I had the pleasure of speaking to a group of cyclists last night at Cynergy Cycles in Santa Monica. It’s the kind of talk I do whenever asked, because I get to cover the three things near and dear to my heart:
- Daytime lights, front and rear, run all the time.
- Underinsured/Uninsured motorist coverage. Max it out!
- What to do if you’re hit by a car (and still conscious).
Over the last five years or so there has been a dramatic increase in the number of people who ride with daytime lights in the South Bay. On the rides I regularly attend, which include the Donut, the Flog, NPR, and Telo, many cyclists are lit up, and with powerful lights to boot.
It is purely anecdotal, but as these local rides and local riders become more and more accustomed to riding with daytime lights, the number of my friends hit by cars has fallen dramatically. In fact, one of the few recent cases in which a South Bay rider I know personally was hit, the rider was one of those guys who has always been too cool to ride with daytime lights. He got clocked on a busy weekend day and suffered severe injuries.
It’s funny how pride, coolness, and being a weight weenie (not to mention a cheapskate) suck so many cyclists into the death trap of riding without daytime lights. These are often the same people who don’t practice lane control and who dwell in the gutter/door zone.
In any case, I attribute the decrease in car-bike collisions among people I ride with to the continual messaging here and on the bike: Get daytime lights, and make sure they’re bright. Drivers may not like you, but they don’t want to hit you. They really don’t. They’re simply scapegoating you for their own inattentiveness. Here’s how it works.
- Driver is distracted.
- Driver sees you at the last minute because you are inconspicuous.
- Driver takes emergency evasive action, sometimes hitting you, sometimes not.
- Driver is scared shitless that he almost hit you/actually hit you.
- Driver blames you for his bad behavior.
With daytime lights, here’s how it works:
- Driver is distracted.
- Driver sees you way in advance.
- Driver avoids you.
- Driver honks/flips you off, but never comes close to hitting you.
- Driver continues on, leaving you in peace and intact.
Light yourself up. Really. Do.
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