Indiana Daily Student

Commit to commute safely at Indiana University this semester

A bicyclist rides down a bike lane outside of the Indiana Memorial Union.
A bicyclist rides down a bike lane outside of the Indiana Memorial Union.

With the semester in full swing, you may want to enjoy the fall whether by riding your bike to class. IU Transportation Demand Management offers guidance on how students, faculty and staff can get to and from campus and around Bloomington safely by bike. Know that generally, a bicyclist on a roadway has the same rights and accountabilities to others as a person operating a motor vehicle. Whether you are behind the handlebars of a bike or the wheel of a car, familiarize yourself with these principles that can help you keep yourself and others safe.

Sharing the road

Indiana’s safe passing law was put into place to protect bicyclists on July 1, 2019. This piece of legislation mandates that motorists need to give bicyclists three feet of clearance room when passing. Bicyclists always have the right to occupy the full lane, even when there is a bike lane or a sidewalk. They do this sometimes to make themselves feel safe and visible. Be sure to pass bicyclists with extreme care.

Keep your ride in top shape

Pumping up your tires weekly will help you get the most out of your bike. Riding on flat tires requires a lot of extra effort from the rider and not a fun ride. You can pump up your tires at the many fix-it stations around campus.

Where to ride

Bicyclists are allowed to occupy the full lane even when there is a bike lane or a sidewalk. Bicyclists may ride on any of the roads or paths on campus. Local city of Bloomington laws state that bicycles of any size may use the sidewalks except for some areas of the downtown marked as “dismount zones.”

This map depicts the locations in Bloomington where sidewalk riding is prohibited. Bicyclists may dismount and walk their bikes or they may still ride in the street. Courtesy of IU Transportation Demand Management

Take a course

Adapted from The League of American Bicyclists' Smart Cycling program, this online Canvas course is available to anyone interested in unlocking the benefits of bicycling, including non-IU affiliates. This self-paced class includes materials for you to read, watch and explore as well as quizzes to test your knowledge. Whether you are just returning to the bike, getting in shape for a charity ride or consider yourself a more experienced bicyclist, you will find plenty of information and advice that will make you a more comfortable, confident rider.

Be predictable

Ride your bike in a manner that allows other road users and pedestrians to really see you and predict your actions. Making your presence known on the roadway includes signaling when you plan to turn, making eye contact and outfitting your bike with lights if you plan to ride at night. You are not just “riding” your bike; think of yourself as “driving” the bike. Follow the rules of the road just as you would if you were driving a car. Stop at stop signs, use hand signals to indicate turns, use lights at night and always yield to pedestrians.

Be alert

Just as you would in a car, operate your bike defensively. Always expect the unexpected. Ride with all of your awareness and intention.

Be courteous

Remember to always yield to pedestrians. Use hand signals to communicate which direction you plan to travel. When turning left, extend your arm straight outwards. When turning right, bend your left arm at the elbow with your hand pointing upward. Say “thanks” with a wave when someone lets you go first.

Make a commitment to commute safely this semester, both for your sake and the wellbeing of others. For more information on traffic regulations concerning bikes, including video demonstrations that teach you how to properly ride your bicycle in many different situations, explore IU Transportation Demand Management’s Smart Bicycling page.

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