Monday, July 13, 2009

Another Bike Incident

14 year old airlifted to hospital after being hit by a car. That sucks kid. Hope he's doing alright. Hate to say it but thats why you're supposed to ride with traffic and not against it. The report says that the 81 year old driver never had a chance of avoiding the cyclist because of a blind curve. I do have a hard time believing that reaction time couldn't be a contributing factor, but either way it was still the fault of the kid on the bike.

I'm starting to think that I should wear my helmet more often. Then again I don't ride the wrong way down the street, and at the speeds I'm usually going if I hit a car head on a helmet isn't going to do shit, unless I wear a motorcycle helmet which would probably weigh about the same as my bike. That said there has been one incident (I try not to call them accidents, they may not be intentional but they are still someones fault) where a guy on his bike was minding his own business going down a busy four lane 40mph road that I've traveled myself a few times when someone turned into a gas station and hit him. Guess shit can happen to anyone.


The Vicar said...

I do more than the average amount of bicycling for an American adult, and I have to admit that I'm torn on the helmet question as well. But I have trained myself to err on the side of caution and wear the helmet anyway, for a few reasons:

1) Even though I am very careful to follow the traffic laws when I ride in the street (ride with the traffic, stop at stop signs and lights, use turn lanes when they exist and you're making a turn in that direction, etc.), there are so many bicyclists out there who don't do this that drivers can't trust me to do the right thing, and so they have unpredictable responses. (I get really annoyed when I see other bikers ride on the wrong side of the street, or go straight through stop signs/lights without even slowing down. Bastards!)

2) For that matter, there are lots of people out there who just aren't very good drivers. The 81-year-old driver who can't react quickly usually isn't the biggest threat, if you're obeying the traffic laws; people on cell phones are much, much worse, and then there are people who just aren't paying any attention. It's probably for the best to assume that there are a lot of them on the road. (I was actually hit by someone who hadn't even looked for oncoming sidewalk traffic. Fortunately, the driver was just inching forward to exit a parking lot without looking for pedestrians, so they only nudged me sideways about a foot and a half, bending my rear wheel but not harming me. I was riding on the sidewalk, going relatively slowly (jogger speed, approximately), wearing a nearly florescent blue t-shirt, and visible for a block, but none of that helps if the drivers aren't even looking. Good thing it was a bicyclist they hit, rather than an elderly person or someone with a baby in a carrier! It may have cost $80 to replace the wheels and retune the bike, but there was no damage to a living thing.)

3) For that matter, there's always the potential to have an accident which is your fault, not a driver's. You might end up getting tired or distracted, or the bike could break down while you are in the street, or it could rain and make your brakes less reliable.

That said, I really, really, really hate wearing my helmet. It looks stupid, and it takes only about five minutes for me to get helmet-hair like you wouldn't believe. (Someday, having a series of half-inch ridges in your hair will be fashionable, and then I'll be laughing!) But I've come to the conclusion that I'd rather be safe and look silly than get in an accident and look unbelievably stupid.

Kilgore Trout said...

I know how ya feel, on pretty much every one of those. I still don't really wear my helmet very often. It's just annoying and makes me sweat that much more. Plus yeah they look stupid and their effectiveness is dubious. Which reminds me I want to read those articles that someone left in the comments a few bike posts ago