Category Archives: bicycle safety

Off-bike due to Injury

6 weeks ago, I broke my collarbone – it has been quite odd being off the bike for such a long time – my longest time EVER since adopting the bicycle life-style more than 1o years ago.

Asias-broken-collarbone-November-20121-e1355179939273

(not my clavicle, I don’t have images from my doctor) accessed here 24 july 2017.

With surgery and proper rest, now moving on to running and working on range of motion with low-weight-high-repetition activity, I am feeling good and getting excited about getting back on the bike again.

I will accept advice from those who have made a similar transition back to the bike from such an injury.

Thank you.

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Riding on the Mt. Vernon Trail

The National Parks Service, grand organization, operates a beautiful pathway (the Mt. Vernon Trail) along the Potomac River – running from the Key Bridge (between Rosslyn, Va and Georgetown, DC) to George Washington’s historical estate, Mt. Vernon.

It is used by children, adults of all ages in all states of fitness and health as well as cyclists. Its distance runs through several neighborhoods as it curves near the river through Alexandria, VA and south.

It is also used by commuters who use it to connect to the Washington & Old Dominion Trail (W & OD). It is here that I want to make my point.

Much of the trail runs south in full view of the DC/Arlington bound traffic. The trail has faded yellow lines marking the “lanes,” but they do not reflect any light. The result of this is that ALL cyclists riding south have a very hard time seeing the trail because in the dark/dusk it blends into the grass around it – as these same cyclists must also contend with the huge number of car headlights shining on them (which also inhibits sight and safety).

Cyclists can use a lot of light on their own bikes or course, but this is also dangerous for other cyclists (and surely annoying to drivers).

So what we need is to work with National Parks Service to repaint the yellow stripes on the trail in order to make it a safer trail.

Please contact NPS and make your voice heard.

Thank you,

J.L.

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#Cycling in Traffic (#bikedc, #bikeva)

Who enjoys riding in traffic as much as I?

Not only is it my right to do so, but if I ride safely, I can enjoy a lot of terrain that soooo many drivers would rather have me avoid.

But MORE cyclists need to get out there on the streets. If we can do so, it will become even safer to ride our bikes on the roads funded by our taxes.

Cheers (be safe, have fun on your bike).

J.

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Filed under bicycle safety, Commuting, cycling

Stop Other-Side-of-the-Street Comments Drivers!

What is it about people who feel the need to say whatever they want to cyclists?

There is just so much rage against people who ride their bikes daily.

I am not saying cyclists are angels or anything, but NOBODY on this planet, as far as I know, is an angel.

Yet, still, some people, who are not even in the flow of traffic with a cyclist (a cyclist who is probably following traffic rules), feel the need to yell from THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STREET at a person on a bike.

This is absurd and immature.

And…it neither accomplishes any goals nor encourages dialogue.

In fact, it just adds to the stress of being on the road. Cars cause damage. A bike really will not in an accident. This means that the driver has a great deal of power – which also means they must rise to the occasion and specifically act like extraordinarily responsible traffic users. This is so because even if a cyclist has done something stupid or selfish on the road, it will not be the driver who gets hurt, it will be that cyclist.

Yes, it might be stressful for the driver to have to “worry” about how to get past a cyclist on a busy road, but one must realize that the cyclist has to worry about getting across every foot of that road at all times.

Yelling at that cyclist from the other side of the road adds unnecessary stress to a situation where none need be added.

Please avoid this habit.

If a cyclist is not in your path, and no such negotiation of road space must be worked out in that moment, you really don’t need to worry about them being there.

This way, everyone can be free to be where and how they are on the road.

Thanks for reading.

Jesse.

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Bicycles go with Traffic

Aggressive driver today.

So I realized after he drove around me aggressively, forcing me to slow down and brake in order not to be hit by the rear of his flat bed truck, he had to slam on his brakes to avoid hitting another car that was ahead taking a left.

But right after that, he pulled into a parking lot to park his truck.

So I went right up to him and asked, “hey, what are you doing, driving so aggressively around a cyclist?”

His response, he said I was supposed to be on the other side of the road, riding INTO traffic (wha?doubletake).

I couldn’t believe it. He said he knew the laws and that I should look it up.

In other words, not only was he wrong, he thought that since I “was wrong,” he could thus justify his nearly hitting me on purpose.

I made a report to the trucking company today with the caveat that if it happened again, I would call the cops (I thought it would be the politic thing to do). Everyone deserves a chance. I am not going to do any disservice to this chance by naming the trucking company involved. But if it happens again…

The lesson, bicycles go WITH traffic, are to be given 3 feet of minimum passing distance and are to given the same rights of all road users.

Indiana rules here.

Ft Wayne propositions.

And a good article at the News-Sentinel about safety for bicyclists in Ft Wayne.

Be safe.

Thanks for reading.

Jesse L.

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No Honking Please!

This is just a short note to the world, those who spend their transportation energies and time driving, specifically those who have ever seen a person bicycling in the road.

These cyclists, myself included, just want to get safely and quickly from A to B – the same as the driver.

Please refrain from honking behind cyclists. Just pass the cyclist like one would pass any other vehicle on the road. Give enough space (in Ft Wayne, IN, this means 3 feet of passing space). Most drivers don’t go around honking at cars. Please show the same respect for cyclists because we are already on edge in traffic, vulnerable and honking increases one’s stress instead of decreasing it.

Please read this article about safety goals for bicyclists and bicycle riding in Ft Wayne, Indiana and this one from BicycleIndiana.org.

Thank you for reading.

Jesse L.

 

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Clarity of Vision

The Winter of 2013-2014 has been cold and snowy in the DC Metro Area. As a result, visibility has been reduced due to shortened days (less actual daylight) and due to rain & snow. That is obvious. And of course, drivers should know they can not speed around bicyclists at the same speed as “normal” – which is probably already too fast – during the season when the roads are wetter and more slippery.

But I also want to draw attention to another small point about winter-specific safety for all road users, but one which could really adverse affect the safety of cyclists in traffic. I am referring to dirty windshields that inherently reduce visibility of the world outside the vehicle.

hazy windshield5342360304_c5c6c3e34e_o

(Image, “Dirty Windshield Reflection,” Copyright Grant Montgomery at Flickr <accessed 15 Feb 2014>)

I know everyone who reads this will understand exactly what I’m talking about. We have all been there when we realize that we can’t see traffic well, the light change up ahead or the like. Of course, unfortunately, the habit is to continue even though we are in fact blind to our surroundings. But imagine, there is a cyclist there on his or her bicycle riding in traffic that does not get noticed and the driver rams into that person. “I couldn’t see” is not a good excuse because we knew it and continues nonetheless. The truth is that even as a consistent bicycle commuter (year round), I have noted to myself that my visibility through bicycle glasses is greatly reduced when they get fogged up. The effect is the same. And this is even with clear lenses or those amber lenses which greatly magnify light in overcast and wet circumstances.

          I just ask that we each try to pay attention to this and act accordingly for the safety of everyone.

          Thank you for reading.

          Jesse L.

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