Monday, January 18, 2016

Bicycle Atonement or a Big Shock.

Atonement: As it turns out, some #bicyclethieves have (or develop) a conscience.  This particular one donated a bicycle 37 years after he stole one.  While that is certainly a lovely gesture, I would prefer not to wait so long for redemption/revenge.  I liked this second story about a bicycle that would administer an electrical shock to a would-be thief in the moment he/she tries to steal the bike.  Fast, efficient, and no need to wait almost four decades for satisfaction.

In the dark of winter, I have noticed that more bicycles are involved in near misses with other bikes, vehicles, or dizzy pedestrians.  So I compiled a list of cycling safety tips from several sources across the globe as a kind of reminder that we still have to ride defensively.  To avoid getting doored, look for car brake lights, several people in a car (distraction), and any car that has parallel parked in front of you.  Try to stay three feet from parked cars whenever you can do that safely.  Or you can wear a low-IQ-and/or-selfish-jerk-o-meter.  This will allow you to detect people who would never think to use their side mirror to check the bike lane before they open their car doors.

This winter rain has been more of an issue than snow.  So how do you ride in the rain and dark safely?  Don't lean into corners, slow down and sit down, and consider reducing your tire pressure a bit.  To that I would add, consider a lighter-colored poncho, assume the worst of drivers, and wear something that blinks enough to give even the Incredible Hulk vertigo.  Put your blinking light higher up, maybe on your pack, and use super bright lights in front and the rear.  And carry a tube.  You do not want to have to patch in this weather, unless you are a masochist.

If you think that cyclists are part of a subculture with its own rules and etiquette, you would be right.  Sort of.  Here is a short version of the rule book, a kind of study guide to the Talmud of cycling without having to immerse yourself in the longer version.  The guide can be reduced to one essential point: know the laws.  And recite them verbally - including the exact code section - to any annoying driver who gets it wrong.  Then refer to the guides above-cross-posted on how to drive fast in the rain and dark, away from some angry driver who tells you that nobody likes a smarty pants.  I myself once referred a driver to the Bicycle Safety Amendment Act, adding that it had passed final vote in October of 2014, and explaining that he was wrong.  He did not smile.  I did.

Washington, DC's #Riide e-bikes made it on Kickstarter and is now in production in the Shaw neighborhood.  The third line is about to become available through web order, and the company allows payment for the $2,000 bikes in monthly installments.  Don't have one yet?  Live in a city with a lot of hills?  Order now.

An Italian radio host wants to nominate the humble bicycle for the Nobel Prize.  Yup.  Seriously.  Here's why it makes sense.  The bicycle is a carbon-free transit mode that improves user health by reducing obesity and increasing fitness levels, which reduces cancer, diabetes and heart disease.  It weighs considerably less than a motor vehicle, meaning that, as a matter of physics, it cannot hurt people as badly as cars in accidents.  That means the humble bicycle saves lives through a variety of direct and indirect means.  Isn't that as good as inventing penicillin?

So, if I see you in the bike lane, and you are on a Riide e-bike, or any bike, whether it is snowing or raining, or as sunny as the Costa del Sol, let's be smug.
Elisa P.

No comments:

Post a Comment