I love riding in the morning; the air is cool, the wind is still, the birds are singing, and promise of a new day colors my view. But morning is, in my opinion, the absolute most dangerous time of day to ride, and I was reminded of this by an recent awful accident. Please take a moment to consider the special circumstances of your morning commute.
Oh say, can you see by the dawn’s early light? Nope, you’re blinded.
Last Friday, a friend of mine was coming down a steep hill early in the morning when car pulled out if front of him causing a collision that sent him flying. He has had multiple surgeries in recent days and I hope he will recover fully, but it is going to be rough.
While I don’t know all the details of the accident, I do know that riding in the morning presents three special safety challenges. One of the challenges is a physical condition and other two are behavioral, but either way, you need to prepare for them and even watch for the effect of the second two in your own riding. [click to continue…]
For years, I accepted the conventional wisdom that riding a bike was inherently dangerous. I figured that sitting on my ever growing backside on a bus was probably worse than the considerable risk of getting run over, and chalked up my continued safety to a run of good luck.
The biggest factor in riding safely may well be confidence. Photo by radcliffe dacanay.
After tens of thousands of miles without even having a close call with a motor vehicle, I’m no longer buying the assumption that getting hit by a car is an eventual certainty. There are many tools in my safety tool kit, and today I’ll write about the single most important one: confidence. Read more about confidence
We share planet Earth with a wonderful and diverse collection of carbon-based life forms. And sooner or later, every one of them will try to make you crash.
Break out the bear spray. Photo by megan ann.
Josh’s route to work takes him past many large, aggressive dogs who usually chase him away from their fences and then return to their owners’ stoops, smugly satisfied that they have protected their territory. One morning, however, the biggest and most aggressive of these dogs finally cleared the fence and chased Josh for about a block before he was able to get away: clearly things had escalated. The next morning, the dog again leaped the fence in vicious pursuit; but Josh is a scoutmaster and an outdoorsman, so he was prepared and had the tools: he laid down a cloud of bear spray and continued on his way to work. That dog now watches every day from the porch as Josh rides by. [click to continue…]
You may think you’re doing right by Mother Nature when you bike to work, but don’t expect her to return the favor. She is too busy adding beauty and variety to the earth by dropping multi-colored leaves all over the place, covering the ground with pure white snow, sending life giving rain, and generally strewing hazards all along your route.
Mother Nature’s road hazards claim more victims. Photo by k. steudel.
There’s a saying among cyclists: keep the rubber side down. I never knew there was another option until I rounded a corner one October morning and saw that Mother Nature had dropped a twig in my path…thinner than a pencil and about a foot long. I approached cavalierly: I run over bigger things than this before breakfast; but somehow this twig got into my spokes, jammed my fender into my front wheel, and threw me over the handlebars. I found myself on my back with my bike on top of me — rubber side up. [click to continue…]
In Martin Scorese’s 1973 film, The Mean Streets referred to the criminal politics of Little Italy. But for those of us in places where winter brings snow and ice, this time of year can cause the streets to actually become mean: breaking wheels, inflicting flats, and causing crashes.
When people think about bicycle safety, they tend to think about accidents with cars, but statistics show that the majority of accidents don’t involve other vehicles. This has certainly been my experience…in more than 24,000 miles of riding to and from work, I have never been hit by a car, but I am on my third helmet. In both of my serious crashes (serious defined as those involving blood) cars were nowhere to be found, but road hazards were. [click to continue…]
I had occasion recently to drive to work and couldn’t help but notice that my time in the car–about 28 minutes–was a little more than half the time I generally spend commuting by bicycle. I often hear the concern that riding is a big time committment, but is driving really that much faster than riding a bike? Today, I look beyond the speedometer.
Just because your speedometer has a 200 on it doesn’t mean you can get to work that fast. In fact, you are probably going a lot more slowly than you think. Photo by Marcelo Braga.
I was very young and seated next between the front seats in our car (unbelted, of course–it was the early 70s) and had recently learned big numbers. I noticed that our car’s speedometer when to 180 miles per hour and said something to the effect of, “Wow, we can go 180?!” My father explained that we could not, and that the number was there to give us the impression that we could go that fast if we wanted to. [click to continue…]