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Self defense - Something to think about?

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Self defense - Something to think about?

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Old 07-11-07, 07:24 PM
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PunkMartyr
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Self defense - Something to think about?

Ok I am kind of browsing the bike theft postings and lots of other postings.. road rage.. dogs chasing you.. and whatnot. I am getting this vibe that if you bike enough, hell probably if you interact with the general public enough, you are going to eventually get in a situation where you might have to be able to protect yourself or your property.

I'm just wondering first how many people have been in a situation where they had to protect themself or their bike while out riding. I have been in neighborhoods before where I could see someone trying to steal the bike with me on it if it was a nice enough bike. Probably would be ok against one guy but if there were more like a gang or he was a huge guy maybe had the element of surprise, might be nice to dish out a mace to the face or a taser to the balls.

Really though I am reading some off the wall stories and wondering if this is something to think about. I can give you a real life story not related to bike riding that bad stuff does happen and you should be prepared. Yesterday one of my two best friends calls me, says a girl we hang out with almost every week almost got raped. She was at her house and a guy grabbed her and threw her in the back of her car, tried to **** her. She screamed and the neighbor's dog started barking like crazy, the guy ran away.
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Old 07-11-07, 07:58 PM
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Being extremely aware of your surroundings is the best way to prevent being bike jacked. Thugs like easy pickings... don't give it to them. If you remain alert to everything around you, you'll notice when something seems suspicious, and will have more time to avoid it. You can always pull a u-turn, run a light, or pull into a highly lit public area for safety. Varying your routes and times can also prevent someone from planning an attack. You may also decide that it's better to stay out of certain area's.

While I've had 17 years of Martial arts training, I've never needed to use it. (although my wife thinks I can't wait for the chance.) I think not looking/acting like an easy target is the best defense.
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Old 07-11-07, 09:11 PM
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Originally Posted by PunkMartyr
I have been in neighborhoods before where I could see someone trying to steal the bike with me on it if it was a nice enough bike. Probably would be ok against one guy but if there were more like a gang or he was a huge guy maybe had the element of surprise, might be nice to dish out a mace to the face or a taser to the balls.
I added emphasis, because there are a couple of I want to address here:
  1. Perception vs. reality. There are many people who make the "bad neighborhood" judgment as a passerby and without actual "bad neighborhood" experience in their lives. To those who live in affluent suburbs, any neighborhood that looks a little shabby is a "bad neighborhood". In fact, the signs that would tell you you need to watch out are not as obvious as a little graffiti.
  2. Fighting ability. Unless you've been there and done that, be careful making judgments about how you'd make out in a physical confrontation -- particularly when you're not the aggressor. Also, just carrying a can of mace (or a handgun, for that matter) does not make you any safer or any more dangerous. It's easier to use mace than it is to, say, land an effective punch or kick, but that doesn't mean it's automatic. You have to know when and how to use it.
AlmostTrick has the right of it. With good situational awareness (and a dose of reality, i.e., seeing danger where it really is versus in a stereotype of a "bad neighborhood"), you're unlikely to ever run into a problem situation, and if you do, your awareness will most likely show you a way out that doesn't require beating or getting beat on. An ounce of situational awareness is worth fifty cans of mace.
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Old 07-11-07, 09:54 PM
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Originally Posted by lil brown bat
An ounce of situational awareness is worth fifty cans of mace.
Very true.
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Old 07-12-07, 02:04 AM
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I ride through the Tenderloin, which is generally regarded to be "the worst neighborhood in San Francisco" every day on my way to work, and I have never had an issue with anything like this.
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Old 07-12-07, 05:57 AM
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If you have a gathering of people living just above the poverty line collected in one area, you are going to have higher rates of theft related incidents. Doesn't matter what ethnicity they are. Anyway good feedback just wanted to see what people think, was also curious if anyone has a story. I was mugged one time downtown but it wasn't traumatic or anything.
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Old 07-12-07, 06:00 AM
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Commuting almost everyday for a year. Had one situation where a guy left turned on a green as I was crossing, didn't even slow down, and only missed me due to evasive measures on my part.

I screamed, he screamed, he got out of his truck . . .

At that point my only thought was my U-lock.

Fortunately, he got back in his truck. I really dislike confrontations, but this guy saw me, and made no effort to slow down. It made me pretty mad. I don't know the effectiveness of a Ulock as a defensive weapon, and I wasn't eager to find out. But I have crappy coordination and little upper body strength, so I wouldn't do too well in a fist battle.

It does make you think . . .
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Old 07-12-07, 06:00 AM
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I will do everything possible to avoid a fight, and if that doesn't work, I'll do everything possible to win the fight. Anyone who attacks me must be willing to trade their life as well.
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Old 07-12-07, 06:22 AM
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A small bright ass flashlight is very useful especially at night. If you ride with a backpack ziptie the light lower on the pack for quick deploy. If you dummy cord the light to a quick release keychain and cord to the backpack then you can mount the light pouch upside down for a drop-down quick deploy knowing you have the dummy cord to prevent accidental droppings if the pouch opened up. If you need to release the light just push the quick release and the light is ready for free range movement.

