Thursday, August 16, 2007

surviving the city

I just finished reading The Art of Cycling by Robert Hurst a couple nights ago and it was a pretty interesting read.

It is basically an overview of his view of how to ride a bike in an urban setting in the safest manner possible so it includes info on navigating in traffic, common obstacles in the street, and a few other topics.

Though it borrows very heavily from John Forester's principle's of vehicular cycling, it differs in an important way that I tend to agree with.

The vehicular cycling crowd will tell you that bicyclists fare best when they act and are treated as vehicles with the same rights and responsibilities that motorists have. Hurst however argues that the problem with this view is that you are putting responsibility on motorized vehicle drivers for your safety, and that a small mistake on their part can have massive consequences for cyclists up to and including death. His solution is one of taking all responsibility for your safety when on the road. How do you do this? Through a combination of vehicular cycling, altering your route to include roads with less traffic when possible, utilizing bike paths when convenient, and even being ready to bail onto the sidewalk if necessary.

In addition, he goes over common hazards in the roadway (form potholes to railroad tracks) and how best to avoid rapid introductions to pavement of any kind. He also discusses topics as wide ranging as the effects of air pollution on cyclist and how best to mitigate.

The ultimate message however is to take control of your fate when riding and PAY ATTENTION (he argues that getting distracted from the task at hand is a large factor in bike accidents).

I don't know if I would reccomend buying this but definitely worth getting form a friend or the library.

Next up is The Book of Dave.

On the nightstand currently:
Book of Dave (in progress)
Essays – George Orwell

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