Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!

That is a classic quote from the old TV show, “Lost in Space”. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a robot follow you around warning you of danger? Unfortunately, that is not the case in these modern times. The only thing that is going to do that for you is either another cyclist or your brain and sometimes we don’t pay attention to either.

Bicycle accidents with vehicles happen everywhere and the Valley is no exception. Recently, there was another bicycling accident and thankfully, it was not a fatal one. Both were trying to execute left hand turns at the same time, but the cyclist had the right of way as there was no stop sign for the cyclist and there was one for the motorist. The cyclist came out with bruising, a wrecked bike and a traumatic experience. To make things worse, the motorist was not even cited by the officer despite admitting he was not paying attention at the intersection and started to make his turn without looking first.  Incredulous! I really do believe the officer for the City of Edinburg dropped the ball on this. How can he not issue the motorist a ticket? What does the officers action tell the community of Edinburg? Cyclist, you are second class citizens in the city sound about it.

While reading the discussion boards about the accident, many cyclists expressed an increased fear of riding or allowing their children to ride. That is understandable, but this statement stuck out and rang true with me:

We can not let fear rule our lives and detract from something we truly love, be it for any of the reasons you mentioned. We take the necessary precautions, like maximizing the use of bike lanes and bike shoulders during our rides and like riding in groups for added visibility. But we shall continue to ride!” Ramon Hermida

This bit of wisdom applies to all aspects of outdoor activity be it cycling, walking, running or what ever you choose. Danger lurks everywhere but you shouldn’t let it run your life. I for one have gotten a little complacent while riding. I ride defensively as a practice, but recently I have failed to make eye contact with the drivers, when going though intersections. This is something I have since corrected. As users of outdoor space, we need to be vigilant in our safety practices from danger whether it’s a robber, a distracted driver or yourself distracted because of an itch that you can’t reach. Pay attention to your surroundings!

Since I ride primarily alone, I take other precautions. I let others know that I’m out riding and I wear my Road ID wristband. If something were to happen to me and I’m unconscious, people on the scene can know some basic information about me and know whom to call. Others use their cell phones with a generic contacts such as Home, Sister or Brother. That’s a good idea but there is always the chance that the phone could be damaged and unusable, but there is nothing wrong with a multi-prong attack.

Maybe the day will come when we do have that robot following us to warn of impending danger, but until then don’t let complacency take over your riding philosophy and don’t let that itch distract you, be safe and enjoy your outdoor activity.

One good way to avoid possible tickets in the Valley, avoid Alton, TX

I haven’t received any tickets from the City of Alton but everytime I drive through there the risk is high, even if you are carefull about your speed. You see, Alton doubled their police crusers to a total of TWO. now, it may not sound like a lot but they now have a black Charger to go along with their black SUV, both with very lightly painted POLICE on them. In affect, they are in stealth mode. Why? Why do police need their agressive looking police cars to be stealthy? Tickets revenue is the only reason along with a very strick rules of the road.

I’ve had friends that live in Alton get tickets for minor infractions such as doing 34 mph when speeding up to go from a 30 to a 45 mph zone. Why are they so anal about it? It’s not that they are doing it on special days, but it’s every day that they are like that. If I had my way I would build a bride over that town and bypass them. But, I don’t have my way so the next alternative is to just avoid that area entirely. So, that’s what I do now. I take a different route to and from work and I’m at peace. Gone are the days of a black SUV or Dodge Charger making a u-turn to get up behind me and following, waiting for me to break the smallest of infraction. If that is how the city treats citizens traveling through their town, then they will always be a small dusty town. Who would want to go there to to do business in that environment? Not me, that’s for sure.

Do yourself a favor and avoid Alton.

What does this have to do with cycling? Abosolutely nothing.