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Bicycle Safety and Security

Bicycle Safety

The City of Evanston has specific regulations for bicyclists. A summary of the main Evanston regulations is presented below. In support of bike safety and Evanston's regulations, Northwestern University Police offers free bike helmets and lights to all students, faculty and staff who register their bikes with 529 Garage.

New protected bike lanes are now available along Chicago/Sheridan Road. Please see the flyer from the City of Evanston about navigating them safely.

Know Before You Go: Five Key Bike Regulations in Evanston

1.     Bike riding is prohibited on sidewalks in the central business district, on the west side of Sheridan Road, or in any other district with posted signs prohibiting riding on sidewalks. (Central business district borders are Elgin and Clark on the north, Hinman on the east, Lake on the south, and Ridge on the west.)

2.    In areas where riding is permitted on sidewalks, you must yield the right of way to pedestrians and give audible signals before passing pedestrians.

3.    You may not ride a bike on a public roadway or sidewalk while (a) using any device, such as a phone or headphones, that impedes awareness of auditory or visual warning signals and (b) carrying anything that obstructs your vision or prevents the use of both hands on the handlebars.

4.     During hours of darkness: (a) the bike or rider must have a lamp emitting a white light visible at least 500 feet to the front and (b) the bike must also be equipped with a red reflector visible from a distance of 500 feet to the rear.

5.     You may not obstruct vehicle traffic while bike riding on a public roadway.

Bicycle Security

 Theft of bicycles and bicycle parts are common crimes on college campuses. To protect your bicycle:

  • Always properly secure your bicycle frame to a bicycle rack or stationary object with an alloy hardened U-shaped lock, even if you're only going to be gone a minute. Most locking cables and chains, regardless of a hardened case, can be cut with bolt cutters.
  •  ABUS Ultimate 420 locks can be purchased with cash, check, or credit cards from either the Evanston campus Parking Office at 1841 Sheridan Road or the Chicago campus Parking Office at 710 N. Lake Shore Drive (Abbott Hall, Room 100).  We have 9" locks ($67) and 5.5" locks ($50) available. Please click here for details. 
  • Immediately report suspicious activity that you see near bicycle racks.
  • Register your bicycle with 529 Garage.  Registration serves as a deterrent to theft and aids in the recovery of stolen bicycles.
  • When you lock and leave your bicycle, try to choose a public place where passersby will notice a thief.
  • When possible, release the front wheel and secure together with the back tire. Remember to also secure removable seats.
  • Keep records of bicycle serial number, description, bill-of-sale, etc.
  • Put your bicycle in storage when not in use. Bicycles are prohibited from being stored in corridors, hallways, stairwells, lounges or any thoroughfare.