Bicycle Safety

Getting to and around Champlain involves biking on city streets. While Burlington is a relatively safe city to bicycle in, there are still important practices you should use and some information to keep in mind.

Local Motion provides great information for Rules of the Road, Safe Streets as well as Commuting. Also see the VTRANS bicycle information page, particularly the Bicycle Commuters' Guide.

During the summer and fall, the Champlain College Transportation office teams up with Local Motion to provide workshops as part of the Everyday Bicycling Project, which include basic commuter workshops and on-street bicycle skills workshops. We also partner with the Burlington Bike Project (A collaboration of Bike Recycle Vermont and Old Spokes Home) to offer bicycle-mechanics workshops (held at our very own ChampShop). All workshops are highly interactive, with demonstrations of bikes and gear, step-by-step guidance on how to be a prepared rider, and tips for getting the most out of your bike.

The winter biking tips below are pertinent in the other seasons also. Champlain encourages all riders to wear a helmet (multi-use helmets are available to purchase at the Campus Store in the CCM Center), use a solid U-Lock and have front and back lights (legally required in Burlington).

Official Bicycle Parking Policy and Enforcement

  • Champlain College students, employees and guests are permitted to lock their bikes to official Champlain College bicycle racks or wall hooks only.
  • Use of, locking or storing of bicycles on Champlain College premises is done solely at the bicycle owner's or operator's own risk and Champlain College will not be liable for loss or damage to bicycles.
  • Any bicycle locked to a handrail is considered a safety violation and will be removed immediately, without further warning.
  • Any bicycle locked to trees, sign poles, or other objects shall be tagged with a warning and will be removed after 5 days.
  • Abandoned, or assumed abandoned, bicycles shall be tagged with a warning and will be removed after 15 days.
  • Champlain College will not be held responsible for any bicycle damage or for replacing any locking device that is cut or removed to enforce this policy.
  • If your bicycle is removed, you should contact the Transportation Office with a detailed description of the bicycle to reclaim it.
  • Bicycles that are removed and not claimed by the owner in accordance with this policy and enforcement guidelines may be disposed of by Champlain College in its sole discretion.

Bicycle Parking Tips

  • Use a U-lock and a cable, rather than a flimsy cable combination lock. Cable locks can be easily cut by small, concealable tools.
  • Avoid U-locks that use a cylinder key, as these can be easily picked with inconspicuous tools.
  • When locking, position your U-lock so that it secures the front wheel, the frame of your bike, and the object that you are locking to. Use your cable to loop through your rear wheel, and secure both ends to the U-lock. Here's what it should look like (Image by Bike Temple of Temple University):

  • Locking your bike to objects that are not official bike racks is prohibited (see official policy above). Locking up to trees, handrails, signs and other furniture not designed for bicycle-locking creates safety barriers for other members of the community, especially those who rely on handrails for access, and can damage the object. It's inconsiderate, and it breeds ill-will towards the greater bicycle community. Locking to an official bike rack may actually decrease the potential for theft.

Winter Biking Tips
Remember that winter bicycling can be challenging! Please practice winter bicycling in a controlled environment before attempting to commute by bike. Be visible. Wear bright clothing and reflective lights or material.

  • Be predictable. Ride in a manner consistent with traffic laws, and obey signals, and when possible use designated bicycle lanes or paths.
  • Be defensive. Go slow. Always look for oncoming traffic, and make sure motorists see you.
  • Be aware. Keep the volume on any portable devices low enough to hear traffic.
  • Be prepared. Wear proper clothing for the elements. Recommendations include:
    • Warm, waterproof, windproof outer layers.
    • Warm, waterproof mittens/gloves that do not compromise your ability to brake or change gears.
    • Warm but thin head covering that fits under your helmet and protects your ears.
    • Warm, waterproof layer for protecting your face.
  • Be equipped. Winter biking equipment is extremely helpful. A few recommendations include:
    • Proper bike lights for biking in the dark (note: legally required in Burlington)
    • Fenders
    • Studded tires