Helpful Hints for Walking and Biking to Work (or Transit!)
Photo: Miles Keep
Research has highlighted the benefits for your health of biking, walking, or taking public transportation to work. Scientists have now recognized a link between "active transportation" and lower rates of obesity in countries across Europe, North America, and Australia. Their research concluded that countries whose residents use forms of active transportation at high levels had the lowest rates of obesity.
 Bassett Jr., David R; Pucher, John; Buehler, Ralph; Thompson, Dixie; “Walking, Cycling, and Obesity Rates in Europe, North America, and Australia” Journal of Physical Activity & Health, 2008, Volume 5, Issue 6.
On this page:
Join the Commute Club
- Earn up to $300 per year in Clean Air Cash
- Request free hourly car rental vouchers each quarter
- Use Stanford’s free Emergency Ride Home program if you have an emergency, like a personal or family illness when you’ve used alternative transportation to commute.
- Request a free bike plan from your home to transit: firstname.lastname@example.org, or plan your commute with the help of the Mid-Peninsula Bicycle Map (PDF, 2 MB)
- Learn the rules of the road.
- Obey all traffic laws
- According to California Vehicle Code, every person riding a bicycle upon a street or highway has all the rights and responsibilities of the driver of a vehicle
- You may be cited for the following:
- Running stop signs
- Riding at an unsafe speed for conditions
- Riding on the wrong side of the road
- Wearing headphones while riding (one ear must be uncovered)
- Not having legal brakes
- Not having the proper lights on your bike
- Not yielding to pedestrians
- Parking a bike and restricting access for pedestrians and/or the disabled
- Riding your bike under the influence
- Register your bike. Bike registration is required under the Stanford University Traffic and Parking Code. Bike registration provides legal proof of ownership. If your bike is lost or stolen the bike can be returned to you.
- Wear a helmet. Helmets greatly reduce the risk of head injury or death. Don’t “hit the road” without one! The Campus Bike Shop and P&TS have teamed up to offer bike helmets for $25.
- Calculate your calories burned: Refer to this chart of Calories Burned per Minute Biking (PDF)
- Buy the right bike for you. If you’re unsure of what type of bike is best for your needs, our Bicycle Program Coordinator can help suggest options.
- Buddy up. Request a bike buddy for your first bicycle commute.
- Register your bicycle. All bicycles used on campus must be licensed with Santa Clara County. Register your bike at the Parking & Transportation Services office; it's your only chance of recovering it if stolen. The registration fee is $3.50 and lasts for three years.
- Test your knowledge. Take the bike safety quiz to test your grasp of bike safety and the rules of the road. Need a refresher? Take a bike safety class. You can register online at the Department of Public Safety website.
- Learn how to maintain your bike. Take a free bike maintenance class at one of the community bike shops. Have a repair problem on campus? Take advantage of the bike repair station pilot program. Find stations at the Clark Center and near the Galvez and Escondido Mall intersection. Visit the Campus Bike Shop for tune-ups and other maintenance.
- Once at work
- Bicycle parking. Covered parking spaces are available, or use a U-lock at one of the many bike racks around campus.
- Need to find the nearest shower? Send an email to email@example.com for shower and locker locations near you. In addition to P&TS operated lockers, Athletics has lockers and showers at Ford Pavilion and Roble Gym.
- Keep a change of shoes at your desk, and possibly a change of clothing for meetings
- Know safe walking laws.
- Pedestrians have the right-of-way when they have the green light to walk.
- If vehicles have a green light, the pedestrian must yield to the vehicle.
- If there is no light, pedestrians should exercise caution and wait for traffic to clear before they cross.
- Map your walking route. Google Maps now allows you to plan a walking route with their mapping system. Visit http://maps.google.com, and enter your starting and ending addresses. Driving directions will be listed first, but click the option for “Walking,” and you’ll be provided with walking options.
- Calculate your calories burned: Refer to this chart of Calories Burned per Minute Walking (PDF)
- Once at work
- Need to find the nearest shower? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for shower and locker locations near you
- Keep a change of shoes at your desk and possibly a change of clothing for meetings
Biking and Walking Tips for Rainy Weather
You might wonder how to fit biking and walking into the rainy months or during inclement weather. The right gear can help make a difference. Extra caution is necessary while riding in the rain. Here are some tips to stay warm and dry and be safer on the road. If you have other suggestions or questions, send an email to email@example.com.
What to wear when walking or biking in the rain
- Try rain pants and a raincoat while biking or walking. There are rain pants specifically for bicyclists that taper more, but normal rain pants with a leg band work fine.
- Wear a helmet for every bike ride.
- Wearing a helmet with a cover while riding a bike can keep your head dry and cover air vents. Refrain from riding a bike with your jacket hood over your helmet, since the hood compromises your side view and creates a dangerous situation for you and others.
- Use a sturdy umbrella for your walk, but don't hold an umbrella while riding a bike. You need both hands to steer, and wind can throw you off balance when riding with an umbrella.
- Use light gloves for both walking and riding to prevent cold, wet hands.
- Wear bright colors and reflective strips when riding or walking to increase your visibility to motorists.
- Wear boots when walking to prevent your footwear from being ruined by mud and water and to keep your feet dry.
- Keep a spare set of clothes at your office in case you do get wet and use a water-resistant jacket that can be folded and kept in your bag in case of unexpected showers.
Additional tips for biking in the rain
- Add bike fenders—front and rear. Removable fenders allow you to put them on when rain is expected and remove them during sunny weather if you wish.
- Use a front headlight and rear lights on your bicycle (required by law) for visibility.
- Use a seat cover for the bike saddle if you park your bike outside (a plastic grocery bag works great).
- Make sure your bike is properly maintained—brakes are required by law to be operable. Your stopping capability is diminished in the rain. Allow a greater distance for stopping.
- Pump up your tires to the recommended inflation (noted on the sidewall of the tire) to ensure improved contact on slippery surfaces and to avoid flats.
- Slow down when riding in the rain. Wet and slippery road conditions and reduced visibility for you and for motorists mean that extra time and care are needed to avoid sudden turns and stops.
- Take extra care when riding across metal objects in the street (manhole covers, construction plates, train rails, etc.), and on painted road surfaces. These surfaces are very slick, so use extra caution.
- While riding, avoid potholes, puddles, or piles of leaves that may be covering an unseen hazard. When changing lanes to avoid debris in the road, make sure you do a quick shoulder check to look for oncoming cars or pedestrians, and use your hand signals to indicate you are changing lanes.