Recently our family took a road trip from Utah to points East. Along the way from Hershey, Pennsylvania to Washington, D.C. we took a detour to Lancaster County to see “Amish Country.” Rolling hills: check. Large families tending well-kept farms: check. Horse drawn buggies: check. Other people looking at Amish Country: check.
Interestingly, we (and many other people) drove thousands of miles at 75-80 mph to—purposely—get stuck behind a buggy.
This guy doesn’t know that the road is for cars. Photo by Tony Fischer.
No one goes to Amish Country and then complains about being delayed by slower traffic because it is expected, but take your bicycle into a traffic lane and don’t be surprised to hear a horn or two.
It’s time to reset expectations—those of motorists, and more importantly your own. While I generally ride on the shoulder (most streets in Salt Lake have a generous shoulder), there are good reasons for riding in the middle of a lane of traffic, and you should be aware of and become comfortable with them. Read why you should take the lane
Yesterday on a train, I was asked to take yet another survey on transportation and transit. I take every survey that comes my way because I have strong opinions on the subject, but for the last year and a half or so, I have been embarrassed about my answer to one of the questions: how many cars do you have?
Why you should include a bicycle in your transportation mix.
I hate admitting we have two cars and two licensed drivers because it implies that everyone in our household who can drive has a car. The truth is that one of the cars gets driven about once a month–primarily to keep the oil circulating and the wheels rotated. (The reason for this “spare” care is a future post.)
While cars have a reasonable (and important) place in the lives of most of us, I firmly believe that not only should a bicycle be in every person’s transportation mix, it should be the go-to vehicle. Why? [click to continue…]
I just saw another of those studies that answers a question us non-Ph.D types wouldn’t bother asking. In this case the question was, “Are higher speeds more dangerous?” The scientifically-validated answer: yes.
For some, the need for speed starts young. Photo by Rich Moffitt.
No one should be surprised that that higher vehicle speeds lead to more deaths as well as more crashes in general. But what may be surprising are many non-crashy ways speed kills. [click to continue…]
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…]