Author Topic: Safety issues for solo biking  (Read 18507 times)

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Offline Cinzia

Safety issues for solo biking
« on: April 19, 2009, 02:48:25 pm »
Long distance biking is new to me.  What are the safety precautions (for personal and road) when biking by oneself?  Are certain routes safer than others?    I am considering Portland, OR to Chicago, northern route.

Thank you.
Cinzia

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Safety issues for solo biking
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2009, 11:58:59 pm »
I think the main danger is getting hit by a car.  I always use a mirror and watch the oncoming cars in it.  Experience really helps here--knowing what could happen and being a very defensive rider.

As for personal safety, i.e. weirdos, common sense and prudence will take care of most of that.  Sometimes you get aggresive, weird people who clearly don't like the idea of bikers at all.  On a bike, you have very little power, so I just do my thing and try not to aggravate them further. 

It makes sense to be careful where you camp.  I've had a couple of sketchy experiences in this regard, and now camp in designated campgrounds or make sure I'm hidden well, especially from nearby roads.
May the wind be at your back!

Offline paddleboy17

Re: Safety issues for solo biking
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2009, 11:58:27 am »
I might add that you should have your cell phone charged and handy.  Calling 911 can solve a multitude of social problems: aggressive dogs, butt head drivers, rock pelting children, etc.
Danno

Offline staehpj1

Re: Safety issues for solo biking
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2009, 02:26:02 pm »
To me the risks are mostly traffic related and pretty much that same as when riding at home.

Offline Cinzia

Re: Safety issues for solo biking
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2009, 12:44:48 am »
Thank you, all, for your responses..much appreciated!

Lucky13

  • Guest
Re: Safety issues for solo biking
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2009, 09:22:53 am »
I agree that cycling on the open road isn't any more risky than riding around town. In fact, the Northern Tier route itself has to be one of the more benign routes in North America. Automobiles and mosquitoes should be the primary concerns.

As a solo cyclist, you should be a bit more cautious. Use discretion and trust your instincts. Don't automatically reveal your plans to strangers and if a situation doesn't *feel* quite right, then simply move along.

Small town America can be friendly to touring cyclists. It doesn't hurt to stop by the police station to introduce yourself. Fire stations, churches, libraries, the post office - these can all offer local knowledge or even hospitality.

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Safety issues for solo biking
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2009, 12:01:08 pm »
People threw sixteen ounce cans of beer at me twice from moving cars. Once someone threw an empty beer can from a moving vehicle. It hit the wheel. Three times people ran me off the road deliberately with their vehicles. There was also an incident with a pellet gun. I believe one of the beer throwers might have been Aileen Wuornos not far from Tallahassee, Florida on hwy. 98 while I was cycling between Wakulla Station and Perry.

Offline mikedirectory2

Re: Safety issues for solo biking
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2009, 06:09:12 pm »
I definately agree with the cell phone suggestion.  That is the most important thing I carry with me!
May the skies be blue and the road be flat... Happy Riding.

Offline whittierider

Re: Safety issues for solo biking
« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2009, 07:43:20 pm »
Just remember there are large expanses with no cell-phone coverage though.

Offline valygrl

Re: Safety issues for solo biking
« Reply #9 on: April 22, 2009, 02:47:30 pm »
People threw sixteen ounce cans of beer at me twice from moving cars. Once someone threw an empty beer can from a moving vehicle. It hit the wheel. Three times people ran me off the road deliberately with their vehicles. There was also an incident with a pellet gun. I believe one of the beer throwers might have been Aileen Wuornos not far from Tallahassee, Florida on hwy. 98 while I was cycling between Wakulla Station and Perry.

I'm curious where this stuff happened.  I've never had anything like this happen to me.

I got hit by a car once, but that could happen any time you are riding.  I got chased by dogs a few times.

But the good experiences outweighed the bad 1000:1  - OP, don't let this scare you, I really don't think it's the norm, especially not on your route.


Offline staehpj1

Re: Safety issues for solo biking
« Reply #10 on: April 22, 2009, 07:41:07 pm »
I definately agree with the cell phone suggestion.  That is the most important thing I carry with me!
Not me.  It never has occurred to me that a cell phone was an essential safety item.  That may be because I grew up years before they existed.  A cell phone is handy for checking on available camp sites or for calling home once in a while.  I call the police or sheriffs office, but only to touch base on where we are staying.  I think it is a long shot that it would ever be used in an emergency except an accident, in which case everyone else on the road has a phone.  We did have one time when one of us was injured in a crash, but there was no signal any way.  I'd say that a very substantial portion of the time on the TransAmerica we had no signal.  We flagged down a car who gave her and her bike a lift back to the town we had passed that morning so she could get treatment there.

All that said, if I didn't need to call family once in a while I might not bother carrying one.

Offline GaryRides

Re: Safety issues for solo biking
« Reply #11 on: April 26, 2009, 09:11:12 am »
Agree that the primary danger is traffic or cars.  Important to know your route and traffic patterns on it.
Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.
Frank Lloyd Wright Boston Tours Mgr

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Safety issues for solo biking
« Reply #12 on: April 27, 2009, 07:42:18 am »
Deliberately run off road--once PCBR south of San francisco. Twice in Louisiana.

Beer throwers-- Louisiana. Florida.

Empty beer can--Atlantic coast, Don't remember where.

Various yellers and screamers.

Pellet gun--western state on interstate, possible New Mexico or Arizona.

Problem in Miama, FL.

Offline DaveB

Re: Safety issues for solo biking
« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2009, 09:31:20 pm »
Not me.  It never has occurred to me that a cell phone was an essential safety item.  That may be because I grew up years before they existed. 
Actually my kids grew up before there were cell phones! 

However, I've heard they can be a useful deterrent if you are being hassled by a driver or someone at a restaurant or where ever.  Get out the cell phone and, even if there is no signal, go ahead and dial it. The offender will think you are calling the cops or for help and is more likely to leave you alone.    You can even pretend to be talking to the cops if necessary. 

If there is a signal, really do call 911 if you think you are in any real danger.

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Safety issues for solo biking
« Reply #14 on: April 30, 2009, 11:40:28 pm »
My wife made me get a cell phone after a bad accident I got into due to lack of attention.  I got too far to the right and off the pavement into sand, and crashed, hitting my head above the right eye just below the helmet.  The resulting concussion left me not knowing where I was or why my riding friends and companions were not there.  (It was a solo ride.)  After about 5-10 minutes, I started to remember and figure out where I was and what was going on.

 I like having a phone with me now. 
May the wind be at your back!