Fortunately, I had my cell phone and sent out a distress call to my wife, Marilyn. Needless to say, she wasn’t pleased with my carelessness.
Neither was my daughter, Kara, when she found out. She is threatening to sell my bicycle on eBay.
Two years ago, I took a spill on the Fruitport Road bike path, sending me to the emergency room with fractured ribs and a broken shoulder blade. This time my injuries were less severe. But it has caused me to re-evaluate how I bike to work. I need to slow down and enjoy the scenery instead of seeing how fast I can bike to work.
Bicycling is a great way to exercise, especially when your knees no longer allow you to jog, as in my case. But it is also important to remember that it is easy to get hurt if you’re not careful.
The accident also got me to thinking about how we bicyclers need to pay more attention to the rules of the road.
I’m well-prepared for riding in the dark with my lighted safety vest and lights on my bike. But I’ve not always been diligent about following the rules of the road.
Ironically, I received an e-mail recently from an avid biker who is concerned that both bikers and motorists don’t understand all the rules of the road. He suggested that the Tribune do a story on bicycle hand signals and the rules of the road, saying that many people lack an understanding of them. He’s right.
I’ve noticed how angry some motorists can get when there is a biker on the road. Here is a fact: Bicyles are allowed on roadways.
I’ve also have had a number of people tell me bikers should stay on our many miles of bike paths and not bike on the roads.
That’s not always possible and some bikers (especially road bikers) are just going too fast and would endanger children and walkers using the paths.
The point is that there is room for both.
The e-mailer believes that bad blood exists between bicyclers and drivers because of the few bikers who abuse the term “share the road.” Bicyclers who ride two-to-three abreast on the roads will anger some motorists.
Another problem, he wrote, is that there is a lack of understanding of hand signals by bikers.
“I have observed road bikers to have such subtle hands or finger movements or gestures that only road riders who ride in a group would understand, not the two ton vehicle (driver) who has no idea what they are showing or doing.”
He wrote that there would be a safe and more understanding scenario if everyone knew the rules of the road.
According to the M-bike.org website, Michigan’s laws for using hand signals are oudated. They were enacted for Model-T drivers to signal when making a turn or when applying brakes — not for bicyclers.
The website urges bikers to use the extended right arm signal for right turns, but not the bent arm signal for left turns, as motorists may just be thinking you are waving at them.
The website also said bikers shouldn’t signal when using their brakes. Instead, they should keep both hands on the handlebars.
Yes, there is room for both bicyclist and motorists. We just need to do a better job of sharing the road.