BikeCommuters.com

Tag Archive: urban cycling

Guest Article: So you hit the ground. What next?

Editor’s note: the following piece was written by Jay Paul, founder of the cyclist-oriented insurance firm Balance for Cyclists. Balance for Cyclists is one of our advertising partners. Don’t let that scare you off; there’s a lot of good step-by-step instruction within in the event you or someone you know is involved in a bicycle crash.

Bicycling is usually a very safe activity. However, as cyclists we are all keenly aware that an accident can happen at almost any time. Most cycling accidents result in injuries like road rash, a bloody chin or a minor laceration. The more serious accidents require immediate medical attention and perhaps a hospital stay.

So what is a cyclist to do if they are involved in an accident or with a fellow rider who happens to become a victim of inertia and gravity?

The internet is full of law firms soliciting advice on what to do if you are involved in a collision with a motor vehicle. Most end with a polite solicitation for the injured cyclist to call them for legal advice. Now I certainly don’t fault a personal injury attorney for making a living and cyclists need to know their rights after a serious accident. However, it is estimated that less than 30% of serious cycling accidents involve a motor vehicle. The rest are either rider error, equipment failure or the result of some other road hazard.

Riders need to be aware of what to do regardless of the cause of the accident. Below are some thoughts.

1. Take all necessary steps to protect and stabilize the injured cyclist. Make certain that the injured person is not in additional harms’ way. If the accident involves a head or neck injury do not move the rider but do place barriers up the road or trail that will slow traffic.
2. Call emergency personnel. Both the Police and EMT if necessary.
3. Even if the injury is minor, consider getting medical attention. All too often immediately after an accident the injured cyclist is in shock and not aware of the extent of their injuries. Too many injured riders just want to get back on their bike and start peddling as if nothing has happened.
4. Make certain that if police are involved that they take the statement not just from the motorist but from the cyclist as well.
5. If a vehicle is involved obtain driver information from the motorist. This includes: name, address & contact information of driver, make, model & serial number of car, determine the vehicle owner, insurance information of vehicle.
6. Regardless of whether a vehicle is involved get statements from any witnesses that happened to see the accident. (More on this later)
7. Get photographs of the accident scene and preserve evidence. Many if not most of us carry cell phones with cameras while riding. Get a lot of pictures from different angles. Take note of weather and road conditions.
8. If a vehicle is involved, never negotiate with the driver.
9. Certain accidents that don’t involve a motor vehicle could still be compensable. Equipment failure, errant pedestrians or road hazards are such examples. Make certain if at all possible to get photographs of the site where the accident occurred and of the bike itself. (This is also where a witness statement could prove beneficial.)
10. Here is the plug for personal injury attorneys. Never attempt to negotiate with the “at fault parties” insurance company. Get a good attorney to represent your interests. Most major cities have at least one attorney who has created a cyclist specialty practice. They are usually cyclists themselves. Many of these same firms have apps online that you can download to your phone that outline what to do in the event of an accident.

One last bit of advice. Consider getting First Aid certified and, if a mountain biker, consider getting certified in Wilderness First Aid. Having the confidence to make a quick decision immediately after an accident could save a friend’s life. These classes can help give you that confidence.

Finally, follow the rules of the road and be aware of your surroundings. That means take out one of your earbuds!

Chrome releases the Truk Pro SPD shoe

You may remember that back in 2010, we reviewed the new Kursk shoes by Chrome Industries. Since then, Chrome has been cranking out a variety of new styles and colors of cycling shoes.

Our PR pal Billy “Souphorse” Sinkford tells us that they’re at it again, announcing the release of their newest pair, the “Truk Pro”:

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The most covert SPD on the market, the Truk Pro is perfect for commuters, messengers, and others who live and work on the bike every day—and need a durable and comfortable shoe for bike, street, and office.

Enter the Truk Pro.

