(Picture from Total Women’s Cycling🙂
Changing it up makes for better overall health. For me, I need to do a variety of things to stay engaged in exercising. The same thing day-in and day-out makes me easily bored and stagnates my progress. Outside of running and Crossfit, I like biking. I enjoy both road biking and mountain biking, but a year and a half ago my mom was hit by a car on her road bike and I became a little fearful. A lady was texting on her phone and hit her from behind completely oblivious until it was too late. Mom suffered some injuries, but in time she overcame. It could have been much worse; God’s protection was definitely involved. At that point, I switched over completely to mountain biking putting the road bike to rest. After a long battle, I realized I missed it. I took my road bike in for a tune up this week and yesterday I hit the road again. Whether you are contemplating the road bike or you drive a car read this post to be aware of bikers that are on the road! Please.
Perspective is critical to this topic. Perspective from the driver of the car and perspective of the biker on the road, but either way the truth is we are talking about someone’s life so stop and think about the information I am sharing and just be aware.
Some things you may not know as a driver of a car about biking…
- Bikers obviously can’t see you, unless they have a mirror attachment to their bike or helmet and even that is limited, but… Bikers can’t hear you coming from behind either. The air coming across the ear hinders their hearing. Imagine how the wind sounds across a phone when someone is trying to talk outside… it is very distorted and this is the same thing for bikers.
- When a car is too close to a biker, the draft from a car pulls/ or sucks a biker to the car. Depending on how close you are and how big the vehicle, this can be an unbelievable pull on a biker. Getting over a little is not enough. Inexperienced riders can be caught off guard by this and easily fall; experienced riders aren’t immune to this either. When you get over as a driver to what you think is reasonable, go a little further. It may save a life.
- As a car driver, it is okay to cross over the middle yellow line, if no one is coming toward you. If there is another car coming, slow down and be patient and wait to pass the biker. It’s only a few seconds of your time. Trying to stay in your lane and continuing to pass the biker to closely, only scares the biker, makes them more likely to turn to look (caught off guard, can’t hear) or snatch the bike which ends up with them falling. If they fall away from the car, they are injured. If they fall toward the car, THEY ARE DEAD! No way of knowing how they will react. If the draft is too strong because the car is big and going fast they will naturally fall toward the car.
- Bikers tend to ride just inside of the white line instead of on the outside of the white line. Why? Because on a highway or parkway the transportation has put in divots on the outside of the white line to help drivers who lose focus and cross over. They driver will hopefully hear the sound, feel the vibration and get back on the road. Bikers can’t ride on the outside of the white line with little thin tires for this reason. It is also the area where all the debris ends up… glass, rubber, wood and many crazy things that would cause a biker to fall.
- Biker’s feet are clipped into the pedals of the bike. That means they are locked onto the pedal. A biker can’t react quick enough to unlock the shoe from the pedal and catch themselves or prevent the fall, most times. Inevitably, they are going to fall all the way to the ground.
- Don’t text and drive. It’s against the law anyway in most states and not a good practice regardless. If you see a biker, take a few seconds and stop texting, stop dialing the phone or changing the radio station. Bikers are very aware of cars, but can do very little to avoid them. They can remain calm, stay straight and stay focused. That is it, outside of praying that the driver sees them and cares.
Nothing is worth hurting someone. Impatience and bad attitude about bikers will all be irrelevant if you hit someone and hurt them or even worse kill them. Lives will be forever changed the biker and yours. Bikers have rights to be on the roads just as walkers, tractors and horse and buggy (very common in Amish areas of the country). The roads are for public use and are paid for by all tax payers, including many bikers. It takes very little time and effort to share the road, to be kind and considerate. Bikers are just trying to improve their lives through exercise and get a different perspective on the world. It’s a beautiful world out there and viewing it from a bike is a wonderful way to experience and see it.
If you are thinking of biking on the roads, I would encourage you to ride with experienced bikers and be aware of all the things that I mentioned about drivers. Awareness can save your life. I struggled yesterday with the fear. Most divers were very considerate of me; however there were some that were not. Older people and teenagers are the worst sometimes, not because they are being rude, but they don’t know what to do when approaching someone on a bike. They get scared or nervous and don’t want to cross over a line or slow down. If you have older parents or teenagers that are driving talk with them about walkers and bikers on the road, especially if you live in an area where this is popular.
- Don’t be a rude or inconsiderate biker… follow the rules of the road.
- Don’t be arrogant and think you have just as much right as a driver. You do, but there is not a lot of room for error. They are bigger, they will win!
- Don’t assume that a driver sees you. Wait and be patient. It’s not a race.
- Try to ride in groups, it is easier for cars to see groups over individuals.
- Practice with clip-in pedals in a parking lot.. Clipping in and out over and over! Make it an instinct so your body knows how to react in a situation.
- Don’t wear ear buds and listen to music… NEVER!
- Take your phone with you, but only use it if you are off the road and away from danger.
- Consider a mirror for helmet or bike.
- Wear reflective gear so sunlight and headlights catch it and bring awareness to drivers.
- A battery operated flashing light on the back of bike is a good thing!
- Use Common sense!
Please bikers and drivers take precautions to avoid a bad situation.