Rider and bicycle safety – responsibility goes with it
Let your thoughts wander while cycling, get new ideas, have fun, find relaxation – all great things. But they only work if you are on the road safely. Little John Bikes marketing manager Jan Schneidewind on rider and bike safety.
Small table in front of a café in the middle of Leipzig, cool soda is on the table. “You see?” says Jan Schneidewind and points to a passing cyclist. “Headphones on the bike, an absolute no go! That starts off well. And look, here comes one on the racing bike. As if he were the only one in the world.” He’s already racing past us.
Responsibility goes with it
Cycling is actually one of the healthiest sports. But it takes place in traffic, and there are other people on the road. “Each and everyone is therefore responsible for their fellow human beings, but first and foremost for themselves and their own actions,” Jan points out. Because safety is not just about making sure that the vehicle is in order. Above all, the person who uses a vehicle must also be “in order”, so to speak.
Topic 1 – Rider safety
“To be right is one side of the coin, to drive with foresight is the other. It ends up with more of a crumple zone.”
Always being on the road in such a way that you include all the traffic on the road is something you have to learn, says Jan: “People like to insist on their rights. However, this is of little use when a car driver hits a road cyclist who wants to go as fast in the city as he does on an open country road. To be right is one side of the coin, to be right is the other. It ends up with more of a crumple zone.”
Use your senses, show consideration
On a bike you need all your senses, not just your eyes. With the ears you can hear, for example, whether cars approaching from behind maintain their speed, accelerate or brake. “The important thing is to continually interact consciously with other road users,” says Jan, who says he drove much more offensively in his younger years than today and has been very lucky. Today he knows that defensive driving and consideration can prevent many critical situations from happening in the first place. “It’s no use if the gravestone says ‘I was right,'” Jan adds with a dry touch.
Steering speed, being prepared
Anyway, the driving behaviour. “The Parallel Passion has a lot of people on road bikes. Anyone who has climbed a mountain on it and then rides it down again can easily reach speeds of up to 90 km/h. Nothing should happen,” says Jan, “you should only ride as fast as you really dare to – and not as you think is particularly cool. “High speeds are okay. But it’s healthier to gradually approach it instead of thinking you can. Many drivers, even experienced ones, have flown over embankments or hit trees because they hadn’t expected the sand or rolling-split in a curve. However, such a thing is always to be expected. “Here we are again with defensive driving,” grins Jan.
Along the way, Jan drew lines on a paper that he is now holding in front of my nose: “While we are sitting here, seven cyclists have passed by without helmets,” he says. Wearing a helmet is not compulsory, but it is as important as the seat belt in the car. Because you only have one head, and anyone who thinks that a helmet is only useful for high speeds is mistaken. “If you fall from a standing position onto a curb without a helmet, it can be quite dangerous. With a helmet there is at least a thick layer of polystyrene between you and the edge,” says Jan, who then gives helmet special information and lists other important items of equipment:
- Helmet: Meanwhile there are many chic models, and a good helmet is not expensive, but can be had for 20 to 40 Euros. Always wear a cloth under your helmet or buy one with an insect net – because of the wasps that can get caught in the vents.
- Goggles: Protects against wind, insects and foreign matter in the air or being whirled up.
- Gloves: Absorb sweat, so you can hold the handlebars better and don’t slip off. In case of a fall, the palms of the hands are protected from painful abrasions.
- Reflective clothing: If you’re seen, you’re better off all year round.
Topic 2 – Bicycle safety
We already have the second kind of lemonade in front of us. Jan pokes around with his paper straw in the slice of lemon that floats in his glass. “Now let’s get to the bicycle itself. This is a technical object whose components wear out over time. That’s why it needs to be checked regularly, at least once a month in the case of frequent riders,” says the marketing man, who himself knows a great deal about bicycle technology. But if you don’t have a clue, you shouldn’t tinker with it on your own. Then Jan enumerates the parts that have to be checked over and over again:
Special case road bike
According to Jan, the road bike with its equipment is the grey area of the road traffic regulations. Because normally a bicycle would need a functioning lighting system and reflectors.
However, this is not fitted as standard on road bikes. In any case, a bell is recommended to let others know that you are approaching. Also important are plug lights for the darkness. ” Road cyclists have the duty to carry and use such a thing.”
The limo is empty, slowly it is getting quieter on the street. Car brakes squeak, a cyclist curses, without a helmet, but with headphones on his ears. “He was lucky”, Jan sums it up. “I wish all drivers of the Parallel Passion always a good trip!” Thank you, dear Jan. We agree with that.