May-June 1998 Newsletter
Road Wiseby Don Williams (LAB Effective Cycling Instructor)
Traffic smarts are an important part of a pleasant cycling experience. How and where we ride can have far reaching impact on many cyclists. How our actions appear to the motoring public can stop us faster than a stick in the spokes.
Our favorite wintertime activity, alpine skiing, parallels cycling in many ways. Skiers and snowboarders use the same hill at many resorts. At other resorts, boarders are not allowed. A basic list of differences begins with a vastly different dress code, and possibly because of that, many skiers are slow to accept the board riders. Add in wild riding, stunts, and a perceived disregard for authority to complicate matters and the differences become even more evident. Now, are there any similarities with how the non-cycling public could possibly view us as cyclists?
It is extremely important to our cause that we act and are treated as vehicles of the road. If you drive to work and the traffic light changes, and say you drive in circles rather than stop, to keep your car in gear until the green appears, then feel free to do so on your bike as well. Likewise, if the green turn arrow goes red before you get to the intersection in your car, and you think itís okay to proceed against the signal when traffic clears, then it must be okay on a bike. Right? Wrong!
Bikes can trip most of the vehicle sensors that control lane approaches these days. Look for the cut in the pavement and swerve back and forth over the edge of the big square in the street, the sensor will detect your presence and allow the traffic signal to go through its rounds. Track stands are a blast to try, as long as you leave plenty of room to bail out if you canít get unclipped from your pedals.
Sliding through a red light on a deserted road when no oneís around is one thing, albeit against the law, however, we must muster all our collective strength to avoid this temptation when there are four opposing lanes of motorists staring at the strangely dressed neíer do wells, blatantly ignoring the traffic laws of the Commonwealth.
Aside from the obvious things that concern our well-being on the road, it doesnít hurt to think itís all part of being Road-Wise.
Copyright ©1998 Louisville Wheelmen. All rights reserved.
Web posted: 27 April 1998
last updated: 27 April 1998
by Duc M. Do