In a recent post, Phoenix listed several tips for people who bicycle to work.
I am a cyclist and I love to get out on my bike and just ride. Because I share the road with cars and trucks, I have suffered some near misses, but fortunately I have not been involved in any car-bike incidents. Perhaps I am lucky, but I actively take certain precautions that I would encourage any commuter who bikes to work to follow.
First, your bicycle should have bright lights on it fore and aft. You can buy an LCD flasher /taillight (many of which can be clipped onto your back pack or your shirt). These cost about $20.00. Put a white light on the front of your bike, just like motorcyclists do.
Second, wear bright or fluorescent clothing. It is my experience that, after dark, even a white t-shirt is visible to drivers much sooner than a dark shirt. The extra second or two that white shirt gives you may be the difference between an accident or no accident. Cyclists who wear dark clothing and ride with no lights after dark are stupid.
Third, choose the safer route over the shorter route. Some streets are just too dangerous.
Fourth, wear a helmet. (Skip this suggestion only if you are a super hero with invulnerability.)
Last summer I participated in the Ride of Silence. It is held in numerous cities to remember those cyclists who died or were injured while riding on public roadways. Most of these accidents involved a cyclist and an automobile.
In many of these cases the drivers were not paying attention and didn’t see the cyclist. Perhaps the driver was eating breakfast, talking on a cell phone, or changing radio stations. But what if the cyclist had taking the above precautions? I am willing to bet that some of those deaths or injuries could have been avoided.
I avoided one such accident when a driver, talking on her cell phone, started to pull out in front of me at an intersection. At the last second, she slammed on her brakes and stopped. I was wearing a fluorescent green jersey and she saw me out of the corner of her eye. The jersey might have been the difference.
By following these suggestions you reduce the risk of accidents happening, and by wearing a helmet, you increase your chances of survival if one does occur.
Remember, there are people who love you and depend upon you. Don’t be stupid; put lights on your bike, wear bright clothing, use a helmet, and follow a safe route.
I wish more people would ride their bikes to work. Just remember to think before you ride.
Update: For those of you who like bicycle tours, the Wurstride In Texas, a tour of 30 or 60 miles ending in New Braunfels Texas has just opened its registration. The longer tour starts in S. Austin, the shorter one in San Marcos. The event is on Saturday, November 3. Net proceeds benefit the Capitol Area Foodbank.