Author Topic: Convincing others of safety of cycling  (Read 2127 times)

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Offline kevinglennrhodes

Convincing others of safety of cycling
« on: January 03, 2010, 01:17:48 am »
I'm planning a self-supported ride across much of Texas, 400+ miles, in May. My mom, especially, and brothers think I'm crazy and "it's just too dangerous". I try to explain that the several thousand miles I ride during a year are on the same kinds of roads--low traffic country roads or multi-lane roads with wide shoulders (and on relatively much more dangerous city and neighborhood roads with a lot of traffic and many intersections). I'll also be in a hi-viz jersey and with very bright taillights, rear view mirror, etc. How can I convince them that this is just not that dangerous? The big deal are the endurance training and "just doing it" parts of it.

kevin

Offline John Nettles

Re: Convincing others of safety of cycling
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2010, 02:47:18 am »
Sounds like something is missing, i.e. are you 15, 25, 35, or 75?  Are you stealth camping or staying in Marriotts?  Are you or your mom concern about being in shape?  Are you going solo or with others?

I agree that bike touring in the countryside is less dangerous than in a city but remember that Moms are supposed to be worried.

Maybe have your mom read some journals of people riding through Texas over on CrazyGuy.  It sounds like this might be your first tour.  If so, do a route that is already known and researched, i.e. the Southern Tier in Texas, so you can say "Look Ma, I might meet some other riders who are on this exact route which has been researched by a great organization and has had thousands of people ride it."  You gotta make Momma happy cause if she ain't happy, nobody be happy so go on a organized route first.  Once you get this first tour done, she might be a tad less stressed and you can go on other trips with less guilt for worring your Mom.  It took my Mom 8 years of annual tours (including a 4 month, 9,000 mile tour) before she mostly, but not entirely, became comfortable with me touring.

Do a weekend tour first close to home so she can get more comfortable with the idea of you touring.  You could also get a Spot tracking device so she knows where you are at all times.  Consider riding with others.  Worse case, do a weekend drive of your route so she can see it for herself.

I really don't understand the "just doing it" part of your statement.  Does she have a concern about this or you?

I know this may not help much but just consider this practice for when you get married and you have to convince your spouse every year that you will be OK  :).

Out of curiosity, where is your route going?
Happy trails and may the wind be at your back!
John

Offline whittierider

Re: Convincing others of safety of cycling
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2010, 03:43:31 am »
I posted about statistics and all when you asked the same thing on another forum, but more and more I'm thinking there are a lot of people who just don't want to be bothered with the facts, and they're doomed to worry.  My dad is one.  I'm 50 and he still wants to tell me when I can and can't ride bike, as if he knew anything about what the real dangers are and are not, versus what the perceived dangers are and are not.  (Fortunately he lives 20+ miles away.)  He's afraid gang members will shoot us if we ride at night, and that mountain lions will kill us if we ride in the mountains.  He's not afraid of the dangers that are 1000 times as great, which mostly come at the intersections, and are worst at 8am when the drivers are either late for work or late for school and they're absolutely kookoo, and yet my dad thinks 8am is a good time to ride.  There's simply no connection to reality.

If you're an experienced cyclist who's not a minor (I don't know if you are either one), I would just tell her you appreciate her concern but it's not based in fact, and that although riding does have slight risks (like everything else), it does, on the average, extend life and reduce healthcare costs because it helps prevent heart disease and other health problems, and that you just have to make your own decisions (based on info you collect from people who know a lot more about it than she does).

Offline tonythomson

Re: Convincing others of safety of cycling
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2010, 07:34:32 am »
Really interesting how peoples perception of others riding a bike long distances is always the same "must be crazy", "so dangerous" , " are you carrying a weapon", when in reality as our fiend points out above it is possibly one of the safest means of travel around.  Making sure of course you take a sensible approach to it.

Yet look how many people think nothing about riding/letting their kids ride in busy towns & cities ignoring all road laws and rarely using a helmet. Far more dangerous than people who travel by bicycle as generally they have thought it through, researched it and have pretty good equipment. 

Plus anyone who has sat on Indian, S. American buses for long periods will know just how much more comfortable and safer way to travel.
I doubt if anything you do will ever change parents concerns, that's what parents do.

Good luck and go for it Texas is a great place to ride and if you are on the 190 look out for the best burgers in Texas "Red Chillies"
Just starting to record my trips  www.tonystravels.com

Offline John Nelson

Re: Convincing others of safety of cycling
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2010, 06:14:04 pm »
My mom is in her 80s, and she still worries about me touring alone. She keeps threatening to drive along with me, but I'm sure the risk of having her hit me with her car is greater than all the other risks combined. If you are an adult, then just keeping saying "I'll be fine" over and over and over and over and over again--don't use any other arguments. If you are of an age where you need her permission, then you may need better arguments.

Offline kevinglennrhodes

Re: Convincing others of safety of cycling
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2010, 06:41:25 pm »
"Sounds like something is missing, i.e. are you 15, 25, 35, or 75?  Are you stealth camping or staying in Marriotts?  Are you or your mom concern about being in shape?  Are you going solo or with others?"

I'm 48.  I've been a fitness guy all my life and an endurance athlete for, oh, 16 years, a serious cyclist for nine years.  I'll be staying with friends for three nights, riding about 100 miles for each of four days.  My family is probably most concerned about me riding solo, maybe getting hit by a car. 

"I know this may not help much but just consider this practice for when you get married and you have to convince your spouse every year that you will be OK"

I read this to my wife and we chuckled!!

I've resigned myself to realizing that my Mom will never be soothed, and it doesn't make any difference what my brothers think---based on misperceptions.  Thanks for everyone's support.

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Convincing others of safety of cycling
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2010, 08:30:43 pm »
I'm 61, my parents are 87, and they seem to have finally gotten used to it.  They are more comfortable when I go on a guided tour than when I go alone,
May the wind be at your back!

Offline paddleboy17

Re: Convincing others of safety of cycling
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2010, 12:02:16 pm »
Why not start with small steps.  Try a rail trail overnighter with a friend.  Build up her confidence as well as your own.

My mother is gone, but I still check in with my wife while on tour.  She might not understand where I am, but she likes to know I am alright.  Calling in is the first thing I do after making camp.
Danno

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Convincing others of safety of cycling
« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2010, 11:27:58 pm »
Why not start with small steps.  Try a rail trail overnighter with a friend.  Build up her confidence as well as your own.

My mother is gone, but I still check in with my wife while on tour.  She might not understand where I am, but she likes to know I am alright.  Calling in is the first thing I do after making camp.
Same here.  My wife wants a call daily, and has told me she doesn't want me to take any extensive tours alone.  Hmmmm. We may face that issue in the next couple of years. 
May the wind be at your back!