Bicycling Tips


Riding Your Bicycle

  1. Riding Your Bicycle
  2. Navigating Davis
  3. Preventing Bicycle Theft
  4. Equipment
  5. Avoiding Flats

bikes.jpgA useful sign which unfortunately is in Minneapolis Bike_Signs_Mrak_Mall.JPG davis_bike_crashmap.pngDavis is a pretty safe place to bicycle, but [WWW]accidents do happen. This is a heatmap of 289 bicycle accidents in Davis from 2004 to 2008.

Don't be a hood ornament! To this aim, we offer the following advice:

Navigating Davis

Russell and Fifth Street are the city's central east-west route and they are the most dangerous streets for bicycles in Davis. 41.6% of all automobile accidents and a high fraction of bicycle accidents occur on these roads (see this [WWW]article). The stretch between Sycamore and L Street has particularly narrow traffic lanes and no bike lanes. Your safest option is to avoid Russell and Fifth between Sycamore and L Street. Fortunately, you have other options:

It is your right as a bicyclist to make full use of the right lane as permitted by the [WWW]California vehicle code. But this isn't really reasonable on Russell Boulevard or Fifth Street because there are just too many cars.

Preventing Bicycle Theft

General Rule: Crappy Bike + Strong Lock = Thief looks for better target. All locks are just deterrents, but if you make the thief work hard enough they won't bother with the low payoff.

If you don't want your bicycle's owner to be someone else, you might consider the following:

carjackattackonbikelock.jpgEven U-locks can fall to car jacks. This one escaped narrowly at 3rd and A St, but its rear wheel got stolen.

nowheels.jpgwhat can happen when you don't lock up the wheels along with the frame


See also: [WWW]CA Vehicle Code section 21201 - Equipment Requirements for the regulations.

Avoiding Flats

See also: Bicycle flat tire repair and Sheldon Brown's comprehensive [WWW]page on flats and their repair. Many people have an irrational fear of flats because bike shop rates start at around $10 for a flat repair. You really should learn how to patch tubes because it is pretty easy and so much cheaper in the long run!


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2007-01-29 16:40:06   Please please please use bike lights as soon as it gets dusk. It's very hard for fellow bikers to see you, and even harder for motorists. Also, for the love of all that is good, put a helmet on your head. What's the use of going to college to build a useful brain if you plan to treat it so recklessly? Cars kill. —JoRo

2007-08-25 09:22:22   FRESHMEN- please be careful at the corner of Russell and LaRue with right hand turners going from Russell onto Anderson. I saw a girl get hit on the last day of lecture this year because some jerk didn't stop or yield to her right of way. Point is cars don't always do that no matter where you are, be careful. —GabrielleGilmore

2007-09-27 21:49:20   A couple of days ago, I was riding on F Street and suddenly heard car horns. A girl on a bike was talking on her cell phone and had rolled casually into a a busy, uncontrolled intersection. Drivers stopped, kept honking and she didn't even seem to care or even to notice, talking and laughing on her phone. Seems like more and more people are talking on cell phones while riding their bikes on city streets...distracted, weak hand on the handlebar, usually without a helmet and riding through traffic. Not a good idea. —DukeMcAdow

2007-10-02 22:16:48   I waver when it comes to wearing a bike helmet on campus. I've been riding for many years. I think a helmet is a very good idea when you go riding on the regular streets or on regular rides. But I wonder if the people who recommend wearing helmets on campus actually ride regularly on campus, in situations where they have to take them off regularly. When you're going on multiple short trips between classes and the coffee house or the library, it can become a real pain to continuously put on, take off, carry around, or try to lock up your helmet. I value my brain. I've tried wearing a helmet on campus. But I don't know if the trouble is worth the very small chance of head injury. Maybe it is. I just haven't decided for sure yet. And if you disagree, I ask, do you personally ride frequently on campus, without an office where you can conveniently set your helmet? Maybe I think they're a good idea, but I can understand why people wouldn't wear them on campus. That said, my lawyers have advised me to recommend wearing your bike helmet at all times.—RonB

