Wednesday, August 20, 2008

In memorium to a fallen cyclist: Miles Coburn

Everyone at Century Cycles offers their heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Miles Coburn, a JCU professor and avid bicyclist who was hit by an SUV last Saturday and died while riding his bicycle in Newbury Township. (Click here for his obituary, and click here for more on the accident.) Last we heard, the accident was still under investigation, but charges are not expected to be filed. So sad, and what a loss for us all....

It's a helpless and horrible feeling to lose someone too soon, and that they died do what we all love so much. None of us are experts on what to do in situations like this, but we can let you know you can click here for the League of American Bicyclist's advice on responding to tragedy and on how to make a difference after a cyclist has died.

Unfortunately, tragedies like this also raise questions about bicycle safety, and you may be getting asked them from your friends and families. The media is also asking them: Century Cycles owner Scott Cowan was interviewed on "Live on Five" on Monday afternoon, as WEWS reporter Lorna Barrett asked questions about bicycle safety for a piece to accompany the station's report on Coburn's death.

Channel 5 didn't post the video clip on their website, or I would link to it here. However, there are a few points from it that are worth sharing. In the interview, Lorna Barrett refers to a free booklet from the Ohio Department of Transportation called "Ohio Bicycling Street Smarts: Riding Confidently, Legally, and Safely." This booklet includes all Ohio bicycling laws, but that's only the first few pages -- the remaining 45 pages are tips and techniques. It is available at Century Cycles stores in Medina, Peninsula, and Rocky River -- and again, it's FREE.

Much of what Scott emphasized in the interview is included in the following tips from the League of American Bicyclists:

The best way to educate motorists on bicyclists' rights to the road is to ride respectfully and have facts on your side. Here are some resources for cyclists and drivers on sharing the road.

Sharing the Road: Cyclists

On the Road:
> The same laws that apply to motorists apply to cyclists
> Obey all traffic control devices
> Use hand signals to indicate stops and turns other users

Always Wear a Properly Fitting Helmet:
> Wear a helmet, no matter how short the trip

Ride on the Right:
> Always ride in the same direction as traffic
> Use the furthest right lane that heads to your destination
> Slower moving cyclists and motorists stay to the right

Ride Predictably:
> Ride in a straight line
> Don't swerve in the road or between parked cars
> Check for traffic before entering street or intersection
> Anticipate hazards and adjust your position accordingly

Be Visible:
> Wear brightly colored clothing that provides contrast
> Use a white front light in low light conditions
> Use a red rear light in low light conditions
> Use a reflector or reflective tape or clothing anytime
> Announce yourself by making eye contact with motorists

Sharing the Road: Motorists

Drive Cautiously:
> Reduce speed when encountering cyclists
> Don't tailgate, especially in bad weather
> Recognize hazards cyclists may face and give them space

Yield to Cyclists:
> Bicycles are considered vehicles
> Cyclists should be given the appropriate right of way
> Allow extra time for cyclists to traverse intersections

Be Considerate:
> Scan for cyclists in traffic and at intersections
> Do not blast your horn in close proximity to cyclists
> Look for cyclists when opening doors

Pass with Care:
> When passing, leave four feet between you and a cyclist
> Wait for safe road and traffic conditions before you pass
> Check over your shoulder before moving back

Watch for Children:
> Children on bicycles are often unpredictable
> Expect the unexpected and slow down
> Don't expect children to know traffic laws
> Because of their size children can be harder to see

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