Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Cars Are Hazardous

(Courtesy of Bentley Motors)

It has come to the attention of the good people at Bentley Motors that their "Winged B" hood ornament could injure a pedestrian in the event of a crash. The spring mount of the ornament is designed to retract in the case of such an unfortunate event, but alas the mechanism may corrode, leading to failure and thus Bentley has issued a preventative recall. I, for one, applaud Bentley's application of conscience in this matter and look forward to the logical consequence of this precedent, namely that auto manufacturers and the public at large will recognize that placing several tons of metal in motion is hazardous to human life and we will recall vast numbers of these dangerous machines. Until that day, I will continue to point people towards resources that will allow them to reduce their dependence on these hazardous devices and increase their chances at avoiding unfortunate encounters with machines of excessive momentum. In that spirit, I invite everyone to spend a few minutes looking at Michael Bluejay's excellent site: How Not To Get Hit By Cars.

While my own preferences have lead me to construct a life in which I avoid interactions with personal motor vehicles as much as possible, many people successfully use their cars or trucks to transport their bikes. People do this successfully every day, but I work in a bike shop and at least a few times a year I get to see what happens when the car+bike story ends as tragically as the scorpion+frog story.

Image and sad story via theZeph

If you do carry your bike on a roof rack, always, always, always remember it is there. Because if you don't and you drive home into your garage or through a bank drive-thru or into a parking garage, you may get that loud, sickening reminder like theZeph did. I know some folks stuff their garage remote into an old cycling glove to help them remember. I think if I were in a position to be piloting such a big rig, I'd remember the cautionary fable sung by C.W. McCall in which he recounts a sign saying "clearance to the twelve-foot line, but the chickens was stacked to thirteen-nine."

Rear racks are not without their own perils, however. I know several people who have had their bikes smashed when their cars were rear ended, a few that have had their bikes fall off their racks and just this past Sunday I sold a new tire to a fellow whose bike tire had been toasted by a too hot tailpipe.

Since I'm not a car-driver, I have no sage advice other than this: cars are hazardous. Remember that.

Keep 'em rolling,

Kent "Mountain Turtle" Peterson
Issaquah WA USA
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