Spring is in the air! The snow is disappearing and bicycles are increasing in numbers again. But before you hop on and start to pedal, take a few moments to review how to safely travel by bicycle here in Idaho. Even if you don't ride a bike, motorists and pedestrians should also be aware of rules that pertain to cyclists to better predict their movements - some of these are listed below.
First, start with some routine maintenance for your bike and ensure you have the proper safety equipment. Check the chain, tighten loose bolts and check your tires for wear and proper inflation. Check the bicycle for reflectors, headlamp and other reflective gear, and invest in reflective clothing to increase your visibility on the road. Don't forget your head - all cyclists should have an approved, properly fitting helmet to wear every time they get on their bicycle. Your bicycle should also be a proper fit - think size, type and height.
Other tips to keep in mind: carry items in a backpack or properly strapped to the back of the bike and tie your shoes and tuck in loose pant legs so that they don't get caught in your bike chain. Think about where you are going and how you will get there. Consider routes with less traffic or slower speeds and routes that have bike lanes or paths.
Now think about the rules of the road. These rules are for your safety and the safety of the motorists on the road with you.
- Ride with the flow of traffic to the right side of the lane or within the bike lanes, when present.
- Use designated turn lanes or occupy the lane nearest the direction you plan to turn when there is no designated lane.
- Signal your turns; use proper hand signals for turning and stopping in a timely manner.
- Obey all traffic control devices (yielding at stop signs and stopping at red lights in accordance with state law and city ordinances).
- Always have at least one hand in control of the bike.
- Be predictable! Drive where you are expected to be seen and maintain a steady line of travel.
- Stay alert, scan ahead for potential hazards, such as car doors opening, potholes and pedestrians and use the center of the lane when there are safety concerns.
- Don't rely eye contact alone; use your best judgment with motorists.
- If riding on a sidewalk, watch for pedestrians and slow down; always yield to the pedestrians.
- Don't use headphones or cell phones when riding; they are a hazardous distraction.
According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 675 bicyclists were killed in traffic crashes in the United States in 2020. Many can be avoided if motorists and cyclists follow the established rules of the road, take some simple safety precautions and watch out for each other. Courtesy, respect and awareness can save lives.
"My bike is gone!"
Does that sound like something you have said? If you are a college student or live in a college town, it's very likely you use a bicycle to get around on the convenient pathways, trails and walkways where you live. Keeping in mind that the APM 35.35 prohibits bringing bikes into university buildings, what can you do to make it more difficult for a thief to take your property? Here are smart, affordable steps you can use to protect what is yours.
- Always lock up your bike, even at home.
- Make sure you lock it to a fixed object.
- Invest in two locking mechanisms, such as a U-bolt and chain lock, each greater than 6mm in thickness.
- When using a U-bolt or chain, use up as much of the space inside the bolt or chain as possible.
- Lock up your bike in a well-lit, high-traffic area.
- Don’t lock it up in the same location every time. Shake it up a bit!
- Register your bike through your local police department or a national registry.
The National Bike Registry website is convenient and makes it easy to register your bike. When you register your bike, you will be sent a tamper-resistant label to put on your bike and a certificate containing pertinent information. Registering allows local police to check if your bike has turned up anywhere else, and pawn shops will be able to easily report it as stolen property. In addition to the steps above, there is a lot of new technology available that is cost-effective, such as GPS trackers, Bluetooth-enabled chains with phone apps and more.
It is up to you, the owner, to take common-sense practical steps to protect what is yours. How much or how little you need is up to you!
Most Vandals are familiar with the campus walkway/pedestrian mall that extends throughout much of the center of campus. It is important to keep in mind that this well-marked series of streets is a multi-use area. That means that while vehicles are restricted, those with valid walkway access permits do share the streets in the campus core. All vehicles (motorized vehicles, skateboards, bicycles, etc.) using the campus walkway must travel no faster than walk speed, or about three (3) miles per hour. Managed parking for a variety of types of spaces, including disability, Vandal Reserved, service, delivery and other special use spaces, are clustered in the campus walkway. Walkway users should remain alert for intermittent motorized vehicles, including SMART Transit buses, that share this important multi-use space.
Colder weather and more layers of clothes can mean hats pulled down low on faces and scarves wrapped warmly around, and both can partly obscure vision. Pedestrians in darker colored clothing, shorter days, less sunshine and fogged or icy car windows can all increase the challenge of seeing pedestrians and giving them the right of way - and can make it harder for pedestrians to use their full peripheral vision to watch for moving traffic.
