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Tag Archive: bike safety

Guest article: Bike Safety

Editor’s note: the following is a guest article submitted by our contacts at UK’s Claims4Negligence. Some good information on basic safety tips for new commuters:

Bike Safety

There are so many advantages to riding a bicycle on the road that it can be easy to overlook the risks entirely. Cycling is good for the environment, it keeps the individuals concerned fit and healthy and, in these difficult economic times it is less expensive than most other forms of transport. The downside, however, is that there’s no getting away from the fact that riding a bicycle on the roads can be extremely dangerous. Perhaps the most frightening aspect of taking a bike out onto the road is the fact that your safety isn’t entirely in your own hands. No matter how diligent and careful you are, accidents can still happen, and the statistics show that the vast majority of injuries suffered by cyclists come about as the result of negligence on the part of other road users. For finding out more about how much compensation could be received for injuries on the body visit Claims4Negligence. Its best, of course, if you can avoid being hurt in this manner altogether, especially since cyclists involved in accidents are far more likely than drivers to suffer more serious injuries, but it should be remembered that if you are hurt in this manner you always have the option of claiming compensation; not to cash in, not as a punishment, but as a means of helping you get back on your feet (and on two wheels) as quickly as possible.

Although most accidents tend to be caused by the drivers of cars, that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing the average cyclist can do to protect themselves. The right clothing, the right equipment and correct cycling tactics can all add up to a safer road experience by lowering the chances of accidents happening in the first place, and then, if the worst should befall you, minimizing the negative effects and the extent of any injuries caused.

Despite the dangers inherent in riding a bicycle, the vast majority of people cycling round the roads of the UK have probably never had a single cycling lesson in their life. People tend to just get on the bike and learn as they go along. Imagine, however, the chaos that would ensue if drivers adopted the same lassez faire attitude. There are basic rules of the road, and of riding a bicycle, which should be drilled into novice cyclists of any age, and there are courses available throughout the UK which can lay down this foundation of knowledge and create the good habits which will stand a cyclist in good stead throughout their life.

Over and above any formal training, however, there are certain tips and tricks which any cyclist can usefully adopt, of which the following are probably the simplest and most effective:

–Make sure you maintain eye contact with other road users, establishing it as clearly as possible. Put simply, if a driver looks you in the eye, then you can be one hundred per cent certain that he’s seen you, and visibility is a massive part of cycling safety.

–Bearing the above in mind you should go to the greatest possible lengths to maximize your visibility, at all times of the day and night. This means utilizing the likes of fluorescent clothing and lights, both on your bike and your person.

–Ensure that you take up your rightful position on the road. When trying to stay safe, the temptation may be to stay as close to the gutter, and thus the pavement, as possible. This tactic renders you less noticeable to other road users, however, as well as leaving you with little room to manoeuvre in the event of an emergency and leaving you more vulnerable to riding over debris. Try to think of yourself as taking up the amount of room a car would take up in the same circumstances, as this will lead other cars to treat you with much more respect.

–There’s no getting away from the fact that some cyclists give the rest a bad name by flouting things such as red lights and stop signs and skipping on and off the pavement. This is dangerous for both the cyclist concerned and all the others out on the road, since it helps to inculcate the notion that cyclists are reckless and basically ‘asking for trouble’.

–Use hand signals clearly and emphatically so that other road users are in no doubt as to what your next move is going to be.

–Of all the safety gear you can buy, a helmet is, without a doubt, the most important; even a fairly trivial fall can become very serious indeed if it involves your head coming into contact with a hard concrete surface. A helmet should fit well but not too tightly, with the pads in contact with the head at all points and it should be stored safely and inspected for signs of wear or damage on a regular basis.

It’s impossible, of course, to completely eliminate the risk from cycling on the road, but taking the steps listed above will help to keep you safer than you would otherwise be. Always remember that your ultimate safety doesn’t depend on how careful you’re going to be, but, sadly, how careless somebody else might end up being.

2013 Joys of Bikes Calendar

Each year I design and post calendars for sale and donate all proceeds to the Ride of Silence to advocate for sharing the roads and honor all fallen cyclists.

