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Bicycle Rules & Safety

Bicyclists share the road with many other transportation modes. Stay safe by following the basic rules of the road listed below, and remember that most accidents occur at intersections.

  • Always wear a helmet.
  • Watch for people exiting vehicles.
  • Bicyclists riding in vehicular lanes are safest when acting as a driver of a vehicle.
  • Per state law, always signal to indicate a turn.
  • Alert pedestrians when passing from behind by saying "on your left" or ringing a bell.
  • Remember to ride where you can easily be seen by drivers and pedestrians. Drivers not expecting you on the sidewalk may overlook you as they approach a driveway or crosswalk.

You are responsible for following campus, town and state regulations. Learn more by selecting one of the boxes below:

By law, a bicycle is considered a vehicle. This means people on bicycles must observe all rules applicable to motor vehicles. Some of the regulations cyclists should be aware of include:
  • It is illegal to ride in the wrong direction on one-way streets or against the regular flow of vehicular traffic, including the Drillfield.
  • Virginia law prohibits the use of headphones or earbuds in both ears when riding a bicycle.
  • People on bicycles must obey all traffic regulations (traffic signals, stop signs, etc.).
  • Bicycling is permitted on all roadways and concrete/asphalt pathways, except for some sidewalks in downtown Blacksburg (check out the campus bike map for the exact locations).
  • When operating on shared–use paths, people on bicycles must yield to pedestrians and people on scooters.
  • A rear reflector and a white headlight is required when riding at night.
A sharrow pavement marking on Kent Street

A sharrow is a shared lane marking that clarifies where in the travel lane people on bicycles should ride. Sharrows remind people on bicycles to avoid the door zone, which is the space needed for parked vehicles to open their doors. These markings also indicate to people in cars that the road is a preferred bicycle route, and they should be prepared to share the road with people on bicycles.

People may still bike on campus roads without sharrows.

How to use a sharrow

  • People on bicycles may take the full lane.
  • People on bicycles should stay out of the door zone.
  • People in cars must share the road with people on bicycles.
  • When locking a bicycle, always secure both the frame and quick-release wheel to the rack with a lock.
  • Invest in a high-quality U-lock to provide adequate security while parking your bicycle.
  • All bicycles parked on campus must be registered with Transportation Services.
  • Keep a record of the bicycle's serial number, make, model, and registration.

If a bicycle is stolen and recovered, or impounded, the owner must be able to provide the serial number or university registration information as proof of ownership.

The Campus Bike Map is kept up to date with current bicycle parking locations.

  • Bicycles must be parked at bicycle racks, except when permission has been granted to keep them inside a campus building.
    • Bicycles may be kept inside of residence hall rooms with the permission of the roommate. Bicycles may not be kept in other areas of residence halls.
    • A department head may grant permission for a bicycle to be kept in an office.
  • Bicycles may not be left on the sidewalk, lawn, next to a building, in a parking space designed for a motor vehicle, or chained to a tree, post, parking meter, streetlight, railing, banister, or other structure.

Failure to comply with the above parking guidelines can result in impoundment of the bicycle.

All bicycles on the Blacksburg campus must be registered with Transportation Services. More information on registering a bicycle can be found here.

Bicyclists parking a non-registered bicycle on campus are subject to a $35 fine and impoundment or immobilization of the bicycle. All unregistered bicycles may be impounded or immobilized at the end of each academic year without prior notice. Impounded or immobilized bicycles may be retrieved after the owner presents proof of ownership to Transportation Services.

The Virginia Tech campus is very bicycle friendly, which makes it easier for new cyclists to get around. Making the transition from driving to bicycling can seem daunting, but there are plenty of resources to get you started. Here are some tips for being comfortable on the roads and sidewalks on campus and in town:

  • Always be aware of your surroundings. Traffic and pedestrian foot traffic can change at any moment.
  • Use your gears! Come see us at the Hokie Bike Hub if you are having trouble figuring this out! Making sure your gears work will make bicycling much easier on Blacksburg's hilly terrain.
  • Plan your route to avoid traffic. If you need help with this, fill out our commute concierge form.
  • Remember that every trip you take will make bicycling easier. The more you ride, the more your body and mind will get used to riding alongside vehicle and pedestrian traffic.

The videos at the bottom of this page are also very helpful. If you have any other questions, the Hokie Bike Hub staff is more than happy to help. Stop by today!

Check out these short videos by The League of American Bicyclists to help you get started before your next ride. 

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Basic Bike Check

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Where You Should Ride

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Bike Helmet Fitting

Information on specific laws can be found here.