When I transferred to the University of California, Santa Barbara, one of my biggest concerns revolved around the bike paths. I wondered if it was possible to adjust to the hectic bicycle scene. With that said, I lived with four UCSB students my second year of college, and they would tell me stories about the bike accidents they witnessed or were involved in. This made me fear riding a bike around campus, but when I got accepted into UCSB, I realized that I would have to overcome this concern. Campus isn't that far from my apartment, but it's far enough that I would prefer not to walk every day. So, before school started, I took a weekend to just ride around campus and learn the bike routes.

Even so, bike accidents are not always 100% preventable. During my third week of school, I got into a bike accident, because another bicyclist was not paying attention. Instead of looking forward, this guy was talking to his friends behind him, so he crashed right into me. My leg was pretty banged up, but I was lucky enough to ride away from the situation without any serious injuries. As a result, I learned to leave my house earlier, so I could take my time getting to school. I also learned to pay attention to my surroundings at all times, because there is no guarantee that other bicyclists will do the same.

In addition to being aware of other bicyclists, cars need to watch out for bikes that cross the road unexpectedly. All too often, bicyclists cross the road without looking both ways beforehand. This has lead to serious injuries and/or deaths. Because a majority of bicyclists ride through Isla Vista to get to the UC, cars need to be aware at all times.

Also, another thing to keep in mind is not to bike next to your friend on the bike path. The bike highway is just like a regular car highway but with bikes, people still need to get places and you don't want to be the one causing traffic. There was one time that there was two people riding side by side, and there was a whole line of people behind them. They couldn't pass by them because the other side was filled with students going the other way as well so there was nothing anyone could do besides yell at them. Eventually they turned their head back and realized what they caused and stopped riding side by side. There is a campus regulation prohibiting riding side-by-side, so it is safest to ride single file unless you are passing a slower rider and be aware that you are at risk when passing. It is helpful to announce your intention to pass either verbally or with a bike-bell. Be respectful on the bike path and let people get to where they need to be in a timely manner. Bike accidents do happen when people ride side by side because some people try and pass you, but they end up crashing into someone else instead. Everyone could avoid this problem! There's always texting, talking on the phone, snapchat, whatever social media you use to communicate, so don't block up the bike paths!

Finally, a very small issue I have with some bicyclists is that they will not stay in their own lane inside the roundabouts. I constantly see people being cut off or having to brake hard to avoid collisions. There are two lanes inside the roundabouts, one for traveling inside the roundabout and another for exiting. Make sure you use each lane as it is meant to be used. Another roundabout tip is when you enter the roundabout, use the correct lane. There is one lane for yielding and entering the roundabout, the other is for simply turning right in order to enter the adjacent bicycle path. Only yield if you're entering the roundabout and make sure bikers inside the roundabout know that you're yielding. I have been cut off countless times in the roundabout due to people not yielding when entering the roundabout.