Message: 1
Date: Fri, 19 Jul 2002 15:59:39 -0000
From: "goneridn" <ride24@bellsouth.net>
Subject: Re: Cycling and cars

I have been thinking about this message since it came this morning
and wanted to respond, but haven't been quite sure how to approach
it...so I will just say what I have to say...

I have been riding a handcycle for over 10 years, and wheelchair
raced nearly a dozen...I have been on roads for a long time...I love
riding and do have to deal with traffic nearly everyday that I
ride. I do think that I have a lot of experience with this issue...

I think the main deal is common sense in riding and always, I mean
always watching what si going on around you and making wise choices
about where and how to ride...I have riden with lots of other cycist
and handcyclist and frankly, most or many don't use good judgement.
I find that most, not all, of the problems are of their own
making...they ride way too far out in the roads, thinking they have
just as much right as anyone to be there, but it does nothing but
causes trouble and possibly a dangerous situtation. There are
people that I won't even ride with, for I know their days are
numbered with that kind of riding and it is way too stressful and
dangerous to ride with them.

I had one old wheelchair racing buddy killed on the road while out
training by getting hit by a cement truck...It wasn't his faught,
but when it goes bad, it goes bad not in your favor.

I have found that even on busy roads, time of day really plays a key
role. I won't even head out during rush hour times. You my find
that a road that was once full of cars, to be near abondand at the
right hours. I woudl say use these times to ride, and it probably
won't be on a Saturday in the area that you describe.

I have found that handcyclist seem to catch the attention of drivers
more than regualr cyclist. I think it is dure mainly to us just
looking so different. This works in our favor, but never think that
you are always seen. I use a mirror and never ride without it. I
woudl never ride a road without a good area to ride in 50 mph
traffic...I don't care how much rights you think you have, one bad
driver and your rights are trival. I tend to not ride where I will
hold up traffic much. I do ride on some busy type roads, but time
of day and good riding usually keeps the encounters to a minimums.
Don't run lights and don't take more room than you need. Always
think that they don't see you. Even when making eye contact, it
might not really register with the driver what is happening. Don't
play mind reader with your life and think they saw you or that they
will stop or will give you room...they may not.

So, in short, ride with a helmet, ride with a mirror, ride at good
times of days, ride off main roads if possible, be extremely
visible, ride with a group if you can, and never stir up trouble
with drivers. That means no insults and no hand guestures...lol
It will never go in your favor.

I have found that many times, with a a little adventure and a good
mapo, you can find other ways to get there. If it is a specail
place that can only be reached by a super busy road, load your bike
up and drive there then ride a few loops. I tend to like to ride
out of my house. So, I pick ways that can get me there on
neighborhood roads. Maybe riding with a bike club will give you
some ideas. I am always amazed at how they seem to find new ways to
places that I never though I would be able to ride. And it is
always on safe roads. You may add some miles to go out of the way,
but isn't that part of the fun of cycling. Take a area map and
drive out a new route. You can almost always find new routes. I
can leave my house and do a 10 miler, a 14 miler, a 22 miler and a
25 miler. I could even tag them all together and get nearly a 50
mile ride if I wanted ...All from my home. I do cross some busy
roads, but never need to challange the traffic that is risky.

I agree with the advocate route...get involved and you can help make
your cycling community a safe place to ride...

Be smare and safe...Ride On..Greg



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