Tag Archive: bicycle safety

Let’s Be Careful Out There!

Sometimes, good lane positioning (being at least three feet away from the curb or painted line), good visibility (bright colors, reflectors and lights) and good reflexes just aren’t enough to prevent a crash.


On Leah’s way home from work the other night, a giant SUV darted in front of her as she was riding down Florida Avenue in central Tampa. No turn signal — no warning. The SUV made a hard right turn just in front of her, and Leah got to experience firsthand the dreaded “right hook”. Grabbing a fistful of brake wasn’t enough…and Leah bounced off the rear fender of the truck before going down. The momentum of the collision carried Leah with the truck into the turn, keeping her from falling out into the travel lane of the busier road. She’s ok, though…just some scrapes, a deep bruise on her elbow and a smaller one on her hip. She’s still gung-ho to ride, but related to me that when the truck’s driver stopped to see if she was alright, it was less out of concern that she might have hurt someone and more out of concern that she might get into trouble for her actions. Nice, huh?

Leah was so stunned by the incident that she didn’t think to get the license plate or name of the driver. No one else was around and it was getting dark, so a couple salty words were exchanged and both parties went their separate ways.

So, everyone, let’s be careful out there — all the preparation in the world cannot prevent every collision. And remember, if something like this happens to you, PLEASE have the presence of mind to exchange information with the driver or at least try to get the complete license plate of the offending vehicle, followed by a call to your local law enforcement agency to report the incident.

Just Ask Jack — High-Speed Roads?

Shante sent in the following question:

“How do you share the road when the speed limit is 55 mph, there is a low shoulder and cars are going about 70 mph? I live off of a two lane highway.”

I had a quick answer for Shante…in short, there’s not a good answer for that question….while most of us know that bikes are entitled an equal share of the road, some roads are just too unsafe (speed,
narrowness) to exercise that right.

No shoulder
Photo by Robert Raburn of the East Bay Bicycle Coalition

My suggestion was to look for an alternate route — even if it takes you out of your way.
That’s probably not what Shante wanted to hear, but in my experience, roads like she described are just too sketchy for reasonably safe bicycle travel.

I feel that this is an incomplete answer, at best. I’d sure like to hear from other readers what their tactics are for such roads. The gut feeling is that most of us avoid such roads, but I’d particularly like to hear from anyone who is a League Cycling Instructor (Dominic, are you out there?) or anyone else who deals with such poorly-designed and bicycle-unfriendly roadways. Just leave your comments below.

Have a cycling-related question? Just Ask Jack! Click on the link in the right-hand column to send me your questions.