Jim’s Tech Talk
By Jim Langley
I’ve been a member of our local bike club, the Santa Cruz County Cycling Club since I moved here in 1982. Good members make a good club, so when I’m asked to contribute something I try to help. And this time, I think what I was asked to provide will interest you, too.
Our club newsletter editor, Grace Voss, asked if I’d like to write an editorial about an article a club member sent her way.
It’s in the online science e-zine Elemental and has the disturbing title: What’s Behind the Rise in Bike Fatalities? With the even more alarming subtitle, “Studies suggest a number of factors – including negative attitudes toward cyclists.”
Grace thought I’d be a good person to comment on that bit about the “negative attitudes toward cyclists.” Because I have ridden every day now for a little over 25 1/2 years, or roughly 9,366 consecutive days. And that doesn’t include my previous thirty years cycling, just not consecutively.
Driving Drives Some Folks Bonkers
During all that saddle time I have experienced the “negative attitudes” the article describes so many times, that I’m convinced there’s something about the act of driving that can turn certain people nuts.
Sure, I could be the one who’s nuts with my pet theory. But read the full title of the article again and think about what it says. It starts talking about the rise in fatalities (25% hike from 2010 to 2017!) Then it ties the fatalities in part to negative attitudes toward cyclists.
Does that make sense to you? Not to me. I get that you don’t like or you’re mad at cyclists – some people are just haters. What I don’t get is how being mad turns into attempted or actual(!) murder.
Angry Drivers Don’t Only Target Cyclists
And I have never bought into the theory you hear that cyclists who behave badly by ignoring traffic rules are asking to get buzzed or run off the road – or over! Or that if we were all angels on our bikes, drivers would stop driving dangerously.
Because, these misguided drivers with the bad attitudes don’t harass and threaten only cyclists, they do it to pedestrians and other non-motorized road-users, too. I know because it happened to me when I was a runner back in the 70’s – the same ugly, dangerous behavior behind the wheel.
More Road Dangers
Almost as bad as hateful drivers, there’s the deadly impact of increased driving speeds, most vehicles on the road getting humongous, dangerous road conditions all over, and worst, distracted driving. Is it any wonder the cycling stats are getting so scary?
Technology to the Rescue?
Still, I don’t plan to stop riding and I don’t want you to, either. I actually think there’s hope on the horizon in the form of smart autonomous cars.
If/when they go mainstream, everything could change – including the ability to harass, threaten or attack cyclists while driving, since these cars wouldn’t allow such madness.
Safe Road Cycling Tips
If that comes to pass it won’t happen for a while. So, in the meantime, here are tips for reducing the risk from drivers when riding. I’m assuming your bike and equipment are safe, you wear a helmet and you know that cyclists follow the same rules of the road as motorists.
- Use lights during the day and night
- Choose low-traffic routes
- Choose low-traffic days/hours
- In many locations roads are getting worse all the time so you want to try to know about and avoid the dangerous ones, which usually includes those under construction
- Take the lane when it’s needed to control the situation and prevent drivers squeezing dangerously past
- Fully focus on the road and traffic conditions and ride strategically to limit exposure to risks – for example, here in Santa Cruz, Mission Street is super dangerous and it’s okay and smart to ride on the sidewalk
- Ride with others who know how to ride together – it’s usually safer in a good group than alone
- Harness technology such as Garmin computers that track and show passing vehicles (note that being hit from behind is one of the most common incidents now)
- Use a rear view mirror (not for everyone, but many riders love them)
- Take a safe cycling course, such as Bike League’s Smart Cycling
And, last, a bonus tip: many cyclists have taken to the indoors to ride because there’s zero risk from traffic. Plus, smart trainers and virtual reality software has almost brought the outdoors inside now.
Wait, there’s more! One of my clubmates and our club Director of Safety and Education Albert Saporta, just provided the following short review of his Garmin Varia RTL510 rear light radar and Garmin 520 Plus computer, which tracks vehicles behind you. I haven’t tried one of these systems so I reached out to him.
Albert’s Review of Garmin’s Car-tracking Radar Computer
“Jim, it’s not the computer that detects cars. It’s the Garmin rear light radar, the Varia RTL510. It pairs only with Garmin 510 and newer computers (I have a 520 Plus). The computer picks up the signal from the radar and visually displays oncoming cars on screen.
There is an audible alert too (series of beeps). On a straight flat road, it will detect cars as far away as – guessing here – 100 to 150 yards back (my observation riding on Delaware Drive in Santa Cruz and on East Lake in Watsonville). MY NOTE: these are mostly long straights.
