After a recent biking accident involving one of my customers, I felt the urge to reach out to the biking community as a whole. Bikes vs cars NEVER ends pretty, and can be avoided with very simple ideas.
In the recent case, the rider was riding on the sidewalk, facing traffic (both no-no's). There was a section of broken-up sidewalk, and the rider decided to enter the roadway to avoid it, thinking he had enough time to go around the section, and re-enter the sidewalk. He did not. Result? He was hit by the truck, who initially slowed down, but then drove away, failing to render aid. The rider hit the curb, and would have been thrown from his bike except for the fact that his feet were caught under the rear wire baskets, so he, with the bike like a backpack, did a face-plant in a ditch. He spent 2 days in the hospital with bruises, breaks and lots of road rash. Quite frankly, he's lucky to be alive.
I ALWAYS ASSUME a car can and will hit me if given the chance, so I truly avoid heavily-trafficked roadways. In today's day of distractions, such as phones and texting, no one seems to be paying attention to the fact that they're going 35+ mph in a 2000 lbs missile! It's almost a death wish. I seldom pay attention to my phone when driving, too distracting! I CERTAINLY don't text! So here are some ideas to help you.
1. RULE#1: Always wear a helmet
2. Wear something bright and reflective, whether it's ON your bike or ON you.
3. Ensure your bike has front and rear reflectors.
4. Use lights, front and rear. I've attached a light to the rear of my helmet. And the more, and bigger, lights you use, the better you will be seen.
5. Use sound in the form of a bell, horn or whistle.
6. I'm naked without a rear-view mirror. Saved my life once. There are so many different kinds, find the one that works best for you and use it!
7. Wear bright and attention-getting clothing, socks, pants, shirts, etc. I use neon colors, and wear odd socks, the more attention you can bring to yourself, the less chance you have of getting hit.
8. I NEVER support or encourage riding while dark, ever. Not only can you not see where you're going, drivers and others cannot see you either (I admit, sometimes I don't always see cars!)
9. When entering curves in a roadway, attempt to get through that curve as quickly as possible. If a car comes up behind you, the driver will not see you until it's too late.
10. Bikes MUST observe and obey the rules of the road! Ride WITH traffic, not against it, stop at stop signs and stop lights, signal your intentions so everyone on the roadway understands what to expect of you! Only enter a sidewalk in the event upcoming traffic has no way to go around you, or just pull over and stop.
We will be having a safety class soon, as there are other things we can do to stay safe, these are just some of the best.
Happy trails to you!