The beach cruising and overall biking culture is a prominent one here at UCSB. The first day of classes in the fall may seem overwhelming with all the bike traffic surrounding the sea of students. Some helpful tips and insights are essential for incoming freshmen not only for your own safety, but also for acquiring general knowledge of proper biking etiquette that will guide you throughout your time here at UCSB.
The word around campus is that the first day of classes every fall are extremely hectic. It’s a great idea to leave your dorm room early for class, and don’t hesitate to ask upperclassmen for directions. To start off with the most important tip of all: make sure to lock your bike properly in a bike rack. Lock through the frame, NOT the wheel, or else all you will come back to is a lonely but still locked up front tire. A U-Lock is a worthwhile investment, and a variety can be purchased at any IV bike store.
When biking, remember to stay on the right hand side of the biking lane if you’re just cruising along. Staying to the right in a bike lane is the same as driving in the right line on a street: it’s the slow lane. Many students race to class, so make sure to stay out of their way if you feel like traveling at a more leisurely pace or if you’re not quite sure where you’re going yet. On that note, it is much more efficient and will cause fewer bike accidents if you ride in a single file line on the designated bike paths instead of riding side by side with a friend. Talking on your cell phone is a big negative, as well as texting. It is illegal when driving, and is definitely dangerous when biking. You’ll find that the round-a-bouts are sometimes quite fun. However, you must slow down and be extra cautious when there are others circling around. Make sure to stay on the right hand side of the lane if turning, and don’t be afraid to use hand signals.
As you’ve probably noticed, there are designated bike paths on campus. Be aware that you must walk your bikes on the sidewalks or you’ll receive a 77 dollar fine. You should also know that bikes pretty much have the right of way, so if you’re a pedestrian, be sure to watch where you’re going. If you have any further questions, The Associated Student Bike Improvements Keep Everyone Safe committee, also known as AS B.I.K.E.S is here to help. They work on improving bike safety and plan to increase bike parking around campus, specifically at Kerr Hall. There is also an A. Bike Shop located on campus that will help you with any of your biking needs, equipment, and repairs. They are great with fixing flat tires! Utilize that resource to its fullest extent. You can also pick up more resources and contact AS B.I.K.E.S on their website at: www.as.ucsb.edu/bikes. Have a happy and safe fall biking, new Gauchos!
Photos By: Rosana Liang, Photography Editor