“Buddy it’s dark”
“Yeah I know”
“So where are your freakin lights”
“I’m safe mate, never been hit”
And off he pedaled seemingly into the abyss but given his complete lack of visibility it may well have been straight under a car, van or truck. I have no idea, but I do care. Despite being a complete stranger (and trust me I'm rarely interested in strangers) I do not want him to end up on the dark side.
If I'm honest I almost get it.
It often feels like we're a species on the verge of killing our souls and our children with an overly obsessive sense of caution. Work mates are sent on three day training courses in order that they might complete a task they've been doing for decades. Kids do bikeability on roads which bear no resemblence to a road they might ever actually ride on; and the curse of the 'best before' means we send millions of tons of good food to land fill while people literally starve. Why wouldn't you want to throw caution to the wind once in a while? Yep I get all of that madness but a complete loss of perspective doesn't seem like a good solution either.
Our safety is not determined exclusively by our competency.
We share the space in which we travel and that is not about to change.
Other people are exceedingly careless, stupid, ignorant and damn right melicious.
Being cautious is not a judgement on your character, competency or sheer brilliance; it is an attempt not to become worm fodder due to the incompetancy of moronic others!
So please be careful because others are careless.
You shouldn’t have to, it isn’t fair, we feel your angst but sometimes where we are is where we are.
So here's 5 tips to keeping safe while cycling in the urban environment.
1: Be seen: On dark nights/mornings lights are not an optional extra.
2: Stay out of the gutter: If the driver behind you doesn't have to acknowledge your presence he almost certainly won't.
3: Keep calm: A stressed mind makes reckless decisions.
4: Be polite: Niceness never killed anyone but its absence sure made the day unpleasant.
5: Be aware of your surroundings: Head check, head check, head check.