Bike safety remains a priority

Recently, Sonoma State University has seen a couple of bicycle versus automobile related accidents, both of which have required the bicyclists to be transported to local medical facilities.

Chief of Police Nathan Johnson said, “One was caused by a driver who failed to yield to a bicyclist making a left turn. The driver went around another vehicle that was already stopped for the bicyclist and struck the bicyclist.”

Similar to the first accident, the second one was caused by negligence and failure to yield to right of way. 

Both bicyclists required medical attention, and nobody was cited in either of the accidents.

This semester there has been an increase in the amount of bicycles on campus, and this has raised concern for the safety of those who rely on their bikes to get around campus.

Students who ride bikes are reminded they must obey traffic laws when operating on public roadways. 

This includes stopping at all stop signs, not covering both ears with headphones, yielding to pedestrians and having a light during night rides.

Campus policy prohibits students from doing tricks or traveling past pedestrians at an unsafe speed while on campus. 

When riding on pathways designated for pedestrians, bicyclists must not go faster than 5 mph. Bicyclists must yield to pedestrians who have the right of way on campus sidewalks.

Students who have cars on campus should be aware of the amount of bicycle traffic around and recognize that bike riders may not always see their vehicle. Distracted driving was a factor in both accidents, so students are reminded to be aware of their surroundings, and put away mobile devices when driving. 

Drivers need to use caution when approaching campus crosswalks and to yield to pedestrians and bicyclists who are trying to cross.

Many students were shocked by the recent accidents, and it has brought a sense of awareness throughout the campus.

“I feel really bad for those involved,” said Yaddi Colon, a sociology major. “I have a lot of friends that ride bikes around campus, and many of them have had close calls in the past.”

Students who choose to ride their bike or skateboard around campus are always a risk, and the best way to prevent an accident is ride at a safe speed, avoid areas with heavy foot traffic.

Some students are getting worried about bicycle safety on campus, and some are considering walking rather than biking.

“It’s a small and congested campus,” said Emma Capper, a communication and media studies major. “Riding a bike has become such a hassle and concern that I would rather just walk to class.”

Students like Capper are starting to realize riding a bike through campus can be a risk, especially when there are hundreds of students shuffling and cars rushing through campus trying to find a parking space before class.

With the amount of traffic Sonoma State receives, students need to be aware of their surroundings, and understand that being distracted for only a moment is all it takes to cause a serious accident. 

Drivers are encouraged to use extra caution when driving around campus, due to the amount of pedestrian and bicycle traffic.

“Ride defensively and understand that vehicle operators may not see you, and therefore you must look out for them,” said Johnson.

Those who ride their bikes are encouraged to wear a helmet, because it could prevent serious injury in the case of an accident. Bicyclists and motorists are reminded to observe the campus traffic laws, and failing to follow these laws will result in a citation. Bicycle safety has become a major concern around campus. 

Those who ride bikes or skateboards need to use caution, while drivers need to share the road with other vehicles. For more information on bike safety, students are encouraged to contact Police Services.