City Biking is Dangerous

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Remember kids: Always wear your helmet.

Public safety message here, partly inspired by some comments to my earlier post that mentioned the dangers of fixed-gear bikes. Now, I love riding my bicycle in San Francisco, and I wouldn’t hesitate to describe this city as a bicycle paradise. And I’ve been known to fill my water bottle with a refreshing rosé like the Gris de Gris from Domaine de Fontsainte for adventure rides around town. But damn kids, those are some dangerous streets out there! Between the rising number of bicycle fatalities in San Francisco and the unfortunate accident over the weekend where a deputy sheriff struck and killed two cyclists south of San Francisco, I’m tempted not to ride for a while. Or join in Critical Mass as a protest. Either way, I’m wearing my helmet. And probably not bringing along the rosé.

* Update: Erwin Dink at Winefoolery posted this appropriate video about bicycle awareness in London in the comments section.

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5 thoughts on “City Biking is Dangerous

  1. One of my friends who commutes by bike has been in three accidents over the past few years, two of which were within the past 9 months. I was grazed by a cab which was turning right onto one of the numbered streets off Valencia in the Mission, and didn’t see me riding in the bike lane.

    SF definitely is a bike paradise – it is beautiful and lots of people enjoy the pleasures of riding. In fact, I had not rode a bike regularly in over 20 years when I ‘re-learned’ (testing the ‘like riding a bike’ axiom) how to ride last summer, primarily due to seeing everyone out there on their bike and me feeling like I was missing out on the fun.

    So everyone – have fun, but be safe out there. Assume that drivers are aggressive and/or oblivious to their surroundings. Be uber aware and ride safe.

  2. Now that’s the kind of Public Service Message that never seems to fly here in the States.

    Paying my way through college and grad school as a bike messenger in DC in the ’80s (before anyone rode fixed gears outside of the velodrome), I was hit three times. Once from behind, once by a sideswipe and once by the dreaded door. Luckily I somehow managed to avoid any serious injury on all three occasions.

    Since then, there have been plenty of close calls but I’ve always avoided catastrophe by following Joe’s rules: be uber aware (I hate tinted car windows as watching the behavior of the people in a car can give you good clues as to what goofy move they’re about to make) and never assume that anyone sees you or is going to stop.

    And yes, kids and grownups alike, always wear your skid lid.

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