Information on safe cycling in Florida

Don't ride without a helmet.
Don't ride against the traffic.
Always have a light front and rear at night
Courteousness to pedestrians on sidewalks.
Always carry your cell phone and ID with you on rides.
Ride with a buddy.
Wear cycling gloves.
Hydrate on those hot Florida days
Sunscreen on your arms and the back of your neck!!
Sunglasses to protect your sclera from nasty sun scarring.
Put air in your tires before your ride- saves your energy.
On long rides: drink before you're thirsty, snack before your hungry.
Don't trust that the driver sees you- s/he doesn't. Eye contact does not mean s/he won't run you over.
Don't ride drunk unless you are the back of tandem-You will get a ticket.
If the traffic is rush hour, stay on the sidewalk- cell phones can kill.

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Monday, November 8, 2010

4th Annual Bicyle Bash- just sublime.

Well, a good time was had by all.  Thanks to all the bicyclist that came out and signed up for the Newlsetter.  The initial issue is being compiled right now.   I listened to several of the local bike shops tell me about customers who come in at least once a week detailing some indignity, battery (that's a crime folks) or assault.  Many, many stories of law enforcement failing to do its job by just enforcing the laws on the books.  We may need new laws to get enforcers to enforce (?!?!)  Man, I hope not.  I also listened to a lot of cyclist telling "road warrior" stories about cars and intersections.
     Curiously, while listened to all the stories from the cyclists, shop owners, moms and dads, I heard no strories from any of the cyclist doing of any law violations.  I don't think they are hiding anything (we are all friends on the road) and I was listening and ask questions of the folks (don't bulls#*t an attorney).  I think, by and large, we cyclists obey the laws because we don't want to end up as hood ornaments.   Why do I keep hearing complaints about cyclists?   Well for one thing, we have tight clothes, flashy jerseys, cool sunglasses, cool looking bikes; we are saving gas, getting fit, enjoying the out doors, going to a fun place in a fun manner.   Who would not be jealous of a cyclist on a week day or weekend when the jealous person is going off to work or some other obligation?  I bet you've thought that: "Man, I wish I was on my wheels" when going past some solo rider who's passing you repeatedly on the bike lane, while you sit in traffic from light to light.    Too bad they don't realize we may be going to Home Depot, or the post office of FedEx Office or the grocery store or Target.. we just "aren't pollutin' while we're commutin."  Hence, the green eyed monster.   Now there are those screamers on bicycles.  I am not one of them, yet.   However, I have the luxury (?) of  staying away from the CO2 belchers myself, but I certainly can see the justification for the anger at cars when we get run off the road on our carbon fiber 700c tires or get whacked by a mirror (my last case).
     But let me just pause right here and say....
I just want to remind everyone, we are all ambassadors of cycling.  Pedestrians have the right of way on sidewalks. The overly polite woman who stops in the middle of the road and waves you through while you are obviously waiting  next to the crosswalk for her to go by is a road hazard.   Wave vigorously for her to go and make the people behind her like you in  your tight shorts/fancy sunglasses.  The more we are polite to the gas guzzlers, the more we have advocates when we need them.  Whether in a county Commission meeting or whether we are laying on the side of the road watching stars go around our head while 911 is being called.
     Law enforcement is also an ally who we can bring closer to our cause.   How many of you have hit another car and caused $7,000 damage with your bicycle?  How many have gone 55 in a 30 mph  or school zone?  How many of you have driven drunk up an  interstate ramp and gone backwards in a 70 mph lane hitting a mother and her kids killing them all?  No takers?  Right.  That's my point.  We are a very safe, low impact., easy to maintain community of vehicles.  That's right - vehicles. We are vehicles fully entitled to use of the roads here in the state of Florida.  However, we have also to obey ALL the traffic laws.  If you do, no ticket, less work for law enforcement officers.  They love you.   Law enforcement makes the same amount of money if they write or don't write ticket.  You cause work, you are not liked.  So, if you make a semi-stop at a stop sign and use your left hand to signal- law enforcement hasn't got a beef, neither does the driver behind you  or the one making the turn.  You're acting like a vehicle and legitimizing a bicycle on the road.   If you obey the laws, you will go a long way to getting the cycling community accepted as a segment of the folks who pay taxes for roads and have full rights to the use thereof.
  So, be kind.  Be an ambassador for your fellow cyclists, obey the laws, use your arm and signal.  Wear a helmet, encourage moms and dads to wear helmets, obey the traffic signals (except for those damn red lights that don't trip- but that's another post.)
J. Steele

"Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride." - President John F. Kennedy

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