Wet or frozen streets and sidewalks increase the need for caution from all users. Allow extra time when walking, biking or driving. Remember that getting safely to the next warm place requires extra awareness from the whole Vandal community. Help #KeepCampusMoving by traveling cautiously on foot, by bike or in a motorized vehicle as temperatures drop and cold weather creates additional hazards. Visit our seasonal safety information for more tips on navigating campus in winter.
Campus is about to receive an influx of buses - school buses, touring buses and even vans loaded with music students from throughout the northwest. Jazz Festival normally brings about 4,000 young, excited students to our campus for the annual three-day event. There will be temporary changes to traffic patterns, passengers and equipment being loaded and unloaded, and a lot of scurrying about as the participants rush to performances and workshops.
Here are a few things we can do to help.
Review the information that is provided by Parking and Transportation, be wary for changes in traffic direction and avoid areas that have been marked for loading and unloading.
Often, buses will have undercarriage doors open on both sides with students pulling equipment out on to the street as well as the sidewalks. Give them space and expect the unexpected.
Give directions, if asked and you are comfortable doing so, and offer help to someone looks a bit lost.
Report unsafe conditions such as slippery or obstructed walkways to Facilities. Sand cans have been distributed around campus to provide an immediate solution to icy entryways.
Be aware that attendees tend to travel in large groups, intent on their next event. Sometimes the safest thing we can do is step aside, hold the door, or stay in our offices during the changing of the tide.
There are a few things to be aware of when walking or driving near mass-transit vehicles. These large carriers have more blind spots than personal vehicles. Try to make eye contact with the driver before crossing in front of them. If you cannot see the driver in the side mirror, the driver cannot see you. They take time and distance to accelerate, slow or stop. Have patience and give them space. Longer vehicles require extra space to safely make a corner. You may find that you need to hold back from the intersection to allow a bus to complete the turn. Do not cut around a turning bus on either side as the tail swing can damage your vehicle. Your favorite parking space may be temporarily blocked while a bus driver waits to pick up or drop off students. Be prepared to walk a little further to your work location than normal.
Most of these visitors will be staying across the highway in one of our local hotels. This means they may be walking back and forth, especially in the evening for the concerts at the Kibbie Dome. Please slow down while driving through campus, especially when leaving at the end of the day. Please watch for our visitors who may not be aware of our traffic patterns and pedestrian pathways.
The Jazz Festival and many of the spring events that bring younger students to campus are opportunities to recruit future Vandals. Our patience and courtesy may influence the college decisions of these visitors.
Enjoy the event.
We're all familiar with the warnings against feeding animals in our state and national parks. While we don't typically find bears on the Moscow campus, the same constraints apply to the feeding of other animals. Faculty, staff and students are guided by U of I policy (APM 40.22) which notes "Feeding of natural and feral wildlife is prohibited because of ongoing safety and health issues, vermin population increases around campus buildings and damage to landscape plant materials from increased and non-sustainable animal populations."
The science and evidence behind this policy clearly shows this practice is harmful to wildlife populations in the long run. A quick web search on this topic provides numerous informational articles as to why this practice is a bad deal for our wildlife populations here on campus, and in our parks, campgrounds and forests:
- Wildlife fed by humans often become dependent on this unnatural and sporadic food source, and depending on what is being offered to them, it may cause wildlife to suffer nutritionally as well.
- Feeding wildlife also decreases an animal's natural fear of humans and can lead to more aggressive behavior towards humans because of population increases or a reduction in these non-sustainable food sources.
- Feeding of birds and feral cats is especially problematic on our campus because of the increase in other wildlife and rodent populations that eat the same foods as these animals and can lead to increased infestations of mice, rats and insects in buildings and increased amounts of fecal matter and other unsanitary litter around buildings. Also, without regular and thorough cleaning of feeders and food bowls, there is an increased potential of causing a disease outbreak amongst the various wildlife.
- Currently U of I spends thousands of dollars annually in the mitigation of building pests. Supplying these creatures with a food source near buildings negates mitigation efforts and exacerbates this problem.
- Lastly, a specific issue affecting the U of I campus is the current overpopulation of squirrels is having a damaging effect on our iconic Camperdown elms due to the chewing damage they do to these historic trees throughout the year. Twenty years ago, this wasn't much of an issue, but in the last ten years, it has become significant.
The campus landscape plantings provide an ample food supply of nuts, seeds and fruits for our campus wildlife population. Upsetting this balance only causes long term problems for the wildlife and the campus community. Please support a long term sustainable wildlife population on our campus by not feeding them.
