Friday, May 23, 2014

Lance Armstrong's drugs

Is everyone taking Lance's drugs?  I think it's starting to effect their brains.

Riding to work the other day, Mr. Spandex pulls up next to me at a traffic signal.
"hey man, I saw that - it was really close - damn drivers, what a jerk"

I knew he was talking about the truck with trailer that seemed to have cut me off a block or two earlier as he made a right turn across my path.  But I realized, there was a reason it was close and not an accident - I saw it coming.  Why?  I figured it out - I was in the wrong, not the driver.  I was passing the slow moving vehicle on the right.  Don't pass a vehicle on the right and you won't get the "right hook".

How many bicyclist accidents are caused by a "right hook"?  I'm sure it's a good percentage, and I bet a good portion are due to bicyclists not following the rules of the road.  I couldn't find the statistics, but I did find this pretty good website that had this discussion, as well as some other great tips for "How not to get hit by cars".

His next unsolicited comment, "dude, you really should wear a helmet, it's the law".

Really?  I thought that was just for kids... I had to check when I got to the office.  Sure enough, helmets are only required for bicyclists under 18.
I also recall my trip to Amsterdam and Paris - lots of cyclists, none with helmets.  Google this, and you'll find all sorts of pages about anti-helmet laws.  Here's one, for example.

I came to the conclusion that if you follow the rules of the road, and ride safe, you don't need a helmet for bicycling any more than you need one for walking, driving, etc.  I don't want to crash to where I would need one.  And, I imagine, there is a small "window" of accidents where you need a helmet and where it is moot whether you have one on or not.

How does this relate to Mr. Spandex and Lance Armstrong?  Maybe he wasn't doping like Lance, but clearly he is not educated.  He may know the best carbon fiber frame to buy and what spandex colors don't clash with his bike, but he is uneducated about everyday bicycling.  How much of the rest of the public is that uneducated?  How do we educate them?  How do we alleviate the fear, so they feel comfortable biking in the neighborhood?  There is certainly a lot of good info out there, easily accessible, if you want it.  There are safe biking workshops in my community, maybe there is one in yours?

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