Cycling, E-Scooters, and Walking
Getting around the town
Northampton is the perfect mix of city life and countryside, and if you want to explore by foot the Northamptonshire County Council have a number of leisure walking guides you can utilise to get back to nature.
Get cycling or walking to save money, keep fit and enjoy your commute. Cycling and walking contributes to the Department of Health’s recommended 150 minutes of physical activity per week.
The Northamptonshire County Council website has a number of resources such as cycling maps and guidance on cycling. Local group Northamptonshire Walks have an amazing array of walks around the county with easy routes and pictures to guide you. They also have their own Facebook group and clothing apparel!
If you’re bringing your own bike there’ll be plenty of covered and racked cycle storage alongside showers and the use of day lockers for the storage of cycling clothing and equipment.
Northamptonshire Local Authority introduced E-Scooters for hire across the County in 2020 with Voi, following Government amendments to legalise rental E-Scooters on the road.
With more of us taking to using E-Scooters, the University’s Travel Team have an update about the safe use and parking of E-Scooters across UON sites.
Voi E-Scooters are available to use at all University sites and we have recently introduced designated parking zones, central and safe places for you to park them. As well as Voi scooters being available around campus and the town centre, we also have a docking station at our Park and Ride.
The Voi app shows you where the zones are at the University and using them means your journey will be slightly cheaper. Please note, to use the Voi scooters you need to be 18 years old and have a provisional or full driver’s license.
Voi Scooters offer discounts to students.
Personal or private E-Scooters are still illegal on roads and pavements. Although they can be used on private land, please note they are not permitted for use at the University. This is because:
Use of them is illegal outside of the UON boundary.
- Voi E-Scooters, unlike private ones, have a speed restriction built-in for safety reasons (max speed on campus: 9mph).
- Personal E-Scooters do not contain a number plate or app to track the rider, making it difficult to report concerns or accidents.
- We do not have personal E-Scooter parking and cannot be responsible for their loss or damage.
- E-Scooter batteries need to be well maintained in order to be fire safe as old, poorly maintained batteries can be a fire hazard.
Students and staff who have personal E-Scooters are asked to please not bring them to University; UON teams will ask you to return your personal scooter to your home/permanent address within 24 hours, after this time E-Scooters may be confiscated.
Bicycle User Group
The University has a student and staff Bicycle Users Group, if you would like to join please contact email@example.com.
The group works together to help to promote cycling, including general cycling news and events, looks to make improvements and to apply for funding where possible.
New to cycling? Make sure your bike fits you properly, that you can control it comfortably and it is roadworthy. Get your bike assessed by a local bike shop if you are unsure how to do a full check.
Don’t ride bicycles on the campus or town pavements, unless they are clearly signed as a joint foot and cycleway.
Tips to help you stay safe when cycling
- Be Safe Be Seen. When cycling in the dark, lights and reflectors are a legal requirement, these include: two lights on your bike, a red one on the back and a white one on the front and six reflectors, a red one on the back and a white one on the front and four on your pedals (reflectors should come with bikes as standard).
- Additional reflectors are useful for extra visibility, fit them to your wheel spokes for cycling in the dark.
- Dress to be seen so wear reflective and/or high viz clothing.
- Get geared up. If you’re cycling during the colder, wetter months, wear gloves and water proofs to make your ride more comfortable.
- Ride about one metre out into the road, not in the gutter. This avoids drains and grit, makes you more visible and prevents cars passing where there is not enough room.
- Signal in plenty of time and avoid hesitant or sudden manoeuvres.
- Always obey traffic regulations they are there to keep yourself and other road users safe. Please see the cycling section in the Highway Code for more information.
- Make eye contact with other road users to make sure you’ve been seen.
- Stay behind large vehicles. Never ride up the inside of any moving large vehicle as you cannot be seen.
- Don’t be floored by doors. Leave plenty of room when passing parked vehicles.
- Use your bell to warn pedestrians in good time of your approach.
- Give way to pedestrians on a shared cycling and walking path. Remember that pedestrians will not always hear you approaching.
- Be prepared. Carry a puncture repair kit and tools with you.
- Plan safe cycle routes. Planning quieter routs can help you reduce your risk of having an accident. Use a route planner such as Cycle Streets.
Training can improve your confidence when cycling on the roads and can help you to position yourself correctly on the road and around other vehicles. Even if you’ve cycled for a long time, a one off lesson can help you improve your skills.
See the Northamptonshire County Council website for information on cycle training sessions.
Keeping your bike safe
The university has over 750 cycle spaces across all its sites, including some secure racking. Bicycles should be securely locked to cycle parking to prevent theft. To ensure the highest level of safety, it is recommended that two locks are used, a D Lock on the rear and a cable lock on the front.
To prevent theft further, follow these simple steps:
- Buy a decent lock (or two) – There are many different types of lock available including D Locks, chain locks and cables. Find out which type is most suitable for you by visiting the Why Cycle website. You could use a mixture of a D Lock to lock the back wheel to the frame and connect a cable lock to secure the front wheel. Make sure your using a lock which is hard to break. Use locks of gold ‘sold secure’ standard, they will have a sticker on the lock showing this. Take a look at the Cycling Weekly website for some recommendations.
- Choose where you park carefully – Lock your bike where there are a high amount of pedestrians walking by and in areas which are well-lit and covered by CCTV.
- Get your bike security marked and registered – Register your bicycle model, make and frame number at Immobilise or www.bikeregister.com. If your bike is stolen, report the theft to police and state your bicycle registration number. This will help the police identify your stolen bike. We also hold regular Bike Register events with the UON Campus Police team.
- Know your frame number – Usually this is on the bottom of the frame. Nearly 75% of people reporting bicycle thefts to the police do not know their frame number which makes finding a stolen bike harder.
- Get bicycle theft insurance – Check whether your home insurance covers bicycle theft and if it covers theft outside of the home too. If your bicycle is particularly valuable you may need to insure it separately.
- Take any items that can be removed easily with you – These include lights, pump, panniers and saddle.
Don’t ride bicycles on the campus pavements or footpaths, unless they are clearly signed as a joint foot or cycleway.
Don’t have a bike? No problem! We have a Four Day Hire and Three-monthly cycle hire scheme for students needing a bike whether to commute between sites, to local jobs or for fun and exercise. We have different sized bikes and they each come with a hardy D Lock and their own Bike Register number to ensure safety. For more information please get in touch.
View the Waterside Travel Map for information on cycle and walking routes, cycle parking and showers.