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Bicycle sins

What's a worse sin for a bicyclist? Riding without helmet, without lights, riding on the sidewalk with consideration, riding on the sidewalk like it's a street lane?

I hear people get upset about helmetless and sidewalk riding, but for me it's the lights. Helmet just affects you and probably doesn't help much if you get hit by a car. I'd say it doesn't hurt, except if you're poor the $100 of a good helmet may well have higher benefit used elsewhere, and there's evidence drivers are more careful around helmetless riders -- better to not be hit than to be hit with a helmet. And I'm all for sidewalk riding given the right attitude and circumstances.

OTOH dark bicyclists piss me off as a fellow rider or as a pedestrian, and I assume as a driver too. And riding on a sidewalk carelessly, yeah that risks hitting people and stressing them out as you zoom past.

Tonight's actual near accidents as I biked to TJ involved:
* an SUV coming within 2 feet of turning into pedestrians at a crosswalk, who had a walk signal; driver was completely at fault.
* a truck, and the car behind it, that barreled through a redlight I'd summoned at another crosswalk.
* me, on a bike path, suddenly riding over I don't know what, but felt like a pile of rocks or worse. I had a light, but it didn't help.

I ended up chatting with a guy who had a "heavy moped"; I'd vented about the bad traffic (see above) and he complained about cars nearly clipping him if he tried to keep to the right, said it was worse than when he was on a bicycle. (Moped is thicker, granted; I took it for a full motorcycle.)

I'd been thinking that my front light batteries were lasting a long time, and also that the light seemed maybe dimmer. I'd been waiting for some final dropoff, but finally decided to try new batteries. Woo, amazing brightness again! But now what do I do with three partially drained batteries?

See the comment count unavailable DW comments at http://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/336272.html#comments



( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 6th, 2012 01:32 pm (UTC)
kids toys that make noise, music players (if you still have one that uses batteries), flashlights as long as you know where more batteries are.
Oct. 7th, 2012 07:07 am (UTC)
Don't you do rechargeables?

Recently read a rant about how helmets deter people from bike riding by making it seem like something so dangerous a helmet is needed. Is there a way to link it without getting in the spam pile?

I'd ride a bike myself, but I'm about 2-3 times the usual bike riding size, making it hard to buy off the rack.
Oct. 30th, 2012 04:49 am (UTC)
Catching up here.

Yes, dark cyclist really piss me off too (and dark runners and dark dog walkers in my rural neighborhood with small shoulders and no sidewalks). Definitely the worst sin.

My husband jokes that he looks like a UFO when he bike commutes because he has so many lights. Plus he only wears high-viz jerseys. Learned the hard way from bike commuting two hours each way while triathlon training in Japan. Going to work about the same time drunk drivers were coming home.

I'm pretty into helmets, but I get that someone on a beach cruiser on a separated bike path is probably not doing anything risky. I don't like it when people put helmets on kids and then go without themselves though.

Oct. 30th, 2012 05:00 am (UTC)
Recently I saw someone who had not just the standard lights but what looked liked red and green glowsticks on the spokes of her bike. Probably some other sort of LED. Definitely photon-emitting into all four directions.

Approximately no urban/utility cyclists in the Netherlands or Denmark wear helmets. There's argument that more lives are lost from discouraging people via mandatory laws and thus they're not getting exercise...
Oct. 30th, 2012 05:24 am (UTC)
Yeah, I've seen the video. I thought part of the argument was also that bicycling is safer for all when more cyclists are on the road, because drivers are more willing to accomodate them. I don't necessarily believe in mandatory laws, but I think its smart to protect your head (we also wear helmets skiing and outdoor rock climbing even though its not cool).

I see some value in making kids wear them. We started R wearing at 2 mostly for the habit and now that he's almost 6 I consider it essential. He just crashed today making a downhill turn while mountain biking. I draw the line at not needing knee/elbow pads for his level.

I guess everyone's assessment is different. My husband I both consider razor type scooters highly dangerous for kids and won't allow our kid on one even though we're pretty aggressive with cycling and a lot of other sports for R (aforementioned rock climbing and downhill skiing).
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )


Damien Sullivan

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