How to play in the street — Part 3: when not to ride

One more quick thought before we call it a day. Or a week.

Tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of the infamous Mandeville Canyon brake check, in which the good doctor sent two cyclists to the emergency room — a crime for which the accused has yet to be tried.

And it marks a full week after the L.A. Wheelman’s Grand Tour, in which Rod and Christian Armas were struck by an allegedly intoxicated hit-and-run driver, resulting in the death of the father and severe injuries to the 14-year old son.

Holidays offer a great opportunity to ride, but the risk on the roads remains, and often increases as more people hit the streets. Other people are likely to be focused on things besides the road and who they’re sharing it with — and just as likely to be frustrated by the traffic and crowds, and ready to take it out on the first innocent person who gets in their way.

Which could very well be you.

Add alcohol to the mix, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.

My rule of thumb is to ride early in the day on holidays, especially ones that traditionally involve drinking — Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, St. Patrick’s Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day. And yes, the 4th of July.

Get out, ride, enjoy yourself. Just get back home before the crowds and traffic get out of control, and the people who’ve spent the day drinking decide to get behind the wheel.

And while riding a bike is a great way to glide past the inevitable traffic jams before and after the fireworks, be extra careful as you make your way through the streets tomorrow night. Wear bright clothing. Use every light, flasher and reflector you can find. And watch out for drivers who may not be watching out for you.

Because it only takes one mistake to ruin the celebration.

And I need all the readers I’ve got.


Brayj takes the mayor to task for not putting his environmental money where his mouth is. Bob Mionske questions what good is a bicycle safety law if the police won’t enforce it. UCI releases confusing new equipment rules for the racing community. Evidently, the Twilight heartthrob knows his way around a bike, at least when it comes to walking it. San Francisco offers the 2009 bicycle plan — one that actually works, unlike some cities we could name. Idaho adds an entire section on cycling to the new driver’s education manual, while Boise creates a bike safety response team in reaction to a recent rash of deaths. A Colorado letter writer argues that bikes should pay a registration fee or be banned from narrow roadways. Finally, this year’s Le Tour kicks off Saturday, and for once, Lance isn’t a favorite.

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