I love this thing, Jim. It’s great when needing to cross lanes to get to a left turn lanes, or having to take a lane for whatever reason. Last year riding in a paceline on Hwy 116 along the Russian River with no shoulder for about 12 miles, the group was very glad I was able to call “car back” no matter where I was in the line (there were 5 of us), and without turning my head to look back or hearing the cars approaching.
This was an especially good thing as there were several fully electric cars approaching from time to time (Teslas), and those things you can’t hear until they’re on your wheel. I was nicknamed “Radar Man” by the group.
My only nitpick is battery life. On full, steady mode, I think I got maybe 4.5 hrs of service after an overnight recharge.”
I hope these tips are helpful and look forward to reading your best tips in the comments.
Here’s a link to the full article.
Ride total: 9,366
Jim Langley is RBR’s Technical Editor. He has been a pro mechanic and cycling writer for more than 40 years. He’s the author of Your Home Bicycle Workshop in the RBR eBookstore. Check out his “cycling aficionado” website at http://www.jimlangley.net, his Q&A blog and updates at Twitter. Jim’s cycling streak ended in February 2022 with a total of 10,269 consecutive daily rides (28 years, 1 month and 11 days of never missing a ride). Click to read Jim’s full bio.
Kenneth Pierce says
Good stuff. When on my bike, motorcycle or in my car I always drive like no one sees me. It’s a technique that has kept me safe for decades. I use lane control when cycling on narrow lanes and busy four lane roads. It makes some drivers angry but best thing to do is just ignore them, confrontation gets you nowhere except stressed and can ruin your ride. Some actually understand what you are doing and give a friendly honk when you move to the right to let them pass. I cycle mostly narrow rural roads and take the lane when oncoming traffic approaches then move to the right after it’s safe. Local cops/MP’s think it’s crazy when I do this and don’t understand how I can be safer in the middle of the lane. Even after I explain that basic road safety is to be seen by other vehicles, sadly, they still look befuddled. I’ve even been told it is illegal and I will be cited if caught. Silly cops don’t know the UVC or state cycling laws, I have the real law on my side. Know your local cycling specific laws. A good start is Bob Mionske’s book, “Biycling and the Law; your rights as a cyclist”
Stay safe and know you laws.
David Keller says
I know this is a popular tactic, but I feel the bad will it creates is counterproductive and ultimately creates more danger for riders. in the long run.
Deborah Chamitoff says
I do this all the time! If there is no room for a car to pass because of oncoming traffic, I will move to the left so that they won’t try to squeeze past and hit me with their mirror or trailer! I’ve had too many close calls. When it’s safe I move to the right and give them a wave and a smile! Sometimes that relieves their frustration. I figure if they are angry at me, then they can see me! No driver will intentionally hit a cyclist. I also wear high viz everything, lights and a mirror on my glasses! Don’t forget to shoulder check even if you have a mirror. It’s a signal to drivers that you are going to do something. Be a good cycling ambassador. Thank drivers for waiting, letting you go first at a stop sign or any other pleasant interaction!
Ye Olde Buzzard says
Yes, some drivers will intentionally hit a cyclist… the hate out there is strong.
Bob Holdsworth says
Always a critical topic to think about and the Safe Cycling Tips are key especially the ones about staying focused on the road, route planning and time of day. I would add on group rides to please be careful riding two abreast. I see that all the time with one person in the traffic lane when there is a wide breakdown lane. We cyclists need to be considerate of drivers. I totally agree with the use of lights too. I see a lot of cyclists with no lights – especially solo riders! And they are wearing dark clothes which makes it very hard to see them on roads with tree cover! Light up the day like a lighthouse and wear bright colors!
WE need to be considerate of drivers?? I think you meant to say that the other way around. In most states it is perfectly legal to ride two abreast. Riding two abreast is safer and allows cars to pass a shorter group. Would you rather pass a long drawn out line of riders, or a short compact group? There are real life reasons we are afforded these laws, they keep us safe.
When you say “breakdown lane” I’m assuming you mean the shoulder. The shoulder is not a bike lane, if we cower to motor vehicles and stay on the shoulder scared, then drivers will treat us even worse. It’s actually safer to be left of the white line. I ride in the right wheel track, then take the lane when I see oncoming traffic approaching and move to the center to stop dangerous and illegal passes by the vehicles behind me, and cars will see you and will have to give you more room when passing. There is usually a lot of debris and and rumble strips on the shoulder which can make riding there even more dangerous. I don’t understand the “we must give-in to cars” attitude. We are LEGAL vehicles and part of traffic when on the road, same as cars.
