The University of Washington: Facilities Services

Bike Safety

Bike Safely — Know the Code

The UW campus supports a variety of different travel modes including, walking, biking, taking transit and driving. To ensure a safe environment, people who bike should know and follow the courtesies and bicycle regulations referenced below. Additional resources to help you stay safe while bicycling are also listed.

Responsible Bicycle Riding

Some basic rules of the road apply to riding a bicycle responsibly:

  • Pedestrians always have the right of way
  • Stay in control and ride within your ability
  • Obey all traffic laws
  • Dismount and walk your bike when in the Bike Walk Zone and other crowded pedestrian areas
  • Minimize your impact by staying off of lawns
  • Park and lock your bike only at designated bike racks

Bike Walk Zone

The HUB Lawn and environs is a Bike Walk Zone, which means that bikes are to be walked when pedestrians are present. Violators can be issued a $25 citation. A map showing the Bike Walk Zone is below.

Burke Gilman Trail Use Rules:

  • Always stay to the right on the trail.
  • If you need to pass someone on the trail, do so in single file, and say “to your left” or ring a bell to warn the person you are passing.
  • Always stop at stop signs and signalized intersections and look for traffic.
  • At yield signs, be aware and yield to traffic.

Bicycle Regulations

Below are regulations that apply to bicyclists commuting to the University of Washington.

Bicyclists are held to the same standards as drivers of other moving vehicles.

With more people riding bicycles, following the rules of the road is especially important. A bicycle is a legal road vehicle, just like a car. This means that bicycle riders have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers, even though bicycles are lighter than cars and generally slower. Bicyclists can be issued citations for the following infractions, among others:

  • Failure to use lights and reflectors: a white front light must be visible to the front 500 feet away; a red reflector must be visible to the rear 100 feet away; a red light to the rear is optional but highly recommended.
  • Failure to stop at a stop sign
  • Failure to yield to a pedestrian
  • Failure to wear a helmet
  • Passing in a No Passing Zone
  • Bicyclists suddenly entering roadway
  • Unsafe/negligent action
  • Speeding
  • Defective/missing equipment
  • Seats, brakes, and reflectors are mandatory

Campus Specific Guidelines:

  • Speeding. The speed limit on campus roadways is 20 mph, and 15 mph on Columbia Road behind the UW Medical Center and Health Sciences. Any negligent riding is subject to citation.
  • Right of way. The law requires cyclists to yield to a pedestrian giving audible warning of their presence. Look for posted stop signs, yield signs and pedestrian signs. Speed limits must be obeyed. Typically, bicyclists should keep to the right and pass on the left.
  • Sidewalks. Bicycles may be ridden on sidewalks, except where posted: for example, the sidewalk on the west side of Stevens Way between the HUB bus zone and the Communications Building. But remember to ride where you are predictable. Pedestrians are not expecting you on the sidewalk and may overlook you as they approach a driveway or crosswalk.
  • Slow Zone. Obey the “bicycle slow zone” sign at the approach to Drumheller Fountain between Johnson Hall and Mary Gates Hall.

Other Bicycle Laws:

Safety-Related Links