The Chainlink

 

Hello my name is Dario.  I am typing this one handed because of an injury sustained while biking.  Obviously I did not die but if you want people to read your story you have to have a headline that grabs attention.  I am/was a year round cyclist who started commuting to work at the age of 32 (nearly 3 years now).  I know I am late to the party.  I started riding to lose weight but ended up loving it.  I love riding in Critical Mass, the clarity it gives me in the morning, and the way the way stress falls away on the ride home.  I love it so much I strong armed my best friend to follow me in biking.  It was easy to do when he saw my weight loss.  At first it bothered me to be the “crazy bike rider” who rides in the winter, but I got over it and now wear it like a badge of courage.  Besides I was never one to go with the flow.  I am a bit of a safety nerd.  While I don’t wear lime green spandex I always have lights and wear my helmet (not that it should matter).   I am extremely cautious and courteous.  I stop at stop signs,  don’t salmon, ride on side streets to minimize my interaction with “cagers”, and yell on your left when I pass people.  Yesterday while riding on the lake path a rollerblader (are they really still around), stepped in front of me after I shouted “on your left” and I ran into her.  I fell and separated my left shoulder. I have never felt pain like this.   She walked away.  In pain and furious I screamed at her to “get the fuck away from me before I beat your ass”, so I did not get her info.  Thank  God I have insurance.  Through no fault of my own, I will be out of commission for about a month.  

My wife and I brought home our newborn son Tuesday the 26th, and I can’t even hold him in my arms.  That hurts some much more than my shoulder.   This injury has saddled her with extra chores since I can do so little with one hand.  At the time in our lives when she needs me most I am a burden.  This is so unfair.  She has always been supportive(despite her reservations) and even liked buying me workout/cycling clothes.  

I cannot in good conscience continue to risk my well being with so many ignorant, discourteous, self centered, and just plain stupid people out there.  When it was just me I could rationalize it but I have a family now and I don’t want to miss any of it.  In short I am hanging it up, throwing in the towel, and giving up.   I did not write this for sympathy, or to hear people try and change my mind, i just needed to vent to like minded people.  Will I still bike, probably, but not as much.  If you’ve been a cyclist for a day you’ve probably had a close call, so you know what i mean.  I can not justify the risk any longer.  Thank you for reading this.  Goodbye.

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  I have discovered that yelling "on your left" only works with other cyclists.  For some strange phenomenal reason, peds will often step directly in front of you if you give them a warning from behind. I have no idea why.  I have read about this phenomena in a few different bicycling books and it has happened often enough personally to use different tactics.  I either dodge 'em silently if they're moving predictably enough, or I slow down enough to say, "excuse me please, can I get by you?".  If they're wearing headphones or something I yell "HEY!".  As a cyclist, I feel that I should treat peds as gently as I wish for autos to treat me.  

 

 

Huh? You nailed an idiot roller blader (yes it's back) so you're quitting? Man you didn't die. You weren't hit by a car. Is the message that quitting is ok? When i was hit by a car I separated my shoulder and was outta work for awhile but you better believe that I got back on my bike as soon as possible.

 

Are you gonna drive now? If you die in a car accident then what?

 

I think it's a way better message to your kid that you kept at the thing that made you a healthier, better man than you quit cause he was born.

 

Have fun gettin fat again on the sofa.

I hate to say it but riding on the lake front path is probably one of the most dangerous places for cyclists during the summer months.  I avoid it and when I must be on it for a short period at times I slow down considerably and continuously look behind me at all times to avoid getting rear-ended (as well as monitoring whats in front).  Reducing or eliminating your time on the LFP during summertime peak hours will considerably increase your chances of staying safe, imo.

 

Hope after some period of reflection or as your child gets older you may consider biking one day but glad you are regrouping and thinking things through now.

It is strange how they gravitate to the left...I noticed when I use my bell they tend to turn around and LOOK.

if you stub your toe on a sidewalk, will you decide to never walk again?  shit happens, dude

 

they may think 'on your left' means to go left.  or they think we will stay close to the right as we do on the road so they should move to the left to let us by. (especially since cyclists are notorious for improperly passing on the right).

 

i have changed my tactic.  i slow down. i anticipate an issue.  especially on the lakefront path.

Carly said:

  I have discovered that yelling "on your left" only works with other cyclists.  For some strange phenomenal reason, peds will often step directly in front of you if you give them a warning from behind. I have no idea why.  I have read about this phenomena in a few different bicycling books and it has happened often enough personally to use different tactics.  I either dodge 'em silently if they're moving predictably enough, or I slow down enough to say, "excuse me please, can I get by you?".  If they're wearing headphones or something I yell "HEY!".  As a cyclist, I feel that I should treat peds as gently as I wish for autos to treat me.  

 

 

by the way, congratulations on your new addition to your family.

I'm a dad too.  My daughter is 3 1/2, so I get your mindset.  I worry sometimes about the risks of riding and whether I'm being foolish.  But riding, staying healthy and reducing your stress levels will help you be a better dad and reduce the chances that you'll have a grabber one day which could leave your child fatherless.  It's cool to vent, but after you've calmed down, get back on your bike.

 

(And call Active Transportation's crash support group).

Dario - I have crashed a lot (both my fault and others)

I raised two sons, many times being the primary caretaker (wife worked nights, weekends and holidays)

You may be overreacting here - having a newborn baby is such an emotional thing, it can be a bit

overwhelming, and (speaking from first hand experience), after an injury sustaining crash such as

yours it was NEVER good for me to make any major decisions. Even trivial choices are often made

incorrectly. Get yourself healed and become adjusted to the new family life and then watch all the

other cyclists freely enjoying what they love and then reconsider your decision.

 

Dan

 

p.s. pain meds work. get some and take them, Ice and topical remedies are great too.

and I am glad you were wearing a helmet.

Please do, thanks Brendan. 312.869.4357(HELP)

 

Thanks,


Ethan Spotts, Active Trans

 

Brendan Kevenides said:

I'm a dad too.  My daughter is 3 1/2, so I get your mindset.  I worry sometimes about the risks of riding and whether I'm being foolish.  But riding, staying healthy and reducing your stress levels will help you be a better dad and reduce the chances that you'll have a grabber one day which could leave your child fatherless.  It's cool to vent, but after you've calmed down, get back on your bike.

 

(And call Active Transportation's crash support group).

I wonder if, maybe, the roller bladder would not have run off had you not screamed at them and been a complete a-hole.

 

People stop for no reason, people pay no attention, people do dumb shit and it is YOUR job to look out for them; not for them to look out for you.

 

Your accident sounds terrible, I really feel for you having been injured but things like that are a perfect example of two things...

 

1. Why I try to avoid the LFP.  It is a crowded nightmare of to many people doing to many different things. 

 

2. When on paths, or even on the street, I always take it easy when passing, well, when passing anything or anyone.  I will not overtake a skater, pedestrian or cyclist unless I am sure that they are either aware I am there or there is enough room for me to avoid them completely.  I also always pass on the left.

 

 

I noticed this phenomenon years ago and have added the syllable "I'm" to the pronouncement "on your left." I think it has helped, but it's not a substitute for going slow, remaining alert and keeping a bailout plan.

 

I'm sorry about the OP's crash, and hope with the benefits of hindsight and the passage of time, he will find that the benefits of cycling outweigh the risks.  

iggi said:

they may think 'on your left' means to go left.  or they think we will stay close to the right as we do on the road so they should move to the left to let us by. (especially since cyclists are notorious for improperly passing on the right).

 

i have changed my tactic.  i slow down. i anticipate an issue.  especially on the lakefront path.

 

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