Harvey Miller says
The obvious “solution” to this issue is that ALL parties should be considerate of each other. Having stated that seemingly obvious fact/opinion the issue remains concerning the boundaries of consideration, i.e., what the law states about required behaviors under the variety of presented conditions.
Unfortunately, knowledge of the law combined with each individuals ability to deal with the typical stresses of life and moving about among others still remains the stumbling block. It’s the old struggle that has hindered life since the dawn of life itself: the problems created between the caring and the selfish. Good luck trying to solve THAT problem. 🙂
Share the road is a two way street. Yes, cyclists need to be considerate of other road users too.
After riding with the Garmin Varia 510 for almost a year, I would not ride without it. I also ride with a mirror and I can’t understand why others ride without a mirror in these times of distracted drivers. The Varia clearly shows cars coming up from behind when they are 420 feet away. What I really appreciate about it is that many times I will look at my mirror and see a car approaching. What I can’t see with a mirror is if there is one car or several. The Varia will show up to five cars. The only negative with the Varia is that the alert beep is not quite loud enough for my old ears. I hope that Garmin will update the firmware so that it sends the alert to a smartphone like it does with other alerts.
It gets 15 hours of run time in day flash mode and 6 hours in night flash mode,
Neal, I could never hear the beep on my Garmin 510, but I switched to a Wahoo unit and can now hear the beeps perfectly. Also the Wahoo unit shows the cars on the correct side of the screen (if you don’t live where they drive on the left).
You’re right the Wahoo does have a slightly louder beep. Problem with me is my poor hearing still can not hear the beeps on the bike. The newer Varia 515 can send the beeps to a iphone which in turn can be sent to a ear piece. Not the most elegant of solutions but it works fine.
Roy Bloomfield says
“What I really appreciate about it is that many times I will look at my mirror and see a car approaching. What I can’t see with a mirror is if there is one car or several. ”
Hmm. Looking through MY mirror, I can easily see how many vehicles are lined up behind me, because the closer they get to me, the further to the left they go, which affords me a clear view all the way to the last vehicle, as they’re like staggered dominoes.. Not only that, but with a mirror I can easily tell the difference between a motorcyclist and a semi truck, and I can also see how much room they plan to give me as they approach me (extremely relevant info!)…all of which the Garmin Varia will not do . . . I rest my case
Roy, I have to disagree with you about being able to see how many vehicles are behind. I have many times been in situations that I have to closely monitor cars in front of me and I can’t be looking at my Take a Look mirror for more than a second. Not enough time to count cars. The Varia does not replace a mirror. It is simply another tool to help keep us safe. I think if you tried one you would understand why it gets rave reviews with many saying they would not ride without it.
Brian Nystrom says
I want to correct what seems to be a pretty serious misconception. The last statistics I saw for bicycle accidents indicated that being hit from behind accounted for only 5% of all bicycle accidents and that ~70% were self-inflicted, either from mistakes, inattention or doing something stupid. As it is, I talk to quite a few people who are convinced that road riding is extremely dangerous and consequently don’t ride. Nothing could be further from the truth! If you choose your routes wisely and pay attention while you’re on the road, the likelihood of being involved in a crash or getting injured is really low. To paraphrase our state motto here in NH, “Live Free and Ride!”
During the first 30 years of my adult cycling experience (1965-1995), there were no bike trails in my vicinity so I rode on the open rural highways. In more recent years, after friends were hit with one now a paraplegic for the rest of his life, I ride only around our small town and on bike trails which do now exist, With distracted driving now a major issue, I stay off the open highways. I also spin indoors if the streets are wet or snow covered.
For the first 30 years, I used no mirrors. I, now, use the “Take-a-Look” mirror on my glasses. After starting to use it, I wished I had been using it many years sooner. I feel naked without it – like not having a seat belt fastened. A quick flick of the eyes checks the traffic behind me without moving my head – while still looking down the road ahead. I can also do a wide sweep behind me. My wife also uses the “Take-a-Look” mirror fastened to her helmet.
Roy Bloomfield says
I totally agree regarding the “Take A Look” mirror. Why all road cyclists don’t use one, I don’t quite get. Maybe it’s because the pros don’t use them. I guess it’s a tribal vanity thing. I’d rather take my chances with being smart and alive than possibly “cool” and not so alive (dead).
