A coworker and I were riding home by bicycle from my part-time job Sunday evening when I hit a curb and flipped off of the bike. When I got up, I had searing pain behind my left shoulder, and I was scraped up a bit. Since the crash occurred only a few blocks from home, I told my coworker that I’d be okay and to go ahead. I was able to walk home with my bike, my backpack still on my back.
I don’t remember the walk home. But after getting home, I had this realization that I had crashed and that I was home. My mind was racing from the adrenaline, and the pain in my shoulder suddenly got worse. I then called Kristen, who was out of town at the time, and she told me to call my buddy Josh. So Josh came and took me to the hospital.
I attended a session on bike etiquette recently, where they showed this video of a crusader out to help drivers learn that bikes are legal vehicles on the road. Jeff Frings decided to take the whole bike vs. car issues one step further. He was tired of close calls, so he mounted video cameras to his bicycle to document his near misses.
On Sunday, March 15, my friend Josh and I agreed to go for a ride outside. It had been 10 days since my first ride outside, before the temperatures dropped into freezing again and then climbed out to provide warmer weather. Although Josh prefers warmer weather, he and I agreed to ride around the lake.
I was running just a little behind schedule, so I stopped at my local REI and bought myself a state trail pass. I then rode the three miles to catch up with him. When I arrived, he said, “you know, we’re out here and it’s a pretty decent day, so what do you think about riding down to Paoli and back?”
The weather on Thursday, March 5, was so warm that we hit 60 degrees Fahrenheit (about 15 C). It was pretty warm, so I had spring fever. I changed the rear tire on my bike from the trainer to the road tire and anticipated getting out on Friday. Since it was warmer again on Friday, I layered up and headed out.
I had planned a short ride: about 30-45 minutes. I figured out my route, one of my usual shorter rides, and headed out. It was slightly windy, and I headed right into it (meaning good tailwind on the way home). However, all that time on the trainer should have helped pay off, at least a little.
I would only expect this in a city that does a terrible job of not putting its money where its mouth is. The Madison Plan Commission decided to forego any attempt to pursue the interests of the city’s bike and pedestrian and mass transit efforts in the interest of the mighty dollar. And Marcus, the developer who will build a large retail and entertainment mall on Madison’s far east side, is just as short-sighted as those on the Plan Commission that voted for it to drop the bike-ped and mass transit requirements.
This is the city that allows businesses to expand and doesn’t do anything for the surrounding infrastructure. We have busy four-lane roads with stop signs at its intersections. We have more traffic in front of our expanded grocery stores and malls than the roads were ever designed to handle. And yet we are supposedly one of the friendliest cities for bikes. Bullsh*t.
It’s December in Wisconsin again. We’re on pace to receive more snow than last year. That means that the roads are in terrible condition. It’s not exactly my idea of safe riding weather, at least for anyone that isn’t comfortable riding.
So it surprised me to find a woman riding on the street one day. I had just turned onto a main road from my workplace when I encountered the rider pedaling along the right side of the road. A couple of cars had passed her as she made her way to the intersection with a four-way stop. So I slowed down behind her and let her proceed to the intersection. But she was not a skilled rider: she didn’t have a helmet, she rode what looked like either a cruiser or a hybrid (she sat upright), and she was hugging the side of the road, which meant trying to cut through snow and slush. She even nearly fell off her bike before the intersection, but she managed to make it there before dismounting.
The Wisconsin State Journal reports that back on November 26, one cyclist was followed and attacked by another when the first one told the other and his girlfriend to “get a light.” The incident occurred in the evening, so the first cyclist could barely see the others coming, and thus made the suggestion. The other cyclist followed the first one home and attacked him. The second cyclist was eventually arrested, thanks to the cycling community.
It’s bad enough that cars already have a difficult time seeing bicyclists on the road without lights. But what really bothers me is when a bicyclist doesn’t take any responsibility for the safety equipment on their own bicycles. I typically ride my road bike during the day, so it’s often unnecessary to put lights on it. But I have the mounts, and when I plan on riding when it starts to get dark, the lights go on. It’s just one more way for motorists to see me and know that there’s another vehicle sharing the roads with them.
So to all of those bicyclists that are completely in the dark: get a light.