Sunday, November 5, 2017

Tease Your Brain

While bicycling, how safe are you? What would you do if things went haywire? While ostensibly a physical activity, intelligence increases odds of survival. Take this Safety Pop Quiz, though neither cautions nor statistics motivate, and suggestions herein state consequences bicyclists debate. Only folly will ever guarantee safety.

1. Coming upon a blind right turn, you:
a. continue at speed; weave out for a better look.
b. downshift, hug right margin, slow.
c. turn head to check traffic behind as you hold line and turn.

2. At an intersection with 2 lanes in each direction, "right turn only” for right lane, you:
a. hug right edge of left lane.
b. pass cars on right and remain in shoulder; watch for hook from trailing cars.
c. stay in right lane behind cars; go or stop with traffic.

3. State requires helmets for children under 16 years, so, as an adult, you:
a. believe helmets cause accidents, so never wear.
b. buy child a helmet, but don’t wear one yourself.
c. wear when riding in cities, not in suburbs.

4. A big dog darts out. You:
a. abruptly dismount; shield yourself with bike; use pepper spray.
b. choose an easy gear; say firmly "bad dog"; spin fast.
c. cross street to put traffic between snarling beast and you.

5. While you rapidly descend a hill, SUV pulls out to occupy entire lane. You:
a. anticipate such situations and always descend under control.
b. brake hard and slide feet first.
c. cross road into far shoulder.

6. Road curves right, so you:
a. maintain rightful space in lane.
b. squeeze further right to avoid corner clippers.
c. weave as a warning to overtaking cars.

7. Cleated, you take a tumble on a sudden steep segment, then:
a. check for cuts and damage; recover composure.
b. crawl as fast as possible out of travel lane; drag bike with you, if you can.
c. get up, remount, ride again as if nothing happened. Sports abides no tears.

8. Lightning strikes nearby, so you:
a. continue and ignore; rubber tires insulate you.
b. find shelter indoors and wait for storm to pass.
c. pull up under a tree.

9. On a narrow road, motorists coming in both directions look likely to meet where you are, so:
a. ignore them; you’re entitled to use road, too.
b. pull over or slow down to let them pass.
c. speed up to outrun situation.

10. On bike path, notice driver racing toward you waving weapons. You:
a. cheer him on; it’s discriminatory profiling to condemn religious terrorism.
b. play chicken; speed up and steer straight toward.
c. ride alone, heads up, single file beforehand; take cover during.

Answers: No peeking until your answers are set.
1b. You should shift and slow, because you could be turning into an uphill and topple. For a. and c., you momentarily lose sight of merging traffic. Use a rearview mirror instead of turning head.

2a. As if another vehicle, unless you're turning right you should occupy right 1/3 of left through lane. b. Motorists never notice you in their blind spot. c. Makes you a target and unduly impedes your progress as cars join queue.

3c. Best answer, but would be better to always wear one. Peloton racers all do. No excuse, urban sprawl touches rural routes, too. Some argue that helmets give a false sense of invulnerability. But in 95% of fatal bicycling accidents rider was helmet-less, too convincing a correlation to ignore. By not wearing one, you're not only a bad example but might leave dependents without a parent or spouse.

4b. Try to carefully pass the 300 foot territory that dog guards. Cranking quickly confuses, so dog can’t easily latch onto your ankle. Voice commands shame dogs and trigger behaviors. a. With 3 million dog bites every year for which blameworthy owners weasel out, don’t escalate situation. c. This would work if you could anticipate, cross safely twice, and not endanger self, but scenario indicates surprise.

5a. Unfortunately, the only time you can take advantage of a nice downhill is when you’re sure nobody will intersect and pavement permits. Hitting a long crack, raised paint line, or sand spill might dump you headlong. All bicyclists ply increasingly ill kept roads thicker than ever with traffic.

6b. More than half of motorists violate breakdown lane on curves. Once around curve, you momentarily become invisible. No point using self to test their reflexes. Though statistics perversely deny, long personal experience validates likelihood of being overtaken.

7b. Motorists cresting hill and exceeding limit won’t see you on ground; result will be worse than a fall.

8b. Lightning finds its fastest path to ground, so arcs through tallest conductor, which might include metal conveyance you’re holding, tree under which you’re standing, or you. Take a time out to enjoy the display while insulated indoors.

9b. Bicyclists can’t ignore surroundings, must constantly adapt. c. Motorists often speed up to beat one another to spots, seldom want to follow bicyclists.

10c. Victims of Halloween massacre on Hudson Bike Path were all foreign nationals from Argentina and Belgium riding in clusters. Survivors among them were ones who were isolated. ISIS provoked terrorist struck no blow against Americans at all. But you can never be sure what insane mayhem you’ll come across, so ever be wary.

If you got 10 correct, you may live forever. If 9 or 8, sigh relief, risks are minimal. Per trip in USA, competent bicyclists are 4 times less likely to succumb to hazards than pedestrians, and 10 times more likely to survive than motorists, because they occupy so little room and roll at speeds that compliment traffic flow. Hit 6 or 5, wise up. If you only managed 4 or 3 and have dependents, seriously consider life insurance. From 2 to none, prepay funeral arrangements. Don't forget, they can harvest your athletic organs and tendons for allografts and transplants.

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