When I wore a younger man’s clothes, in the 80’s, I was pretty daring and bicycle safety was minimal on my list of concerns. I was just beginning my journey down the road to good health as I was finding out that a bicycle is perfect for displaying the strength and endurance aspects of one’s fitness. Being young, rambunctious, in shape and 21 years old might imply that there would be some sort of recklessness intertwined with one’s life (especially during college summer break). I am not necessarily saying the rambunctiousness goes hand in hand with being a 20-something but one sure does seem to follow the other.
Cases in point, I did a couple of time trials when I was younger so I was always riding. I used to ride in traffic to catch green lights and to see how fast I could go. I used to ride along 16th Street in Omaha, NE, when I was heading downtown, in order to catch drafts behind trucks. One day, after finishing a 30 mile training ride, I happened to come up behind a dump truck that was stopped at a red light, on a different street. Well that was too good of an opportunity to pass up. I was able to draft that truck at a max speed of about 50 mph!! There are a couple of other things that I did then that I won’t share here but you get the gist. I was young and indestructible. By the way, I wasn’t wearing a helmet in those days.
I have also met with misfortune while riding my bicycle. My bicycle has been hit twice while I was riding it; no injuries fortunately. I have also had a car door opened up on me as I was passing. It was a small car and my bike slid over the top of the door and flipped. My practice of the martial arts was of use to me as I tucked and rolled onto the pavement because I was flipped off of my bicycle . . . again, no helmet. Thank you, LORD.
Fast forward some 30 years. I reside in the Phoenix, AZ area now. I still ride, albeit a bit more cautiously. I am not a fan of some of the Phoenix, AZ area drivers. Everyone seems to want to get somewhere ysterday. The posted speed limit, at times, seems to be a minimum speed posting. I have ridden in the streets here but I am not very fond of it, even when there is a designated bicycle path in the street. I look back on the things that I used to do and I say to myself, ‘I could hit the streets again and just go for it but what’s the hurry’? Really, bicycling for me now involves bicycle safety. I ride for the enjoyment of the scenery and to relax instead of gobbling up the road and being on the lookout for bumps, glass and errant drivers.
As I aged, and became wiser, I realized that the bicycle is a convenient mode of alternative transportation and not necessarily a device to display your physical prowess, per se. With the availability of public transportation that can accommodate bicycles, one can veritably circumnavigate the entirety of an urban/suburban area and without the use of a car. So, the rider and the bicycle can go around the entire city . . . Safely. It is all about bicycle safety. Safety, for yourself and safety, for others.
As I ride now, I am always watching for the courteousness of automobile drivers. Since I am usually on the sidewalk, I can take things in. I share the sidewalk with pedestrians and I am mindful of traffic rules. Most of the drivers are generous but there are those that I have to be cautious of. I guess my biggest pet peeves are the drivers who put their cars into the crosswalk when I am crossing the street . . . Oh Well.
I implore you to be careful as you ride. Be careful and keep your safety helmet on and, more than that, keep your wits about you. There is no telling from whence an inopportune accident could come. Click this link for information on bicycle safety. Be cautious but most of all be safe.