Friday, November 19, 2010

Bicycle Checklist

Not much has happened over the last month for me.  Oh, except that the Cyclist Bill of Rights passed!  Let's not forget the new bike lane on Lanvale!  Now it's easier to get to Falls Road!

OK enough with the shouting.  Let's get onto a subject I haven't completely tackled yet:  Necessary Bicycle Accessories.
1.  Rear-view mirror
All cyclist should not assume the cars or other cyclists behind them are going to pass as expected.  Cyclists are not the only people on the road.  There are plenty of faster vehicles out there that barely get a scratch if they hit the meat-bag known as your body.  Following the rules of the road is not always enough because not everyone is on board.  It is the most logical thing for a cyclist to have an extra pair of eyes on the back of their head by installing a $15 mirror somewhere on their bike.  When you don't, you put other cyclists in awkward situations:

2.  More Reflectors
I get it, you don't have much money or just plain old cheap.  Everyone has to cut corners at some point in their life.  But there is a difference between cutting corners that SAVES money and cutting corners that ENDANGERS lives (more specifically, yours).  I see people with single gear bikes (cringe) with maybe just one, front-tire handle brake and maybe a reflector on each pedal, and that's it!  Seriously?!  You actually feel safe like that?  One of the safest things a cyclist can do on a busy road is be seen, especially at night.  

3.  Blinking Handlebar Light
This one should be a no-brainer.  What kind of light easily catches the human eye?  Blinking light!  So when you are riding at night an a car is coming from the other direction, they will be able to detect you long before they actually "see" you.  Blinking lights are also good for catching peoples' eyes in their rear-view mirror so they know that if they hit their brake suddenly for no reason, a cyclist will lose his wings.

4.  Helmet

I can't believe it, but there are a lot of cyclists in the downtown area who ride without a helmet.  It boggles my mind every time, which is funny, because then I think about how their mind wouldn't boggle much after they hit a pothole wrong and fell off.  That's right, I just made a joke about a severe head injury at the expense of my fellow cyclists who don't wear helmets.  I'm OK with that because they seem to be OK with increasing their risk of head injury on a daily basis.  Wear a helmet!

Just four today.  Maybe I'll add more as I come across more cyclists who still think they are invincible.

If you notice, to the right, I've added a link to  There, you will find plenty of information about cycling in Baltimore because the site is ran by Baltimore's bike planner!

Thanks for reading! 

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Keep it clean!