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Ohio State bikers should be ‘extra careful’ as fall and winter loom

Alyssa Mizesko / Lantern Photographer

The first month of classes was riddled with bicycle-related accidents on and around campus, and as the leaves begin to fall, bikers will have even more obstacles to dodge.
Bicyclists face various challenges to safety when riding in the fall and winter, including wet or slick roads, ice, snow or wet leaves on the roads, potholes and less daylight.
Meredith Joy, executive director and founder of Yay Bikes!, a nonprofit organization that promotes bicycling as an alternative to driving in Columbus, said there are several factors that cyclists should be aware of when riding in the winter.
“Wet leaves can be really slippery, wet leaves can also obscure things underneath on the road, and potholes can all lead to crashes,” Joy said. “Reducing the air pressure in your tires a little bit can be helpful in accommodating for the road conditions.”
Despite the additional obstacles with the change of seasons, Nick Chenoweth, a third-year in mechanical engineering, said he expects the number of bike-related accidents on campus to decrease in the winter.
“I feel there are a lot of people that ride their bikes right now that will not be riding in the winter time,” Chenoweth said. “There will be less cycle traffic, and therefore probably less accidents.”
Chenoweth said he rides his bike often in the winter, and that the season doesn’t make it less safe to cycle if people are prepared and aware.
“You have to be a little extra careful, and there are specific tires and equipment you can buy if you’re going to ride in those conditions,” Chenoweth said. “I think biking in the winter can be just as safe as biking in any other season.”
Some students think the university can step in this winter and play a role in bicycle safety on campus. Rachel Baransi, a fourth-year in comparative studies, said she thinks the university should add some bike lanes on campus to reduce the number of accidents.
“I would like to see bike lanes, especially on the roads that go east and west on campus,” Baransi said. “I would love to have a lane that I know I’m allowed to be in because sometimes I really don’t feel like I’m supposed to be anywhere.”   
Students can get more information about bike safety from How We Roll, a campaign affiliated with Columbus-based Yay Bikes! which is a specifically student-geared program that offers free bicycle tours throughout Columbus and promotes bicycle safety in traffic.
There have been several bicyclist- and pedestrian-involved accidents on and off campus. In an accident that occurred Sept. 5, a student was hit and run over by a dump truck near a construction site on Woodruff Avenue. The student, James Daniel Hughes, is still at the Wexner Medical Center receiving treatment. First-year student Rachel Stump was involved in an Aug. 19 car accident that caused her to go into a coma, from which she is still recovering. OSU student Yifan Gu was struck by a bicyclist Sept. 6 near Chumley’s on High Street. She left the scene in an ambulance that took her to the Wexner Medical Center, where she remained in stable condition Monday evening. Other campus area accidents have resulted in only minor injuries.

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