Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The right hook- it could be a knockout from an unknown champ.

This guy I saw today... his number was almost up!

Was driving 4 cars back on RT23 west 1/4 mile from the westbound exit ramp to RT30. A roadie was along the shoulder pedaling. Behind him, in my lane was a dual axle farm truck (2 ton?) loaded with hay bales. 

As we were within 50m of the turn for the on ramp the farm truck Right Hooks the cyclist. The rider leans on the rear of the truck near the wheels. At this point, I'm think, Shit, please don't let this guy get sucked under his rear axle, I'm not in the mood for picking up entrails today. 

The truck doesn't break stride around the corner, the rider getting pulled another 10' before his wheels kick out from under him, to the right. The bike slips out from under him. Luckily the truck is pointed straight so the rider doesn't get pinned under the wheels. 

The car behind the truck slows to ask the cyclist if he's alright, the rider jumped up quickly after hitting the deck, waves he's ok and the car rolls on. I park and hop out to check him over, offer him a ride back home in the E. He declines, says thanks and that he's alright. 

Clearly shaken up, he says, 'Man, that truck didn't even see me.' I'm like, ya, no kidding. The guy puts his chain back on his crank, clips in and pedals off towards the city. 

Yeah, seriously, the thought jumped in my head as I was following the traffic and cyclist... that this wasn't going to be good, then boom, the Right Hook. One of the number one cycling incidents that can happen to cyclists. 

The driver was wrong on many levels, and in some cases the cyclist could have been more proactive in preventing this sort of a situation. I can't say enough to new cyclists and veteran riders, who have developed bad habits on the road, you must take the lane, be seen, use hand signals and think like a car when traveling the roads around you. Especially when entering an area like the interchange/ bridge near a major highway where your path of travel will overlap a potential turning lane you must safely take a lane. 

Stop pedaling, coast, look over your shoulder and see if you have a vehicle coming up behind you which this cyclist did not do. If you can't look over your shoulder while riding, I suggest you invest in a set of kettlebells and do some core strengthening this winter. Or you can coast and extend your left hand out from your hip, facing your palm to the traffic behind you, then firmly point/ shake your hand 3 times to the vehicle's lane. Over the years, I've found that drivers see this as 'I'm holding my lane, going straight through.' (and hopefully don't right hook me thank you).

Most of this pertains to dense traffic areas but you should still communicate with your body when traveling rural areas as well. Get in the habit of this, and you should be able to reduce having a situation like the guy on the DeBernardi did this afternoon.

Be well.
Post a Comment