of the law, you are no different from a car. You must obey all the traffic laws. For instance, make sure you stop at all stop signs. Also, do not turn down a one-way road and travel in the opposite direction. You will be pulled over by campus police and ticketed.

2) While cycling at night, by law you must have a headlight mounted on the front of your bike. A red flashing light on the rear of the bike is advised.

3) Make sure you stop at all crosswalks when people are crossing. You are no longer a pedestrian and no longer have the right of way.

4) Speaking of crosswalks, you must dismount and walk your bike if you’re using the crosswalk.

5) Do not ride on the sidewalk. It is illegal, and most pedestrians will not appreciate it.

6) Invest in a good lock for your bike. It’ll be worth the extra money when the bike besides yours gets stolen and yours does not. Also, if you place your bike in a bike rack without a lock, the University reserves the right to seize the bike and impound it.

7) To avoid an excessively sweaty back, put your backpack in a basket or in panniers.

8) Protect your melon; wear a helmet while riding.

9) If you are traveling to one of the busier campus buildings (Lloyd, Bidgood, etc.), don’t go to the bike racks immediately in front of the building as you’ll waste time finding a spot. Instead, go one building over and lock your bike up there. It’ll be less of a hassle.

10) The University requires you to register your bike with the University Parking Services department. If you do not have your bike registered and have the appropriate sticker on your bike, then the University reserves the right to seize your bike and impound it.