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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Know the three simple rules to riding a bicycle on campus

There are the common rules for riding a bike which are taught to very young children: wear a helmet, look both ways, stay out of the street — the basics. But among the many rules learned in childhood, specific biking rules, such as using a hand signal to stop, staying off the sidewalks, stoping at the stop signs and riding with traffic, are not always mentioned. There are many guidelines for bicyclists that are crucial to their safety. A helmet may help in the event that a bicyclist is hit by a car, but it will not prevent the bicyclist getting hit by that car in the first place.

It is easy to read these and not actually follow the guidelines when out on the road as a cyclist. The University of Arizona Parking and Transportation Services expects anyone operating a bicycle to understand the Bicycle and Traffic Regulations — and to follow them. If any of the rules are not followed, the police have the right to issue citations and even impound the bike under certain circumstances.

There are several rules that are broken around campus everyday. According to the PTS Bicycle Parking and Traffic Regulations, bikes are prohibited in classrooms or any buildings, locked to trees or places not designated as bike parking areas. The regulations page also mentions the importance of hand signals as well as stopping at stop signs and yielding to all pedestrians. No bikes are ever permitted on the sidewalks, and bikers are supposed to ride to the right hand side with the traffic. This is a rule often broken when there are bicyclists riding the wrong way down a one-way street on campus. Not only is this unsafe, but it is a simple way to get a ticket.

There is a more reader-friendly information guide called “”Share the Road,”” a pamphlet by the Pima County Department of Transportation and the Pima County Bicycle Advisory Committee. It gives simple rules and guidelines for bicyclists venturing out onto the roads, and it lists some important guidelines to follow. The first is to “”show respect to others”” by understanding that, on the road, the same rules go for both the drivers and the bicyclists. No one appreciates getting cut off, no matter what sort of wheel they are behind.

The second is to “”be visible.”” It helps to wear white or light-colored shirts. At night, it is the law that a bicyclist has a head light and a reflector light on the back of his or her bike. According to the pamphlet, a bicyclist could be fined up to $115 for failing to wear a headlight at night.

The third is to “”wear a helmet.”” This will help in the situation in which a bicyclist does get hit by a car. But they are useful for another reason: a small mirror can be hooked onto the helmet so that a bicyclist can easily see behind him or herself. These mirrors are inexpensive, starting as low as $17.

The UA campus is located in one of the more bike-friendly cities and has even received rewards for it. For the sixth year in a row, Tucson has been recognized as having the “”Best Workplaces for (a) Commuter,”” awarded by the Center for Urban Transportation Research, an award which recognizes an organization that offers employees great commuting benefits to help the environment and the roads. The award is based on “”the diversity of the Alternative Transportation Programs offered at The University of Arizona,”” according to Bill Davidson, marketing and communications manager for Parking and Transportation Services.

It is important for bikers to understand even the simplest of rules. There are several responsibilities for bicyclists on the road, which many don’t realize. In order to avoid citations, tickets, paying money to Parking and Transportation and, ultimately, avoid getting hurt, bicyclists are obligated to follow the rules of the road and understand the guidelines.

—Nicky Hamila is a journalism senior. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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