Author Topic: Safety issues for solo biking  (Read 17990 times)

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Offline Westinghouse

Re: Safety issues for solo biking
« Reply #15 on: May 01, 2009, 06:46:45 am »
Your chosen route should be safe. Whether you travel by bike or car, many common sense rules apply. If you are approached by anyone who strikes you as odd or in some way inappropriate, break off the conversation and leave. If you are in an area that seems seedy or perhaps crime ridden, back out and go around it. If you free camp, choose your spots well even if it takes quite a bit of time. If you go out into the woods to camp, and you see telltale signs that the area is used regularly, go elsewhere. What are the telltale signs? They are empty alcohol containers, makeshift shelters, campfire pits or circles, food wrappers, etc.

You are conspicuous when traveling long distance by bicycle. You will be seen and noticed by many more people than if you were traveling by car. The chances that some nut case might notice you, and want to mess with you are much higher than if you were traveling by car. It does not happen much that I know of, but it does happen. But it can happen to anyone anywhere.

I think you are more at risk in traffic in general than at the hands of some miscreant. Choose routes that have maximum room for cycling, and as little traffic as you can get. Be careful. There are books on cycling safety. Read them and take the rules to heart. You know the number 911. Things do happen to many people every day in the US. I am not sure whether riding cross country on a bicycle would increase or decrease your risk of being the victim of a crime, or whether it would make no difference at all. It seems to me that a lone person on a bike late at night on some lonsome stretch of road might be seen as an easy target for some crack-head or junky passing that way in desperate need of a fix and the money to get one, but I doubt you will have any problems on your tour. Just go and have a good time. Things happen to people every day; that does not mean we are going to stay home and hide under the bed. We take our chances and we live our lives. Your journey should be a safe one. Don't worry about it.

Offline litespeed

Re: Safety issues for solo biking
« Reply #16 on: May 04, 2009, 11:49:43 pm »
The number one safety device is your ears. Listen to what is behind you and, if necessary, get out of the way. Always be alert for someone making a right turn into you or in front of you at cross streets or driveways. A mirror is a fine idea although I confess I have never used one.

Offline Cinzia

Re: Safety issues for solo biking
« Reply #17 on: May 22, 2009, 07:12:16 pm »
Thank you, all, for your suggestions.  They have been very helpful!

I'm thinking about do the trip with a support vehicle which I asked about under a separate post:  "Support Vehicle." 

Offline ikeman

Re: Safety issues for solo biking
« Reply #18 on: May 28, 2009, 03:33:57 am »
I too am planning a solo bike tour (May 2010) and aside from not knowing what bike to buy (my 10 year old Bianchi Lynx won't cut it) I am torn on weather or not to carry a weapon. Not a pistol but mace, a tazer, or a stick. I am a martial arts guy and would feel comfortable with a staff, but it seems like a big thing to carry.  Mace and tazers are smaller and more manageable, but I worry about effectiveness and how the cops would deal with me given that laws governing such things are different in different states.  Do any of you carry a weapon?  Is it not advised to carry one, given the cops might freak out if they found it?  Any advice on this front would be appreciated.

Ikeman

Offline Cycnus

Re: Safety issues for solo biking
« Reply #19 on: May 28, 2009, 10:14:56 am »
Ikeman -

I personally would not recommend you carry a gun.  I carry something call Bear Spray which is a very potent form of pepper spray and a collapsible baton.  The laws on civilians carrying guns, knives and tazers vary significantly from state to state.  For instance, in New Mexico you can carry a concealed weapon at all times if you have the proper permits.  Most places I travel to make little (if any) fuss over the use of a tazer, mace, or pepper spray.  I generally plan my route then do some legal research regarding the carrying of weapons.  On the rare occasions I traveled with a gun I didn't hesitate to notify local law enforcement I had the weapon on me.  If I stayed at any location for more than a day the police would sometimes have me surrender the weapon to their care while in their area.  Most of the time I was just passing through and it wasn't an issue.


