Sunday, June 19, 2011

A case for lights and open ears, safe bicycle riding tactics.

I've noticed a lot of riders in my city riding at night with no lights or with an Ipod plugged in their ears. It's been said again and again not to do that and I agree with it since it's only logical.

Well while out on my daily evening ride only minutes ago, I got a hard reminder from life that it IS actually very unsafe. Not that I would be dumb enough to ride without lights in the dark, having my ears filled with the greatest hits from Journey and pedaling without a care in the world totally oblivious to what happens around me, but bare with me.

So I'm flying down this small street called De Gaspé with my front and back LEDs flashing and I'm approaching a major intersection at Jarry. The traffic light is green, I mean full solid green. No cars in sight on both sides waiting on the red light, I'm still flying but I stop pedaling. I'm listening for possible oncoming traffic outside of my field of vision, I hear an engine under full acceleration, my hands are going for the front brake lever and my legs are getting into position to hit the coaster brake on the rear hub. I look to my left where the sound is coming from and I see flashing blue and red lights, Montreal PD, he's coming fast, I hit the brakes.

As I started to bring the bike to a stop, we both saw each other and made eye contact. He stopped at the intersection at the same time as I did. I let him through, he nodded, I resumed my ride home.

Now all of this happened in mere seconds. What I would like to point out here is that $9 worth of little LED lights and a little situational awareness saved me from serious injury or death. In this case, the Police Officer is trained to be on the look out while on the job and even more so while going to calls in emergency mode. Think about the clueless idiots driving around with no care in the world, drunk drivers or the drivers that are openly aggressive towards cyclists. You cannot afford to ride carelessly at any time and even less at night. Be aware and stay alive.

Don't forget to check out the how-to articles post
and download my free bike maintenance book if you haven't already.

Until next time, ride safe and free.

Gerry :)

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