I guess this is a good time to bring up another part of cycling safety that has frosted my glass for longer than I care to admit. That is the idea of the perception of safety and reality of safety.
I sit down this evening and put on a set of very decent headphones. They cut out most of the sound around me and I get to enjoy my favorite singer/artist and his band - Bob SEGER and the Silver Bullet band.
I digress for a moment or two. SEGER has been a favorite of mine of ALOT of years. I have been to two of his concerts, Seattle and most recently Vancouver. Seattle was good, but Vancouver was even better !! Yes he was older in Vancouver but some musicians are timeless and the musical selections they perform are time tested and on top 25 all time hit lists across North America. SEGER is such an artist, composer and showman. His Vancouver concert ranks in the top 5 in Vancouver of all time. I would put him the same breath as Sir Paul McCARTNEY.
Both well worth the money paid for tickets, I believe from the tv commercial - priceless.
Anyway, I was speaking about safety perceived and real.
Cycling is one of those endeavors that one must know what is happening at all times, both with them and around them. GET THE BIG PICTURE is a term I bring up at every class I teach. We all heard that term when we took our driving classes, and we have heard it from those who ride in vehicles with us. Sometimes it can be called co-pilot or back seat driver. Call it what you will, but Getting the Big Picture is one of the first rules of cycling. Last post I referred to the saying
SEE, BE SEEN, BE HEARD, BE PREDICABLE
Another way to quote the four (4) Core values of CAN-BIKE - MVPC.
Bruce taught us that it can be summed up as Most Valuable Person Cyclist
Manoeuverability, Visibility, Predictability, and Communication.
In typing this entry I misspelled three of the four words, which is why I shortened it up to
SEE, BE SEEN, BE HEARD, BE PREDICABLE
I can spell all those words correctly 99 % of the time.
I had put on a set of ear phones. Over the years ear phones and ear buds or what ever you wish to call them, the sound quality has gotten better. Now you can but on a set of head phones, put on a concert and it sounds like you are in the first few rows. The only thing missing is the perspiration from the performers, and the afternoon sound check report. The sound is that good, and that is all you can hear, so that is what you concentrate on, the music. In the proper situation that is a very good thing. Cycling down a busy street is not that place, or across country, anywhere you are required to interact with others, is not the right place.
Being alone with your thoughts enveloped in the music has a place, or just enjoying the music indeed has a place, and there are times when this can be as good a training session, or the training session. Working with the stop watch in your head is a training regime that is learned, and when mastered can be a lifetime skill. I feel that by adding head phones dulls the ability to accomplish the intended goal for the session, unless the outcome is to relax and get ready for a ride.
Adding extra noise that cuts out the ambient relevant surrounding noise is, in my opinion, dangerous and should be avoided.
When you are riding you NEED to know what is happening around you at all times, and as a rider you need to know where you are, what you are doing, what your plans are and what you will do if something unforeseen happens, like a car backing out, not seeing you. Maybe the driver is on a cell phone or maybe wearing headphones, grooving to the tunes.
If your head isn't in the game, then you are putting yourself in real danger and putting those around you in danger.
I have mentioned over the other blog entries that there are certain things that I feel must be done each and every time you ride. Wear a helmet, wear a Hi-Viz vest, use your lights at any time of the day or night. Well I can know add another one - don't use head phones when riding. There are other things that are more important than your favorite tunes playing in your ears.
Know where you are, who did you tell you were going? and what todays route is?, how long do you anticipate to take?
These seem like basic questions, but do you do any of these when you ride? Do you take a couple of minutes to call or text these basic points to someone else, in case something goes horribly wrong?, at least if you don't call back someone knows you are out on a ride, and where to look.
In aviation it's called a flight plan, and it is a federal requirement under the Act. I know it sounds simple, but how many do it when they ride. Yea, I know not very many, most likely only a few.
The life you save will likely be your own.
The next thing is what do you carry? Do you have a copy of some sort of identification with you? Does it have a picture of you on it?, is there an emergency contact number on it?, have you added your blood type?, do you even know your blood type? I would suggest it's a minor point but one that just might come in real handy when you least expect it. Are you allergic and require anything special, maybe like allergies to bee stings. Bees like to go the same places cyclists go, and both can come into contact more regularly than we realise.
Our required list of safety equipment seems to be getting longer and we haven't mentioned a cell phone and bit of cash, or at least a coffee card from your favorite spot, maybe the card is on the phone, like mine.
It's time to wrap up. How we perceive safety and what is real can be and likely is very different. You need to look after yourself and make sure you are doing things right. Its easy to say you are, but you have to go that one or two steps further and like Nike says JUST DO IT.
Giving safety mere lip service doesn't do you or those around you or those you ride with any justice. You wouldn't ride away without making sure your brakes worked or your tires (tyres) are pumped up, so why take safety for granted. Take the extra couple of minutes to make sure you have covered the points I have mentioned.
I guess if you don't agree, please let me know what you disagree with and why, but be polite when you do it. Remember, swearing and ranting negate the point you are trying to make.
I leave you with the thought, let others know your riding plans, and route. There have been far to many riders left lying alone on the side of the road or in a hospital and no one knows they are there for days, and maybe by that time it's too late.
Wrong time to say or think should-a, would-a, could-a
Thanks for your time
Safe Ride Home...