Bicycling Benefits, Safety & Support
Thinking about biking around on campus or through the surrounding
Biking is an easy and convenient way to get from place
especially if you live on or close to campus. It can help you improve your health, enjoy the outdoors, and reduce your environmental impact and contribution to climate change. It's a winning decision!
There is a substantial environmental benefit to alternative modes of transportation, such as bicycling. Motor vehicles create a substantial amount of air pollution. In fact, transportation is responsible for nearly 80 percent of carbon monoxide and 50 percent of nitrogen oxide emissions in the U.S. Not surprisingly, many metropolitan areas do not meet the air quality standards specified in the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments. Although individual cars are much cleaner today than they were in earlier years, if total traffic continues to grow, overall air quality will deteriorate. Moreover, cars and trucks burn millions of barrels of oil, a non-renewable energy source, every day.
Motor vehicle emissions represent 31% of total carbon dioxide, 81% of carbon monoxide, and 49% of nitrogen oxides released in the U.S. (The Green Commuter, A Publication of the Clean Air Council)
60% of the pollution created by automobile emissions happens in the first few minutes of operation, before pollution control devices can work effectively. Since "cold starts" create high levels of emissions, shorter car trips are more polluting on a per-mile basis than longer trips.
A short, four-mile round trip by bicycle keeps about 15 pounds of pollutants out of the air we breathe. (WorldWatch Institute)
Air pollution contributes to the deaths of 60,000 people nationwide. In urban areas with poor air quality, asthma is becoming a more significant health concern. (Harvard University School of Public Health).
The health benefits of regular physical activity are far-reaching: reduced risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, and other chronic diseases; lower health care costs; and improved quality of life for people of all ages. Regular exercise provides a myriad of health benefits for senior adults including a stronger heart, a positive mental outlook and an increased chance of remaining indefinitely independent – a benefit that will become increasingly important as our population ages in the coming years.
Physical activity need not be unduly strenuous for an individual to reap significant health benefits. Even small increases in light to moderate activity, equivalent to walking for about 30 minutes a day, will produce measurable benefits among those who are least active.
60% of Americans lead completely sedentary lifestyles, and 40% are clinically overweight (1998 report of the American Medical Association)
Research conducted in 1999 by the Centers for Disease Control found that "obesity and overweight are linked to the nation's number one killer--heart disease--as well as diabetes and other chronic conditions." The report also states that one reason for Americans' sedentary lifestyle is that "walking and cycling have been replaced by automobile travel for all but the shortest distances." (October 27, 1999 issue of the JAMA)
The recreation benefits of bicycling and walking are clear - according to the Report of the President’s Commission on Americans Outdoors (1990), nearly 90 percent of Americans age 12 and older go outdoors for recreation. This research found that 60 million Americans are bicyclists and 100 million walk for pleasure. Improved sidewalks, trails and bikeways make an evening stroll or bike ride possible and provide public areas where neighbors can get to know each other.
Cyclists in support of a Campus Bike Plan ride along Horsebarn Hill Road.
Where to go?
Bike Trails around UConn
You can bike throughout campus as well as in the surrounding UConn Forest. For a map of trails in the Forest,
contact the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. The Fenton Tract is accessible from several points off of Horsebarn Hill Rd. Look for the picnic area at the base of the big hill for a map of the trails.
Bike racks are located throughout the campus. Be sure to properly lock up your bicycle to discourage theft. When you secure your bicycle you should use a bicycle chain with a lock - be sure to wrap the chain around the bicycle frame as well as the wheels. It is not recommended that bicycles be left chained up over night in remote areas due to an increased liklihood of vandalism. For safety reasons and to best maintain your bicycle it is recommended that you store your bike indoors or under a protective overhang whenever possible.
Although Mansfield has many town parks with beautiful
scenery, only one permits biking—Schoolhouse Brook Park.
You can check out the other Mansfield Park trails through the
Hiking section of this site.
for Larger View
To find other trails throughout Connecticut,
visit the Rails to Trail Conservancy
. This website features an easy to use search tool that returns many trails in the Storrs area. Each trail has its own website featuring detailed trail descriptions including information on mileage, difficulty, etc.
What to do (or not do!)
Bike Safety Tips
Here is a quick summary of bike safety
"A bicycle does get you there and more.... And
there is always the thin edge of danger to keep you alert and
comfortably apprehensive. Dogs become dogs again and snap at
your raincoat; potholes become personal. And getting there is
all the fun." ~Bill Emerson, "On Bicycling," Saturday
Evening Post, 29 July 1967
It’s important to be safe while riding your bike, especially
on campus. No one can take greater responsibility for your safety than YOU. Be knowledgeable of the 'rules of the road' and who has the right of way, but when all else fails, ride defensively not aggressively, and avoid putting yourself in danger.
Do not ride your bicycle and listen to headphones, talk on a cell phone, text message, etc. This is unsafe and is likely to cause injury or an accident.
Some important things to remember:
Wear a Helmet
Protect your Investment! Buy a Helmet. Just think,
for $20-$35 you can ensure that your UConn-educated brain isn’t
Helmets can prevent head injuries,
the primary cause of death and disabling injuries resulting
from cycling accidents. They also increase rider visibility.
Today there are lots of colors and styles to choose from. In
Connecticut, State law requires anyone under the age of sixteen
to wear a helmet while riding a bicycle. It's not JUST the law,
it's a good idea for EVERYONE to wear a helmet on every ride
-- no matter how short. Your helmet should fit correctly and
meet safety standards set by the Snell Memorial Foundation or
the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). .
