With the return of warmer weather (soon) comes a familiar sight at Case Western Reserve University: cyclists navigating their way across campus.

But as you pull your bike from winter storage, there are safety precautions you should keep in mind when riding, including where you can—and can’t—ride your bike and what traffic laws to obey.

First and foremost, bicyclists should always wear a helmet and use a bike lane on the street whenever available. But whether on campus or off, there are several other considerations cyclists should keep in mind.

Sidewalk safety

Though riding on the sidewalk should be avoided whenever possible, cyclists should slow down if they do ride there. Additionally, riders should install a bell or horn on their bike to warn pedestrians that they are approaching. They also should call out “bicycle on your left” or “bicycle on your right” to indicate to pedestrians which side they’re on. On campus and throughout the state of Ohio, pedestrians have the right of way.

Due to the high volume of foot traffic on the Binary Walkway and visibility concerns in the parking lot between Amasa Stone Chapel and Crawford Hall, riding a bike in those areas is prohibited. Individuals must walk their bikes in those areas.

“We are taking every precaution to avoid an accident between a bicyclist and pedestrian and a bicyclist and a vehicle,” said Paul Owens, a police sergeant with the Case Western Reserve Police Department.

Street precautions

When riding on the street, cyclists must obey all traffic laws, including lights, signs, flag persons and pavement markings. Riders must follow the flow of traffic and should never swerve in the road or between vehicles. Whenever entering a road, make sure to check traffic.

“When they are coming down Cedar [Road], Edgehill [Road], Adelbert [Road] Bridge and Cornell [Road] Bridge, we want them to slow down,” Owens said. “We see a lot of bicyclist going super fast down those hills.”

Individuals also should make themselves as visible as possible for motorists by wearing reflective, bright clothing and a headlamp and taillight.

Additionally, bicyclists should use hand signals to indicate which direction they are turning.

Securing your bike

The Case Western Reserve University Police Department offers free bike locks to all undergraduate students. On campus, all bikes should be secured in a designated bike rack. Bikes should never be chained to signs, posts or handrails.

Additionally, the police department offers free bike registration for all faculty, staff and students. To register a bike, visit the police department’s website and fill out the form, then visit the station to grab a sticker for your bike.

Check out videos on bike safety at bikeleague.org/ridesmartvideos and get information on selecting the proper bike helmet.

Learn more about bike safety on campus at case.edu/publicsafety/services.