Biking at Tech: Tips for Two-Wheeled Transit

Georgia Tech encourages bicycling to and throughout campus as a healthy, convenient, and low-cost way to get around, but some students are still hesitant about choosing this particular transportation option.

Here are a few tips to make biking at Tech safe, practical, and convenient.

Getting a Bike

Georgia Tech has a variety of resources to help students purchase and take care of their bicycles.

Long-term bikers should check out Starter Bikes, a cooperative bicycle shop with tools, parts, and volunteers. Starter Bikes is open from 4 to 6 p.m. on Fridays and can be found in the bottom level of the Campus Recreation Center parking deck. Bike costs vary from free to $150, depending on quality and condition. Read more in the flyer below.

A shorter-term bicycle option is BuzzBike Rentals. The BuzzBike application has closed for the fall semester but will soon open for spring. BuzzBike offers students bike rentals for a single semester on a first-come, first-served basis. Rentals are $60 and helmets can be purchased for $10. Any faculty, staff, or student with a Buzzcard may rent a BuzzBike.

The shortest-term biking option is offered by Relay Bikes, the City of Atlanta bike share program. Around 60 bicycles are available at six locations on campus for rental. Riders can purchase a monthly membership at a cost of $7.50 per month, which includes 90 minutes of ride time per day. Bikes may be picked up and dropped off at any station throughout the city. Learn more from the Relay website.

Registering your Bike

For bike owners, Georgia Tech recommends that all students, faculty, and staff register their bicycles with the Georgia Tech Police Department (GTPD). This enables GTPD to identify the bikes and contact the owner in the event that the bicycle is recovered after being lost or stolen. Bikes can be registered here.

Safety Tips

To ensure that Georgia Tech is safe for bicyclists and other travelers, cyclists old and new should follow a few crucial tips:

  • Be predictable. Don’t abruptly swerve around something and look before moving into another lane. Know your hand signals and use them to turn or stop; signal turns by sticking an arm out toward the turning direction.
  • Wear a helmet. Parking and Transportation Services now sells helmets for $12 at its office in Tech Square.
  • Don’t ride with earbuds. You have two senses while you’re riding — sight and sound — and it’s not advisable to eliminate one.
  • Ride at a safe speed and follow traffic laws. Cyclists may bike on all campus roads but should be careful to stop at stop signs and lights. When you’re riding downhill, ride at a safe speed and be prepared to stop if necessary. Cyclists should also avoid riding on sidewalks — more on that below.
  • Persevere. There are a few big hills on campus, but frequently riding them can increase strength and stamina. Riders need to make sure to shift their bike when starting up a hill, not when already pedaling hard.

Check out the Bicyclist Pocket Guide for more information on rights and rules of Bicyclists in Georgia.

Insider’s Information

Lisa Safstrom, campus transportation planner for Georgia Tech Parking and Transportation Services, is an avid bicyclist herself and has valuable tips to share with campus cyclists. 

“Primarily, cyclists should know that bicycles are considered vehicles, and riders have to follow the same rules as drivers, including stopping for stop signs and red lights,” Safstrom said. She also recommends that bicyclists watch for people in parked cars who might swing a door open without looking. When riding through Tech Square or other places where a bike lane is next to parked vehicles, try to be aware of whether someone is in the vehicle. In those circumstances, a rider may want to stay to the left of the of the bike lane, or may take the traffic lane if necessary.

For students unsure about where to bike on campus, Safstrom said, “Most roads on campus have bike lanes or ‘sharrows,’ which are shared-use arrows that designate that drivers and cyclists may share the lane, and signify to drivers that cyclists may be present.”

“People should not be biking on the sidewalks on campus, but it does happen. If someone is riding on a pedestrian walkway, they should be going the same speed as pedestrians and yielding to them as well.”

When planning bike routes, Safstrom recommends avoiding large, busy roads, using smaller street alternatives, and consulting available resources.

“Google Maps has a feature to plan routes by bike. Parking and Transportation Services is developing a map of bike routes to various off-campus destinations. There is also a listserv for Georgia Tech bike commuters that riders can join using their Georgia Tech email address. Members can ask questions about routes, gear, and more, and receive replies from others who bike to and on campus.”

On Thursday, Nov. 2, Parking and Transportation Services and the Georgia Tech Police Department will host a bike safety class and encourage all new riders to attend. The class will be held in Room 301, Student Center, from 11 a.m. to noon. Additionally, the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition hosts classes for all levels of bicyclists.

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