I too am planning a solo bike tour (May 2010) and aside from not knowing what bike to buy (my 10 year old Bianchi Lynx won't cut it) I am torn on weather or not to carry a weapon. Not a pistol but mace, a tazer, or a stick. I am a martial arts guy and would feel comfortable with a staff, but it seems like a big thing to carry.  Mace and tazers are smaller and more manageable, but I worry about effectiveness and how the cops would deal with me given that laws governing such things are different in different states.  Do any of you carry a weapon?  Is it not advised to carry one, given the cops might freak out if they found it?  Any advice on this front would be appreciated.

Ikeman
Follow me on Twitter:  https://twitter.com/BarefootCyclist

Offline cristiano

Re: Safety issues for solo biking
« Reply #20 on: May 29, 2009, 02:20:43 am »
Hello friends.I'm cristiano from spain.I have an advice for you.I might add that you should have your cell phone charged and handy.  Calling 911 can solve a multitude of social problems.Thank you.
_______________________
www.floatingtank.at
andro

Offline whittierider

Re: Safety issues for solo biking
« Reply #21 on: May 29, 2009, 02:39:50 am »
Quote
Hello friends.  I'm Cristiano from spain.  I have an advice for you.  I might add that you should have your cell phone charged and handy.  Calling 911 can solve a multitude of social problems. Thank you.
Although it sounds like an obvious solution, we are talking about touring, often in rural areas with no cell service.  I and one son frequently ride in rugged mountains where there's no cell service.  Keeping a cell phone's battery charged while on tour and away from plug-in power may also be a problem.  You could keep the phone turned off most of the time to conserve the battery, but someone who is intent on hurting or robbing you won't wait for you to get it out and boot it up and search for a signal.  I have been watching this topic with interest.


Offline biker_james

Re: Safety issues for solo biking
« Reply #22 on: May 29, 2009, 07:23:50 am »
While I certainly don't have a problem with bear spray, if you're in bear country anyway, I do find this to be an odd thread. You guys make it sound like you're planning on riding into the set of "Deliverance" every day.
I know in Canada we are probably a lot more restrictive than in the US on weapons. No concealed weapons, no handguns at all, no personal tazers (everyone is up in arms when the police use their tazers never mind Joe Citizen) no mace, and even pepper spray if they feel it is intended for use against people. We like it that way, and I always figured that even in the US the Wild West days were over, but maybe not.
I'm still pretty sure that "Death by Vehicle" still is the bigger risk than "Killer Hillbilly" for people touring on bikes, and none of these weapons will stop a car.
I've read a lot of journals by touring cyclists online, and there seems to be a  real shortage of stories of psycho killers is all I'm saying. Maybe in some Third World countries weapons would be advisable, I don't know. Not to say I haven't been tempted to kill some fellow campers when they sit up all night drinking and playing "Truth or Dare" about 5 feet from our tent.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2009, 07:46:41 am by biker_james »

Offline paddleboy17

Re: Safety issues for solo biking
« Reply #23 on: May 29, 2009, 12:05:04 pm »
Let me start by saying I'm from Detroit...  ::)

I would agree that vehicular traffic is your number one threat.  Running cyclist off the road is an established sport in Michigan (and I assume elsewhere).  I don't have a gun and even if I did, I don't have room in my pack for it (too heavy).  Self defense is hard to prove in court, except maybe in Texas.

I do carry pepper spray, more for dogs than hooligans, but I would not be opposed to using it on a hooligan.  If you have phone service, I think this is a better line of defense.

Life has risks.  There have been hikers murdered on the Appalachian Trail, and people have died from heart attacks while shoveling show in their driveways.  Take reasonable precautions, and go ride your bike.
Danno

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Safety issues for solo biking
« Reply #24 on: May 31, 2009, 11:27:54 pm »
In 30 years abd thousands of miles of touring (and thousands of miles of hitchhiking in the 60s and 70s) I've had somje sketchy experiences, but never needed a gun.  I somehow think that carrying a gun almost brings you bad juju and, unless you really know what you're doing, could cause more problems than it solves.  Be prudent and careful and use your common sense and go have fun.
May the wind be at your back!