For those who live in and ride the city and want SPD performance on the bike and sneaker comfort off it. Durable, comfortable, and walkable. Made to be worn on and off the bike—all day, every day—with zero foot fatigue.

It’s the most innovative SPD on the market, featuring Chrome’s dual-density FlexPlateTM technology, developed to provide a fully rigid sole from the heel to the ball of the foot but also a flexible toe area (five times more flex compared with any traditional fully rigid SPD shoe). The result? Total comfort while riding and while walking.

Other features include a contoured, impact-resistant PU footbed, skid-resistant outsole, and recessed SPD plate. The 1,000-denier Cordura outer shell is 25 times stronger than canvas. Add 100% vulcanized construction and you’ve got one thoroughly bombproof shoe, ready for the demands of life on and off the bike.

Like all Chrome footwear and apparel, the Truk Pro SPD comes with a 365-day warranty against defects in materials and workmanship.

RETAIL AVAILABILITY: 3/19/13 in Chrome HUBS in San Francisco, New York, Chicago, and Portland—and online at chromeindustries.com.
RETAIL PRICE: $95; available in grey and all-black

In a few days, Bikecommuters.com will be getting a pair to try out…we’ll thrash on these shoes and see if they are as tough as we expect them to be. Stay tuned!

LoJack/OnStar-like system for bikes?

We’ve written about fighting bike theft with GPS devices before, as well as posting about a cool web series called “To Catch a Bike Thief” where the producers set out “bait bikes” equipped with GPS trackers. It’s a neat technique to use new technologies to combat an age-old problem.

And now there’s a very interesting Kickstarter project gaining some traction. Called The BikeSpike, this device purports to:

•Monitor your bike’s location on a map using your phone or computer
•Grant temporary access to local law enforcement, helping increase the chances of recovery.
•Digitally “lock” your bike and receive a notification if your bike moves from it’s geo-fenced location or if someone even tampers with it.
•Collision detection system can alert key members of your contact list and share the location of an accident.
•Share your stats (distance, speed, and courses…) with friends, coaches and spectators.
•Monitor your children and get notified if they ride out of their safe zone.
•Our open API allows developers to create gaming and fitness apps that you can download and use with the device or use the data created from the BikeSpike to integrate with the existing apps you already love. Export a GPX file.
•PLUS, with the Hacker Pack, you can connect it to a motorcycle or other on-board batteries for a continual charge.

The website Mashable calls it “like LoJack and OnStar for your bike.”

Here’s a video that helps illustrate the workings of the device:

What do you think — a gadget worth pursuing, or is investing in a strong lock a better strategy? We’d love to hear your thoughts on BikeSpike as much as the developers would like you to help fund their project…just leave comments below.

A tip of the ol’ foam dome to longtime reader/commenter Raiyn Storm for pointing this out to us.

National Bike Month in May

Well, we’re a week into National Bike Month here in the U.S….at least for states that choose to celebrate in May (as opposed to, say, March. I’m talking about YOU, Florida). Great things are happening all over the country, from bike-safety clinics, to free commuter breakfasts, to neighborhood tours, “commuter trains”, and a thousand other events.

Want to find out what sort of events are going on in YOUR corner of the U.S.? The League of American Bicyclists has you covered…with their handy event finder. Simply visit the link, type in your city, state or ZIP code and voila…a smorgasbord of events to choose from!

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Ride strong and ride safe, and don’t forget to spread the word…two wheels is not only good for you, for your wallet, and for the environment, but it’s also a blast. If you have any special events you’d like to get out the word on, please leave details in the comment box below.

Running red lights in Portland…a novel video “experiment”

This is from a couple months ago…and it’s been kicking around in my inbox.

Basically, Joseph Rose of the Oregonian asks, “does it really save bike commuters any time if they run red lights?” Read the full article by clicking here, and watch the video below.

The author raises some good points — the best being “winning the hearts and minds” of fellow road users (other cyclists and motorists) by adhering to the laws. The article (and video) is worth a look.