With the summer semester in full swing and the fall fast approaching, you may see more members of the Georgia Tech community finding alternative ways to get around campus with the warmer weather. That means more electric and non-electric bikes, scooters, and skateboards, especially with the addition of Spin Bikes this past semester.
“Over the last few years, we have seen an increase in ridership of scooters, e-bikes, and skateboards on campus,” said Aaron Fowler, Director of Transportation with Parking and Transportation Services. “This has made alternative transportation more accessible to the Georgia Tech community and getting around campus much easier.”
With the increase in the use of different riding devices, along with walking, traffic in some parts of campus will have a wide variety of commuting.
The Division of Student Engagement and Well-Being departments of Stamps Health Services, Parking and Transportation Services, Health Initiatives, and Campus Recreation have collaborated to share tips to make your campus commute safer.
Take a Class
Get comfortable traveling by bike with a free city cycling instructional group ride sponsored by Propel ATL on July 28 at 4 p.m. This in-person class meets behind the CRC on Tech Parkway, near the turnaround parking area, and is expected to occur monthly. This class is designed specifically for members of the Georgia Tech community, including students, staff, and faculty. After a few quick drills, riders will hit the city or campus streets for a 45-minute ride of three to four gentle miles. Class attendance requires a liability waiver and registration.
Ride Smart is a twelve-minute online class that offers an introduction to riding safety in an urban environment whether by bike or scooter. Participate in the comfort of your home and you can even receive a free helmet.
“Riding is great for physical and mental health and can be very safe, but, just like driving, safety increases with knowledge and experience,” said Becky James, chair of Bike Georgia Tech. “The Ride Smart class introduces riders to the basics of riding in an urban environment, and the City Cycling class offers the opportunity to practice handling skills and ride on the road with an experienced rider, which is the best way to learn and build confidence.”
Protect Your Brain & Body
We have some of the best minds at Georgia Tech, so why not do everything you can to protect it! One of the best ways to prevent injuries while riding a bike, scooter, or skateboard is to wear a helmet. Did you know Parking and Transportation Services sells helmets for only $12? Visit their customer service center located on the Ground Level of the E81-Tech Square (the Georgia Tech Hotel) parking deck just inside the Spring Street entrance.
“While wearing a helmet is one way to protect yourself, so is modifying how you use a riding device like reducing your speed, stopping at intersections, and riding in designated lanes,” said Dr. Benjamin Holton, Senior Director of Stamps Health Services. “This past academic year, we saw a significant number of riding injuries coming into Stamps, some of which were very serious. Equipping yourself with resources that teach you how to use your riding device, follow laws, and share the road can have a substantial impact on injury prevention.”
Engage with Student Groups
There are student organizations that you can engage with that provide resources and support riding on campus. Starter Bikes sells used bikes and teaches students how to repair and maintain their bikes. On Fridays, they are open from 4-7 p.m. in the CRC parking deck. On most Thursdays from 5-7 p.m., Starter Bikes offers workshops and group rides. Follow them on Instagram @starterbikesgt or on Facebook to learn more.
Outdoor Recreation Georgia Tech (ORGT) offers mountain biking and bikepacking trips for beginning and intermediate riders. Visit crc.gatech.edu/adventure-trips-0 to learn more. These student organizations provide the opportunity to ride with experienced riders and gain time and experience in the saddle.
Make Sure Your Ride is in Tip-Top Shape
Aztec Cycles brings its mobile repair shop to the Community Market each Wednesday from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. during the fall and spring semesters. Maintenance of your ride is essential because often there may be students riding on bikes that are not fit for the road, which can cause accidents or injury. To learn more, visit www.aztec-cycles.com.
Complete the ABC Quick Check! It only takes 10 seconds to check the air, brakes, chain, and quick releases before each ride. This is especially important with shareable scooters and bikes. Watch this short video to learn the steps to take to keep you safe.
Tips for Riders
While there are plenty of on-campus resources for you to take advantage of, here are the top tips to keep in mind:
Per Georgia law, bikes are considered vehicles, and riders must obey traffic laws. Stop at stop signs and red lights, yield to pedestrians, and don't ride distracted.
Riding on sidewalks can be more dangerous than riding on the road. Drivers are not expecting someone going as fast as a cyclist on the sidewalk.
When riding on a shared-use path, ride at the same speed as people walking; when passing, ring a bell or say, “on your left,” and give ample space.
For more Smart Cycling tips, visit www.bikeleague.org/content/smart-cycling-tips-0.
Tips for On-Campus Drivers
On-campus drivers play an important role in the safety of all modes of transportation. Here are a few tips to increase safety for everyone:
Obey all traffic laws, including Georgia’s Hands-Free Act, and watch for people using all modes of transportation - bikes, scooters, skateboards, and walking.
When riding on a road with a bike lane, before turning, glance behind and beside you for a rider in the bike lane and check the crosswalk for pedestrians.
When passing a rider, slow down and pass with care. Per Georgia law, drivers must give 3-feet space when passing a person on a bike.
Bikes are allowed on all roads except limited-access freeways. Make sure to share the road respectfully with other users.
Although you might commute to campus using various modes, PTS recommends finding alternative ways to get around campus once you’re here. Whether it is walking, taking the Stinger buses, or renting a bike or scooter, you can make it across campus without having to get back into your car. Move Georgia Tech shows you how long it takes to get from one part of campus to another and talks about the impact of active transportation on the environment and your health.
Secure Your Ride
Protecting your ride from theft is also important in maximizing your campus commute. You can register your scooter or bike through the Georgia Tech Police Department (GTPD) at police.gatech.edu/registration or by bringing it to the police station in person.
Use a U-lock. U-locks offer the best theft deterrence, as they better resist prying and cutting than a cable. U-locks are available on campus with Aztec Cycling. Lock your bike to a rack as they are designed to deter theft, and secure it through the frame or rear triangle. On-campus bikes may only be locked to bike racks, not to trees, railings, signs, etc.
If you need to store your bike after your commute, overnight, or over a campus break, you can use one of the bike rooms on campus. The Dalney (W22) and Tech Square (E81) parking decks feature secure, covered bike parking for commuters. Students, faculty, and staff can access the bike rooms using their BuzzCard, however, bikes must be registered with GTPD. For information about bike storage over a campus break, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about steps to take to stay safe on every ride, the rules of the road, how to properly adjust and wear a helmet, and what to do if you are involved in a crash, check out this Bicyclists Pocket Guide produced by the Georgia Bikes. You can also visit bike.gatech.edu and pts.gatech.edu/bicycling-georgia-tech to learn about riding at Georgia Tech.