There’s this guy. You might know one too. He’s a lot like you or I. He rides his bike on the same streets. He gets overtaken by impatient F-150s. He’s a cyclist. There’s one major difference, though. Unlike you or I, he tends to get hit by cars; frequently. Most of the time, he comes away without any serious injuries (which is more than I can say for his bikes – carbon fiber, it turns out is the real victim here).
When I first started riding I thought maybe this guy spent more time on busy roads than I did. But slowly, I began to think there might be something else, something that didn’t have anything to do with where he was riding or what he was wearing (more garish colors than I). It was when he told me about his 4th crash involving a car that I began to wonder if, perhaps, it was the way he rode.
It turns out, I might have been on the right track. Last month the City of Minneapolis published a study that examined 2,973 bicycle-motorist crashes that took place over a 10 year period and one of the many interesting bits of data they uncovered was that the cyclist involved is, at least partially, at fault in 59% of all crashes (motorists were, at least partially, at fault in 63.9%*).
If you’d asked me a few weeks ago I’d probably have guessed that cyclists were at fault in about 30% of all accidents. I’ve seen a lot of motorists do a lot of dumb things (I’ll even admit to being a motorist doing a dumb thing once or twice) and it’s easy to assume, because they’re the more vulnerable of the two groups, cyclists are always the victims. But, you have to admit, it sort of makes sense.
I consider myself a careful cyclist 95% percent of the time. During my commute, I’m alert and cautious and often yield even when I have the right of way. I check driveways and think about how to react when the unexpected happens. These things don’t make me invincible, I know that. It is nice to know, perhaps, they do make me a little safer.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not blaming that guy who gets hit by a car once a year for everything. Some of it is bad luck and some if it is bad driving and, maybe, some of it is bad cycling. It is nice to know, as I’m riding my 25 pound bike next to a 2 ton truck, what I do makes a difference.
* Adds up to more than 100% as in some crashes both motorist and cyclist share fault.
This weekend after a mountain bike ride in Fairfax, it was suggested that we must stop at the Gestalt Haus for a beer and a brat hot dog. “You can bring you bike inside and hang it on the wall!” was said on our way through the quaint town. As we pulled our bikes through the door, wound our way by the line and along the wall to group our bikes and order one of the seventeen available brats and one of a dozen beers on tap for ten dollars. Waiting for my name to be called to pick up my brat, I found a wall of board games to play and several classic mountain bikes attached to the wall to look at.
The beer is large and well worth the five dollars. I ordered the chicken-apple brat without sauerkraut and it hit the spot, especially after the ride. If you are ever in the Fairfax/Mt Tamalpais area, be sure to check them out, you can find them at 123 Bolinas Rd, Fairfax, CA 94930.
After watching this video of the bicymple, I sort of want one. You can lock the rear steering, as shown in the first part of the clip, then the remaining video it is unlocked.
The bike is on kickstarter and well past its minimum pledge. Come February 22, it will fund, so you have time with several versions of the bicymple starting at an $800 pledge. Totally a one of a kind design and concept.
From my email:
Our partners in California, including the Safe Routes to School National Partnership and the California Bicycle Coalition, are encouraging everyone who wants to improve cycling in the state to sign this petition to Governor Jerry Brown TODAY! The petition seeks improvements to a significant Active Transportation funding proposal by the Governor and deserves your attention.
As some of you might know I was recently banned by the International Blogging Committee for use of performance enhancing substances. For years I have denied use of said substances. Some of you may have seen me last week give an interview where I admitted to the charges and, more or less, begged to be reinstated as a blogger. Many of you, however, missed my interview because it aired opposite some old guy talking to Oprah about things we all already knew.
I’ll be the first to admit that this confession should have come sooner (let’s say sometime last week) but what they say is true, I have not only used caffeine and alcohol to fuel the content of this blog, but I was also part of a larger conspiracy to cover up the use of these substances by others on the internet. Today, I’m here to say what you already know but I’m here to say it out loud and with the cache of someone on the inside: If it weren’t for coffee and booze the internet would basically be a common room on campus at Brigham Young University.
That’s not what you people want.
They say that people vote with their wallets and it’s the same with the internet and, as long as videos by Hannah Hart remain popular, the International Blogging Community will never be cleaned up:
What I’m saying is that yes, I did cheat. Yes, I did use substance to unnaturally improve the quality of content on this site. Yes, I did deserve a lifetime ban. But you guys will not be rid of me that easily. I’m sorry I didn’t come clean sooner, but you guys forced me into it and, no matter what I say now, It’s not going to stop.
I got an email today from the League (the League of American Bicyclists). First of all, let’s talk about how awesome it is that they go by “the League.” It sounds like some sort of group of cycling superheroes that rides around town painting bike lanes, handing out bike lights and using force to keep cars out of the bike lane.
Ok, but this post wasn’t about an idea for a crappy bicycle centric comic book, it was about being thankful for cycling. The League, in the email mentioned above, asked me why I’m thankful for cycling? So, I’m going to spend a couple of posts attempting to address that question.
1. The wind in my hair and all that jazz.
Seriously. I spend 9 to 10 hours a day in a cubicle farm. Under fluorescent lighting. Surrounded by people who may or may not have washed their hands the last time they used the restroom. Lately, I’ve been riding “the short way” to work. That’s about 15 minutes. 15 minutes in the morning, 15 minutes in the evening. And sure, it’s cold, it tends to be dark going both ways this time of year, and road grime is only slightly more appealing than touching the door handle of the men’s restroom, but I’m outside.
That’s right, for at least 30 minutes a day, I’m outside. On my bike. It’s fantastic. So, I’m thankful for that.