Category Archives: safety

The Leaves are Falling (and a Little Snow Too)

There are plenty of opportunities for some nice riding in fall and winter whether for recreation/exercise or errands/work. Here are a few riding tips to keep in mind during these seasons:

  1. Check your lights front and rear. “Too many lights” are just about right in the low light, fall and winter conditions. Your lights are to make you visible (both day and night), but also to avoid those hidden ruts, potholes, and bumps in the street. Road debris at night is another hazard which good front lighting will help you avoid.IMGP5517
  2. Consider adding a helmet or head-mounted lamp to help see those potholes, debris, etc. at night. While a front light in blink mode makes people more aware of your presence, the headlamp helps you see obstacles. The advantage of a headlamp is that when you move your head, the light goes with you. When on trails with little or no street lighting, both the headlamp and front light (in steady mode) will light the path.
  3. Replace the batteries. Keep your re-chargeables charged.
  4. Have someone view your bicycle from behind in the dark with the lights “on.” Ensure that your gear or clothing does not block the light beams (front and rear) and that the rear light(s) aim toward following vehicles.
  5. Spoke lights or spoke reflectors are both fun and provide visibility from the side.
  6. Watch other people on bicycles and judge their visibility index as a guide to improving your own.
  7. Add an extra “blinky light” front and rear and use them both as nighttime supplements and as “daytime running lights.”
  8. Maybe shop for and use a helmet mounted rear-facing light.
  9. You will probably ride safer and smarter if you are comfortable – so plan your riding gear accordingly. Think layers.Rain2
  10. As you bundle up, look at your outer layer. If it is dark in color, either choose something that is not or pick up a cheepy reflective vest from your local big box home center.
  11. Wet leaves and snow are slippery so anticipate your stops and turns.
  12. Pay special attention to puddles of water or clumps of leaves as they can mask the plentiful potholes and craters in the paved surface.
  13. Recall that some pavement markings can also be slippery when wet or extra slippery when covered with wet leaves, snow, or ice.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
  14. Keep your chain clean and lubricated (especially after riding in melted slush).
  15. You might want to inspect your tires for wear. You might swap the front to the rear (since the rear takes the most weight and wears quicker). If planning to ride in snow, you might invest in wider, knobby tires for better traction (if your bike accepts them). You may consider reducing tire pressures from max by 5 to 10 psi for better grip.
  16. Sunglasses are very important this time of year as well. With the days getting shorter, there is a greater chance you will finishing or starting a ride in low light conditions. Switch your tinted lenses to a rose or clear lens for better visibility in low light conditions.
  17. Plan your braking to avoid a spill.5189348630_6432fb1cce_z
  18. Sunglasses are also important this time of year. With the days getting shorter, there is a greater chance that you will finish or start a ride in low-light conditions. Switch your tinted lenses to a rose or clear lens for better visibility in low light conditions.
  19. Be mindful of slippery metal surfaces (such as utility covers and grates).
  20. Fall and winter is a good time to get ready for next year’s riding with a tune up from one of our local bicycle shops. This is a good time to support your local shop and to help them over the slower winter season. November through March is good time to get that special attention from your bicycle mechanic. Find out where at – https://albanybicyclecoalition.com/resources/

    Other winter riding tips –

To plan for low stress, safe cycling, plan you route with the free, interactive Albany Bicycle Coalition BikeAlbanyMaphttps://albanybicyclecoalition.com/albany_bike_map/

To find more bicycle-related events, go to –  https://albanybicyclecoalition.com/resources/events/

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Filed under Bike Tech, safety, Winter Cycling

Pay Attention!

Car #1 stops for pedestrian in crosswalk. Car #2Dreaming? Texting? Yaking? Eating?

Result?

Pay Attention EB 10-13-19

The backstory is the person slumped in the seat of Car #1 was a passenger on the way to the ER for a post op situation. The driver of Car #1 – even with an ailing passenger – has enough responsibility to stop for people walking. The driver of Car #2?

You’ll witness this identical behavior if you do some test walks on the “circles of death” on Washington Ave. and Fuller Rd. Try it …

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[Photo and story courtesy of Alert Cyclist Ed.]

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Filed under Comings and Goings, safety

Bicycle Warning Signs at Washington Ave. and Fuller Rd.