Thank You, the Landscape Staff
Keep our campus healthy and prevent the spread of influenza and other viruses by practicing everyday preventive actions. Practices include:
- Washing hands often with soap and water; if soap and water are not readily available, consider using a hand sanitizer in the meantime.
- Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
- Staying home when sick. If possible, stay home from work, school and running errands if you have symptoms of the flu or another virus. Symptoms may include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headaches and fatigue.
- Covering coughs or sneezes with the inside of your arm or a tissue and then throwing the tissue away.
- Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth unless you've just washed your hands.
Additionally, the best way to prevent the flu is to get the seasonal flu vaccine. If you missed the flu shot clinics at the university, there are still many other options either at the Vandal Health Clinic or in the community. These vaccines are covered by most insurance plans.
As anyone that has tried to cross campus when classes are changing knows, there are a lot of people walking on and around campus, interacting with vehicles, skateboarders, cyclists and others. As a pedestrian, there are a number of steps you can take to keep yourself safe.
Make sure you are visible to drivers at all times and make eye contact with them whenever possible. This is especially important at night, in low-light conditions such as dusk or dawn or in inclement weather. According to NHTSA's National Center for Statistics and Analysis, 32 percent of all pedestrian fatalities occur between 8 p.m. and 11:59 p.m.
- Wear light colored or reflective clothing at night and brightly colored clothing during the day.
- Stay in well-lit areas, especially when crossing the street.
- If possible, make eye contact with drivers in stopped vehicles to ensure they see you before you cross in front of them.
- Use marked crosswalks and stay in the markings when crossing. Darting out into traffic or crossing diagonally across a crosswalk or street is dangerous, as vehicle operators are not expecting this.
Consider the Weather
- In fall and spring, be on the lookout for wet conditions and leaf debris that can cause slippery walking conditions.
- When roads are covered with snow or ice, never assume a driver will be able to stop in time to grant you the right of way.
- Wear traction devices for snowy walkways; while snow and ice mitigation on campus walks is a priority, freezing weather can occur quickly and sporadically in colder spots, like on the north side of buildings. Pay attention when walking on sloped walkways, stairs or shaded walkways.
Stay Alert - Avoid Distractions
Distractions are everywhere today and becoming more and more difficult to avoid. Remember that, as a pedestrian, your eyes and ears are your best tools for keeping safe. Put your cell phone or tablet away and pay attention to your surroundings. Ear buds and headphones greatly decrease your ability to hear warning signals or approaching vehicles or equipment. Leave them off.
Follow the Rules
- Think like a driver; know and follow all traffic rules, signs and signals. You need to be aware of the rules vehicles around you must follow to properly anticipate what drivers will do. This will help increase your safety.
- Never assume a driver will give you the right of way. Make every effort to make eye contact with the driver of a stopped or approaching vehicle before entering the roadway.
Walk in Safe Places
- Use crosswalks when crossing the street. If a crosswalk is unavailable, be sure to find the most well-lit spot on the road to cross and wait for a long enough gap in traffic to make it safely across the street.
- If there are two or more lanes of traffic flowing the same direction through a crosswalk, make sure that all vehicles are stopping for you. You may be hidden by a courteous driver's vehicle in the closer lane, and the second lane of traffic may not stop if you are not visible to them.
- Stay on sidewalks whenever possible. If a sidewalk is not available, be sure to walk on the far side of the road facing traffic. This will help increase your visibility to drivers.
- Avoid walking along highways or other roadways where pedestrians are prohibited.
Avoid Alcohol Consumption
Almost half of all traffic crashes resulting in pedestrian casualties involve alcohol consumption. Surprisingly, 34 percent of that total was on the part of the pedestrian. Alcohol impairs your decision-making skills, physical reflexes and other abilities just as much on your feet as it does behind the wheel.
Parking and Transportation Services (PTS) is pleased to offer Pit Crew services to help keep vehicles moving on campus. In over 11 years, PTS staff have helped more than 1,300 drivers on campus with Pit Crew service calls. How exactly do we help? Pit Crew offers:
- Jump starts
- Vehicle unlocks (For some vehicle makes/models, cold temperatures may prevent us from being able to unlock your vehicle)
- Assistance with flat tires
- Gas cans for loan
- A shovel and sand in the winter so you can get out of snowy parking situations.
Pit Crew Services are provided on U of I-managed property on the Moscow campus for FREE from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. If you need assistance outside of these times, leave us a voicemail at 208-885-6424 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we'll reach out to you as soon as possible when our office opens.
