It took three months—three years in pandemic time—but I finally remembered I have a bike in the garage. It has gone largely unused since an accident in 2001 when I was struck by a …
It took three months—three years in pandemic time—but I finally remembered I have a bike in the garage. It has gone largely unused since an accident in 2001 when I was struck by a hit-and-run truckdriver. I couldn’t walk for three months. My pelvis was broken in three places. I had an undiagnosed, non-displaced fracture in my left shoulder. Challenging times to be sure.
Bicycle shops such as Sawmill Cycles, 833 Main St. in Honesdale report doing record business while people await the complete reopening of gyms and the resuming of amateur athletic leagues. That means more cyclists on the road with varying levels of experience. So, this seems like a good time to review tips on how cyclists and motorists can safely share the roads to which both groups are legally entitled.
Obey all traffic laws and signs, including stop and yield.
Signal so others know your intentions: Indicate a turn by stretching your arm in the direction of your turn, slow down by stretching your non-dominant arm across your back, approach shoulder hazards by stretching your arm out in the direction in which you’ll be pulling, idicate slowing by lowering your hand and keeping it parallel to the ground and indicate road debris and pot-holes to fellow cyclists by pointing to the area in question.
Stay to the right and avoid sidewalks.
Be as visibile as possible. Choose your clothing wisely. Avoid slimming black in favor of clothing that makes you impossible to ignore. Be colorful! Stay visible! Safety before vanity!
Maintain control of your cycle. This tip especially pertains to hills and newer cyclists. Hills are an awesome challenge and one that helps you build up strength, but they can be taxing. If you’re losing stability, step off and walk the rest of the way. Safety over ego!
Wear a helmet. After my accident, I noticed my helmet had split. Were it not for that vital piece of safety equipment, my head would’ve taken full impact. Someone else would be writing this column.
Cycle with a buddy or in groups. Visibility is key and there’s safety in numbers. A shout out to my friend Leslie for being an awesome cycling partner!
Be alert at all times. You cannot afford to let your guard down. Watch and listen for hazards at all times.
Maintain a safe passing distance. You may need to slow down and wait for oncoming traffic to clear. That could be frustrating, but you could also be saving a life and your own peace of mind. Most state laws require a passing distance of three to four feet.
Put the “dutch reach” into practice. Many websites recommend opening the driver’s side door with your right hand, causing your body to twist and engage with the driver’s side mirror. This simple act makes you more likely to see an approaching cyclist before opening your door into traffic.
Be cautious when turning right. Have you recently passed a cyclist or pedestrian? If so, be vigilant. They may have entered your blind spot just before you indicated your intention to turn.
To all sharing the road:
Don’t treat each other as obstacles. Roadways are meant to be shared. If cyclists and motorists treat each other respectfully, everyone will have a better experience. Most roads are two-way routes. Perhaps that should be our philosophy as well.
Now let’s get outside and enjoy ourselves.