Cycle Safety

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Cyclists vs. Drivers

by Bob (Ram) Muessig

     The battle rages on.  Cyclists, whether riding motorcycles or bicycles, are in direct competition with all other highway users and, all too often, come into direct contact with them as accident!

     Most of these accidents happen in places such as intersections and two-lane roads, often within five miles of where the bike rider started out.  Another interesting fact is that most riders are riding slower than 30 MPH when a collision occurs.  Now add this to the mix:  Over half of ALL collisions involve riders who have ridden for LESS than six months!

     "I didn't even see the motorcycle/bicycle!" is the most common statement made by a driver after an accident occurs.  This term, "accident", implies an unforeseen event that takes place without anyone's fault or negligence.  Most often, this is not the case.  In fact, most folks involved can usually claim some responsibility for what happens.

     Consider a situation where someone decides to squeeze through an inter-
section on a yellow light turning red.  You're on a bike and your light turns green.  You pull into the intersection without checking for possible latecomers.  That's all it takes for the two of you to tangle.  Sure, it was the driver's responsibility to stop, but it was yours to look before pulling out.  Neither of you held up your part of the deal.

     I don't care if you're riding a "Huffy" or a "Harley"; you can't be sure that the other operators will see you or yield the right-of-way.  So, to lessen your chances of being involved in an accident...

  1. Be visible - wear proper clothing, keep the headlight on, and maintain the correct lane position.
  2. Communicate - with proper signals, brake lights, and lane position.
  3. Maintain safe distances - when following, being followed, lane sharing, passing or being passed.
  4. Scan your path of travel at least 12 seconds ahead.
  5. Be prepared to act...instantly!

     Blame doesn't matter if someone's injured in a crash.  The ability to ride aware, make critical decisions, and carry them out separates the responsible riders from all the rest.

     I've always said "It's not what you have ON your head that saves your bacon, it's what you have IN it."

Editor's Note:  While the above piece pertains mostly to those riding two-wheeled vehicles,
a great deal of it also is meant for all highway users.  Be safe - be observant - be aware.

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