Bicycles continue to grow in popularity, and why not? They are cheap, give you a good workout while transporting you to your destination and don’t cost much to fill up. In a crowded urban environment like the one here at Case Western Reserve University, however, they can cause their own sets of problems, some of which are addressed below. They tend to fall into three categories: accidents, parking and theft, which are remarkably similar to the issues faced by car drivers here on campus.
The most common type in this area is fortunately not bike versus car, but bike versus pedestrian. Bikes are quiet, which is good for noise pollution levels, but it also means pedestrians can’t hear them coming up from behind them at Warp 7. Use of bells or a simple “on your left” can be helpful, as can keeping your speed below Formula One levels when travelling across a pedestrian heavy and often congested campus. Remember to dismount in posted areas like the binary walkway and the visitor lot off Euclid Avenue, where pedestrian and vehicular traffic make it unsafe to ride. If bike lanes are available, like on the South Quad, use them.
Bike racks have been provided for use in multiple areas of the campus. The parking of bikes on stairwells or chaining them to railings near building entrances creates a safety hazard, especially for the visually impaired— so show a little courtesy and park at the racks. Interior stair wells and landings are also not appropriate places to chain bikes for the same reasons.
Bikes remain a prime target for theft, and will from now until Old Man Winter arrives in full force. Lock your bike when it is not in use— even in an area like a bike room. Get a U-lock or other solid metal lock-cable locks, as these tend to do a little more than slow thieves down a bit.
So in conclusion— please lock your bike up (at a bike rack) when not in use, respect the rules of the road (pedestrians, this includes you) and let’s enjoy these last few weeks of beautiful fall weather— hopefully minus the collisions.
On the Beat is a weekly safety column written by Sergeant Jeffrey Daberko & Officer Mark (The Crossing Guard) Chavis of CWRU PD. Send feedback to this or other columns at firstname.lastname@example.org.