With God, Bike Accidents are still Possible

June2009 234Our last night in Pittsburgh Laura presented me with a birthday cake and some of my favorite biking food, which was a form of surprise party because I was not expecting anything. It was a glorious birthday, and being in the middle of a trip like this makes it that much better. We departed Michelle’s after talking about Zipcar, her CSA share and her other sustainable habits like reusing plastic utensils if she acquires them. As a chemical engineer, she understands the significance of conserving natural resources.
While leaving Pittsburgh it was no surprise that we got lost, but it was still a little frustrating. The rest of the ride went pretty smooth given the storm we rode through. During the last thirty miles we were graced by the kind of thunderstorm that in our youth would have had us singing of rain drops on roses and whiskers on kittens, and in actuality it was very pleasant. We were wet, but it was so hot out it was almost like being in a warm bath.
Frank and Peg, our ‘warmshowers’ hosts in Youngstown, OH, were waiting for us with pasta and a delicious homemade sauce to go with it. We then enjoyed some local brews while we chatted about bike touring (Peg and Frank are veterans of the xc ride), and even got a chance to play their didgeridoo. One of the topics of conversation was bike safety. Frank, a bike safety instructor does not wear a helmet. He is a student of the subject, and most studies done prove that actions such as driving and walking demand helmets more so than biking. But what is the harm in wearing one? It helps sustain a stigma that biking is unsafe which keeps people from biking. His words had some pull on Laura, who recently stopped wearing her helmet. The last thing I want is for people to not bike, and safety issues should definitely not be a reason for it. Some cyclists with

Peg and Frank

Peg and Frank

helmets will tell you from experience that drivers pose more of a risk to them, driving closer or recklessly because the drivers think they are safe if anything happens.
At this point in the game pedaling and steering is second nature to me, but even so the roads always hold unpredictable variables, not to mention drivers who think I do not belong there. Better roads, more bike paths, mandatory lights on bikes, and enforced speed limits are all things that can make biking safer, but waiting to get on a bike until this is a reality is ridiculous! There is also a question as to whether or not the .1 lb piece of foam is effective in doing what it is made to do, but from experience I can tell you it is. What we can do to help ourselves out is protect our noggins by wearing a helmet should anything happen, because (in Ohio at least) with God, bike accidents are still possible.

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