I have been using a Garmin Edge 200, an older GPS computer, for many years. It, basically, has the standard bike computer functions with the added capability of being able to upload one’s ride data after the ride. I upload special rides to Garmin Connect.
Joe D says
Recently I have noticed while being passed by cars the smell of marijuana. Surely driving while smoking weed does not improve ones driving skills. One more reason to always cycle as you are invisible and don’t assume that the drivers in cars around will behave one way or another. Many of todays drivers are not driving at all, They happen to be behind the wheel of a 4 ton vehicle while doing many other things: texting, on the phone, eating, putting on make-up, reaching for something, reading the paper, disciplining their children, drinking and now smoking pot. Many drivers are not happy to share the road with anyone let alone a cyclist. My experience is that people in cars are not happy to be in their cars.
George Straznitskas says
I totally agree with Neal. I’ve used the Garmin Varia for 1 1/2 years and would never ride ride again without it.
I ride 10,000+ miles annually, almost all of it on roads here in Ct, as well as Clermont FL a few weeks in the winter.
Someone mentioned the battery lasting 5-6 hours. I remedied that problem by turning the Garmin 520 down to 20% brightness. My 75 year old eyes still can clearly see the display without a problem and the Varia charge lasts 9-10 hours.
The Varia completely eliminates turning your head before swinging out to avoid road hazards. Can’t say enough about the Varia!
Mark Riordan says
When a motor vehicle is behind me, I will do anything REASONABLE to let him pass. When he is behind me, he is a potential danger. The sooner he passes, the sooner he is out of my life and the danger is gone. Also, I would rather create the opportunity for him passing under my terms, when I feel it is safe. The longer he sits behind me, his blood pressure is rising and he will potentially create the opportunity to pass at his own convenience, not for safety.
Robert T Brandenburg says
A feature not mentioned regarding the Varia is that it can be paired with ANY compatible Garmin in the group. I have used the original model Varia now for several years. When I am in group rides with others that have a Garmin that is compatible with it, I have them also pair to it. They get the advantage of having a display that shows vehicles behind us relative to my position in the group. In addition, the flashing mode of the Varia changes as vehicles approach. Thus riders behind me that can see my light are also alerted to approaching vehicles. A caveat, I have had situations where I needed to change lanes and the Varia did not show approaching vehicles. So in conjunction with the Varia, I use a mirror to ALWAYS verify that I am clear visually.
George Straznitskas says
Thanks. Didn’t know that.
The Varia also pairs with other brand computers such as Wahoo and smart phones.
Dave S. says
It also pairs with Hammerhead Karoo2 and will issue an audible alert via Bluetooth to compatible hearing aids for those who wear them while riding.
I’ve been road riding since the early 1970s. I also commuted 20 miles round trip to work from a suburb to a city for some years before retirement. My observation is the single biggest reason road riding is much, much more dangerous today is drivers’ constant use of mobile phones. Another is the use of tinted glass that makes it almost impossible to “make eye contact with the driver to be sure they see you before proceeding” as we were taught. Another is the proliferation of drivers who have schedules to meet and are often in a hurry driving aggressively, including package delivery services and gig economy drivers who feel pressure to meet their schedules.
For what it’s worth, my approach is to give drivers every possible chance to see me and hope for the best. Whether daylight or night riding, I wear bright reflective clothing, loud reflective ankle and wrists bands (so maybe they see me signaling when making a turn or taking the lane) a flashing light on the handlebar, three flashing lights in back (saddle bag, mid-back and helmet mounted). My front helmet mounted light allows me to look directly at drivers in hopes they see me when their eyes come up from their phones before they enter the road from a stop sign or finish backing out of their driveways. I rely heavily on a mirror and never ride with headphones because often I hear traffic approaching from behind before I can see it.. And I ride slower than before, partly due to age but mostly to ride defensively.
Of course, none of this guarantees a bike rider’s safety. A hit-and-run driver wrecked me making a right hand turn directly in front of me in an intersection (my state has the 3 foot and no right turns in front of cyclists laws). I was lucky to receive only a broken wrist, broken ribs and a deep knee bruise, and not flipped over the car onto my head or neck. Another time I was in the middle of a 4 way stop intersection when a stopped car started rolling toward me. I was able to unclip and plant my foot just as the car passed in front of my wheel. I yelled and the driver looked up with a look of horror on their face. A mile down the road I was stopped at a light in the left hand turn lane. I heard a voice from the car next to me say, “Sir, I think I almost killed you back there and want to apologize.” I asked if they didn’t see me. They held up a blackberry and said, “I was distracted.”
