A Bicyclists Perspective on Bike to Work Day

bike denver      Guest Column

It is a fact, riding a bike is good for the mind and good for the body.  By riding a bicycle, I am able to feel the terrain, the ups and downs, I can smell the fresh cut grass, wet concrete, and fresh food being prepared.  I can hear all that goes on around me as well, birds, the breeze, chatter, the sound of an approaching vehicle, and the sounds of my bike.  As a culture, we have so much going on around us, it can be truly deafening.  We focus on our smart-phone screens, we text, we listen to music, we check Facebook and Twitter, we are doing so much at any given time we can’t pay attention to what is most important.

As cyclists, We have a responsibility to be aware of our surroundings, we shouldn’t be disengaging ourselves from our surroundings.  As a part of the traffic flow, be it pedestrian, bicycle, or vehicle, it is our job to be vigilant.  Many of us don’t think about how much we show up (or don’t show up), many of us leave drivers questioning what our next actions will be.

My goal as a cyclist is to leave no doubt of my intentions.  This means unclipping your foot at a red light or stop sign in addition to the standard hand signals.  I have an appreciation for the skills required to balance a bike in a track stand but I also appreciate the appearance to other vehicles, it looks like you are in motion and could roll out into traffic.  If you leave a car in doubt you leave yourself and anyone else in the area at risk.  It is imperative that you signal intent on the streets; as cyclists we are part of the traffic flow and should seek to lessen our impact.  Yield to pedestrians at crosswalks, use handlebar bells to communicate your presence around blind curves or when you are coming up behind a pedestrian or even another cyclist. As cyclists in Colorado we are under the same laws as motor vehicles and we have an obligation to be courteous..

There are many tools at our disposal to make ourselves more visible on the roads, bike lights run anywhere from a few dollars into the hundreds of dollars.  My backpack and my shoes both have reflectors to the rear, I utilize a flashing red light for the rear and a good strong white light for the front.  I am a believer in brighter clothing.  On many group rides, it always surprises me how dark clothing does not show up at a distance, even in broad daylight.

We are all just trying to get from point A to point B.  by exercising common courtesy, awareness, and common sense, we can all arrive at our destinations incident free.  We cannot control what other people do or how they will react, we can only be responsible for ourselves.

 

Travis John

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