Bicycling doesnít top list of my favorite activities
Boyd April 6, 2007
The Colorado Department of Transportation issued a warning last week that drivers of internal combustion machines (i.e. cars, trucks, hulking SUVs, etc.) should be on the lookout for riders of muscled-powered vehicles (i.e. bicycles).
Seems that with the onset of spring, bicyclists become more prominent on the roadways. CDOT also was reminding cyclists that they play by the same rules of the road as gasoline and diesel consumers, and can be penalized for breaking those rules (of course you never see a peace officer stop a cyclists for running a red light or failing to maintain a minimum speed or passing on the right or anything else for that matter ó not that Iím bitter).
The following are CDOTís tips for bicyclists:
Ride on the right and never ride against traffic (and I would add: stay out of the way of traffic, because those of us in hulking SUVs like driving really fast and can become quite agitated when we have to slow down become some health-nut on a bicycle thinks he or she is just as much entitled to the road as we are
ó I know, I should probably add this to the list of issues to discuss with my therapist).
Ride single file (which it seems is all too often too difficult of a concept for a group of cyclists to grasp).
Obey traffic laws, signs and signals (unless of course that would slow you down or inconvenience you, because after all, laws only apply to the mean-old-motoring, carbon-monoxide-producing, killing-the-planet-by-burning-fossil-fuels public).
Use a headlight, taillight and reflectors at night (better yet, stay off the roads at night, itís safer for everyone).
Make eye contact with drivers (that way you can tell when weíre about to explode with road rage).
Always wear a helmet (which I never did as a child, which might help to explain some of my issues).
Motorists also get their own share of tips:
Scan for pedestrians and bicyclists (not if it cuts into my cell-phone-talking time; Iím an important person who simply canít be out of touch).
Look for bicyclists and pedestrians before making a right-hand turn (good to know that we motorists are exempt from looking for non-motorists when making a left-hand turn).
Take extra care when exiting alleys and driveways (because bicyclists and pedestrians often donít ďobey traffic laws, signs and signalsĒ).
Be patient and wait to pass until it is safe (for whom, the cyclist or the motorist?).
When passing, allow at least three feet between your vehicle and the bicycle (even if you have to block another lane of traffic because the cyclists are refusing to ride single file).
CDOT also has a list of 20 tips for folks who either do or want to cycle to work. Here are some of the highlights:
Remember to smile as you bicycle past the rows of cars waiting at the intersection ó itís just polite (doesnít this seem to contradict the whole play by the same rules as motorists thing?).
Most people donít need to shower after a morning commute (because healthy people donít sweat, right?).
Your skull is only about as thick as a dinner plate and about as fragile. Consider wearing a helmet whenever you ride (because most peopleís hair is perfect enough that they donít have to worry about ďhelmet headĒ).
Motorists are accustomed to watching for large vehicles. Make you and your bike look big by wearing as much reflective clothing as possible (which of course wonít in any way, shape or form cause any undo distractions).
Ride in a straight line. Riding predictably makes you more visible to motorists. Itís also easier for a motor vehicle to pass when youíre riding in a straight line. Donít weave in and out of parked cars ó you may disappear from motoristsí sight and get squeezed out or clipped when you need to merge back into traffic (you also might be breaking some of those laws of the road that youíre technically supposed to be following).
Riding one-handed can be dangerous. Resist eating your morning bagel until you get to work (or talking on a cell phone ó if you were that important, you wouldnít be riding a bike).
Protect your manicured tootsies. Wear full-coverage shoes instead of sandals when you ride (I donít even want to think about whether some of the cyclists Iíve seen drop big bucks for pedicures ó scary).
As long as Iím on the topic of exercise and healthy living, I might as well mention a friend of mine who is taking it to the extreme.
Stephen Wheat, who works as a military analyst for BAE Systems, has managed to snag a place in the New York City Marathon.
Stephen spent more than 20 years in the Army and started running competitively in 1998. His first race was the Vietnam Veteransí Memorial 10K in Washington, D.C.
Heíll be raising money for Team for Kids, which works to prevent childhood obesity by providing fitness programs for 25,000 children who otherwise would have little or no access to physical education.
If youíd like to make a donation (which I can assure you is a heck of a lot easier than running 26.2 miles) visit www.nyrrc.org/cgi-bin/start.cgi/mar-programs/nyrrf/team/2007/donations.htm
and when prompted enter registration number 116812 and Wheat.
Guess Iím lucky he didnít decide to enter a cycling competition ó my hypocrisy does know some bounds.
Mike Boyd is editor of the Colorado Springs Business Journal. He can be reached at Mike.Boyd@csbj.com or 329-5202.