Bicycle Safety

Deterring Theft

Bike theft on campus occurs year-round. However, during the summer, fall, and spring, the rate of bicycle theft on campus increases dramatically. Our statistics indicate that criminals who steal bicycles from our campus target those that are not secured with a U-bolt lock. In response to the anticipated thefts, you can take proactive measures to reduce the chance that you will become a victim of bicycle theft. By correctly using a U-bolt lock, you will minimize the chance of your bike being stolen.

You can also register your bike with the Syracuse Police Department, so a record of your bicycle is kept on file in the event of a theft!

How to Ride Safely

For safe riding guidelines, New York State maintains a bicycle safety website at http://www.safeny.com/bike-ndx.htm

Here are a few of their frequently asked questions:

Which traffic laws apply to bicyclists and in-line skaters?

Bicyclists and in-line skaters must obey all traffic signals, signs, and pavement markings. Bicyclists and in-line skaters who violate the law are subject to traffic tickets. Parents can be held responsible for violations by their minor children. [Section 1230(a), NYS Vehicle & Traffic Law.]

On what roads are bicycling and in-line skating permitted?

Bicyclists and in-line skaters have the legal right to share the road on most public highways, but they are prohibited on interstate highways and expressways. In addition, authorities with jurisdiction over other controlled-access highways may prohibit bicycles.

Must bicyclists and in-line skaters ride with traffic?

The law requires that bicyclists ride and in-line skaters glide with traffic [Section 1234(a), NYS Vehicle & Traffic Law]. Bicycling and skating against traffic are leading causes of crashes. Moving with traffic makes bicyclists and in-line skaters more visible, and their movements more predictable to motorists. Riding or gliding with traffic also prevents interference with the flow of traffic and pedestrians.

Where on the road may a bicyclist ride and an in-line skater glide?

If there is a usable bicycle or in-line skating lane, the bicyclist and in-line skater must use it [Section 1234(a), NYS Vehicle & Traffic Law]. If there is no lane or it is unusable due to parked cars or other hazards, the bicyclist may ride and the in-line skater may glide either on the right shoulder, or near the right edge or curb of the roadway. A bicyclist or an in-line skater may move further left to avoid hazards such as parked cars or debris, or to turn left but the bicyclist and in-line skater must avoid undue interference with other traffic.

A path is separate from the roadway, and a bicyclist or in-line skater may use either the path or the roadway. In some cases, a roadway may be safer than a nearby bicycle or in-line skating path, as well as more convenient.

How should a bicyclist and in-line skater prepare for turns at intersections?

Generally, bicyclists and in-line skaters should use the same through or turning lanes as motorists. However, a bicyclist or in-line skater may choose to dismount and use the pedestrian crosswalk, especially in heavy traffic. After crossing at an intersection, a bicyclist and in-line skater should move to a usable right-hand shoulder or to the right side of the right-hand lane.

The position a bicyclist and in-line skater takes in preparing for a turn is governed by the turning rules that apply to other traffic [see Section 1234(a) of the NYS Vehicle & Traffic Law]. A bicyclist and in-line skater should move to the center of the lane when preparing for either a right or left turn, to prevent a following motorist from sharing the lane. It can be very dangerous for a bicyclist or in-line skater to turn, while sharing a lane with a motorist.

If there is more than one left turn lane, use the one furthest to the right. After any left turn, move to the right as soon as it is safe to do so.

Does the law require me to wear a helmet?

Yes, if you are under 14 years of age. Effective June 1, 1994, all bicyclists under the age of fourteen are required to wear approved bicycle helmets when they are operators or passengers on bicycles. Child passengers one through four years of age must wear approved bicycle helmets and ride in a specially designed child safety seat. Children under the age of one are prohibited from being transported on a bicycle. [Section 1238(5), NYS Vehicle & Traffic Law]

In-line skaters (effective 1996), non-motorized scooter riders (2002), and skateboard riders (2005) under the age of 14 are required to wear approved bicycle helmets. [Section 1238, NYS Vehicle & Traffic Law]

What equipment is required on bicycles?

A bicycle must be equipped with:

  1. A brake which is capable of making the bike tires skid on dry level pavement.
  2. A bell, horn or other device that can be heard at least a hundred feet away. Sirens and whistles are not permitted.
  3. Bicycles driven between sunset and sunrise must be equipped with a white front headlight visible in darkness for at least 500 feet and a red or amber tail light visible for at least 300 feet.
  4.  A bicycle, when purchased new and/or driven at night, must have reflective tires, or wide-angle, spoke-mounted reflectors. Reflectors must be colorless or amber for front wheels, and colorless or red for rear wheels.

Need bike maintenance or equipment?

While Syracuse University does not endorse, promote, or recommend any one bicycle shop in the Syracuse area, there are a number to choose from. You can see a list of vendors and repair shops on the local Yellow Pages.

You can also check our News and Headlines section for upcoming “Bike Rodeos” – the Department hosts one per semester, and provides free tune-ups and bike registrations to deter theft.