Bicycle Safety 101

2011.08.25
By

THERE IS ONE INFLEXIBLE RULE which, if followed diligently, will result in years if not decades of safe bicycling: Pretend you’re invisible.

Now, many get the wrong impression on first hearing this advice — they hear “invisible” and think “invincible,” as if an inability to be seen were some sort of safety asset. As a former bike messenger and longtime bike enthusiast, it’s been my observation that many drivers either can’t or won’t see you — especially in city conditions. And that can be … problematic.

So take them up on it. If you assume that you are out there, naked, invisible, crushable, a potential ping-pong ball between iron paddles, you will not only have a much more realistic grasp of the situation but a better chance of surviving it.

If you realize that your safety begins with you, you can’t help but become more invested.

Come to think of it, that’s not a bad rule for life.

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One Response to Bicycle Safety 101

  1. Kathryn Hildebrandt on 2011.08.25 at 1415

    Excellent advice, but too advanced for some. Out my way, particularly in the Rockridge District, many seem to need Remedial Bicycle Safety 86. That would be learning NOT to pretend the rules of the road do not apply to you. These rules are devised for everyone’s safety, including yours. They are NOT there to level the playing field and make everything fair, such that you “get to” breeze through a stop sign because it’s not fair you should lose momentum when you are self-powered, or what every demented idea was going through your head as you passed within a few feet of your demise at my hands, with my heart pounding in terror because my middle-aged eyes almost didn’t see you.

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