Bike Smart, Bike Right

by Rod Erfani
Reader Response

As an extension and supplement to Austin Hollis’ “Bike, don’t drive” article from last week, I would like to supply our community with a few potentially life-saving tips for the road:

Helmet: Sucks, but it’s worth wearing. Youtube “Frank Schleck in 2008 Tour de Swisse” if you don’t believe me.

Kentucky law states that cyclists “be granted all the rights and be subject to all the duties” applicable to drivers of any vehicle. From the driver’s manual provided by the Kentucky Department of Motor Vehicles:

• Cyclists, by law, are therefore expected to ride on the road and not on the sidewalk.

• Turning signals should be performed by horizontally extending your arm in the direction you are turning 50 feet before the turn is made.

• No riding on interstates or freeways (unless you’re faster than Lance Armstrong).

• All stop signs and lights should be followed accordingly.

• Ride on the right shoulder of the road with traffic.

• Pedestrians still get the right of way.

• Bike manufacturers don’t recommend it, but I think riding at night with proper rear and front “blinky” lights attached is safer than riding in the chaos that is Lexington rush hour.

• Additionally, try to wear bright, reflective clothing.

• Wearing proper eyewear will keep the elements and unwanted debris out of your eyes.

• Keep some spare change and your cell phone handy for emergency taxi trips.

• Ride with a saddle bag equipped with a mini-pump, tire levers and a fresh tire tube.

• Keep your bike components freshly lubricated with bike chain oil.

• From very humbling experiences, wet and icy conditions will demonstrably undermine the function of your brakes. It’s best to keep it slow and controllable in these situations.

• Drivers will randomly get mad at you. While it is certainly tempting to return gestures and words, simple negligence will deprive them from any more satisfaction.

• Don’t ride with your iPod so you can stay aware of your surroundings at all times.

• The most important thing is to be predictable.

Laugh as much as you want, but bicycling is the future of mass transportation. As Hollis has previously stated, cycling will provide physical and environmental benefits alongside pure enjoyment. But these benefits will only come to fruition when performed in the proper manner.

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