This quote comes from none other than the great Barney Fife. He was right, and that was decades ago. This is the twenty-first century. Everything has a battery in it. I have what seems like an abnormal number of things requiring batteries that require charging. Safety isn’t easy.
Ever since I was hit by a car last year, I’ve tried to step up my safety game. I’ve always believed that as long as cars can see me, I’d be fine. That’s why the bright strobes. But still, I was hit. The lady who ran that stop sign must have seen me—she just didn’t follow the law, and that was it. She admitted fault, avoiding a citation, but later changed her story (allegedly). So now I have a brighter strobe on the front, and a GoPro camera. Hearing the sound of traffic is vital, so no Air-Bud-Ear-Pods for me. No way. I rock the JBL speaker. And on my seat post I have long used the Dinotte Lighting “Quad” light—there is none brighter. But recently I switched to the Garmin Varia, which is equipped with a radar. You read that right—a RADAR that communicates to me through the Garmin Edge 1040 computer on my handlebars, informing me of cars approaching from the rear. I know those cars are there well before I would have heard them coming. In addition to the radar feature, it has a decent strobe light. If one of those cars buzzes me or (God forbid) hits me, the Garmin Varia is filming it all in 1080p. Video evidence is always a powerful thing in court.
Fine, but all this stuff has batteries. Batteries need charging. Today is the first time I’ve ridden in a week, and I found that some of these cool little doodads needed charging. No problem! When my principal offered to spend some money in my classroom this year, I asked him to buy me a tool for students to charge their cell phones. (its a trick—they charge their phones. Not today—I’m taking all the USB mini-C plugs for my own selfish use. Deal with it kids—I’m saving the earth over here. Or something.
What steps do you use to be more visible in traffic? As a driver of automobiles, what helps you see bicycle commuters?