Greg Titus says
Having a BRIGHT rear flashing taillight is probably the best thing you can do to avoid being hit from behind. Radar technology is nice, but if the motorist can’t see you very well, you’re really at greater risk. I ride (solo) w/3 Cygolite Hotshot Pro taillights, each one on the simple flash mode. Cars pass more safely since I’ve been doing this, and they can see me up to a mile away (literally) and have plenty of time to mentally prepare how they’re going to manage passing me.
The Hotshot lights are great and I use one in addition to the Varia radar. The Varia does start to flash very rapidly when a car gets closer to me which I think really helps to get there attention. The more lights the better is my moto. I also have a flashing light for the front that is bright enough to be clearly seen in the daytime,
George Straznitskas says
The Varia has a very bright tail light (3modes).
Mitch Friendly says
I just installed three Cygolite tail lights on my bike with the thought that all that flashing should wake up the distracted driver. Glad to hear that someone else has had good experience with it.
Will Haltiwanger says
After years of using a bar end mirror I switched to a helmet mirror. It gives me a better view behind and one I can control by turning my head. I use it even off road because I like to know when there are bikes behind me, how close they are and so forth. Any benefit from smart cars is years in the future. For now I have switched from mostly on road tours to riding trails like the KATY and GAP/C&O. A shame to have to drive one to two days to find safe places for a multi day trip.
Matt K says
If you wouldn’t drive a car without a mirror, why would you ride a bike without one? It’s only vanity, the fear of looking like a nerd. Get over it.
More cycling fatalities may also be linked to more cyclists. But cell phones are likely the main cause I’d bet.
Mark Edwards says
Thanks for the tip Jim! Ordered my Varia just now!
One habit seldom mentioned is giving positive reinforcement to drivers who take care not to turn in front of bikers, carefully pass, or wait for you to go by. As in raising kids, you should be giving positive to negative comments/gestures by a ratio of at least 5 to 1 (and preferably 10/1).
Been using the Varia now for several months and also think this is a great aid, particularly preventing me from stupid moves like moving into a lane to turn without clearly identifying a car behind me.
George Straznitskas says
Excellent point re positive feedback 👍🏻
nancy m says
I have the take a look mirror on my helmet and won’t ride without it. I find myself checking up in that left corner even when I’m walking on the sidewalk and not wearing my helmet!
But as a daily bike commuter in Boston, I agree that there are plenty of angry people on the road. Along with lots of pot smoking (legal in MA but illegal in a car). I always assume that I’m not seen. I also think they’re angry because I’m able to pass everyone and not sit in the horrible daily traffic. Unfortunately, driving apps like “ways” have shown people the back roads and shortcuts that I’ve been using for years so there is no way to go without lots of cars. I obey all traffic signals and have front and rear lights and find the blinking modes are most helpful when riding at night.
Ollie Jones says
A couple of things:
Where I live there’s a nice beach area with bike lanes on either side of the access road. I’ve adopted the bike lanes. That means I go out there two or three times each summer. I trim the bushes that encroach the lanes and pick up broken glass. I also have spoken to people at a couple of businesses along the road, asking them to ask their customers not to block the bike lanes. That way beach visitors, and I, can use the bike lanes without being forced into the car lanes. A police officer once asked me what I was up to, and I explained. I think the police officer learned something.
If a lot of cyclists did this we’d have safer bike lanes and a little good publicity. Please consider adopting a road near you!
Second: I drive one of those electric cars, so I pay attention to how they affect cyclists. They make almost as much noise as modern gas cars when they’re moving at 25mph or faster. It’s only when they’re moving slowly that they’re super quiet. They definitely don’t make as much noise as that F-250 with modified mufflers and flagpole in the middle of the bed.
Making autonomous cars smart enough to avoid cyclists pedestrians is going to be VERY hard. “Smart” in this case means having situational memory. Car to self: “Check it out. There was a cyclist here yesterday. Today I see three. There might be more. Watch out, self!” It’s a long way off. Promises of loudmouth entrepreneurs saying “fully autonomous by the end of this year” notwithstanding.
Dean S says
For me, my position on the road is so crucial to my safety. The roads I ride have no shoulders and have narrow lanes, blind turns and hills. Ya know – nice country roads mostly with some highways sprinkled around.
My default path is about 18″ left of the white line (or an imagined white line, if there is none). I ride about where the right ‘tire track’ is in the travel lane. I use a mirror and employ hold & release when necessary, many thousands of times a year. If other drivers get pissed (about .1%) I try hard not to get bummed, it’s not my fault the road is narrow with bad sight lines, I’m just looking out for my safety.
