Riding Safe

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Riding Safe

Postby wa_desert_rat » Wed Dec 21, 2011 9:18 am

Bicycle safety is more than just wearing a helmet and riding "under control" (snicker!); it includes staying hydrated, watching for vehicle traffic (even an MTB goes on the road now and then... even if it's just to link up trails), dressing appropriately (including padding if you're doing any serious drops or fast downhills), watching for hikers and equestrians and staying alert in general.

Just wearing a helmet isn't going to keep you safe. And wearing a $9 helmet may be counterproductive. I have an entire collection of helmets bought over the years and the other day was looking at them. I noticed that they've actually changed. My newest bike helmet, bought just a couple of months ago for $40) is actually cooler than not wearing a helmet at all. Helmet manufacturers have done a lot of research looking at the aerodynamics of helmets and at the air flow through them and the change has been remarkable. This helmet seems to scoop air and route it across my head. And they're incredibly light. If you're riding with an old (older than 5-years) helmet or a cheap $15 helmet it's time for you to re-think things.

If you ride on the road then being seen and noticed by cars is the single most important safety factor in bicycling. Wear flashy clothing, stick a few reflective strips on your bike frame, and be aware that cars can run you over from behind! This means that if you move around a parked car you should take a quick peek behind you... and then watch for someone IN that car who might open their door right in your path.

There's lots more to bicycle safety. Google it and read the links. I'm sure some of the other guys will post something here.
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Re: Riding Safe

Postby steady eddie » Wed Dec 21, 2011 10:57 am

One thing that I have been aware of is the front-facing bike lights "led" color and brightness.

In my mind it doesn't "click" that those tiny spot(s) of blue-white light are connected to a real live cyclist. You have a light with a lens diameter like that of a quarter and when it is washed out by those really bright car headlights it makes the cyclist invisible. When the on-coming car has foolishly left his hi beams on, you can forget about being seen on a bike.

Those night time bike headlights need much larger (and therefor heavier) large lenses. Make your bike lighting much more like a motorcycle and not a pinpoint of light in the dark.

A bottle generator puts out 6 volts and there used to be 6 volt car fog/driving lamps, something big enough to be seen. Maybe a cyclist could find one at a garage sale with a lightweight plastic housing.. :?: ..then change out the lamp (bulb) to a more efficient LED
"white" light.... *IF* you changed out the bulb, you could actually use a 12 volt fog light housing with a 6 volt LED in it.

The above is why I have now changed my driving habits at night on a residential street.
Blacktop, with no road stripes or on-coming traffic, I now drive right down the middle of the street. This leaves 3 or 4 feet of clearance on each side of the Jeep.
Steady Eddie

"If you buy a stock bike, do something to it that makes it the only one exactly like it in the world"...Grant Petersen
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Re: Riding Safe

Postby wa_desert_rat » Wed Dec 21, 2011 8:29 pm

I'd like to add here that lots of people are pointing out that cyclists in Europe very seldom wear helmets. This is very true, but the environment for cyclists in Europe is very different than it is here. For one thing, there are bike paths that are not adjoining roads. Also, motorists in Europe are much more aware of cyclists and there are a LOT more of them than there are here. The combination of crowds of cyclists and physical separation of bike lanes from roads removes what is the largest hazard facing a bicyclist: collision with a motor vehicle.

Basically, all they have to worry about is falling down. :P
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Re: Riding Safe

Postby steady eddie » Thu Dec 22, 2011 5:19 pm

In Europe, in the city, they also ride very slowly. I have seen some vids where those big black dutch bikes looked to be moving right along, but I would say that a large percentage of them were moving at no more than 12 MPH. To put that into perspective, I have read that a jog is about 7 to 8 MPH. And a normal person can briskly walk at about 4 MPH.

So, they aren't going like crazy, compared to the 20+ MPH of our commuters-in-a-hurry.
Figure separation from cars and half-way decent brakes and you could scarf off the speed in a jiffy. Probably no real need for them to wear a helmet. At least no more reason than if they were out jogging. Or walking as a pedestrian.

As best I can find out, they is no Washington State law that says you must wear a helmet while on a bicycle. There are City Ordinances that do mandate a helmet be worn, however.
Some are written specifically for children under a certain age group.

We have always worn one to play it safe and not wanting or needing a ticket. The helmet laws and regulations are just too bizarre to keep up with.

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.ph ... -Crackdown
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"If you buy a stock bike, do something to it that makes it the only one exactly like it in the world"...Grant Petersen
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Re: Riding Safe

Postby Rock N' Rolla » Tue Apr 03, 2012 6:09 pm

I'm confused... are you no longer wearing a helmet or are playing with the idea that wearing one is of no point?Europe IS a cycle oriented culture.Out side of the local area where I live a cycliest is taking a large risk on the roads ( or parking lots ) of where they ride. Any trade publication, safety recommendation or true cycling forum will tell you replacing your helmet after 2-3 yrs is the best way to keep yer egg intact. Becouse you really dont remember that hit on the noggin you took in the woods that day 2 years ago and not to your notice it was damaged that day swell.... so replacing it is a good idea every so often is probably a good Idea.
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Re: Riding Safe

Postby wa_desert_rat » Wed Apr 04, 2012 8:45 am

Rock N' Rolla wrote:I'm confused... are you no longer wearing a helmet or are playing with the idea that wearing one is of no point?


I certainly wear a helmet almost every time I bicycle. I even have a "cool weather" helmet that is a snowboarder's helmet (has nice warm ear flaps and less ventilation). The engineering and design of bike helmets has come a long way and replacing one every few years is probably an excellent idea. In addition, the oils of your scalp can degrade the foam padding over time making the helmet possibly less effective than when it was new.

Most of us ride when it's sunny and warm and the new - engineered - bike helmets can actually keep you cooler than if you had no helmet on at all. This, all by itself, is a good reason to wear one.

I have noticed that few kids in my neighborhood wear helmets - even when they're on the BMX track (where the City has posted a sign that says "Bike Helmets Recommended" (not required, mind you). I try to wear one just as an example. :P
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Re: Riding Safe

Postby Rock N' Rolla » Wed Apr 25, 2012 5:47 pm

wa_desert_rat wrote: I even have a "cool weather" helmet that is a snowboarder's helmet


That is an awesome idea! :D Wish I thought of that, i just keep buying differant kind of hats that dont work :cry: , like a hampster stuck on the wheel ;)
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Re: Riding Safe

Postby wa_desert_rat » Thu Apr 26, 2012 7:15 am

Rock N' Rolla wrote:
wa_desert_rat wrote: I even have a "cool weather" helmet that is a snowboarder's helmet


That is an awesome idea! :D Wish I thought of that, i just keep buying differant kind of hats that dont work :cry: , like a hampster stuck on the wheel ;)


LOL... I kept stuffing hats under my bike helmet and *that* didn't work very well either. The epiphany came at a Big 5 store where they had a snowboarder's helmet on sale. I bought it and haven't regretted it since. The only downside is that there is a transition between weather that is too cold for a regular bike helmet and too warm for the snowboarder's helmet... I'd say that the snowboard helmet gets uncomfortable above about 45F. But a bike helmet - at least *my* bike helmets - are too cool at 45F. So I wear a poly-pro "beanie" under the regular bike helmet (which has a nifty knob at the back to expand or reduce its size). :)
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