Davis, both the city and the campus, has earned the name “Bicycle Capital of the U.S.” because of efforts to provide its thousands of pedalers with a bicycle-friendly environment. Wide streets, well-marked bike lanes, inviting pathways, gentle terrain, mild climate, and an attitude of mutual respect between cyclists and motorists have resulted in a community with the most bikes per capita of any in the nation.
Even if you’re not a bicycle enthusiast, chances are you’ll soon find yourself depending on your bike for a significant portion of your travels around the Davis community. Faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to bicycle instead of drive in order to support local efforts to reduce traffic congestion, air pollution, and demand for auto parking spaces.
Bicycle choice, parking and theft prevention
All bikes on the UC Davis campus must have a current California Bicycle License. A new license costs $10 and a renewal is $5. Both are valid until Dec. 31 of the second year following the year of registration. Bike licenses are available at the Transportation and Parking Services office Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Most new students license their bicycles during Fall Welcome Week. Through Friday of this week licenses will only be available outside in front of the TAPS building just south of the ARC from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sales will resume inside TAPS on Monday.
Each year, hundreds of bicycles are stolen on campus and in the city of Davis. Most thefts can be prevented by properly securing the bicycle with an adequate lock to an approved, fixed object. Always lock your bike and lock it to a bike rack! The majority of stolen bicycles have been left unlocked, locked only to themselves, or secured with a lock too weak relative to the value of the bike.
U-locks are recommended, but a knowledgeable thief can easily defeat even these. A 6-foot cable or chain (the thicker the better) used with a U-lock allows you to lock to any rack and secure your wheels as well. Be aware that any cable is easily cut. Don’t entrust your good bicycle to a cable alone. A less expensive bicycle is usually at lower risk of theft, but you should not compromise safety, reliability or efficiency when choosing a bike.
Davis is a great place to buy a bike. With many bike shops conveniently located within a few blocks of each other, variety, selection and competitive prices are ensured. Students who do not wish to transport a bicycle from home can take advantage of local sales, service and repair at one of Davis’ many dealers.
Qualified bicycle shops will be able to outfit anyone with the right size and style of bicycle, as well as the appropriate security devices.
Those looking for an inexpensive, fixer-upper bicycle may find just what they are looking for at the biannual UCD bike auctions which take place in the fall and spring quarters. More than 400 bikes are available at these sales. The fall auction will be on Saturday, October 13, inside the West Entry Parking Structure at Hutchison Drive and Dairy Road. Call 530-752-BIKE for more information. The spring auction is tentatively scheduled for early May.
Before you bring your bike to Davis, make sure it is in good condition. This means legal brakes, safe tires, lights and reflectors. If you are unsure of your bike’s condition, have it checked out by a qualified mechanic. Buy and install fenders before the first rains — you’ll want them then! Also, find the bike’s serial number, write it down and keep it in a safe place until you get a chance to register the bike with TAPS.
Students may choose to store bicycles in their residence hall room or apartment. Some on-campus residences have ceiling hooks that allow you to hang your bike out of the way. Staff and faculty members may be able to park their bikes in their office or other assigned workspace with the permission of their department chairperson. Bike lockers are available to rent in several campus locations.
With so many bicycles on campus, parking regulations are strictly enforced. Illegally parked bikes create problems and inconvenience for people, damage property, and generally constitute a hazard. Bikes may park only in designated parking areas. Illegally parked bikes are subject to impoundment and fine.
Obey all traffic laws! According the California Vehicle Code, every person riding a bicycle upon a street or highway has all the rights and responsibilities of the driver of a motor vehicle. On campus traffic regulations are strictly enforced. You may be cited for running stop signs, riding at an unsafe speed for conditions, riding on the wrong side of the road or on sidewalks, wearing headphones while riding, not having legal brakes, etc. Cyclists are required by state law to use front white lights, rear red reflectors pedal and side reflectors at night.
Additional lights—especially rear red flashers, reflectors, and light colored clothing are a good idea.
Buy and wear a helmet. They can greatly reduce the risk of head injury or death. Don’t hit the road without one. But remember: even the best helmet has limitations and they don’t prevent crashes. Defensive cycling is the key to bike safety. In the words of John Forester, “Cyclists fare best when they act and are treated as drivers of vehicles.”
One of the more prominent features of the campus cycling environment is the traffic circle or roundabout. There are over a dozen such intersections around the campus. Some are at the junctions of roadways, others at bike path crossings, and some where bike paths meet roads.
There are two important rules to remember when approaching a traffic circle: Always ride counterclockwise through the circle, and always yield right-of-way to any bike or vehicle already in the circle. Signaling your turns is especially helpful in circles, and be sure to watch out for others and adjust your speed or turns accordingly. Not everyone will necessarily understand or obey these right-of-way or yield rules, so ride defensively!
— Courtesy of UC Davis TAPS