Luckily, I crashed and did many stupid things with bikes when I was a kid. Not as much as a BMX kid, though. I think what I did right about biking is, I learnt how to fall. I fell a lot when I was a kid, but did fell 2 times in last 10 years.
When you’re at my age, 47, knowing how to fall down is a great asset, but still best to avoid – I take absolutely zero risk. Mind you, that it’s unavoidable and will happen to you sooner or later. When I was a kid, I tried all stupid things my imagination let me, but if I start riding now, I wouldn’t commit such atrocities. When you are 12, you heal faster – both physically and mentally.
There are lots of dangers and pitfalls for riders. Bicycles are more dangerous then most motorbikes, because you don’t have the acceleration potential of any motorbike. There are maniacs all over the world that hates riders, and looks like hitting them with a motorised vehicle is a legitimate way to kill a rider, at least in Texas, USA.
I’m involved in quite a lot of fights, and never escaped one except the first one, when I was a little kid. But it’s absolutely dumb to get yourself killed for a stupid cause like who’ll pass first. You’ll not be a martyr or a hero. People you know may shed some tears for you, and that’s all. You’ re on a open, very vulnerable vehicle that cannot even stand still. You’ re not fast, you’ re not protected, you’ re not agile enough. You have absolutely zero advantage against a moto-monster. It will crush you, and if you’re lucky, you’ll die after a short agony. Do not even try to make your point, just live. I’ ve seen many bikers get angry with asshole drivers, that’s pointless. Keep calm, save your life, and find the bastard later if you can, and make him/her pay.
It’s not just hominids against you; almost all living creatures, even the weather is a threat.
Here’ s a short list what can harm you, and how to avoid those threats:
Obviously, your biggest enemy is drivers because you’re sharing the same road with them, especially on a road bike. I try to avoid main roads if I can. That’s not an option with a road bike.
Most riders ride the outermost part of the gutter, which is risky in many ways: gutters are loaded with broken glass, thorns, even bolts and dead animal carcasses. These things can rip your tire off. Another risk is, drivers may not see you, or pass you too fast. If you’re travelling over 30 km/s, that’s exceptionally risky, and risk is proportional with the size of the vehicle and speed. I think it’s best to ride in the innermost side of the gutter. You should give them space to pass, but do not let them feel too comfortable or confident with it.
People riding bikes, or even small cars are afraid of trucks. This is a common misconception. Truck drivers are professional, careful and majority of them have no ego involved driving their vehicles. They are trying to earn a living, and not interested in killing you. At least here in my country, truck and bus drivers are the most respectful type to bikers. They leave a lot of space to you, and slow down when they pass.
Concrete mixers are another story: avoid them at all costs. They will kill you without hesitation. These guys, and their employers are crazy, seen some weirdos blasting TNT to remove concrete that is set in mixers. That’s right: if concrete sets in the mixer, that’s a disaster for them, so they are racing against time.
Always pay attention to traffic, and try to predict especially oncoming drivers’ reactions. Do not wear headphones unless you’ re suicidal. Some people use mirrors. I think mirrors do more harm then good. It may cause panic in you. If a truck is coming to hit you, there is no way to outrun, at least %99. But by panicking, you can make costly mistakes. Maybe your last one. There is no point in seeing death coming if you cannot avoid it.
Here are some problematic driver types:
– Idiots and assholes with either long nosed cars or slammed down SUV’s.
- Younger drivers with German or Japanese sports cars. These types can think themselves as rally drivers and most of them are clueless without the aid of ABS, ESP, etc.
- Women with fancy cars, most of them are typically Karen’s, and roads are meant to made for transporting them freely.
- Very old drivers who have poor eyes, poor reflexes, and probably shady judgment skills.
- Young or middle aged men driving small vans. Considerable amount of them think they’re plebs and you’ re a selfish, ruthless neocon businessman because you’re riding a 999$ bike. They name people demonstrating for basic human rights as “commies”, until seeing a 999$ bike, which makes them turn into Stalin and Beria combined.
- Any normal driver stuck in a very bad jam, for too long. They can make sudden lane changes, totaly distracted and out of control.