* 2007-10-03   Yeah, I think you're right. Today, I was riding in the shuttle bus from Sac to Davis, thinking about my comment. And I also thought about what it would feel like or be like for me or someone else to go over the front of his bike and land on his head, and the internal bleeding in the brain, or maybe cracked or bounced skull. I was just thinking about what might happen. The person might end up mentally damaged, slow, or whatever. Also, I thought, what if somebody reads my comment, and just gets it in their head to not wear his or her helmet, then gets hurt. I wouldn't want that. So don't not wear a helmet because of my comment. I probably _should_ wear the helmet and will do so, even though it it takes a little bit of time and effort. (No, I don't work for the Safe Biking Commission or anything.) Then I started thinking about the bus window I was leaning against, you know...the kind that have emergency handles to open them so they can swing out. I thought if that latch failed, I could be asleep and fall right out into the I stopped leaning against it. Maybe some little kid might even pull the handle. Who knows?
By the way, when you crashed and got your concussion, how fast were you going and what happened?—RonB

2007-10-03 16:48:04   I just moved here and rented a bike to try to remind myself how to ride one. I am now looking to buy a used one and was wondering if anybody could provide some tips on how to make sure you aren't getting a peice of junk? I have no clue how to check that the bike I am buying is ready to ride, and not, in fact a fixie. Maybe this would be a good section for this page by a bike expert? —Judge

2007-10-03 22:44:34   It seems like from what I've seen, the bikes at the bike auction on campus and at used bike shops are pretty damn junky. I think is a pretty good place to buy a used bike. But it seems that almost any used bike is going to require some fixing and adjustments to personalize it to you—things like handlebar tape, installing a lock, new handlebar neck to fit your height, etc. Did you rent the bike from the Bike Barn on campus? I'm not sure if they sell any bikes. Also, I recommend not getting fat tires for rolling around Davis. And of course, make adjustments to your bike to avoid the freshman stripe. —RonB

2007-10-09 17:53:44   Bike Barn sells bikes. —AlexanderHo

2007-10-26 14:41:39   I joined this site as a newbie to Davis (2 months now, previously from Santa Cruz and San Francisco) and cannot believe how irresponsible people riding bikes are in this "bike town". I for one wear a helmet nearly all the time now, after having a bad accident by myself. And now, I wouldn't dream of going without one in Davis, ESPECIALLY on campus. I think part of the problem is that there are so many students riding around campus, and a lot of them are probably not regular bicyclists. They don't think about the fact that a collision at just 4 miles per hour can do brain damage. You can run into someone else's bike when one of you isn't looking and get your skin torn up in various places, fracture bones, etc. I don't want to be alarmist about this, but people NEED TO BE CAREFUL. Don't ride the wrong way in the bike lane. Look around you, esp when crossing a street with traffic (bike or auto), turning (I don't signal necessarily, but try to always make sure I know if there's someone behind me before I slow down to turn), stopping for no reason, or weaving around in the middle of a two way bike path. Please stay to one side, so people can pass you if they want. Please don't talk on the cell phone while on your bike. That is just plain stupid. Wear a helmet if you care about keeping your brains in your head and would rather have messy helmet hair than a concussion, etc that can happen easily. Please don't take up the whole bike lane when you are just walking your bike and there is a sidewalk 3 feet away (like that guy on Arthur St. the other day, grr, means i have to veer out into traffic to avoid you). Sorry this post is getting long, but I can't believe that after riding my bike in Santa Cruz for a couple years, then in Oakland and San Francisco for about a year, I felt safer in those places. Oh, and the helmet thing—if I'm not going to my office on campus, I usually lock the un-cuttable part to my Kryptonite lock. —Jesa

