Drive My Bike


Another Terrible Reminder To Be Careful
August 18, 2009, 9:43 am
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There’s another horrible auto-cyclist accident in the news this morning.

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A driver in Texas, who was apparently drunk, hit a cyclist, who went through the car’s back window, and ended up in the back seat. The driver then drove home and tried to hide the vehicle, with the cyclist still in the back seat! A relative found the car and called 911, but the cyclist was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.

GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas – A driver accused of slamming head-on into a bicyclist, who was left in the car’s back seat after he toppled over the roof and crashed through the rear window, was jailed Monday on an intoxication manslaughter charge.

Vincent Paul Riojas, 27, is accused of hitting Ronnie Monroe Keller, 59, on Saturday in Grand Prairie, a suburb of Dallas where both men lived. Investigators said Riojas was driving on Texas 180 when he drifted into oncoming traffic.

The impact hurled Keller into the windshield of the car and flipped him over the roof before he crashed through the rear window, investigators said.

Riojas drove from the scene to his home and apparently tried to hide the car in a side yard before fleeing, according to a police statement released Monday.

Riojas’ relatives found Keller critically injured in the car and called police. Keller was dead when he arrived at Methodist Dallas Medical Center.

Quoted from MSNBC

This just serves as a reminder that no matter how careful we are when we ride our bicycles, we still have to constantly be on guard for things beyond our control.

Be alert. Ride safe.

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Accidents Are Happening… Stay Alert… Ride Safely!
June 24, 2009, 10:20 am
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As I left the office yesterday afternoon I noticed that the traffic was backed up more than it usually is, and I could see emergency vehicles up ahead.

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As I got closer I realized that the emergency vehicles were located mostly on the shoulder, not in the main traffic lanes. The fire truck and EMT vehicles pulled away as I got closer, and I pondered how I was going to weave my way through the police cars that remained. One of the policemen got into his vehicle and began to move, so I slowed down and waited for him as he pulled further out of traffic. Suddenly I noticed that there was a bicycle on the shoulder, with a completely crumpled front wheel! I was still trying to make my way through the police and onlookers, as well as the line of cars, so I couldn’t really pause to take it all in, but I noticed the cyclist sitting on the tailgate of a pickup. He looked like he was okay, and I didn’t notice any blood or scrapes, so I’m thinking that he must have been able to bail out before the vehicle hit him. If I had it to do over again I would have probably stopped and tried to talk to the cyclist or get some pictures, but I was so flustered by all of this that I just got clear of the accident and kept on pedaling.

There have been several accidents between cars and cyclists in our town as things have warmed up and more people have been riding,but seeing something like this on my regular route shook me up a bit. Even though I didn’t know the person that got hit, It just made it a lot more personal that this was a guy whom I could easily meet on any given day as we made our commutes.

In fact, it could have been me.

When I got home I found out that there had been another accident downtown earlier in the day, and the cyclist was killed. It sounds like this was just a freak thing, because the driver was diabetic and apparently went into diabetic shock and had no idea that she had even hit anyone.

That is scary.

We as bicyclists have to remember that we can do everything possible to be visible…

  • lights
  • reflective gear
  • bright clothing
  • taking the lane
  • knowing the rules of the road
  • etc.

…but even well intentioned drivers can still have situations which put us at risk!

When you got your driver’s license you were probably taught “defensive driving”. This is basically staying aware of your surroundings, and anticipating what the other drivers are doing, and being ready to respond if something goes wrong.

When you ride your bike be sure you practice “defensive riding”. Enjoy your ride, but stay alert! Always be aware of your surroundings. Don’t assume that drivers can see you. Make sure that your bike is in good condition to ride. Check your brakes, tires, quick releases, etc.

Bicycling is a wonderful thing when done right. Please do your part to ride safely.



Another Poll: Do You Use A Bicycle Mirror?

One of the first accessories I bought when I started bike commuting was a mirror, and I immediately became dependent on it…

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When I bought my first bike, a simple Schwinn Midtown comfort bike from Costco, it was not setup for commuting, and I went to a local bike shop for some advice. One of the first things he recommended was a Blackburn Handlebar Mirror. I bought it, and within a couple of rides I was immediately used to it being there. If you drive a car, and regularly check your side mirrors, then using a handlebar mounted bike mirror is very natural.

