10 Tips For Safe Cycling

I got a pingback from Adrian Trenholm who has written a great piece, 10 tips for safe cycling, partly inspired by my recent accident. He lists

  1. Wear a helmet.
  2. Know the rules of the road and stick to them
  3. Concentrate.

and more, each with a good explanation why. I’d like to add a couple more points:

Look after your bike. In the past I have found that a combination of worn brake blocks, stretched cables, and wet rims meant that I suddenly found nothing was going to slow me down!

Don’t run red lights. This is really part of Adrian’s number two item, but I suspect the single most annoying thing cyclists do to city motorists is ignore red lights. Or rather, not ignore them, but go through them anyway. I know it annoys me when I’m driving, and I never do it when I’m cycling. Just remember that those drivers you’ve just left at the lights will be passing you in a minute. Only now they’re annoyed with you. When you need to swerve to avoid that pothole, they’ll be much less inclined to give you the room you need.

Adrian also has a great discussion, “Never, ever get into a fight with a ‘bike-hater.'” in the same post. I couldn’t agree more. I sometimes shock myself when I react badly to a car ‘buzzing’ me, or to a beeped horn because someone thinks I shouldn’t be on the road. It’s easy to want to be aggressive when you are ‘bullied’ by a car, but as Adrian says…

Letโ€™s be clear about this: you might be in the right, but your antagonist has over a ton of metal at his disposal. When a cyclist mixes it up with a motorist, the cyclist will always lose. Just let the motorist go.

Don’t let us put you off though. Cycling to and from work is a great way to get fit. My trip home takes pretty much the same time as public transport, so I’m not taking more time out of my day. Because it serves a purpose (getting me home) it’s much easier to stick with it than, say, going to the gym. When I had a gym membership it was easy to say to myself “I’ll leave it tonight and go tomorrow… or next week”.

Give it a try. Get that bike out of the shed and try riding to work a couple of days a week.

Another Bike Crash

In other news, I had another accident on my bike yesterday. On my way home from work, a truck pulled out on me whilst on a roundabout (here is a great introduction to roundabouts for Americans). This ought not to happen as I had right of way, but I can only assume that either the truck driver didn’t see me, or that he assumed that I was going slowly. As a result, he pulled out on me; slowly because it was a big truck; and I had to swerve round him. Unfortunately he was too slow for me to get completely round the back of him. With a 4 or 6 inch high kerb approaching, I had to turn the bike and slide it and thus me along the floor to stop.

I hit the floor hard and slid to a stop. As I got up a chap pulled my bike off the road and started asking if I was OK. A couple of other people kindly stopped to check too. The truck driver was, of course, long gone. My arm was badly grazed and my ribs hurt. After a couple of deep breaths, I figured they weren’t broken. Luckily too, my bike wasn’t damaged, though my shorts now have a hole, and the screen on my mobile phone is cracked and it only shows about a third of the display.

So, after thanking the people who had stopped, I got back on my bike and cycled the rest of the way home — I had about another 9 miles to go. By the time I got home, my ribs were hurting a lot and I knew I would be off my bike again for at least a few days. That’s a real shame too as I’d just got back into doing a full 70 miles a week.

After some more hassle I won’t go into right now, Jan gave me a lift up to our local A&E department. It was busy and I ended up waiting for two and a half hours to see a doctor. He listened to my chest and decided nothing was broken or even cracked and that I didn’t need an x-ray. I waited another half hour to get a dressing on my arm and then made my way home.

I’ve had to have the day off work today, it’s quite painful to move around. When I sit or stand still, it feels fine. But as soon as I move the pain kicks in. I’ll probably be off work tomorrow too.

Around The Web and Other News

Ooh! Shiny! Google Maps UK. My home town. The scene of my accident. No satellite pictures yet ๐Ÿ™

Google SMS UK. I explicitly signed up to the Google group hoping for an announcement about the SMS service starting in the UK. I guess they forgot to announce it.

I forgot to mention yesterday that I have now been smoke free for 2 years! Woot! Go Me!

Kim is back hosted on zed1.net. Go say “Hi!”

One Gigabit broadband to the home! Yes please! (Hat tip Om Malik)

More Drama

It appears the saga of my bike accident wasn’t quite over. I had had two days off work and decided I was well enough to go back in work on Thursday. My wrist was pretty much OK and my hip was sore but not really painful. There was only my knee which would stiffen when I sat for long periods of time, but soon loosened whenever I got up and walked.

So I set off for work on Thursday. Not on the bike: I’m not up to that yet, but I caught a bus to the town centre. I did notice as I walked up to the train station that whilst I was walking my knee really wasn’t painful at all. However, as soon as I stopped walking the pain became very severe! I thought it a bit strange but carried on. Work was fine. I’m sat down at a desk all day anyway so there wasn’t a problem with my knee. Same pain when getting up from my chair which eased quickly. But then that strange extra pain when I stopped walking.

On Friday morning in the shower I decided to have a good look at my knee. I remembered that on Monday, I had noticed a black area in the would. I’d asked the doctor if it might be a piece of grit. She looked and decided that it wasn’t. Friday morning in the shower I realised it was indeed a piece of grit or gravel. I got a pair of tweezers and had a poke around! As soon as I put the metal tweezers to it, I knew it was a piece of stone! The grating sound was a give-away! I tried for quite a while but couldn’t shift it. I could get a grip but it wouldn’t come out. It seemed like the hole was too small. It was also quite pussy and getting painful.
I decided to go back up to the hospital and have it looked at. I rang work to let them know and took a bus up to the hospital.

