Owning and riding a bike may seem like a practical option when living on a college campus. Riders are able to get to class faster, avoid the hassles of parking and even save a little money on gas.
But students who choose to ride bicycles should be well informed of bicycle safety.
“Students and faculty definitely need to be more aware of cyclists on campus and in the city,” said marketing junior Joyce Lin. “Some are not informed about current bike laws. Someone actually yelled at me once to get off the road and onto the sidewalk but that’s actually against the law and unsafe as well.”
UH Police Department Chief of Staff Lt. Bret Collier said cyclists in Texas have many of the same rights as motor vehicle operators and are responsible for obeying the rules of the road.
“Cyclists can be cited for traffic code violations when warranted, although we find that education is often sufficient to eliminate any such concerns,” Collier said.
There are no open areas of campus where cycling is expressly prohibited, Collier said, but he said students should familiarize themselves with the Texas Transportation code as it applies to cyclists.
“Take part in a cycling safety course, be aware of changing surface conditions due to construction and other variables and use care around vehicles and pedestrians,” Collier said.
UHPD also encourages students to register their bikes. In the last four years, it has registered 486.
“Registration aids in theft recovery. If your bike is stolen, we can flag the bike in our system, provide you with your serial number and canvas pawn and resale establishments to try to recover your bike for you,” Collier said.
“We also catch many criminals in the act of stealing bikes. If that bike is registered, we can identify the owner, return the bike and establish a criminal case on the suspect.”
Lin said she started riding her bike when she moved back to Houston from Seattle.
“I ride my bike to school everyday, rain or shine,” Lin said. “I’ll also ride my bike whenever I go somewhere with high traffic so I don’t have to deal with parking like music venues.”
While riding on-campus warrants precaution, it can also have some surprising benefits, said Lin.
“Riding my bike has allowed me to explore parts of the city and to see things you normally wouldn’t if you were just driving by in your car,” Lin said.