General Cycling Discussion - Keeping safe from other people on trails
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06-26-07, 06:17 AM
The trail that I like to ride is has slower traffic. Generally you'll meet someone walking or biking every five minutes or so. It does cross some majorly busy roads, but its pretty secluded in spots with nothing but trees and brush. Although the area I live in is considered safe, there have been problems in the past on that trail but in a different section that I ride in. I take my cell with me whenever I go and let my husband know approximately where I'll be.
This doesn't make me feel the safest though. And I have seen some people that make me feel uncomfortable, but for that matter when I biked home last night on a very busy main road, I encountered a person who made me uncomfortable there too. Perhaps, I'm being overly sensitive to my gut reactions or just overly cautious, but are there any ways to keep safe from people while biking?
06-26-07, 06:30 AM
carry a machete and openly dispay it, that'll work i reckon.....
seriously tho, if you getting worried about where you ride, either ride with someone who can handle themselves, or look for somewhere else to ride, cause even if you do carry a weapon of sorts it's more than likely to get taken off you before you can use it if you do get into trouble..personally i'm not into that kinda thing, if i don't feel safe i'll not ride in that particular place, and i'm a fairly well build guy who can handle himself..
generally i'd say you are just being paranoid tho...
"The most powerful handgun in the world." :D
Follow your gut. get some protection you feel comfortable with - be it mace or be it a small handgun - and learn the proper way to use it. if nothing else remember your voice - screaming can be a great deterrent.
You take risks whenever you're on a bike. Just like driving a car or being a pedetsrian. Remain alert at all times about your surroundings.
if nothing else remember your voice - screaming can be a great deterrent. AirZound - even better. ;)
06-26-07, 08:39 AM
I tend to sprint. No one wants to mess with a cyclist riding 30 mph directly at them.
06-26-07, 09:02 AM
I think the best thing would be to ride with someone else. Perhaps coordinate with friends, or form a local group. If this trail is as busy as you say it is, then I don't think you would have a problem, just scream really loud for help if something does happen and someone should hear you. Make sure you let people know where you are and what time you will return, and if you are running late, call and let someone know. Consistency is important here, if you are often late, then someone might not care if you are a hour late when you are in need of help. I usually don't worry about these kind of things being a young male and also realizing the danger from cars and road hazards are much larger than criminal danger.
06-26-07, 09:06 AM
I think you have that backwards. Cars and roads are more predictable than peds and those in high crime areas. But that is just me.... YMMV
Ride with a partner when you can.
The general consensus is don't ride alone and it's a good consensus. Another small tidbit that might not sound as important , but I think is huge, is to not look like a victim. Ride with confidence and project that you can handle yourself. To help get that, have some protection and a plan. Physically go through that plan so in the event you need to it won't be foreign for you and you've worked out the bugs. IE grabbing a lock, pump, Halt!, etc. Also be mentally prepared to "pull the trigger". That doesn't necessarily mean a gun. It could mean spraying pepper spray, swinging the lock, etc. Also know your route and where you can run where it's visible and more safe screaming the whole way.
great advice here.
Being alert is especially important because it will give you the chance to bolt at the first sign of danger. I'd personally try to outrun any creepy people rather than face them off my bike.
Ride with a partner or in visible areas whenever possible. Be sure that you know alternate routes in case you need to take a detour. Carry a cell phone if you have one, let people know where you are going and when you expect to be back.
Bring something to protect yourself but be careful because a stronger assailant may be able to get a weapon away from you and threaten you with it. If you are concerned, you might want to consider carrying a loud whistle to call for help in addition to any mace, etc.
Be sure that you know how to change a flat and patch a chain if you're riding on your own, and that you carry the tools to do so.
You might also want to check to see if your community offers any self defense or martial arts classes; these will boost your confidence in any nasty situations that arise. I've been told that most potential assailants don't want to go after someone who is prepared to fight back.
Hope that helps some! Be safe out there!
Predators like easy prey. Predators generally avoid attacking other predators, because if a predator is injured, he cannot hunt until he is healed. What do you look like, predator or prey? Prey animals can also improve their chances by seeking safety in numbers. This is not rocket science, it's elementary biology. OTOH, there will always be scenarios where any amount of preparation, or any type of avoidance, defense, or weapon, will be insufficient to counter the threat. And there are times when our journeys will be solo, because no one else is going our way. I have taken a report of an incident in which an SUV-load of armed gangbangers worked to surround a person, with some of them sneaking around on foot to cut off the escape, while the ones in the SUV drive on ahead to set the ambush. They must have coordinated the attack by cell phone or two-way radio. When the complainant fled from the ambush, dodging shotgun pellets, the others try to cut him off, firing a handgun. The complainant got away by doing some amazingly athletic fence-jumping and running. This happened in a "nice" area of town, with numerous witnesses, where I used to walk our dogs regularly before we recently moved, and where I still patrol. The complainant was walking home from his job at a grocery store, and apparently committed the sin of having an Ipod visible. His alertness and decisive action saved him, against daunting odds. Before anyone mentions a weapon for this situation, this guy was a high school student; he could not legally possess a handgun.
IMHO, loud whistles and such only work in crowded areas, and deter those who do not want witnesses to see them. I am not against whistles and noise-makers, but some see them as a talisman of salvation. Had the student in my previous post tried to take the time to deploy and blow a whistle, he might have died. Moreover, the gangbangers did not care about noise; they were firing at least two firearms in the presence of numerous witnesses. On a remote trail, a whistle might not be heard by anyone able to help. Please do have other options, also.
An idea for traveling with others: don't travel so close that you are both caught by the same ambush or trap, especially in an environment where a mere two bad guys can cut off all avenues of escape. If at least one is not caught up in the bad guy's set-up, that person presents a real problem for the bad guys.
06-26-07, 03:29 PM
Another point--MIRRORS. I use the tool mirror on my helmet to scan around behind me all the time. It's the eye in back of my head, and it's useful to see cars and other people. I noticed a weird looking guy riding right behind me a few weeks ago, looking like he was going to make a move to snatch a wallet or something. I kept an eye on him until I could veer off and stop abruptly. He then had to slam on his brakes and get around me. With the mirror I kept an eye on him at all times.
06-26-07, 09:41 PM
Honestly, are all "weird looking guys" out to get us? If I was fearful of every weird looking person I would never leave the house! I can't believe the paranoia that exists in society.
06-26-07, 09:44 PM
If you do carry weapon, know how to use, when to use it, and have the guts to use it.
06-26-07, 11:46 PM
I think you should read the book The Gift of Fear (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0747538352), by Gavin DeBecker. . It's about trusting your instincts, but also about being realistic in your concerns.
In general, random people aren't out to get you. Bad things do happen, but being afraid of people all over the place doesn't sound like a good way to go through life to me.
"Weird-looking" people are likely to be eccentric, but no more likely to be dangerous than anyone else. Some of the scariest people can be very normal-looking rich kids. I also do not advocate paranoia; just be alert and aware. Relaxed alertness, OK?
06-27-07, 01:35 AM
I give nods of recognition and solidarity to fringe elements while riding.
06-27-07, 01:40 AM
I don't mean weird in his dress. I'm probably the strangest dressed person on the road. He was weird in his face and manners--looking at me and riding right in my shadow even though I wasn't going very fast and there was plenty of room to pass. It was just odd behavior.
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