Despite the A&E department being almost empty I was told it would be a 1 hour wait. By this time my knee was extremely painful in any position but walking. So I paced up and down for what turned out to be about 40 minutes.
An aside: I had to go outside the waiting room for a while to get away from the blaring TVs positioned so that wherever you sat one was in your line of site. I knew daytime television had gotten bad but I hadn’t realised just quite how bad. Mindless, moronic, antagonistic, sensationalistic, offensive even, with bad grammar galore, and infantile buzz words, all served up at high volume! The half a dozen people in there were all sat staring at the TVs. I’m sure if I’d waited long enough, I’d have seen a couple of them drooling.

Anyway, eventually my name was called, and I went through to see the doctor. After a quick examination she agreed there was something in there and explained that I needed to have two X-Rays. One so they could see where the FB (Foreign Body!) was positioned, and another after it had been removed to check it was all gone.

So after my first X-Ray I went back to the doctor. She expressed surprise at the size of the gravel, I asked for my knee to be numbed: I’m a bit of a wimp really. I learned that they no longer use a freezing spray and four injections and a 5 minute wait later she was able to dig about in my knee. And dig about she did. It took several attempts with a couple of different instruments to try to get it out before she eventually had to get a scalpel and cut into my knee to make the hole big enough.

I should explain that this piece of gravel turned out to be no more than about 6 or 7 mm in diameter at it’s widest, but at the time felt like it must have a been an inch wide!
After it was out I went back for my second X-Ray. This time I had a much longer wait: around 20 minutes. Finally it was back to the waiting area to wait to be seen again, this time by a senior nurse who applied a dressing and huge amounts of bandage. I was advised to rest my leg and so took the rest of the day off work.

I was back in work today and my knee has not been bad at all. Up to now this accident has cost me three days off work and probably two weeks off my bike. All because of some fool! ๐Ÿ™

Off My Bike!

Ouch! After I blogged about how well I was doing on my bike the other day, I had an accident last night and won’t be cycling for a few days!

I was about three quarters of way home, making good time after the weekend break. I’d reached a downhill stretch and was going about 25 miles per hour when a car pulled out on me.

The uphill traffic was at a standstill and he had been waiting to turn right into into it. He had nowhere to go, but decided to pull out anyway. Either he hadn’t see me or had misjudged my speed — I think the former because had he seen me he would not have mistaken just how fast I was approaching. He pulled out across my lane and then stopped! If he hadn’t stopped I would probably have made it round the back of him. But because he had nowhere to go he had to stop.

I managed to yell a choice word or two (!) before I had to concentrate on trying to stop before I hit him and stay upright. I managed to get into a sideways slide which slowed me pretty fast, but then I must have hit a pothole or ridge. The next thing I knew I was sailing through the air with my legs somewhere above my head. Not where they should be at all!

This was a first for me; I’ve fallen off my bike several times before but I’ve never flipped over the top. Thankfully I had the wherewithal — and the time — to choose to stretch out and roll sideways when I hit the ground. I’m really glad I didn’t hit my head at all. That’s the most scary thing about cycling: even though I wear a helmet, I don’t expect it to help in the worst of circumstances.
Several people stopped and offered help which was great. The guy who pulled out on me was nowhere to be seen. He’d driven off (presumably up the wrong side of the road) and no one had been able to get his registration number. I must thank the lady who gave me a pack of tissues, and the nearby security guard who let me use his first aid kit to clean myself up, and the three other people who stopped to check I was OK.

I had a deep graze on my left knee, a painful bruise on my left hip and a twinge in my right wrist. Still, the bike was OK and I managed to cycle the rest of the way home.

By the time I got home though my wrist was quite painful. I decided I needed it checked. Jan drove me up to the local A&E department but had to leave me there: Jamie needed picking up from Brownies. It wasn’t too busy; I think I only waited about 10 minutes for my first consultation then about 15 minutes to see a doctor. I had three X-Rays during which the radiologist managed to find the most painful position for my wrist! I really whimpered like a baby! Luckily nothing was broken, though it did feel like it. They patched me up, fitted a tubular bandage to support my wrist, and sent me on my way. Steve picked me up and took me back home.

When I woke this morning my knee and hip were both stiff and my right hand was pretty much unusable. I decided to take a day or two off work. Right now, I’m glad I’m left handed — I can at least manage some things though I’m reduced to pecking at the keyboard with one hand ever-so-slow-ly.

I was lucky really, it could have been a lot worse. I don’t expect to be off my bike too long.

Update: 21/04/2005 I uploaded a quick photo of my wounded knee ๐Ÿ™‚


Wow!, I’ve just had my 200,000th visitor since statistics began (on this blog anyway)! A visitor from St Louis searching for the Von Trapp Family Singers. Meanwhile, page views are well on there way to 2,500,000.

This and That, Stuff and Nonsense

It’s been a while again, since I blogged. Quite a lot has happened in various areas.
Firstly my posting of my themes has been incredibly popular. The first two days after I posted them saw my visitors peak at over 1200 a day! I’ve got another three based on the same layout. I’ll release those too, just as soon as I can package them up.

I can now tell all about the news I mentioned recently. Jamie has been offered a place at St Bede’s College and we have accepted. Its not going to be easy but the school has such a good reputation and such fantastic results that we decided we couldn’t miss the opportunity. We’ve visited several times now and we all love the place.

I noticed that Alex King has a new version of his Tasks Task Manager software. I keep meaning to look into Tasks for use in my attempts to implement GTD. Perhaps now is an ideal opportunity.

In other news, the second Usability Professionals Association – North of England – Manchester Meeting is going to take place on Tues 29 March 2005.

The main event on the 29th March is a talk from Louise Ferguson, who is the Vice President of the UK chapter of the UPA and an expert in ethnography and how it can inform design.

I’m looking forward to it; I enjoyed the last meeting. If you are coming along, look me up and say Hi.

I’m sure there’s more…