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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Situational Awareness and The Cyclist

or how not to be a street pizza!

Situational awareness is always necessary if you are going to ride a bike in traffic. The best method I know is to pretend you are invisible. Assume the driver in the 2-3 ton steel box just cannot, for whatever reason, see you. In a perfect world, all drivers would be aware of everything going on around them at all times. Unfortunately, and sadly, this isn't the case. Here are some basic guidelines I try to go by:
  • Wear bright colors, be visible.
  • If riding in bad weather, use a blinkie set. (Flashing LED Taillight and Headlight.) A flashing light can be seen 5X as far as a stead light. This is especially true if riding in fog or rain.
  • Wear a helmet, preferably one that can be seen at 200 yards in headlights or the sunlight!
  • Always, ALWAYS be aware of the traffic around you, the damage you do to their vehicle is very minor in comparison to the damage they do to you!
  • Use a mirror (either handlebar or helmet mount) to be aware of traffic approaching from behind.
Follow these simple guidelines and your cycling experience will have a greater likelihood of a successful ride, vs. being a street pizza. This ALWAYS ruins your day!

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