OSU is one of the top ten most bike-friendly campuses in the nation, according to Best Colleges Online. The OSU ranking was partly based on the university’s location in Corvallis, which is known as the second most bike-friendly town in the nation. However, the large number of bikes on campus is attractive to bike thieves. Furthermore, biking in Corvallis can be dangerous. Learn how to protect yourself and your bike when riding on and off campus. 

Staying Safe on the Road

Biking is fun and efficient, especially here on Corvallis. Yet, it also presents dangers for you as a rider. Check out the tips below to learn how to protect yourself when biking to and from class. 

Top 15 Tips to Biking Safely in Corvallis:

  • Obey traffic signs and signals - Bicycles must follow the rules of the road like other vehicles. This is the law in Corvallis! You can get a traffic ticket if you don't obey traffic laws.
  • Never ride against traffic - Motorists aren't looking for bicyclists riding on the wrong side of the road. State law and common sense require that bicyclists drive like other vehicles.
  • Follow lane markings - Don't turn left from the right lane. Don't go straight in a lane marked “right-turn only.
  • Don’t pass on the right - Motorists may not look for or see a bicycle passing on the right.
  • Scan the road behind you - Learn to look back over your shoulder without losing your balance or swerving. Some riders use rear-view mirrors.
  • Keep both hands ready to brake - You may not stop in time if you brake one-handed. Allow extra distance for stopping in the rain, since brakes are less efficient when wet.
  • Wear a helmet and never ride with headphones - Always wear a helmet. Never wear a headphone while riding a bike.
  • Dress for the weather - In rain wear a poncho or waterproof suit. Dress in layers so you can adjust to temperature changes. Wear bright colored clothing.
  • Use hand signals - Hand signals tell motorists and pedestrians what you intend to do. Signal as a matter of law, of courtesy, and of self-protection.
  • Ride in the middle of the lane in slower traffic - Get in the middle of the lane at busy intersections and whenever you are moving at the same speed as traffic.
  • Choose the best way to turn left – There are two choices: (1) Like an auto: signal to move into the left turn lane and then turn left. (2) Like a pedestrian: ride straight to the far side crosswalk. Walk your bike across.
  • Make eye contact with drivers - Assume that other drivers don't see you until you are sure that they do. Eye contact is important with any driver which might pose a threat to your safety.
  • Look out for road hazards - Watch out for parallel-slat sewer grates, gravel, ice, sand or debris. Cross railroad tracks at right angles.
  • Use lights at night - The law requires a white light (visible from at least 500 feet ahead) and a rear reflector or taillight (visible up to 300 feet from behind).
  • Keep your bike in good repair - Adjust your bike to fit you and keep it working properly. Check brakes and tires regularly. Routine maintenance is simple and you can learn to do it yourself.

Watching other bikers in Corvallis can help you become familiar with some of the biking norms here. Just remember, always be safe! For more information on bicycle safety, check out bicyclesafety.com!

Safety of Your Bicycle

Bicycle theft has become a tremendous problem on college campuses and the Oregon State University campus is no exception. Bicycles and bicycle parts, including seats and "quick release" wheels are in big demand and thieves are well-equipped and well-organized. Over $49,000 worth of bikes and bike parts were taken from campus in 2001 alone.

Some campus buildings allow bicycles to be stored in individual offices or designated bike storage rooms. The safest place to store a bicycle is indoors, in a locked room. However, indoor bike parking is never allowed in corridors, stairwells, exit pathways, outside on trees, metal poles or anywhere else where it may impede an emergency exit from a building.

This applies even if there is no signage specifically prohibiting bicycle parking. You may want to consider using an inexpensive and/or used bike to ride to campus to make it less attractive to thieves.

Make It Hard To Steal

It has been found that in the vast majority of bicycle thefts, bicycles were either unlocked, improperly locked, or locked with inadequate locking devices, such as lightweight cables or chains, or low-quality U-lock devices. You should always carry a secure lock whenever you plan to leave your bicycle unattended.

The U-shaped locks have proven to be the most effective security device, but like all locks or chains, they can be defeated. Use a high-end U-shaped lock to reduce the chances of the lock being defeated. You should also exercise care in where and how you lock your bicycle.

You should always lock your bicycle through the frame and both wheels to a bicycle parking rack, preferably a rack with a thicker frame. Lock all free parts of the bicycle as well or take them with you. If you lock only the front wheel you may return to find only the front wheel. Leave your bicycle in a visible, wel-lit area. Avoid leaving your bicycle locked outside overnight.

Thieves are often creative in their approach; if they are unable to steal the bike, they may try to take any valuable parts. If left unattended for long periods (overnight), secured bicycles may get their unsecured parts stolen. The thief will secure his/her older bike to a more expensive bike that is parked in a rack or other area. The thief will wait until later in the evening when the area is clear and the victim has grown tired of waiting and has exhausted all ideas on how to locate the owner of the other bike or remove the lock. When the victim leaves in exasperation, the thief will then take all that is unsecured, tires, pedals, lights, speedometer, etc. Missing parts can average between $300-$500 or more depending on the type of the bike and parts taken.

If this should happen to you: Remove all parts possible that may be subject to theft before leaving the area for the evening or an extended period of time. Notify Oregon State Police/Department of Public Safety to ascertain whether assistance is available to you. OSP/DPS can remove the lock for you if you can provide proof of purchase and/or bicycle registration in your name.

Reporting Theft

If your bicycle is stolen on campus, you should report the theft immediately to Oregon State Police at OSU. Providing the police with descriptive information, such as the serial number and license number, increases the chance of recovery.

To report the theft of a bicycle, contact Oregon State Police at 7-3010 or 541-737-3010.

Register Your Bike!

You can register your bicycle at the Department of Public Safety in Cascade Hall or at Bicycle Registration Events frequently scheduled in living groups. Registering discourages theft and aids in identification. In addition all major components should be engraved with a driver’s license number or state-issued identification number. The Department of Public Safety encourages bicycle owners to register their property. Attend a Bike Safety/Registration Workshop or come to the DPS office in Cascade Hall. Be prepared to provide the following information:

  • Name
  • ID Number
  • Email Address
  • Campus Phone
  • Home Phone
  • Bicycle Description Information
  • Brand-Model (Mt. Bike, Road Bike, etc.)
  • Est. Value
  • Serial Number
  • Frame Type (Men’s/ Women’s)
  • Speeds/Gears
  • Wheel Size
  • Color
  • Owner Applied # 
  • Driver’s License # in the following format: OR1234567DL

DO NOT use Social Security Numbers for engraving, as they are very difficult for the police to research and may compromise your identity/privacy.

Call 7-7000 or 541-737-7000 to: Report suspicious behavior in bicycle parking areas.
Call 7-3010 or 541-737-3010 to: Report a stolen or vandalized bicycle.

For information about the OSU Cycling Club, contact them at their Web Site.