Are you really ready to ride your bicycle?

ALLEZ - Jose Vicente ‘JV’ Araneta (The Freeman) - March 1, 2021 - 12:00am

Late January of this year, I wrote about the cyclist who was hit by a pick up truck while out on a Sunday dawn ride. Two weeks ago, a cyclist going down from Busay, overshot a curve and hit a Ceres bus head on. A week before that, while on going down Busay from a training ride, I saw a cyclist who was helped by his friends, obviously, he had crashed going down. Then last week, as I was going up the same place. I saw a hysterical father, and helpful neighbors and passing cyclists, trying to revive his 14yo old soon who collapsed while on his bicycle. Last Saturday, I saw an elderly man being helped by other cyclist on the curbside. He most likely crashed, too.

I have been going up and down Busay for more than three decades now and this is the first time that I have seen so many road accidents involving cyclists. I myself have been almost a victim of vehicular accident when a yellow bus suddenly opened its door, to pick up a passenger during a traffic stop, and my left arm and handlebar got entangled with the door. I was lucky that the red light was on!

For so long, we cyclist think that we owned a parcel of road called, “Bike Lane”. Yes, its true that that there are now bike lanes. All over the cities of Cebu, Talisay and Mandaue, but would you be willing to bet your life that no crazed driver would hit you while you’re riding on that lane?

If you are convinced that the bicycle is the best transportation for now or the best exercise option or the best way to get out of our four walls at home, then be sure that you are ready to ride with the cars and buses, motorcycles and habal-habals, scooters, carts pedestrians and other cyclists, too. Be sure that you are not only physically fit but also mentally strong and keep your wits when the time comes.

Of course, the best place to ride your bicycle is in a place where there are no cars, its just you and the road. But unless you ride on the trails or go to a private subdivision or any roads closed to traffic, there really is no place like that here in Cebu. So, the first thing you’re going to do is to find a riding buddy, a well experienced cyclist who’ll each you the basic rules and etiquette of riding your bicycle. Never, ever, ride alone. Always practice riding defensively, it doesn’t matter if you got slowed down, it’s better than fast and getting maimed or worse, dead.

Next, get a medical clearance from your family doctor that you are fit to ride. You never know that you have an existing medical condition that can be exacerbated by extreme physical activity.

Finally, wear protective gears like helmets and wide sunglasses. You can wear elbow and knee pads, too, if you’re afraid of crashing. It’s okay to do that. Also, polish your bicycle handling skills. There is a local group that teaches the basics of how to ride your bicycle.

Believe me, there are still a lot to learn about urban riding. According to MMDA, there were 19 bicycle related fatalities last year in Metro Manila alone.

Please be careful always. Remember that our traffic laws are heavily in the driver’s favor.

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