College of William and Mary Promotes Bike Safety

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WM sweatshirt
On chilly spring mornings, students at the College of William & Mary may need to wear a sweatshirt to keep them warm while cycling around campus. But no matter what the weather, students are urged to cycle safely.

Spring is springing down in Williamsburg, Virginia, home of the College of William & Mary.  And the warmer days are sure to bring the promise of more students and community members enjoying the weather and surroundings in this beautiful city.

Anticipating a surge in the number of cyclists on and around the campus, W&M President Taylor Reveley sent out a communication which so closely mirrors the sentiments of Virginia cyclist, lawyer, and bike safety advocate Doug Landau, he could have penned it himself!

Landau’s youngest daughter is a senior at the College and forwarded the email to him, knowing how impressed he would be by its contents.  Here it is, in its entirety:

Dear William & Mary Community,

Bikes are good! Riding one is healthy, environmentally friendly, and convenient.  For most buildings, bikes can roll right up to the door and take refuge in a nearby rack.  Parking a car on campus is a wholly different matter and not for the faint of heart.

William & Mary and Williamsburg are great places to ride bikes.  It’s crucial, however, to ride safely.  Knowing how to ride a bike doesn’t necessarily mean we know how to do it in ways safe to others as well as ourselves.  There have been some bad bike accidents on our walks and roads.   Here are a few crucial rules of the road:

  • Ride with the flow of traffic.  Going against the flow is dangerous, plus it’s illegal in Virginia.  The bike lanes around campus are one-way (the same direction as car traffic).  Ride on the right side of the road even if a bike lane is unavailable.
  • Avoid riding on sidewalks where possible.   Weaving around and dodging pedestrians on sidewalks is flatly dangerous.  It’s much better to ride in the street and use a bike lane whenever possible.  But some of our brick pathways on campus are naturally shared by bikes and pedestrians for lack of nearby roads.  In such places, riders must go slowly and yield to pedestrians, not the other way around.  Say something, for instance, “passing on your left,” to let pedestrians know a bike is coming their way.
  • Be aware.  Keep a constant eye out for cars and pedestrians.  They may not always be aware of bikes.   Don’t weave in and out of car traffic, and keep an eye out for people opening doors on parked cars.  And, always, watch very carefully for pedestrians crossing the street, especially on campus.
  • Be visible.  Bright colored and reflective clothing make more than a fashion statement when riding a bike.  They help other people, especially drivers, see the bike.  Reflectors and lights on the front and back of the bike are important, too, especially when it’s dark.
  • Wear a helmet.  Brains matter in any context, but especially for those of us in school.   Our brains are precious.   Protect them!  Helmets are the single most effective way to prevent head injuries.  Be sure the helmet fits.

The W&M Bike Alliance is a terrific resource to learn more about bicycling – from safety information and the rules of the road to organized group rides.  To learn more visit the WMBA website or contact Bill Horacio (wxhora@wm.edu).

Taylor Reveley

Lawyer Landau applauds President Reveley for his concern for student safety and looks forward to seeing the campus in its full spring glory when he attends graduation later this spring!