The instant I try to ‘gutter bunny’ or edge ride things get bad! I get close passed routinely, overlooked at intersections more often and hit bad/dangerous bits of road, risking flats/crashes. Easy to play around w/ road position on your rides and the effect it has on passing clearance and your general visibility/safety. Ride on
Once you have the Varia, there is a NetIQ widget that records data for every vehicle that passes. In Connect, your ride data will show a simple graphic showing each pass and both the absolute overtake speed and the absolute speed. THEN there is a web site to which you can upload your ride data. It will show where on the route and at what speed each vehicle passed.
A buddy had small video cameras front and back. He has been actually assaulted a few times. It has resulted in the conviction of at least one motorist.
Robert Hunter says
Personally I make myself as visible as practicable on the bicycle and my motorcycle and consider myself to be invisible. As much as possible I try and keep my life in my own hands. I have a helmet and bar end mirrors and can’t imagine the rationale for not using mirrors and this way I don’t have to look up or down distracting myself from the road. I had a friend; a German American retired engineer who did everything in a professional manner. Riding in a group in Ft. Myers Beach he was taken out by a cager. His son and girlfriend had to pull the plug on him. Nicky Hayden was the best American Moto GP rider of his generation; taken out on a bicycle in Italy. Slobism and it’s all about me attitudes have taken over N American people and I don’t see that changing for the better any time soon. I ride back roads here in small town Ontario and I’m off to A Florida soon where the driver’s are the worst I’ve ever experienced. Incompetent, arrogant and agressive. I tried to ride the local roads in the Florida city area but between the agressive spaced out drivers and the dogs I’ve relagated my riding to my mobile home park and they’re bad enough in there, all zonked out with their phones they’re so clueless that they don’t pair them with their vehicles. I guess it’s me but I can’t see myself ever biking indoors and I have a trainer in the basement. IMHO it’s all related to the breakdown of the social contract but that’s another story.
David Ide says
I use the Garmin Varia RTL , radar+light with a Wahoo Bolt.
It does pick up cyclists behind me in a pace line, but after awhile it is easy to tell the difference between cars and bikes.
When alone , as my radar detects a car approaching, I stick my arm fully out to the side and give a wave. I don’t think the driver knows for sure what I am signaling but it does make my visual road space bigger. Almost all drivers seem to give me a wider pass and most will wait for a clear line of sight if it is hilly ( which all my rides are in hilly terrain).
Then as they are passing I give a normal friendly wave of thanks.
This really seems to make a difference .
Thanks for your lifelong involvement in cycling and instruction.
George A Ridgley says
You are correct. This article is dated since the Varia RTL510 also syncs with Wahoo. I too, use it with a Wahoo.
Michael Chritton says
We moved from Ohio to the Lowlands of South Carolina (coastal adjacent) a year ago.
In northeast Ohio, it was easy to get onto low traffic farm roads and ride safely for hours.
It’s a different story here in coastal SC where the roads and traffic are so bike-unfriendly that the downtown bike shop doesn’t even sell road bikes and organized group rides are on a bike path or in an industrial park.
The reasons are many. Geographically, rivers and wetlands limit the locations of roads. The influx of new residents has clogged the existing roads. Nearby state roads have narrow or no shoulders and are filled with fast-moving dump trucks and timber haulers.
It’s probably better in other parts of the state but as it is, this 70-year-old hasn’t ridden outdoors except for races in all our time here. Thank goodness for Zwift.
Big Bob says
All good advice, but I’d add consider cameras, front and rear. They won’t prevent an incident, but may provide valuable evidence in case of one. FWIW, I ride with front and rear flashers, a handlebar mounted mirror, and the aforementioned cameras (from Cycliq).
Rick Andrew says
I agree with Matt K. Above. Take a Look mirrors are the best. Should have gotten one years ago. I didn’t want to look geeky and nerdy. I was more concerned with looking cool. I was sacrificing safety for cool. What a dope.
Kevin Stamm says
Don’t ride impatiently. Most of my self induced incidents are caused by being in a hurry and trying to do something I should not be doing.
I used to teach a woodworking course and as part of the safety lecture-
most accident happen because
1. You are tired.
2. You are doing something that does not feel safe.
3. You are in a hurry.
Slow down and be patient. The few seconds you save is never going to be a net savings bundled w/ a trip to the hospital or morgue.
Doug Kirk (Madison, Wi0 says
Jim, what does the research say about steady v. flashing rear lights?