Offline tonythomson

Re: Safety issues for solo biking
« Reply #25 on: July 07, 2009, 12:13:27 pm »
"Git yourself a gun!" was the advice of the Deputy Sheriff in a little town mid Texas.  Now coming from UK I wouldn't hardly know one end from the other, "you need a gun son" (I'm 61!)  Why?  "Cos the motel you plan on staying in has the biggest 'roaches ever and if you don't git them, they sure as hell gonna git you"

I've cycled many different countries and never felt the need to be armed, follow your instincts and be open to people.

Just finished the \southern Tier, the people I met made it special.  Thanks yanks!

Oh and definately support the use of a mirror.
Just starting to record my trips  www.tonystravels.com

Offline scott.laughlin

Re: Safety issues for solo biking
« Reply #26 on: July 07, 2009, 05:46:24 pm »
Correct me if I'm wrong.  I believe gun permits are issued by the county.  Other counties and other states are not obligated to honor a gun permit they didn't issue. 

I drove a semi over the lower 48 for a few years and I never let myself get into a situation I couldn't walk away from.  You have to travel smart and follow your gut instinct.



"Git yourself a gun!" was the advice of the Deputy Sheriff in a little town mid Texas.  Now coming from UK I wouldn't hardly know one end from the other, "you need a gun son" (I'm 61!)  Why?  "Cos the motel you plan on staying in has the biggest 'roaches ever and if you don't git them, they sure as hell gonna git you"

I've cycled many different countries and never felt the need to be armed, follow your instincts and be open to people.

Just finished the \southern Tier, the people I met made it special.  Thanks yanks!

Oh and definately support the use of a mirror.


Offline daikaregi

Re: Safety issues for solo biking
« Reply #27 on: July 07, 2009, 07:56:39 pm »
Hi Cinzia
i can understand your worries about riding alone as a woman. i am a solo-lady-rider myself, just going the northern tier - lake erie connecter at present.
so far nothing happened (knock on wood) since i try to play safe.
no wild camping unless i am together with some bike pal.
night and darkness is a no go, try to find a place to sleep well before sunset.
try to go on bike roads, best on major bike trails, there people are used to cyclists and ready to help if you need help. if i have to go on major roads i often look into my rear mirror and if there is no road shoulder i tend to go a little more in the center of the right lane so i have space to back off to the right when the car or truck is passing and the cars make a bigger circle around you when they see you are going in the center. wear reflexive vests and make sure you are visible.
on the campgrounds i like to be in the neighbourhood of other people, just in case and i have a close look at the neighbours before i pitch tent.
have pepperspray and a loud whistle ready for chasing dogs or emergencies in the tent.

also i try to get as much information about the local situations as possible concerning traffic, animals etc. just have a look at the discussion about cycling and camping in bear country , there are lots of information and experiences.

wish you a safe and happy ride! dont let yourself be disencouraged, shit happens everywhere but if you play as safe as possible things will turn out fine!
so far, i have met so many friendly, forthcoming people on the road that it was a pleasure ride. yesterday i arrived at a campground. no food, no shop, supermarket 5km away. tentneighbour insisted (i didnt ask him) that he would bring me by car. was a hiker himself and knew how it is to go another 10km when you are already spent and tired.
there were others to invite me for dinner, breakfast etc. this is what i love most, meeting and making friends with all those nice, friendly and helpful people on the road and campgrounds.

take care and enjoy your ride!

 
Regina  www.on-bike.net


Offline daikaregi

Re: Safety issues for solo biking
« Reply #28 on: July 07, 2009, 08:06:27 pm »
ps  most of all - rely on your gut feeling - if it feels wrong, it is wrong !!!!!

regina