This is a shameless attempt to save the the most advanced civilization in
history from imminent self destruction by eliminating carbon emission,
dependence on foreign sources of fuel,obesity, hypertension and diabetes.
Cycling accomplishes all those things at once and helps us develop a better
understanding of ourselves, each other and our relationship to the cosmos.

Oh, horse puckey!
I like to ride bikes, have been doing it all my life.
The rest of that crap is just a fringe benefit,
and the blogosphere gives me a chance to share my interior
monologue with virtual rather than imaginary friends.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Safety, the comedy of erroneous thinking

    Bicycling safety has been, should be and always will be a major consideration whenever motivating on two wheels.   There is lots to be said; wear bright clothing, build bike lanes, separate from cars, wear helmets, reflective this, light that.  Actually bikes are usually ridden at speeds (15 mph or less) slow enough that common sense and attentiveness should prevent most accidents.  The slower speed should also prevent most injuries when an accident occurs.  But how often do they occur?  I'm not a great believer in statistics and don't intend to get into the debate over them, but my own experience has been limited to two accidents in traffic and since the subject was raised on another forum I thought I would share those stories here.
   The first was way, way back when I was in college.   I was riding down a through street and approaching an intersection where a car was stopped at the stop sign.  Being careful, I watched the driver's head to see that she looked both ways and, assuming she saw me, I continued.  She waited...until I was directly in front of her, she looked straight at me in the face, accelerated, knocked me over onto the hood of her car, turned left and continued for another block dragging my bike beneath her with me clinging to her wipers.  I was not hurt, but it did bring out an embarassing  redheadedness in me.  Somebody nearby called the police who showed up immediately, to protect her.   She told the police that (despite the requisite reflectors, orange shirt, and flashing lights on my bike) she couldn't see me.  Of course she was cited for whatever and I got a new bike, but the disturbing and somewhat amusing part of the incident was the way the neighborhood filled up the street as soon as word got 'round.  They were all milling about the spectacle asking me where the body was.
    The second incident I had with a car was probably 15 years later while riding down a fairly busy street in Kansas City when I got right hooked by an old geezer turning into his driveway.  He pulled right up next to me from behind and turned as if I wasn't there, just like I hadn't been the other 2 million times he came home. Nothing really happened, he bumped me, stopped and immediately started apologizing and even admitted that he didn't think.   He was probably more shook up than I over the incident, but I gave him a good stern lecture about never driving again.   In the meantime a witness stopped his car two lanes away in the suicide lane, mounted the hood of his car and began berating me as a menace who shouldn't be on the road.  Funny people out there.
    Like I said, I know nothing of the statistics except that they are always controversial, but those are the only problems I've run into in nearly 250,000 miles of riding all over the country.  I ride like I drive, defensively and follow more common sense than laws.   I think that must be true of most cyclists because the Consumer Product Safety Commission says that it's study indicates that we are 10 times more likely to be injured or killed in a car than on a bike.  Stay safe-park the car!

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