Friday, June 27, 2014

Welcome!

If this is your first visit, a good place to start your explorations would be the Chapters: How-to and Why-to links found at the top of the right column. In those chapters you will find a collection of practical cycling techniques learned over the years by myself and related to me by other experienced cyclists. My routine posts (semi-daily) will make references to parts of those chapters as I go through my days and weeks cycling around New Orleans for work and pleasure.

For instance, five years ago I presented the notion in my chapters that cyclists in New Orleans should pay close attention to facts on the ground - things that can and will kill you - like unaware meandering pedestrians or cars running stop signs, and not so much worry about the color of traffic signals. Like Mama said, "Look both ways before you cross the street". Running a red light after carefully looking both ways is much safer than proceeding through a green light while assuming crossing traffic will actually stop. Five years later, I was stopped at a crossing in the left lane (to make a left turn) when my light turned green. I did not even notice the light turn green because I was looking at the crossing traffic. A fellow on a huge motorcycle did not see the signal and ran the red light five full seconds late. Of course, the instant the light turned green, a pick-up truck behind me started blasting his horn at me because I didn't move when our light went green (and because I was on a bicycle no doubt). Had I not been watching the actual facts unfolding I would have pedaled right in front of the speeding motorcycle.

So, five years later, I would post my new experience as an example of why my rules of the road actually work for everyone's safety - cyclist, pedestrian, and motor vehicle operators. Then I would cross reference the new story with the appropriate chapter entry.

If I discover something new and important, that experience will be added to the general tutorial chapters for all to see, but the specifics of the event will be entered as a routine post with a reference to the relevant chapter.

Enjoy Your Visit!

Joey

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Accident Avoided

Every weekend morning there are runners on Marconi Drive between I-610 and Robert E. Lee Blvd. They usually run in the northbound lane coming and going, two or three abreast. No biggie, Marconi is 4-lanes of smooth tarmac so I just move over into the left lane and give them the entire right lane. I appreciate when cars do that for me along that stretch and with so much room, why not give up the entire lane to the runners? It has become habit to give others as much room as possible.

This morning about 8:00 AM I am cycling northbound (toward the lake) and up ahead are two runners, male and female. The female is on the right edge of the road and the male is closer to the middle of the right lane next to her. They are also northbound, so their backs are to me.

I had just begun my ride, still warming up muscles and mind, so I was not all that focused, but out of habit I moved to the left lane after checking that no vehicles were overtaking us from the rear. Like I said...it's automatic for me to give up the whole lane, even with my brain on autopilot.

Just as I get near the running couple, the male looks down to fidget with his watch. Then, without the slightest warning or hesitation, cuts a hard left turn right toward me! We missed by inches and he was very startled. Pissed his pants no doubt and let out a girly scream and a quick apology as I sped by at 18mph.

Looking back through my mirror I saw a portable toilet at a construction site near the levee. I think the guy was trying to go there as there was no other reason I could see for the change in direction in the middle of nowhere.

If I had just moved over but stayed inside the right lane to pass this couple, that guy would have ended up right in my lap.

Moral of the story:

Everyone is stupid and/or unaware (including me).
Expect the unexpected.
Pay attention to everything.
Never relax around other people.
Leave plenty of room for error.

Most important: Develop safe habits so that when you daydream your unconscious mind takes good care of you.

NOTE: I will never understand why foot traffic does not look both ways before they cross the street. Explains why ten times more pedestrians get nailed by cars every year than do cyclists in the USofA.