Bicycle Warning Signs – NYS Department of Transportation at Washington Ave. and Fuller Rd. ~ Photos 6/21/19 vs. Google Street View, Various Dates. 

Sign Present – Checked with Google Maps Street View July 2018

  • DOT Signs Flyover NORTH BOUND on Fuller Rd South of Wash Ave Rd 6-21-19 (1) – Wide View OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
  • DOT Signs Flyover NORTH BOUND on Fuller Rd South of Wash Ave Rd 6-21-19 (2) – Close up OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sign Present – Checked with Google Maps Street View August 2018

  • DOT Signs Flyover NORTHBOUND Fuller Rd at exit from Wash Ave 6-21-19 (1) – Going under I-90
  • DOT Signs Flyover NORTHBOUND Fuller Rd at exit from Wash Ave 6-21-19 (2) – Going under I-90
  • DOT Signs Flyover NORTHBOUND Fuller Rd at exit from Wash Ave 6-21-19 (3) – Going under I-90

Sign Absent – Checked with Google Maps Street View September 2016

  • DOT Signs Flyover WESTBOUND TO WASH AVE EXT from Fuller Rd 6-21-19 (1)
  • DOT Signs Flyover WESTBOUND TO WASH AVE EXT from Fuller Rd 6-21-19 (2)
  • DOT Signs Flyover WESTBOUND TO WASH AVE EXT from Fuller Rd 6-21-19 (3)

Sign Absent – Checked with Google Maps Street View August 2018

  • DOT Signs Flyover WESTBOUND Wash Ave at I-90 on-off ramp 6-21-19 (1)
  • DOT Signs Flyover WESTBOUND Wash Ave at I-90 on-off ramp 6-21-19 (2)
  • DOT Signs Flyover WESTBOUND Wash Ave at I-90 on-off ramp 6-21-19 (3)

 

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Filed under Activisim, NYS DOT, safety, Washington Ave.

Mr. Face Plant or It Pays to Pay Attention

Down the street and oh so slow,

Riding to a place I know.

 

Going for a coffee and a croissant,

What more could anyone want?

 

Street repairs not yet made,

What happens to taxes I paid?

 

A bump, a rut, and then a lump,

And all at once, I go thump.

 

Face and elbows on the ground,

Pieces of my glasses spread around.

 

Whoops, wham … damn!

Stupid Bike

 

I go straight as the bike flies right,

Flat on my face with all my might – what a fright!

 

Bloody helmet, clothes, and nose,

This is not the plan I chose.

 

Off to St. Pete’s fine ER,

Good thing it’s not too far.

 

OMG – why look at you,

What the hell did you do?

 

Catskan, x-ray, poke, and prod

Have some morphine then you’ll nod

 

Nose is broken, elbows busted, cuts galore,

Bruises, tears, and some more.

 

Here, have a couple nice new slings,

Radial fractures are bad things.

 

Tooth is loose but not too bad

Oh my goodness, this is sad.

 

After all that I’m told,

The Erie Canal ride goes on hold.

 

Can’t fix you here, get off that bed,

Here you go to Albany Med.

 

Mohawk Ambulance for ride,

With an EMT at my side.

 

To ask me for more revelations,

Date of birth, height, weight, and explanations!

 

Here we have a center for trauma

I guess I qualify for all this drama

 

You’ll need some stitches in every place,

In your mouth and on your face.

 

Needles here and over there,

In your mouth and through your hair.

 

You’ll not feel a thing or so I’m told,

Maybe cause you way too old.

 

Now this will pinch,

As I sew another inch.

 

Cheek is done and now some more,

When I stitch that it’ll sure be sore!

 

Hope that nose comes back to center,

If not, we’ll re-stitch and bend ‘er.

 

Drugs you’ll get ‘til you can’t stop,

Amox/K Clav and Chlorhexidine at one pop.

 

And then Tramadol and Gabaoentin,

With some Bacitracin thrown in the bin.

 

As much as I love my bike.

Maybe I should get a trike

 

Peace!

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Filed under safety

MIPS to You Too!

Using guidelines that a helmet should be replaced every 5 to 10 year and noting that the current helmet had a bunch of scrapes and scratches and well as being (a cool but) invisible black, a “Hi-Viz” replacement seemed in order. But wait – what about the new MIPS technology: What It Is and Why You Need It?

