Saturday, February 20, 2010

Your Two Main Responsibilities as a Bicyclist: #1 Don't Fall off Your Bike! and #2 Don't Let Anyone Else Knock You off Your Bike

I've been telling students, bike club members, and Earn-a-Bike recipients at the Bike Co-op the above two "primary responsibilities" recently.  This is far better advice, in fact, than telling students to "respect the law" and "wear a helmet."  As Michael Bluejay points out, you can still get killed riding your bike with a bike helmet on!

Michael Bluejay has a lot more to say about this.  You can read about him at this link.  And to read more about his advice, read below and then link to his Bicycle Safety web site.  

From Michael Bluejay:
This is a far cry from normal bicycle safety guides, which usually tell you little more than to wear your helmet and to follow the law. But consider this for a moment: Wearing a helmet will do absolutely nothing to prevent you from getting hit by a car. Sure, helmets might help you if you get hit, but your #1 goal should be to avoid getting hit in the first place. Plenty of cyclists are killed by cars even though they were wearing helmets. Ironically, if they had ridden without helmets, yet followed the guidelines listed below, they might still be alive today. Don't fall for the myth that wearing a helmet is the first and last word in biking safety. In truth, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It's better to not get hit. That's what real bicycle safety is about.

The next most common bike safety advice after "wear a helmet" is "follow the law," but most people are already aware that it's stupid to race through a red light when there's cross traffic. So the "follow the law" advice isn't that helpful because it's too obvious.What you'll find here are several scenarios that maybe aren't that obvious.
The other problem with the "follow the law" message is that people may think that's all they need to do. But following the law is not enough to keep you safe, not by a long shot. Here's an example: The law tells you to ride as far to the right as is practicable. But if you ride too far to the right, someone exiting a parked car could open their door right in front of you, and you'll be less visible to motorists pulling out of driveways and parking lots, and motorists coming from behind may pass you way too closely in the same lane because you didn't make them change lanes. In each of these cases you were following the law, but could still have been hit. This page doesn't focus on the law, it focuses on how to not get hit by cars. Now let's see how to do so.

1 comment:

saumacus said...

Thank you very much for the link! Very interesting :)