safe cycling

Bicycle Safety: How to NOT Get Hit by Cars

Ouside the Door Zone  (a link to Research Trailer Park, with an instructive video)

How to Turn Signals Green  (it works!)

North Carolina Coalition for Bicycle Driving  (safe bicycle driving)

Just so the following is "handy", here are the "safety instructions" issued prior to the 2011 Whirligig Solstice Ride:
Remember Irregulars Rule #3.   
Youngsville starters are bringing "big water" so that PUE and Wakefield starters can quickly refill bottles and everyone will be ready for an enjoyable, reasonably-paced but quick ride to Bailey (preferably with no stops until Bailey) so that we can get in as many miles as possible before the heat of the day makes itself known.

We do not have to hammer the pace to make good time.  A 16+ mph pace will be fast enough if we do not make a lot of stops and if, when we do stop, we do not extend the stoppage time unnecessarily.  (If there is a following breeze in the morning, we may be able to maintain a 17 +/- mph pace.)

Some roads appear to be excellent roads for socializing.  Others ... not so much.

If we are in a double-line (notice the absence of the word "paceline" -- we are out to enjoy the day, not see how fast we can go as a group), and one or two or a few cars are behind us, we do not need to get into a single long line -- instead, squeeze into a tight double line all within the right less-than-half of the lane -- we all have sufficient skills to maintain "close quarters" for 100 yards or more, although our skills are insufficient to maintain "close quarters" for a 100 miles.

There is no need to "hang out" on the double-yellow line.

No veering about.  No surging in "line".  No sudden braking.
If slowing ... signal and call out BEFORE doing so.
If standing (probably to "rest your butt") ... call out BEFORE standing, and learn how to stand-up without having to stop pedaling.

If you drop something (e.g., a water bottle), do NOT suddenly slow or stop or anything else sudden!  Instead, calmly, when conditions in the group and with traffic allow, pull out of the line, drift to the back, and only after getting to the back, U-turn and go back to look for and/ or retrieve whatever you have dropped.  (This is a very hard thing to remember and do.  Practice it mentally BEFORE the ride so that there will be a chance that you will remember to calmly pull-out, drift-back, U-turn.)

Point out obstacles, potholes, etc..  Shouting-out is also encouraged, but please realize that shouting-out is useful only if accompanied by pointing out WHERE.

If you are running low on water, let the crew know before you are out of water / fluids.

If you think you might be running low on energy, i.e., in the early stages of bonking, let the crew know as soon as you can.

Bring money.  Bring food.  Bring your water bottles.

Make sure you have at least one useful spare tube; bring the tools required to change a flat.  If you are using tyres other than 700 x 23-28 mms, you need to be self-sufficient as regards spare tubes and a spare tyre.  Carrying a folded-up spare tyre on a long ride is always a good idea; I recently swapped out to a spare tyre after only 50 miles of the ride -- at the time, I couldn't see what the problem with the tyre on the wheel was. 

Make sure you have a useful way to pump up your tyre(s) after fixing a flat.

Current forecast is for hot (not HOT), with a small chance of afternoon storms.  Riding in a light rain is not a problem (except that the line will stretch out to allow for more cautious braking and since few of us are fender-equipped -- that's "mud-guards" for some); however, riding with lightning about ... is NOT preferred.

If the afternoon heat results in the need for more water, I know where of two or three stores between Wilson and Youngville that I have noted on neither the map nor the cue sheet.  It is only about 45 miles from "food on the west edge of Wilson" to Youngsville; therefore, as you can understand from the presence of the additional stores, we can -- if need be -- ride store to store as if at a charity ride cycling from rest-stop to rest-stop.  (This is not the preferred approach, but if we have to, we can.)

I'm sure I've forgotten something that should have been included above.  If you think the above is over-kill for a 100-mile ride, remember that I drafted most of the above when I expected more people would be opting for the bigger adventure of riding 143 miles.  After all, with so many Mt. Mitchell vets now amongst us, a flat 100-miler is probably going to be a "piece of cake".

1. Must be a decent human being.  There is room for only one jerk, and I will fill that role. 
2. SAFE.  
3. No dropping the ride leader. 
Draft "Dog Protocol":  

  1. During a dog encounter for a group or single traffic, bike or cars are a far greater hazard than the dog. 
  2. This is not a time for all out sprint training as it can cause rather than prevent an accident.  
  3. Your attention should be on the dog and the traffic- bike and cars. 

Dog Alert Procedure - During an IR ride, if you see a dog or are entering a dog area:  

  1. The front riders should announce" DOGS-single file".  
  2. Positioning - go into single file and separate a sensible amount to allow for maneuvering:  (a)  Front riders - gently accelerate and occupy the center of the lane to allow for left to right maneuvering;  (b)  Middle riders - should ease their pedaling and fall into place;  (c)  Rear riders -  should coast into position.  
  3. Keep an eye on traffic forward and rearward.  
  4. The rear rider should announce any traffic rearward and signal to rearward cars not to pass until the hazard is well behind the group. 
  5. When a dog approaches you should always assume and prepare for the rider in front of you to be sprawled out in front of you in the road. 
  6. Always plan for at least two escape routes that will not put you down a ravine or under a car.

Before a ride the "DOG ALERT" procedure should be discussed and any riders joining the group 
should be notified. 

Thanks to Gilbert for the content. 

If any IRs want to propose a different approach, let us know.