December 20, 2018 § 20 Comments
I have for years supported the bike education and riding techniques developed by Cycling Savvy. They are awesome and they work.
However, in their latest newsletter they ran the following post. I’m going to leave aside the fact that this is exactly the kind of crap that makes people refuse to ride bikes.
Wait. No, I’m not.
Because this is exactly the kind of crap that makes people refuse to ride bikes.
This guy looks like an insane person, and that’s okay. Bicycling has always been a refuge for the weird. But as a bike advocate, this is not okay because the single biggest factor in bike safety isn’t wearing reindeer mirror-hats or reflective jackets, it’s motorist behavior.
And motorist behavior doesn’t change until motorists have to confront cyclists in large numbers, as part of the normal traffic scheme. Countries where there are shit-tons of cyclists, i.e. Eurobikedisneyland, have far safer environments for cyclists, than, say Florida.
That’s one of many reasons it’s uncommon to see anyone with a helmet in Vienna, and absolutely fucking inconceivable to see someone decked out with goofball car mirrors on their head like a tin-hat Republican.
In other words: when you tell people that bike safety requires you to look like you just got kicked off Santa’s sleigh, most people aren’t gonna ride bikes–and that makes the roads deadlier for those of us who do.
Good luck charms and shit
What’s worse about this “instructor’s” “manifesto,” Cycling Savvy explicitly teaches you to learn to turn yer fuggin’ head and look before you swerve across forty lanes of freeway traffic. Using a mirror is a complete waste of time at worst, and at best it’s a lame crutch that supplements what you should already know how to do, i.e. turn your fuggin’ head without jerking your handlebars into the next county.
The dork with the mirrors subscribes to the talisman theory of cycling safety, which basically says “I have this special thing that keeps me safe and unless you have it too and use it exactly as I prescribe, you will DIE!!!!”
It’s like the high priest’s mumbo-jumbo where you have to eat the raw newt testicles, boil the spider vag, and turn around twice under a full moon when Aries is in Liposuction, and then, and only then will you be safe. The net effect is that normal people look at that shit and say, “Um, I think I’ll go ahead and drive.”
Taking the heat off the wrongdoer
The real perps in traffic aren’t bikers without mirrors. They are cagers who hit and kill them. And it’s the cager’s behavior that has to change, not the biker’s. Biking is a safe activity, it’s healthy, fun AF, a great way to torch calories and friendships, and if you bike commute, it’s also the very best part of your day.
Bikers shouldn’t be lectured and shamed by idiots who dress up like space aliens. They should be encouraged to use the lane, learn the tenets of Cycling Savvy, and get on with their day, not told to BUY MORE STUFF CUZ OTHERWISE YOU WILL DIE!!!!!
As a pointless aside, this fool’s helmet protuberances will easily turn a harmless fall into a spine-destroying injury the minute those horns get caught on something, hit at an angle that causes a violent twist, etc.
Save your hate mail
Please don’t comment or email telling me that you have a mirror and that it saved your life, helped you make a smart buy on the stock market, got you laid by your brother’s wife, or made a snazzy impression at the Little League draft. Rather, please do, but be aware that I don’t care because I think mirrors are like helmets. They are fine if you want to wear one, just like the guy biking in a leotard-thong on the bike path a couple of months ago. If it makes you feel jolly, then scratch that itch.
But don’t pose as an expert on bike behavior and make gimmicky stuff the sine qua non for staying alive. It’s fake, it’s false, and it makes people choose the car.