January 9, 2013

Hey Cyclists, Get Lights

I am a grad student at UGA and make a short drive most nights to campus for studying and class work.  I drive down Lumpkin and am flabbergasted at the bikes I notice that don't have any lights on them!

At the risk of sounding like I ought to be carrying a cane and shouting phrases like "You whippersnapper" and "You didn't see THAT when I was your age…" I appeal to the students—(who else would it be?) who make any trip at night on their bike—to GET A FREAKING SET OF FRAKKING BIKE LIGHTS!!!  Even when driving at 35 miles per hour, the distance between a darkened rider and an automobile when the driver finally decides to look up from the texting or the burger or the radio or (heaven forbid) actually out the front windshield, is too short to be of any use if the driver decides that he doesn't want to hit the biker.  Let's face it, counting on the vigilance of the Athens community [of] drivers is... Let's just say that the trust is misplaced.  

If a biker makes itself visible at a great distance,  then the driver KNOWS the biker is there and probably will make allowances when passing.  I have found this to be the case, overwhelmingly so, because I make myself noticeable when biking.  When one is seen, the drivers are willing to share the road.  It is the biker's responsibility to be seen!!!  Get a bright light for your handlebars (not the little three-million candlepower spy-chip that sticks to your helmet. HELMET?  Oh, don't get me started...) and a blazing red beacon for the tail. These can be gotten cheaply on Amazon (BELL brand is bright, mildly rugged and so freaking ugly that no one will steal it), so no whining!!  One can also get very nice rechargeable sets that can blaze a path through pea soup!

So, all this is to ask if your distinguished paper could take a few inches of print (or electrons) to remind the youngsters that no one has to get squished while riding at night, that the way to keep from becoming road pizza is to be VISIBLE, and a reliable way to do that is to equip one's bike with a bright, white light fixed to the handlebars and a screaming red beacon in the rear.