Fall is fast-approaching, and with it comes an abundance of bicycle rides, tours, and events in full swing. I think it’s time to think about how we conduct ourselves as cyclists, and as motorists. The Hilly Hundred draws thousands of riders each year, and The Great Pumpkin Metric has between 850 and 1,000 riders each year riding courses ranging from 25K – 100K. What does this mean to all of us?
The first thing that comes to mind is fun! Cycling is fun for the entire family. The second thing is safety. When addressing the latter SAFETY, we need to look at the entire scope the three W’s. Who, what, and where aspects of safety. Who – everyone riding a bike. What – make sure your visible bright clothing, make sure that your children who ride are wearing bright colored clothing this will help make them more visible to drivers. Motorists are looking for other cars, not cyclist and definitely not small children on bicycles. Helmets, not just for kids. I explained to one parent years ago that kids learn by example, and it they see you not wearing a helmet they don’t understand why they have to. Eye protection, bugs, rocks, and dirt can cause you injury or an accident. Where – ride with traffic, on a dual lane road ride in the right hand lane. Allowing room on your right side for safety, and in a position that you’re visible to drivers approaching from the rear.
The second thing that comes to mind is sharing the road with automobiles is how cyclists behave while riding. Cyclists should be courteous and respectful to other cyclists and motorists. That means riding no more than two abreast, and single file in high traffic areas. Use hand signals, and obey the law. Being respectful of fellow cyclists includes calling out their passing on the left, using hand signals or calling out hazards. As motorists, we should allow at least three feet between your vehicle and cyclists when passing, don’t honk your horn, yell, or throw things at cyclists, and be watchful for cyclists. I don’t know about you, but right now and for the next couple of months the sunrise and sunsets are blinding. Be aware of this when planning your routes.
Be safe, have fun, and enjoy the ride.
–Darlene Wefel, board member, Bicycle Indiana