At night lights other then for seeing the road and going fast are also a safety issue for security. You can if you get a really bright helmet light scan the area ahead of time into the dark areas to see the shadows and backgrounds to see if you see any shifty people around. I'd go with a light that is 120lumens and up for blinding purposes. Fenix Lights. Good blinder light or build your own.
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Old 07-12-07, 06:38 AM
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The more you do anything the greater your risks -- you'll never have a car accident sitting on your couch. But that being said, I'd agree with most of the above. Real crimes against bicyclists (other than theft) remain fairly rare. There are simply easier targets than a moving cyclist. As has been said beofre stay aware of your surroundings, ride smart and defensively and you'll vastly reduce your risks.
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Old 07-12-07, 07:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Marylandnewbie
Real crimes against bicyclists (other than theft) remain fairly rare.
...and it's also very important to distinguish theft from robbery. Bicycles without humans on them get stolen -- that's theft and it's relatively common. It's rare that bicyclist on a bike gets robbed, of the bike or anything else.
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Old 07-12-07, 07:14 AM
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The best self defense on a bike is to pedal faster.
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Old 07-12-07, 07:51 AM
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Originally Posted by PunkMartyr
If you have a gathering of people living just above the poverty line collected in one area, you are going to have higher rates of theft related incidents. Doesn't matter what ethnicity they are.
Heck those are the good neighborhoods. Cleveland has about a third of the population below the poverty line. There are a number of neighborhoods where the majority are below the poverty line.
I have been riding through these neighborhoods for 3 years now and the only time I have felt threatened was from the pranksters on Halloween, and a women in a nice car trying to run me off the street.
That is not to say I have not gotten yells like "GIVE ME YOUR BIKE" or other such threatening language, but these are obviously not serious threats. However I am wary of people hanging out along the road, particularly youth in groups which seems to encourage stupid behaviors. And I ride, taking a lane at a quick pace making me a difficult target and giving me options to escape any problems I might encounter (usually pot holes and squirrels).

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Old 07-12-07, 09:52 AM
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The tools you aquire determine how you handle situations, and how you handle the situation affects the outcome.

I never learned self-defense because I prefer not to get in a fight ever.
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Old 07-12-07, 09:58 AM
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CBBaron and mwrobe1 have the right idea. Speed is your friend. That doesn't mean that you have to turn every commute into a time trial, but hold a good pace and keepyour head up and on a swivel.
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Old 07-12-07, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by PunkMartyr
...or a taser to the balls.
you're a sick one!
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Old 07-12-07, 08:53 PM
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I gave this careful thought after an attempted jacking last summer.
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Old 07-12-07, 09:51 PM
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I carry bear spray on my bike, I live in an insanely safe city, but I got it for a dog. One dog who always chased me up a hill. I got tired of it. He chased me I sprayed him, he ran to the side of the road yelping, I went over and sprayed dierectly into his face and mouth for about 10 seconds, before he got up and drug himself away. I haven't seen him since.
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Old 07-12-07, 11:14 PM
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Originally Posted by maddyfish
I carry bear spray on my bike, I live in an insanely safe city, but I got it for a dog. One dog who always chased me up a hill. I got tired of it. He chased me I sprayed him, he ran to the side of the road yelping, I went over and sprayed dierectly into his face and mouth for about 10 seconds, before he got up and drug himself away. I haven't seen him since.
This made my stomach flip. You didn't think the first shot was enough? Directly into his face and mouth for 10 seconds--that's disgustingly cruel.
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Old 07-13-07, 09:00 AM
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Your life is worth defending to the death. Your bike and stuff on it are not. If someone wants my cheapo bike bad enough to bike jack it, I'll defend it to a point, but I'm not going to exude deadly force over it.

OTOH, I think your chances of being involved in an incident where YOU are the target of aggression is greater than a bike jacking. Road rage incidents seem like a high probability than some crack head or dumb ass teen attempting a high risk/low reward crime like a bike jacking.

Having said all that, there's no way to know a person's intentions if they're coming at you. But I even then, I think that happening is highly unlikely. But it's always a good idea to have a plan for everything and go through the motions of pulling out the lock, gun, mace, or whatever once in a while so that it won't be a foreign exercise should you need it.
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Old 07-13-07, 09:44 AM
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Chill out
Bad Energy brings more bad energy.

Drivers and road rage certainly are the bigger concern, but even then avoiding the initial anger goes along way towards making them stupid.

If confronted write the drivers description tag number etc on your arm, that ought to scare them.
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Old 07-13-07, 11:13 AM
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I've been riding through Bed-Stuy in Brooklyn for the past two years. No problems at all.
One time I rode through Times Sq. in Manhattan and had change thrown at me. From a moving car. Weird.
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Old 07-13-07, 12:08 PM
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If you're serious about self defense and you live in a state that allows it, get some NRA-approved training (very, very important) and then get a concealed handgun license.

Concealed carry isn't for everyone, but it works for some of us.
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Old 07-13-07, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by maddyfish
I carry bear spray on my bike, I live in an insanely safe city, but I got it for a dog. One dog who always chased me up a hill. I got tired of it. He chased me I sprayed him, he ran to the side of the road yelping, I went over and sprayed dierectly into his face and mouth for about 10 seconds, before he got up and drug himself away. I haven't seen him since.
Are you just trolling or serious? If you were in TX you'd probably be arrested for that without hesitation. And by the looks they could punish you in your home state for the same. Of course ohio has weak animal cruelty laws so it would only be a slap on the wrist.
"1717.01 (B) "Cruelty," "torment," and "torture" include every act, omission, or neglect by which unnecessary or unjustifiable pain or suffering is caused, permitted, or allowed to continue, when there is a reasonable remedy or relief; "
I mean someones puppy was loose and was chasing you right? Not chewing on your leg or forcing you into the road or somehow assaulting you that you needed to defend yourself for? Unless he continued chewing on your leg there is no reason to continue to spray him. To get off your bike and follow his whelping body off the road and continue to spray him is torture. I wonder if you haven't seem em because you poisoned him to death? Just another slap on the write in Ohio.
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Old 07-13-07, 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by sherwoodforest
If you're serious about self defense and you live in a state that allows it, get some NRA-approved training (very, very important) and then get a concealed handgun license.

Concealed carry isn't for everyone, but it works for some of us.
I agree.
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