2007-10-28 16:19:54   There is a large plant in the middle of the bike circle at the edge of the ARC parking lot near Primero Grove; the plant obstructs the view of anyone approaching the bike circle. Every time I go through that bike circle I expect someone to turn the wrong way on the other side and cause a head-on collision. Has anybody else thought something similar either there or anywhere else? —ScottMorgan

2007-11-21 13:49:15   From what I've witnessed a lot of bicycle related crashes are a result of negligent riders. i.e. not following traffic laws, not using lights after dusk, talking on their cell phones and not paying attention. This is not to say that that true statistics reflect my observations, however thats just what I've observed. I'm glad the UCD PD writes tickets to bicyclists who don't make any attempt to stop at stop signs. People forget that when riding a bicycle you are subject to the same laws that automobiles are subject to. I'm just annoyed by people who think they have the right of way while biking through a crosswalk especially at the intersection of Bst. and 2nd. —DavidHolcomb

2008-02-05 12:51:40   Is the name of that bike pictured with stolen wheels made by "Stealing" or is that just some random sticker? That's just asking for it if that's really the name of it. Plus no one would ever find the company website because when you google "stealing bikes" you get many many results. Okay I just figured out it was SteRling Bikes, that R looks like an A. [WWW] ... That is all. Wait no Sterling went out of business in the 19th century... WILL the MYSTERY ever end? Must research mediocre 1990's STERLING hybrid more. —JasonDunne

2008-04-12 18:47:21   Anyone have any tips for bicycling in the summer? I tend to take Unitrans or my car during these hot days as I'm not a fan to coming into class or work drenched (and I mean drenched) in sweat. —SunjeetBaadkar

2008-05-14 18:36:39   Dear cyclist,

Today I almost ran you over. I had no idea you were coming down the street, and I didn't see you at all when I started to make my right turn. You were going so quickly and you didn't appear to be a very skilled rider. I am very tired after 5PM from classes and work all day long, so you must forgive me for not noticing you.

You were riding on the wrong side of the road. I don't know why you did this, I don't know why you didn't notice that cars were coming towards you from the front rather than the rear. I don't know why you didn't notice that there were convenient lane markers that designate a portion of the street for bicycles as well as indicate the direction that you are supposed to move. When I am making a right turn, I am almost never looking to see if there is oncoming traffic from the wrong way.

In physics we say that velocity is additive. If you are going 15mph and I am coming the opposite direction at 30mph and we collide head on, it will not hurt me much but you will feel as if you were hit at 45mph. If you follow the law regarding traffic flow and we collide with my coming up behind you it will be as if I hit you at 15mph which, though still awful, is not quite as bad.

If I hit you and you are going the wrong way, it is your fault. This means that though I will be utterly destroyed and depressed and feel worse about it than anything, you are still responsible for all damages to yourself, your bike, and my car.

I hope you keep this in mind in the future.

-Colin —ColinMcEnroe

2008-11-24 01:21:06   watch out for cars please. i was hit by a unitrans Ford Escape car not to long ago, not injured thank god but it was a eye opening experience. —DavidAtwereboandaThompson

2009-04-29 01:37:41   Nice Heat Map, Russell. Keep up the good work. Though you do not work in the field, you should consider furthering your efforts in bicycle safety within Davis, it is needed badly. —MorganTorngrenTatman

2014-02-14: 10:06:01   Today, driving east on Russell: three students were on their bicycles on southbound Anderson at the eastern pedestrian crosswalk (this takes you from Rite Aid to Segundo). They proceeded to bike away from the crosswalk, crossing diagonally across the entire intersection, to reenter traffic at the southbound bike lane on the far right side of the La Rue/Russell intersection, just north of the southern crosswalk. That's NE to SW corner. Unfortunately for them, the eastbound Russell traffic had right-of-way on green and they left the crosswalk after the lights had turned. It was baffling, and none of them had helmets, so eastbound Russell cars all waited behind the limit line while they completed their illegal maneuver. —JudithTruman

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