Saturday, November 7, 2009

How To

This is a follow-on from a discussion I've had in my head about a web page D pointed me to, after I insisted to him that I defy the demographics of bicycle safety.

Below is my disagreement with the very first example on this page - BicycleSafe

Ride further left. You're probably used to riding in the "A" line in the picture, very close to the curb... blah, blah, blah.


1 - Never get in front of an operating car if you can avoid it!


2, Door Prize - Ride on the sidewalk, unless there are no cars being operated in the street, then ride more than an open door's width away from parked cars. If on the sidewalk, check all parked cars for moving heads or other signs of occupation as you approach*.

3 thru 10 can be covered by a simple rule - Never assume you will be granted the right-of-way. The examples on the CycleSafe page suggest a world in which bicyclists blithely assume the right-of-way and everyone is supposed to stop for them**.

3 thru 8 - Establish eye-contact with and get approval from the driver before proceeding, otherwise, refer to rule 1. Never get in front of a moving car!

9 - Never swerve out into traffic without first checking behind you. If not clear (meaning no operating vehicles), stop if you have to, to avoid the dead dog obstacle, unless you want to join him.

10 - What the hell are you doing riding in the street in front of operating vehicles??? Haven't we been over this already?


*You're riding a bicycle for chrissakes, you're going 10-20MPH, you have plenty of time to LOOK at things and try to anticipate threats.

**Our puny bodies are no match for 2 tons of car. If you're one of those people who ride a bike like you're driving a car, you're asking for trouble. It may not be right, but it's the way it is. And yes, I know that bicycles have all the rights of cars as vehicles on the road, but I go by something I heard in a motorcycle safety class I took years ago in the Navy, "Only a fool insists on the right-of-way".

To sum up, the real rules to keep from getting hit are these:

1) Avoid (as much as is reasonably possible) getting in front of operating cars. Put another way, don't give a car a chance to hit you.
2) Never insist on the right-of-way
3) Assume drivers can't see you, unless they indicate otherwise

In Las Vegas (and most of the cities I've lived in) it's legal to ride on the sidewalk - Yield to pedestrians and don't act the fool.

Lastly, I know there are places where my "rules" are not applicable - large cities with crowded sidewalks, extra-rural areas with 45MPH two-lane roads with no shoulders. I don't live there, my sympathies if you do.

Now get out and ride! What the hell are you doing lying on the couch surfing the internet, you spud? It's frikkin' beautiful out today!


The_Scum said...

Better advice - drive a fucking car and watch the bike bounce off.

Very little chance the rider causes damage over a few hundred dollars unless they go through the windshield.

When I'm turning right I yield to nothing damnit!

This is Vegas after all - I will be furst to say you risk your life everyday you ride a bike....I mean you expect Metro to drive at 109 mph down Flamingo with no lights or sirens to find the fool who ran you over?

They have better BSI complaints to pursue.

I don't want Lavi smushed...but reality is reality.

Lavi D. said...

I don't want Lavi smushed...but reality is reality.

Believe me, when riding, I do everything in my power to avoid being in a situation where I can get "smushed".

That's the whole point of this post - I completely disagree with the idea that a bike is some sort of lesser car.

I do everything I can to avoid riding in the street with cars. I treat each and every car as a potential threat.

It's really not that difficult or impractical.

Every now and then when your life gets complicated and the weasels start closing in, the only cure is to load up on heinous chemicals and then drive like a bastard from Hollywood to Las Vegas ... with the music at top volume and at least a pint of ether.

-Hunter S. Thompson

Dedicated to the other side of Las Vegas, namely; the sprawling, mad, incoherent underpinnings of the world's favorite destination.

That, and the occasional ranting about nothing in particular.