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Tag Archive: Safety

Make It Reflective Workshop

Chicago bike commuters are gearing up for Bike Winter with a “Make It Reflective Workshop” this upcoming Monday, December 5.

As posted on the event listing:

Have Fun While Making You and Your Bike More Visible!

Join us for our annual Make It Reflective Workshop:
Learn about passive vs. active visibility, get tips on what to use and where to place it, update your favorite coat or bag with extra-sparkly visibility.

Who: Experienced cyclists who sew will help make both you and your bike the most obvious moving vehicle on the road.

What: Bring what you want modified (bikes, clothing, bags, outerwear, helmets, etc.)

Where: Active Transportation Alliance at 9 W. Hubbard St. (4th floor)

When: Dec. 5th from 5:00 pm until 9 pm (stay as long as you like, but plan on at least 15 minutes per item being modified).

Cost: $5 (donations are greatly appreciated to help defray the costs of materials).

For more information, contact Jane Healy at repto at aol dot com.

This workshop is the second one this season; I missed the first one held on November 6 – just in time for the time change and onset of more darkness.

And such an event is just one of many events already on the Bike Winter calendar.

bike winter sticker 2012

Let the silence ROAR – Ride of Silence at 7 p.m. tonight

THE RIDE OF SILENCE WILL NOT BE QUIET

I encourage all members of the cycling community to participate in your local Ride of Silence tonight. If you’re not in Chicago, check to see whether your city has its own ride and if not, organize your own. We ride at 7 p.m. in solidarity. www.rideofsilence.org

The Ride of Silence is a free ride that informs motorists, police and city officials about cyclists’ legal right to share the roadways. It is also a chance to honor those who have been killed or injured while bicycling on public roadways. It is a free, slow-paced, silent ride of about 10 miles. The annual Ride of Silence occurs worldwide on Wednesday, May 20, 2009, at 7 p.m. local time.

Whether you are a recreational cyclist, bike messenger, bicycle commuter, mountain biker, professional cyclist, or a parent riding around the neighborhood with your kids, you share an experience with millions of people on this planet. Unfortunately in the US alone, nearly 700 cyclists die each year in traffic accidents with an additional 44,000 injuries.

In 2003, Chris Phelan organized the first Ride of Silence in Dallas after endurance cyclist Larry Schwartz was hit by the mirror of a passing bus and was killed. The ride is unique, as a free event organized totally by volunteers. Ride like you’ve never ridden before, for those who cannot be here. The greatness of this ride is made up by individuals, choosing to be together in peaceful and silent assembly on the same day, at the same time.

International Ride of Silence organizers expect at least 277 separate rides in 17 countries with more than 22,000 cyclists participating.

Organizers request that participants wear black arm bands to show solidarity with victims and their loved ones, or red arm bands to signify a personal injury from a bike/motor vehicle accident. All participating cyclists are asked to wear a helmet.

Here in the Chicago metropolitan area alone we have rides in five locations (www.rideofsilence.org/chicago):
Arlington Heights – Recreation Park
Chicago – Daley Plaza
Downers Grove – McCollum Park
Evanston – Chandler Center
Joliet – Joliet Memorial Stadium

Be safe out there and let the silence ROAR tonight.

If Bicycle Helmets Looked Cooler, Kids Would Wear them More

Everyday I see kids riding their bikes to and from school without helmets. The other day when I was picking up my kids from school via bike, one kid comes up to me on his bike and makes a comment on how cool my Xtracycle is. I say thanks and I asked him where his helmet was. He then proudly taps his back pack and says…”its right in here!”

I tell him that if he were to fall, his back pack would be just fine, but his head wouldn’t…he looks at me puzzled, so I finally just said, “wear your helmet.” He tells me that his helmet looks stupid and that’s why he doesn’t wear it.

Well when he brought out his helmet to put on his head, I had to agree. It was this dumb looking thing and it didn’t even fit him. Plus he was missing a buckle on his straps to secure it. Being the dad that I am, I gave him a quick lecture about helmets and blah blah blah.

I tried to encourage the guy to talk to his parents about getting him a new one…the kind that not only fits, but looks good. The more I talk to kids, the more I’m learning they don’t want to look like a mushroom or look stupid in front of their peers because of their unstylish helmets.

Adults have so many choices of styles and colors for helmets, some costing as much as $150…but what about kids, their choices are limited and always lack in style. Oh and they are either too big or too small…but that’s another story. So if a helmet manufacturer is reading this, I say make some cooler looking helmets for kids…you might sell more too!

D-Tour Safety Flag Update

Last month, we posted a first impression of the D-Tour Bicycle Safety Flag. For those of you who missed the article, the flag itself is made of highly reflective nylon — fluorescent yellow-green for the body and silver for the stripes and trim. This fabric flag and “sock? fit over a springy metal arm. The flag “arm? appears to be made of stainless steel, and the attachment bracket is machined aluminum with plastic frame clamps. The flag comes with two pairs of two different sizes of Cateye plastic frame clamps and very clear and concise instructions for mounting the assembly. Once assembled and deployed, the flag device sticks out about 24″ to the side of the bike. It then folds straight back when not in use.

It’s really a clever and simple device. Better yet, it seems to work! We’ve ridden with these flags on the streets of California and Florida, and can honestly say that it seems motorists WILL give you a bit of extra room when you have this flag deployed. Another phenomenon I noticed while riding around the mean streets of Tampa is that motorists seemed to be less likely to turn left in front of me when the flag is extended. Apparently, the bright yellow flag captures more motorists’ attentions than a cyclist rolling full-tilt towards them! It was certainly a nice phenomenon to experience…I don’t know if it was the “placebo effect? or something, but I did notice it.

I must admit — intially, this is not something I would have bought for my bike. To be honest, I prefer less hardware and gadgets on my “fast commuter? bike…a couple of lights and a rear reflector are the only safety equipment it has on it. But, now that I have experienced the benefits of this flag, I am forced to reconsider. The flag retails at $20.00 + shipping — is that worth a couple extra feet of passing room from motorists? I think so!

Overall, this seems to be a great product — solidly constructed, reasonably priced, and surprisingly effective at its job. For more information or to purchase a D-Tour Safety Flag for yourself, please email developer Glenn Hanson at dtourltd(at)aol(dot)com.