More cyclists at UC Davis raise concerns about accidents and safety


As record numbers return to campus, new riders are learning the ropes through trial and error

By KATHLEEN QUINN – [email protected]

With an unprecedented number of new cyclists riding the UC Davis campus for the first time, the lack of cycling knowledge and familiarity with road conditions has caused an increase in accidents and long queues. for repairs to Bicycle barn.

Jeffrey Bruchez, bike program coordinator for UC Davis Transportation Services (TAPS), said that one of the biggest challenges of this year is to have the largest freshman class in UC Davis history. This is accompanied by a significant increase in the number of new riders, as sophomores, fourth-year transfer students and second-year graduate students were almost entirely absent from campus last year due to of the pandemic.

“There are more than two-thirds of the university that [are] new to the environment, ”said Bruchez. “We already have nearly a third of university cycling, [so] that’s a surprisingly high number of new and novice cyclists.

Joseph Farrow, the UC Davis police chief, said there were generally more accidents at the start of quarters, especially in the first week.

“A lot of people come to campus, I’m not saying they’ve never ridden a bike before but haven’t ridden a bike as their primary form of transportation,” Farrow said.

Jeanine Palicte, a third-year transfer student and cognitive science major, said she recently started cycling again last week.

“The last time I rode a bike I was in elementary school, maybe even before grade five,” Palicte said. “And then last week I got a bike.”

Richard Pham, a third-year political science student, said he was in an accident on October 4 while riding an electric scooter when a circle of cyclists near the ARC entered a circle of bicycles by the left instead of the right side.

“It’s pretty bad,” Pham said, showing injuries to his hands and leg. “Just imagine a giant scratch that looks like pepperoni.”

Farrow said they had been called in for six or seven accidents since the start of the fall term, but only in five cases were the injured there when police arrived.

“The most serious was last week, where it was actually a car and a bicycle that crept in,” Farrow said. “The cyclist hit the ground pretty hard, and I think there was a fracture.”

For the most part, minor accidents do not involve the police department unless a report needs to be made for insurance purposes.

“’Minor can just be that you hit a curb, you fall, you have a little abrasion,” Farrow said. “They don’t even call us – we don’t even go out for things like that because they don’t call.”

Pham said that in his case, he decided to leave the police out of this and instead went home to treat his injuries.

“[The bike rider] was also injured. We were both wearing helmets, but he still has scuffs, ”Pham said. “So I just forgave her and we had to move on because [the leg injury] was bleeding so I had to go straight home.

A challenge for inexperienced cyclists is the large number of cyclists on the road at the same time.

“I went out to cycle, and it was really good,” said Palicte. “There was no one except a few families. But my first stint in the bike circle during regular school hours was […] quite stressful.

The most important thing for runners to remember is not to be in a rush, said Bruchez.

“If we can take the average speed on campus and go from 13 miles an hour to 13 miles an hour, you’re going to go wherever you’re going probably at the same speed, but you’re also going to get there without having in an accident, ”said Buchez. “Because when you have an accident, you slow everything down. ”

TAPS offers a web course titled cycling savvy“which reviews the defensive skills of cycling as well as a training session they organize in partnership with the health and student counseling services”,The hair of the helmet doesn’t care, Which offers a free bicycle helmet in exchange for education.

“To get a free helmet, you have to complete this five- to ten-minute bike course,” Bruchez said. “It’s about three different pages where we go over the rules of the road, why we want you to drive on the right and ‘Who do we yield to? We give in to pedestrians ”- things like that.

The police department also offers free bike lights at their community events for students to maintain visibility, which is required by law at night.

Kahui Lim, a former UC Davis doctoral student in environmental engineering and former head of services at Bike Barn, said he noticed an influx of students during the first week of the semester. fall when he worked at Bike Barn.

“It’s a regular occurrence, not necessarily because of accidents,” Lim said. “A lot of students try to get their bikes back to working order or they find they have a leaking tube.”

For example, Palicte said she had noticed a problem with her bicycle before.

“I bought a really cheap bike from Target because I didn’t really know where to start,” Palicte said. “I’m pretty sure the rear wheel is broken – it keeps clicking.”

UC Davis promotes itself as a cycling university, Bruchez said.

“What do you bring when you come to Davis?” You bring a bike, right? Everyone thinks you have to bring a bike when you come here, ”said Bruchez.

But in order to maintain safety while riding around campus, Farrow said it’s important to recognize one thing about bicycles.

“They defy gravity every time you ride them,” Farrow said. “Gravity is always trying to pull you off those two wheels.”

Written by: Kathleen Quinn – [email protected]

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