Also, it is important to remember that a helmet is only designed to absorb one 'good' crash or fall (whether it is attached to you or not). If your helmet has experienced significant wear and shock you should replace it.
Safety & Following the Rules of the Road
Cyclists follow the same rules as cars. They ride on the right
side of the road, signal their upcoming moves, and stop for
pedestrians in crosswalks.
Please remember, bicycles are vehicles and should not ride on sideWALKS. Pedestrians have the right of way. If you are coming up on someone from behind, DO NOT ASSUME that they can see or hear you. Also do not assume that they will maintain their same course of direction - especially if somoeone is not aware of your presence they may turn into your intended path. Be alert and be prepared to stop at any time.
Looking for more tips and suggestions
to make riding your bike a safe experience? Visit these safety
Improve Your Safety Based on Your Level of Expertise:
Interactive Safety Tips:
15 Ways to Avoid Getting Hit by a Car
- Get a Headlight- If you're riding at night, you should absolutely use a front headlight. It's required by law, anyway. Even for daytime riding, a bright white light that has a flashing mode can make you more visible to motorists who might otherwise Right Cross you.
- Honk- Get a loud horn and USE IT whenever you see a car approaching (or waiting) ahead of you and to the right.
- Slow down- If you can't make eye contact with the driver (especially at night), slow down so much that you're able to completely stop if you have to.
- Move Left as Necessary- When that motorist is looking down the road for traffic, he's not looking in the bike lane or the area closest to the curb; he's looking in the MIDDLE of the lane, for other cars. The farther left you are, the more likely the driver will see you.
- Don't stop in the blind spot- Simply stop BEHIND a car, instead of to the right of it. This makes you very visible to traffic on all sides.
- Don't ride on the sidewalk- When you come off the sidewalk to cross the street you're invisible to motorists.
- Glance in your mirror before approaching an intersection- (If you don't have a mirror, get one now.) Be sure to look in your mirror well before you get to the intersection. When you're actually going through an intersection, you'll need to be paying very close attention to what's in front of you.
- Don't pass on the right- Don't pass any vehicle on the right. If a car ahead of you is going only 10 mph, then you slow down, too, behind it. It will eventually start moving faster. If it doesn't, pass on the left when it's safe to do so.
- Look behind you before turning right- Look behind you before making a right-hand turn to make sure a bike isn't trying to pass you. (Also remember that they could be coming up from behind you on the sidewalk while you're on the street.) Even if it's the other cyclist's fault for trying to pass you on the right when you make a right turn and have them slam into you, it won't hurt any less when they hit you.
- Don't swerve in and out of the parking lane if it contains any parked cars- You might be tempted to ride in the parking lane where there are no parked cars, dipping back into the traffic lane when you encounter a parked car. This puts you at risk for getting nailed from behind. Instead, ride a steady, straight line in the traffic lane.
- Get a rear light- If you're riding at night, you absolutely should use a flashing red rear light. Bruce Mackey (formerly of Florida, now head of bike safety in Nevada) says that 60% of bike collisions in Florida are caused by cyclists riding at night without lights. In 1999, 39% of deaths on bicycles nationwide occurred between 6 p.m. and midnight. [USA Today, 10-22-01, attributed to the Insurance Institute for highway safety]
- Choose wide streets- Ride on streets whose outside lane is so wide that it can easily fit a car and a bike side by side. That way a car may zoom by you and avoid hitting you, even if they didn't see you!
- Choose slow streets- The slower a car is going, the more time the driver has to see you. I navigate the city by going through neighborhoods. Learn how to do this.
- Use back streets on weekends- The risk of riding on Friday or Saturday night is much greater than riding on other nights because all the drunks are out driving around. If you do ride on a weekend night, make sure to take neighborhood streets rather than arterials.
- Don't ride against traffic- Ride with traffic, in the same direction.
6 Ways to Reduce Your Chances of Getting Doored
1. Three Foot Rule
Ride with your handlebars at least three feet from parked cars.
2. Stay Left
As the folks at BicycleSafe postulate that it's safer to ride "far enough to the left that you won't run into any door that's opened unexpectedly" because "you're more likely to get doored by a parked car if you ride too close to it than you are to get hit from behind by a car which can clearly see you."
3. Watch for Sudden Stops
If a car stops in front of you suddenly, slow down, look for exiting passengers, then pass on left. Keep an especially close eye on taxis slowing down near intersections.
4. Use Mirrors
If you can catch the driver's eye in the side-view mirror of a stopped car, you can make her/him aware of your presence.
5. Watch Lights
If a car's brake lights are lit, it may have just pulled in. If, at night, you notice a car's interior lights are lit, expect someone to exit that car soon.
6. Be a Savvy and Safe Cyclist
Wear your helmet, stay in bike lanes, scan the streets as you approach, and know the traffic rules in you area.
|Cyclists receive a free tune-up and a hug from Jonathan the Husky during the Campus Bike Plan support ride.
"Bicycles are social catalysts that
a superior category of people."
~ Chip Brown, "A Bike and a Prayer"
Cycling Shops Near UConn-Storrs
"Get a bicycle. You will certainly not
regret it, if you live."
Storrs Center Cycle (0.3 mi)
1132 Storrs Road (Route 195)
Storrs, CT 06268
Tolland Cycle (6.8 mi)
252 Merrow Rd. (Route 195)
Alternative Spoke (8 mi)
15 Phelps Way
Willington, CT 06279
Scott's Cyclery (9 mi)
1171 Main St
Willimantic, CT 06226
Fabish Sport (14 mi)
841 Route 32
North Franklin, CT 06254
Cycle Escape (16 mi)
Hebron, CT 06248