Showing posts with label safety. Show all posts
Showing posts with label safety. Show all posts

Friday, September 13, 2013

Oblivious Swerving Cyclists: Saved!

Whew! Since cyclists and motorists are both completely oblivious to their surroundings, Volvo has come up with an answer!

At first I was a little worried the cyclist would swerve for no reason at all. I mean, they really make the cyclist look like a bit of a chucklehead, don't you think? I was glad that a commonplace reason for a swerve was used. However, the cyclist didn't even consider that a car might be behind him. I would rather cyclists knew to do a shoulder check than have tech protect them from their own stupidity. Similarly, I would rather that drivers  were paying attention to what is around them, particularly right in front of them instead of trusting their car to apply the brakes for them. I wouldn't want my car to apply the brakes without my permission, I don't think.

What Are Your Thoughts?

PS - I know I'm posting like a maniac. I just keep coming across these little nuggets today!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Distant Early Warning

I must confess, I used to see people running blinky lights in the day time and think they were overcautious nerds. Why would they want to just waste their batteries that way? They were just plain smart, actually. Still nerds, but smart nerds. Hang on, this raises a question for me; are all nerds, by definition, smart? Is there any such thing as a dumb nerd? Help me out if you can.

Here's the thing: the more warning a motorist has about your presence, the better they can plan how to get around you. The less time they have to think, the worse their decisions become. If you could reach backward with some sort of signal to let them know you were there, wouldn't you?

Simple, right? I can't speak to other brands of tail lights, but the very popular Planet Bike Superflash Turbo really is visible in daylight when using the blinky setting.

Click image to see it on

I read that claim sometime before I bought it and thought, yeah, right... but after running it in the daytime and feeling like passing behaviours may have improved a little, I did an experiment in a parking lot at work and I learned two things:

1) The human eye is amazing (I already knew that... I've been thinking about it a lot lately as I review all my bike video and wish cameras worked like eyes). Anyway, I could see my Superflash blinking away in strong direct morning sunlight with my eyeballs, but video taken both from my phone and helmet cam could not. That sucked, because this post was originally supposed to be about showing the video "test".

2) The distance I used was roughly 100 yards. I could see that thing. I don't know how far away I would have had to go to lose it. Had I been driving, it would have caught my eye.

Short version: It might feel kinda stupid, but check and see if your rear light is visible in sunlight and if so, run the sucker. Early warning for motorists = better treatment and less craziness. Usually.

How Do You Use Rear Bike Lights?


Yer Pal,

Friday, December 4, 2009

Encounters with Rantwick, episode ten: Industrial Bright And Tragic

My cycling specific garb for winter riding has been joined by several bits of industrial work wear lately, three bits to be precise. One thing I've begun wearing only recently is a pair of clear safety glasses:

I really like my clear goggles for cold weather riding, but that's the problem. This year it has become dark during my commute without becoming cold enough to warrant the goggles, which can be quite warm when you're working much. So, I tried the clear safety glasses, and I must say I quite like them.

The next item is one that I haven't really felt the need to use until recently. My work has had me commute to some new and different locations lately, some of which force me to ride on some roads that most sensible cyclists would rather avoid. I wasn't feeling quite visible enough some of the time on these roads, so I added a reflective vest to my usual getup:

I must say that I like what the vest does, but I hate wearing it. It makes me feel like a nerd, which is totally stupid because Mutant Winter with her pink cables and plastic tub have already completely established that I AM a nerd, so why should I care? Perhaps I attach more importance to clothing; after all "clothes make the man", right? If that's true, do "gloves make the hands"?

I've never really believed that specialty mitts or gloves, like "lobster claws" and stuff like that were necessary for winter riding, as evidenced by the stuff I was forced to retire thanks to being worn out:

I've only had those $5 gloves for about a month! I must have super strong thumbs. Damn video games!

I came across my replacements when I was at a work wear place buying jeans. I am really excited about these (not a nerd. right.) because they may well be the perfect winter cycling glove despite the fact that they were not designed for the purpose:

They are fuzzy on the inside, the backs are a knit material and the palms and fingers are rubberized. They are extremely grippy on the handlebars regardless of weather conditions. Last but not least, they are really hi-vis! I have read Steve A and others talk about lights to make wrists or hands visible so that their signals don't get missed; these wouldn't do in the summer of course, but in the dark of winter when these things might matter most, I think they are a pretty darn good solution. Last but not least, they were $16. But never mind all that. These things make me look cool, because they make my hands and fingers look like those of Master Shake:

If you don't know who Master Shake is, shame on you. You are so un-cool. I didn't know who he was either, but a young colleague of mine said my hands looked like his in those gloves, so I looked him up. I don't get the channel needed to watch Aqua Teen Hunger Force, but I really wish I did... it seems like my kind of strangeness.

OK, where was I? Ah yes, I was stylin' in my industrial evolution:

So, I am Industrial Bright and lookin' special. Where's the Tragic? I was in my full industrial bright splendour when the following occurred:

The tragedy lies not in the fact that the truck driver didn't like me being where I was and using his air horn. The tragedy is that for reasons I can't explain, I lost my temper and flipped him off very clearly with my new hi-vis finger held high for his rear-view mirror. He didn't miss that signal, because he touched his brakes for no reason while I did it, like he might stop for a chat. I know lots of cyclists would consider that pretty normal, but it isn't for me. That was the first time in my many years of driving and cycling that I have ever given someone the bird, and therein lies the tragedy. I pride myself on keeping my cool and refraining from reacting to stuff like that dude's air horn. Civility is important and as my Mother would say, two wrongs don't make a right.

Keep Yer Cool. Until Next Time,