Sunday, February 09, 2014

For the Record

In case it ever comes up, which one ardently hopes it doesn't:
I post this because of the way the news media typically report cyclist deaths: A texting, speeding SUV driver jumps the median and swerves across three lanes of oncoming traffic, taking out a cyclist in the opposite bike lane before attempting to flee the scene and ending up wedged through the front window of a laundromat. "It wasn't clear whether the cyclist had lights," the article will conclude.

The laundromat is usually presumed to be innocent.

The driver is as well, unless it turns out that s/he was intoxicated. Being spectacularly and fatally unable to control a motor vehicle while cold sober is perfectly normal, and nothing to be concerned about.

I also wear a helmet every time I ride these days, though I'm doubtful of its usefulness in the above scenario. Helmets are really designed for lesser collisions, such as if you suddenly lose your balance for no reason and fall on your head at five miles per hour. This does actually describe my cycling style pretty well. In fact, I should probably wear it for walking too, and definitely in the shower, though getting it wet might void the warranty.

But one thing I adamantly don't do is advocate for helmet use. I really can't stand sanctimonious helmet-pushers. I was chewed out by one, after a helmetless excursion, a few years ago. She wouldn't drop the subject and actually grabbed my arm and yelled at me for my wanton disregard for my own well-being, a cigarette dangling from her free hand. I haven't gotten over the trauma, and to this day, if I saw her coming the other way on the hike-and-bike trail, I'd take my helmet off and throw it into the lake rather than let her see me wearing one. You don't want to encourage these people.

This was a great weekend to get a little biking in - highs in the mid-70s today, and beautiful and sunny, after wintry mix last week and another bout of sleet and possible snow in the forecast by Wednesday. But one unfortunate side effect of wildly bipolar weather is that you end up getting too sick to enjoy the good days. We did a few miles on the South Walnut Creek trail yesterday. Today, I contented myself with giving the bike a bath and charging up my lights.

Tomorrow I'm reporting for jury duty in District court. Those are typically traffic violations. I'm hoping that if I show up sneezing, shivering, soaked, helmeted, and bitterly resentful, they'll just send me home.

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