Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Maybe I spoke too soon?

I spoke last week of having found a great way to stay safe in the inclement weather was to ride through the neighborhoods rather than the more well traveled (by cars) roads. I believe that I might need to eat those words. In the last few days I have almost been run over on two different occasions. Once on Forest Park Blvd and once on Florida (I mix it up between these two depending on my mood).

I wear light colored clothes and I have a lamp (front and rear) powered by a generator that complies the Indiana bicycle law (this can be viewed at:)
http://bicycleindiana.org/merchant/1419/files/Indiana%20Bicycle%20Laws.pdf

Yet these cars still do not see me. I have thought about it and I equate it to the lack of good lighting in the neighborhood. On the main streets they have the be cobrahead lights that allow for much better lighting and since I leave in the dark and return in the dark that might be a better bet. Or maybe it is six of one, half dozen of another. The saga continues.

Back to the Indiana Bicycle law for a second. Who enforces that? The way I understand it, if the City has no tougher law then it is to use the State law. Is that true? Because someone needs to read that. There are many requirements that people are unaware of, or ignore. I know because I was unaware of the lamp rule until I read it. So get out there and get a lamp!

Another interesting law is that if you ride a bike you are required by state law to have a bell or some other audible device that can be heard from 100'. So get out there and get a bell!

Stay safe and enjoy the ride. I would love to hear from everyone on what is going on with their ride so let me know and thanks for reading.

7 comments:

Denise said...

My husband and I have the ulgy reflective vests. He even wears his when walking the dog. Better to have an ugly vest than to be hit.

Ashley said...

I'll have to admit I'm wimpy about riding a bike in the cold. Right now it's easy to switch back to walking, since the longest commute across my campus is 10 minutes walking time. When I'm home for 5 weeks between semesters, I'll be working a half mile from my house. I haven't decided how I'm getting to work yet. I'll report back if I decide to bike. :)

fwbikecommuter said...

Denise,
Thanks for the comment. I believe that it is high time that I outfit myself with some reflective something or other.
PJ

fwbikecommuter said...

Ashley,
Hey, walking or riding, at least you are not in your car! Great job. Have a great break. Aahhh....college...
Take care and let us know.
PJ

Eric said...

You technically don't have to have lamps unless you are on a highway, but since almost all roads through Fort Wayne are highways, you might as well have one on all night. The bell thing is idiotic. Almost anyone can yell loader than a bell, and what driver is going to be listening for a bell. Every time someone brings up the bell issue, I think of this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_MphtzCOEc

Stay visible!

fwbikecommuter said...

Eric,
I know what you are saying about the bell. That video is classic! I was kind of kidding about the bell. You really need an airhorn! I only use my bell when I come up on a ped on the greenway as to not freak them out by yelling. Thanks for the comment.
FWBC

goldscott said...

Hi,

I am an avid cyclist (road racer, mountain biker, and fixed-gear commuter) who just moved to Fort Wayne last week. The cycling scene looks pretty dismal out here compared to Chicago. But there's a critical mass here! How many people come out in the winter months?

Also, about the "bell or other device capable of giving a signal" I believe one's voice is a sufficient device. A similar argument came up in a forum in Chicago regarding brakes: legally, one must have a brake installed on the bicycle, but a fixed gear doesn't necessarily need brakes besides one's legs. (Granted, I run a brake - you'd be nuts not to.)

I've got a 15 mile commute from the SW side of town to Columbia City. I drove all last week because (a) it was cold, and (b) I felt like I needed to get familiar with the traffic and flow out here. Now that it's warming up, I'll be riding to work daily (save for rainy days).

Regarding making your bicycle more visible, check out http://www.instructables.com/id/Bright_Bike/. They use 3M's Scotchlite Plus Reflective 680 Series Engineering Grade Vinyl, which comes in a variety of colors (the one they used is black, but the reflection is white). I have a cheap reflective silver tape applied somewhat stylishly on my stays and fork, and I'm in the process of making an inductance-based LED lighting system.

Cheers,
Scott