Summer is winding down, and for many students this means that classes are about to start back up in full swing (if they haven’t already!). If you will be riding your bike to class, here are some important tips to remember to help keep you and those around you safe as you start back to school.

1. Inspect your bike. This is always a good tip, but it’s especially important if you haven’t been riding as much during the summer. Be sure to check the brakes, tires, wheel alignment, seat, handlebars, axle nuts and bearings, and your bike chain. Adjust, replace, or tighten things as necessary. If you aren’t sure how to do this, stop by Ozone or any of the other local bike shops and ask them help you.

2. Stay aware of traffic and traffic pattern changes. If you’ve been riding your bike over the summer, you may have gotten used to a different traffic pattern. Remember that traffic might be busier than normal at certain locations or times of day now that school is back in session.

3. Remember your lights. Days will be getting shorter now, and a class that starts in daylight might not end until after dark. Or maybe you’ll need to have a late-night study session. No matter why you end up out after dark, remember to make sure that your bike is equipped with lights. Also remember to bring extra batteries, brightly colored clothing, and reflective gear for those late night or early morning rides.

4. Always carry your books and other items in a bicycle carrier or backpack. Keep your hands free at all times! Remember, the hands-free ordinance applies to bicyclists too!

5. Don’t let your bike get stolen! While you’re in class, be sure to lock your bike while it’s parked. Buy a good quality lock, and lock your bike through both the frame and the wheel. While any lock can be broken with the right tools, a thief is less likely to go to more extreme efforts to break a lock in a crowded area. You can register your bike through BikeUT and the APD which can help get your bike returned if it is stolen. Also, be sure not to leave your bike parked on campus overnight.

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