When I finished rebuilding my latest bike, it dawned on me that I didn’t have a mirror. The Trek came with end bars on the handlebars, and metal plugs on the ends of the handlebar tubes, so it would take some work to install the same Blackburn mirror I have on my Midtown. I was at the store looking at options, and I decided to try an inexpensive helmet mounted mirror. Installation was a snap, as it just fastens to your helmet with some double stick tape. I had heard that helmet mirrors are nice because you can get a wide field of view by turning your head to aim the mirror at what you need to see, so I was anxious to try this new mirror out. My first ride with the helmet mirror was on my Midtown, and I really had to fight the urge to just look at the handlebar mirror. It was kind of tricky to get the helmet mirror adjusted and aimed right, and it felt really strange to look up and to the left to see what was behind me. I’m happy to say that as I’ve ridden the Trek more I have gotten used to the helmet mirror, and it works reasonably well. I wouldn’t say I have a favorite at this point, because the experience with the two kinds of mirrors is very different, and I think they both have their positives and negatives.

So, that brings me to another opportunity to ask you what your preferences are when it comes to bicycle mirrors. As before, I’d love your comments as well as your votes.

Thanks for your feedback!



To iPod or Not To iPod? That is The Question!
October 16, 2008, 9:57 pm
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I really enjoy music, and have my headphones on a lot while I am working, but I don’t think I would wear them while I ride… what is your opinion?

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As the temps have gotten colder, the number of bike commuters has decreased substantially, but when it was warmer there were plenty of other bike commuters on my route, and I would say that more than half of them had headphones on. Now, I didn’t see anyone with big traditional headphones, like in the picture above, but there were plenty with lightweight earbuds. I would smile and start to say “Hello” to them, and then they would look at me funny, remove their headphones from one ear, and give me the universal “Huh?” that meant they didn’t hear me. I would greet them again, and they would usually look irritated, say “Hello” back, and speed off on their way.

I have to admit the thought of listening to music while I ride sounds appealing. I almost always wear my headphones if I’m working out at the gym. Music motivates me, and helps me pass the time. But riding my bike is different. One of the goals of my bike commuting is to slow things down a bit, and get me more in touch with the world around me that I usually just let pass right by. Headphones would do exactly the opposite. I think I’m also scared to death to put something in my ears that will decrease my senses while I ride. I try to remain on high alert as much as I can during my rides. It seems every week I see another blogger telling the story of how they just had an accident and are glad to be alive. I don’t want anything stealing my attention or my ability to hear what’s going on around me.

WordPress just added a cool new feature that lets me add polls to my blog posts, so I’m going to try one out here. The question goes out to you, my readers… “Do you wear headphones and listen to music while you ride?” The poll is just a yes or no answer, so if you have more to say on this topic then please answer the poll, and then leave me a comment. If you just want to take the poll, then that is fine too.

Thanks for stopping by!



Learn To Bicycle Safely!
August 27, 2008, 1:46 pm
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I just found the best site I’ve ever seen about bicycling safely in city traffic. This site does a great job of explaining the most common risks, as well as giving several strategies to avoid them. The diagrams and explanations are clear and easy to understand. Stop by and take a look at BicycleSafe.com because it just could save your life.

Really… do it… I was able to read most everything in about 10 minutes… and that 10 minutes could mean the difference between life and death on your next ride.

Thanks to the Crazy Commuting Cyclist for his post about bicycle safety.



Be Careful Out There!
July 17, 2008, 8:33 am
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Wow… I saw this on the news last night, and it’s a good reminder to all of us that spend time in traffic on our bikes. In Portland, a bicyclist and a motorist exchanged words, and the situation escalated into the motorist ramming the cyclist, with the cyclist ending up hanging onto the hood of the car. The motorist then drove off with the cyclist still on the hood of the car, and continued to drive wildly trying to throw the cyclist off of the hood. A witness got some shocking video as the car sped by with the cyclist on the hood. The motorist was later arrested.

Remember that a car is much bigger than you are, and it will always win versus your bike. Even if you are in the right, it is not worth dying to try to save face, or advance the cause of cycling. Ride safely. Watch your temper in traffic. Be careful out there!