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MIPS stands for Multi-directional Impact Protection System.” Created through years of research, the combination of the brain’s own protection and MIPS can provide better protection from angled impacts. When a MIPS helmet hits the road and sticks initially due to the high friction, one’s head can slide relative to the helmet thus reducing rotation of the head during impact and minimizing strain to the brain.

So here is a Bontrager MIPS helmet (TREK – $99.99 + tax and tip) (note the WindBlox noise blockers ).This is a very comfortable helmet with the only disadvantage being the cheesy, twist-prone quality of the chin strap meaning that it has to be smoothed out before wearing.

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Previously, helmet shopping were limited to comfort, ventilation, price, style/color, weight, configuration, visibility, overall quality, and ease of buckling and adjustment. A 1999 federal law requires that bicycle helmets meet the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) standard. Look inside your helmet (probably with a magnifying glass) to find this fine print attestation – possibly accompanied by a Snell Foundation label.** Thus all helmets provide the same level of safety; that is, the helmet does not block the rider’s vision, does not come off when after falling or during a crash, and reduces the force to the head when the helmet hits a hard surface. However, helmet crash testing has not evolved as the basic impact test is still smashing the helmet against an anvil in a test rig. (See also – https://www.cpsc.gov/Business–Manufacturing/Business-Education/Business-Guidance/Bicycle-Helmets )

Note the WindBlox on the strap – see – https://albanybicyclecoalition.com/2017/06/01/wind-blox-cut-that-wind-noise/

These criteria do not protect against all concussions or other brain injuries especially during slower crashes or crashes at oblique angles. MIPS addresses this gap in with a form of slip plane technology with two low-friction layers that rotate against each other, mimicking the rotation of the brain’s own cerebrospinal fluid (the body’s natural defense against oblique impacts). In short, a MIPS helmet can move relative to the helmet’s outer shell. MIPS technology provides an extra safety but at a slight cost premium.

The MIPS helmet’s outer layer is same impact-absorbing EPS* material as a conventional, OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACPSC helmet. The difference comes in connecting the shell to a low friction inner layer that rests on the rider’s head. (Look inside a MIPS helmet at this clearly visible and moveable plastic interior liner with connectors joining it to the outer shell – see white arrow in photo.)

 

 

An earlier attempt at reducing rotational injuries was the transition from the white Foam Helmet“foam” “Bell” helmets of the 60s and 70s to a smooth, hard outer surface covering the shock absorbing EPS* material. This smoothness allowed the helmet to slide along a rough road surface rather than bouncing along the roughness and subjecting the head and neck to a rapid series of jolts that might result from the rougher surface of the “foam-style” helmet.

Does your helmet have MIPS? If it lacks a MIPS label, tell by looking inside as all MIPS-equipped helmets have a plastic interior liner that can move relative to the outer shell with connectors joining the inner and outer layers.

Since the Bontrager MIPS was already over $100, why not go all out in the visibility end with a Serfas TL-HLMT LED blink light? ($11.99 + tax). Curiously, the orientation of the hook-and-loop mounting strap is for a vertical helmet bar rather than horizontal,  Thus, when mounted, the light looks a little goofy.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

If this helemet is not up to your standards, check out the Lumos Smart CPSC-CE Certified cycling helmet with wireless turn signal handlebar remote, built-In motion sensor, and 70 LEDs on front, rear, and sides at $179.00.

NOTES *EPS or Expanded Polystyrene has ideal crush characteristics with no bounce-back to make the impact more severe. The manufacturer places polystyrene beads (granules) in a pressure mold shaped like the helmet liner and expands the beads 2 to 50 times their original size with a blowing agent under pressure and heat. The beads expand to form the cells and fill the mold. The cells are tightly bonded and varying the density of the foam cells can produce optimal crush for a given impact level. Additives can increase cell adhesion to reduce splitting on impact. Manufacturers can also add internal reinforcing of nylon, carbon fiber, or plastics to reduce cracking, enabling designers to open up wider vents and still pass the lab impact tests.

**Curiously, the subject Bontrager helmet lacks the higher standard Snell Foundation approval. Its competitor, Specialized, seems to have many of its helmets so certified.

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Filed under Bike Tech, Product Review, safety