Monday, September 20, 2010

Hard Headed v. Hard Helmeted

Kenny here. It is said that there are two kinds of cyclists. Those who have crashed, and those who are going to crash. As I mentioned in my last entry, riding a bicycle can be dangerous. As you may recall, I am not so proud to belong to the “have crashed” category. Your accident does not have to be as traumatic as mine, and I hope to impart some helpful safety tips to prolong your time in the “has not crashed yet” category.

Here we go:
1. Wear a helmet. Of course we look goofy wearing it, but at least the mush stays inside the skull as a result of the goofiness. I know that we never wore one as children and we turned out just fine, but why tempt fate?
2. Maintain a keen awareness of your surroundings. I fully believe that I could have avoided my brush with death had I not been listening to my I-Pod. I could have heard the vehicle behind me and taken evasive action. Don’t talk on the phone or text while riding either. Duh!
3. Wear bright clothes. There is a term for cyclists that wear dark colors and have no reflectors or blinking lights. Ninja. Ninjas are undetectable. Until they get hit by a car or truck that is.
4. Learn the motor vehicle laws. While riding your bike on public roadways, it is your responsibility to be familiar with the laws of the road. A bicycle is considered a vehicle and is afforded the same laws as any other vehicle. In Dallas, it is against the law to ride on the sidewalk. I know this seems counter-intuitive, but I was hit by a Mini-Van because I entered the intersection from the sidewalk, practically invisible to the motorist.
5. Ride during daylight hours. Remember the term Ninja? If you are going to ride at night, have a headlight system and an extremely bright red blinky on the back. This is a must and is the law in most municipalities. I also have a reflective orange triangle that I sewed to my backpack.
6. Stop at Stop Signs. This seems like a no brainer, but you could not imagine how many cyclists feel as though the aforementioned motor vehicle laws don’t apply to them. I must admit that I spent an afternoon getting a ticket dismissed for this one. Never said I was perfect….But now I know. And knowing is half the battle.

I hope that you are taking this seriously, there will be a quiz soon. -Kenny

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