Archive for September 2008
Another useful site is the New York Cycle Club site. Some fine links to Bicycle Safety studies and other useful information.
Here’s the latest update from the Hobo Bikers, Nancy and Randy. They have worked their way down from the Arctic Circle to Peru. Their letter follows but if you want to see more pictures and read about their amazing bicycle trips use these links:
A reprint follows of an article on New Hampshire’s Updated Bicycling laws that take effect January 2009. This article is from The Concord Monitor, just use the link to see the original Article.
My favorite quote is “Hopefully, this will help motorists show the same respect for bikers that they show pedestrians,” said Andersen, a Lebanon Democrat. “Just like pedestrians, bicyclists are supposed to be able to feel confident that they’re not going to get run over.”
I think adopting the 3′ rule is a very positive move and a surprise in New Hampshire. But I have to say my experience is that I am safer on a bike than walking in Dover, NH.
I hope this new law is communicated to drivers, enforced and obeyed, but I am not very optimistic that we will see much improvement. However, I must say in most parts of New Hampshire (the Hampton Beach Area is a major exception) and Southern Maine drivers respect bicyclist. I have very few threatening incidents, about 1 a year bicycling. As a pedestrian I have about one threatening incident a week while walking in Dover, NH.
Bicyclist often have the advantage of being where drivers are looking. Pedestrians have become invisible since the “right turn on red law” was adopted. Drivers are looking to the left to see if they can run the light without stopping and not to the right where there is a pedestrian in the crosswalk.
This change in the law is a very positive move by the State of New Hampshire to help bicyclists and encourage bicycling in the state. The sponsor of this bill, Gene Andersen, should be commended and supported for this work. Good job Gene!!!!
However, this is just one tree in the forest and there is still a long way to go before bicyclists and pedestrians can feel safe on our roads. The next step is to get the local police on the side of the bicyclist and pedestrian. Blaming the bicyclist or pedestrian when they are hit by a speeding or inattentive driver is no more useful than telling the homeowner to get bigger locks after his home has been robbed. Our local paper, Foster’s Daily Democrat seems to support this blaming the victim approach. Maybe they should be targeted as a partner in our efforts to make the roads safer for everyone. I suspect they will be much easier to convince than the police and could be a very effective advocate.
My hope is that higher gas prices will slow drivers down and that over time they will be more aware of the danger they create when they speed or drive distracted.
Note: This is an update a previous post but with new pictures. There were pictures on the old post but they seem to have disappeared.
Easy on and off is the key to making the Camelback Unbottle a really useful tool. Here’s how I do it on a Ryan Vanguard or a Longbikes Slipstream. This approach should work on any bike with accessible seat stays.
Which of these is your head light?
Reading lumen and wattage specs on head lights doesn’t give you a very good idea of what you will see at night with a head light. Planet Bike has created a way to compare head lights by taking pictures of what is visible with different head lamps. This is the best tool I’ve seen for comparing head lights. Check it out at
By the way, the folks at Planet Bike are some of the nicest and most helpful folks I have ever bought bicycling gear from. They are always helpful and knowable when I call.
My personal preference is to not ride at night. But I carry a small head light and tail light. They make me visible to drivers at night. They don’t really illuminate the road; they are safety lights. I never plan to ride in the dark but it happens occasionally.
Related Post: Bike Light Tests and Lights in my Eyes. This posts shows what lights I use and the reason why brighter lights don’t help me much.
Check out Duofold Vari-Tec T-shirts at SuperCasuals for $9.99. I buy the safety yellow for bicycling and they do stand out. Not quite as nice as the old Duofold Vari-Tec 100% polys but the best I have found for the last few years. They are light and breathe well. These shirts have flat seams that won’t rub on long rides.
I bought 5 at this price and shipping was $7.99. Bicyling t-shirts are not long lived items if you don’t like stains.
Take a look at this day time safety light system for bicyclist, it makes sense. Steady bright yellow lights on the side of your bike that can be seen during the day. Actually the lights are yellow when seen from behind and white from the front.
This is the system required by law in most states for motorcycles and it really works. Motorcycles with running lights are much more visible. Check it out for yourself as you drive around. You will still see some crazy Harley riders without lights. Compare their visibility with motorcycles with day lights. It works well enough that the system is on most new cars. Steady yellow lights are more effective than blinking lights that seem to confuse motorist. Placing the lights on the side of the bicycle helps drivers obey the new three foot minimum passing distance law in New Hampshire and a lot of other states.
Here’s a video that shows what they look like on a bicycle, Pedal to Power.
So far the implementation looks fairly crude and as far as I can tell they aren’t available, yet. However, there is a lot of talk about the on the Ryan Users Group website. The developer, Carl Schoolman, has a posting on Consider Biking, that says send him a note if you want to try them (use the link attached to his name to reach him). He also has a website (still under development) at LivingDayLites.