PTS staff report that new Vandals and their families are always pleased to learn about Pit Crew services. "We love sharing information about Pit Crew when we talk to incoming students and their families," states Rebecca Couch, Director of PTS. "During UIdaho Bound events this year, we see the relief on parents' faces, especially, when they learn we can help out when their students will be far from home."
Learn more about Parking and Transportation Services and stay current with parking updates and closures, find parking maps, learn about alternative transportation options, parking permits and more when you visit them online, call them for information at 208-885-6424 or email them at email@example.com.
Whether you are a college student going home for the summer, or a faculty or staff member heading out on vacation, pre-planning for your trip is always a good idea. For a trip to a familiar location, this may be as simple as making sure your vehicle is in good condition and checking the weather, while trips to new areas may require more planning and research.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) provide numerous tips for travel; this is only a summary of their tips to keep in mind when traveling for personal reasons. If you are traveling for the university, please also refer to our policies on driving and other travel, which may differ from some of these tips.
If you are driving back home for the summer, you are likely to be at least somewhat familiar with the route you plan to travel, how long it might take and what you will need along the way. But if you are driving to a new location or taking a new route, it pays to do your homework – learn your route and identify places to rest or take breaks. Don't travel more than nine or ten hours in a day, or approximately 600 miles (U of I policy limits employees to 8 hours per day when driving for the university and recommends 15 minute breaks every two hours). With longer distances or time on the road, you become a risk to yourself and others. Keep your own limits in mind as well, you may need stop for the day after only 5 hours or so.
International travel requires much more planning – if you are traveling for the U of I, you'll need to register through the International Programs Office (IPO) Travel Registry. You should be directed to the registry when submitting a travel authorization. Questions or requests for assistance regarding this registration may be sent to the Education Abroad unit within IPO at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The U.S. Department of State has information you may need for traveling abroad, including any warnings for political unrest, places to avoid, natural disasters and rules and laws of which to be aware. Learn where your nearest embassy or consulate office is and how to contact them. Be sure that family or friends in the U.S. know where you are and what your travel plans will be. Schedule regular check-ins with them, leave a copy of your passport with family, and a list of all your medical conditions and medications. Finally, register your travel plans with the U.S. Department of State. This ensures that they know you are in the country, and they are better prepared to assist if needed.
When packing, review your list of everything you think you need, and all the "just in case" items. Depending on your destination, that list may include prescription medications, medical supplies, over the counter medications, hand sanitizer, insect repellents, sun screen and first aid kit essentials. Also be sure that you have copies of your passport, travel itinerary, list of prescriptions and dosing frequency, health insurance documents and a list of emergency contacts within your belongings.
Travel can be hard on the body, so prepare with proper diet, updated vaccinations and by procuring over-the-counter medications such as antacids, diarrhea medicine, antihistamines, decongestants, motion sickness medicine and pain and fever medicine. Also be sure to take breaks at least every 4 hours – stand up and walk around, this helps maintain proper circulation in your legs and prevent swelling. To recover from extended travel, avoid large meals and overindulgence of caffeine or alcohol, drink plenty of water and sleep when you can. Try to stay on a regular meal schedule, get out in the sun and work on getting on the local time zone schedule.
Most importantly, have fun! We want everyone back safely for the next semester.
University of Idaho Campus Security wants to remind the Vandal Community about a free, 24/7 service it offers year-round called Safe Walk. This service is available to all students, faculty, staff and U of I visitors.
A quick call to Campus Security is all that is needed to request the Safe Walk service - no questions asked. A security officer will meet a caller any place on the Moscow campus and walk that person(s) to their destination on campus. Campus Security encourages the campus community to use Safe Walk when needed.
The Report a Safety Concern form provides users a quick and easy way to submit non-emergency safety concerns on campus. With three required questions: what the safety concern/issue is, location and date observed; it only takes a moment to complete the mobile-friendly form. You also have the option to include a picture of the hazard if applicable. The form may be submitted anonymously if desired, keeping in mind it may be harder to resolve the situation if further information is required.
Submitted forms are directed to the appropriate department/unit for review and consideration.
Thank you for taking the time to report a safety issue or concern right away. For questions, please contact EHS at 208-885-6524 or email@example.com.
Slips, trips and falls are a major cause of serious injury to the university’s faculty, staff and students every year. In the 2016-2017 academic year, it was the number one cause of injuries, accounting for over 31% of all incurred injuries. And, about half of those incidents did not involve snow or ice.
Practice prevention by reading the 6 Tips for Preventing Slips, Trips and Falls, and taking a short, online training to learn more about how to avoid this from happening to you.