Thursday, August 20, 2009

let's not be oblivious to the world around us

In the last few weeks we have, as cyclists, encountered some incidents involving cars and involving bike safety. One of our chicks was yelled at during a sponsored ride, another group from our club was harassed by a motorist while biking and we all know about the tragic accident during the Covered Bridge Ride.

I got an email from a fellow chick and she said it best in her response to an email about the tragic accident in Lancaster

"thank you for reminding us of the impermanence and fragility of our lives
WE do owe it to all of our families to be a little more vigilant / cautious in our riding...
I know we all get caught up in the moment, but none of us are riding in the Tour de France here.
it is recreation...even though accidents happen"

This lady is right, WE ALL need to be more vigilant and careful when biking. While Chicks seem to be one of the best groups on the road in terms of carefulness, we can all get better.

When driving a car, we constantly monitor the roads and other traffic. We use our rear view mirrors and side mirrors constantly, we monitor our speed and we think about what we are doing. One reason the cell phone and texting are getting so much press now is that they are contributing to accidents resulting in deaths.

But when on bikes just like when we are in cars, we have to constantly think about our impact on the roads, and our effect on the other cars, bikers and pedestrians.

In an instant, we can be a statistic. Here is a list of some things chicks will do during rides:

1. single file riding, only on back road with no traffic can we get 2 abreast and then with caution

2. watch for long lines of cars behind us and look for a spot to pull over and let them pass if passing is impossible for the car

3. watch our speeds on downhills, at any point, on a fast descent, we can hit a small animal or a hole or stick and go flying, so caution is suggested. I got this from another rider on the Covered Bridge,

"For my part, I'm a lousy climber, but I love to descend ... while I try to always go downhill alone, with a bit of distance away from anyone, a check of my own cyclocomputer revealed I went well over 30 mph at some points. While I feel comfortable doing so, I doubt my new-rider abilities justify such speed and I will be slowing down in the future. Imagine a crash at that speed!?!?!? ... I don't want to think about it."

4. no stopping and regrouping at intersections, we will stop and pick better spots for regrouping and resting

5. THE MOST IMPORTANT thing we will do, WE WILL NOT interact with motorists. One chick did the right thing when she was harassed by a motorist, she simply asked him to watch his language. But as a rule, I think it is best to ignore the motorist, nothing deflates an angry motorist more than being ignored.

so Safe riding to all, be careful and bike defensively at all times.

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