George Papadakos - Tales in Triathlon
With summer finally here the vast majority of us triathletes, roadies, mountain bikers and outdoor enthusiasts have hit the road for some much needed saddle time. I thought I would dedicate an article about keeping safe on our roads, in and around the city.
I am so excited to see how many people are out and enjoying the summer, riding their bikes and getting some exercise. But before I go any further I always preach a little safety, so here is your dose from me.
First and foremost before you even get on your bike, please for the love of Pete, get a helmet. I am amazed at how many folks ride without one. I talked about this safety feature in one of my previous articles as a must have for anyone that races, but also for anyone that is out on a road or trail. I know you may feel like a dork wearing one, but that skid lid is the only thing between the road and your noggin.
From my experience even some of the most innocent falls can result in a serious head injury. So make it a family rule that no one rides without one.
When on your bike please try to stay off the sidewalk, it may seem safer, but motorists are not looking for a cyclist at a crosswalk. Some municipalities have by-laws stating no bikes on sidewalks.
If you need to (and I'm not condoning this by any means) please be sure to pull over or stop if you meet a pedestrian walking. And make sure that when crossing a road that you stop before proceeding across the street. We as cyclists should not be there, and to be honest only youngsters should be until they develop the necessary skill set to ride on the road.
When riding on the road you should travel with vehicular traffic, and to the right side of the lane. Under the highway traffic act cyclists are allowed to use whole lane if the right side of the lane is not safe (i.e. rough pavement), but be courteous when motorists are present.
Some cyclist like to ride side by side, or three abreast and don't allow vehicles to pass. When possible, stay single file with a bike length or two between you, that way if you need to react you have time to.
There are a lot of mixed emotions about cyclist on the road, but to be honest it is the safest place to be if you are obeying the highway traffic act. Motorists are more likely to see you and go around you when it is safe.
For all motorists, please be patient with us cyclists, and try to take time when passing us. I know there are cyclists that don't obey road rules, but using our best judgement at all times will keep everyone safe.
Until we meet at the start line, train smart and have fun.