2013 is already upon us, and the calendars are available. You know you need a bike-themed calendar for your office space, your kitchen, your garage, your bike area, etc. Also make great gifts!

2013 Joys of Bikes Calendar
Buy a Joys of Bikes calendar and show your support for the annual Ride of Silence – May 15, 2013 (always the third Wednesday in May and clearly labeled on this calendar so you won’t forget).

In addition to the bike-themed calendar, I’ve also created a Chicago and a Flowers calendar:

Proceeds from the sales of all calendars benefit the Ride of Silence

Proceeds from the sales of all calendars benefits the Ride of Silence

Thanks for your support!

ICEdot Crash Sensor for smartphones

Editor’s note: We have an unofficial policy here at Bikecommuters.com not to publish articles about “crowdfunded” bike gear/trips/accessories…we field about 10 or 15 a week, on average, and frankly, very few of them are all that compelling. The following, however, is a project that is quite compelling and we are bending our own rules to let you know about it. Read on:

We got an email and presskit from Jonathan Gates, designer at ICEdot.org. They are currently in the midst of developing a very novel setup for bicyclists, outdoorspeople or anyone else who may need such a device. Basically,

The Crash Sensor is a slim device that will mount as an aftermarket device onto any helmet. When paired with the ICEdot app on a smart phone, the system is able to detect motion, changes in forces and impacts.

In the event of an impact, the device sends critical data to the app which sounds an alarm and initiates an emergency countdown. Unless the countdown clock is stopped, the app will then notify your emergency contacts and send GPS coordinates of the incident so that appropriate follow up actions can be taken.

ICEdot is conducting a fixed funding campaign via Indiegogo. You can visit their funding page by clicking here.

The first component is a small “puck” (the sensor itself) that attaches to the helmet:

crash_sensor_2

And, of course, there’s the smartphone app it communicates with via Bluetooth:

crash-demo-screen01

As we mentioned, this could be a very cool device, especially for bike commuters who have to travel the “unbeaten path”, or commute at night…in the event of an emergency, ICEdot’s sensor and app could save lives. We’re all hoping ICEdot is successful with their funding campaign, and if you want to help out, swing over to their Indigogo page and do so.

Vulnerable on the Road Awareness Message from PeopleForBikes.org

In my inbox this morning from PeopleForBikes.org was an interesting public awareness video message – “Vulnerable on the Open Road” – in which “five professional U.S. cyclists reflect on their experiences with bicycle safety.. The riders share their visions for better bicycling conditions and lessons for safer motorist-bicyclist interactions.”

Their advice:
* “Slow down” – this goes for bicyclists and drivers, too
* “Drivers need to understand that cyclists are traffic on the roads”
* “Get more people on bikes so that it’s a normal thing for you(drivers) to pay attention to cyclists on the road”
* “Education”
* “Training or living in a community with really good bike infrastructure with bike lanes, with easy routes in and out of town to be accessible on your bike…. above all it keeps everyone safer – it keeps the motorists moving smoothly and it keeps the bike riders safe; if things are safe and things are easy, we’re going to ride our bikes more, for sure.”
* “I think it’s crazy for people not to ride bikes. Bikes are just amazing things that can transform your life. The benefits of riding your bike definitely outweigh the risks of being out there with cars for me.” (this advice is my personal favorite!)
* “I think one of the biggest misconceptions is that people think that as a cyclist that we don’t drive cars”
* “You have to respect everybody on the open road and if we all work together, we can all enjoy exactly what we’re doing and go along with our lives without interrupting each other.”

Even though these riders are the top 1% of bicyclists, their advice—slow down, be aware, don’t blow through red lights, build more infrastructure, get more people riding—applies to anyone who likes to enjoy the simple pleasure of a bike ride.

Would you add any points to this advice list? I think it applies to all road users… especially the need for RESPECT by all and for all on our roadways.

Have a respectful ride.

Ukes and Bikes – Ride Aloha!

Hey guys, remember back in the day when I had a dream sequence involving Jake S. and his ukulele?  Turns out it wasn’t a dream after all!  Check out the final cut of the public service announcement sponsored by Farmer’s Insurance Hawaii and Hawaii Bicycling League.  Ride Aloha…

Enjoy your weekend, velodactyls!