Sunday, June 1

May Musings on Fearmongering

Sometimes it disturbs me when groups use unwarranted fear to push cycling improvements whether those are warranted or not. Mostly this involves stoking fear of automobiles. As if the automobiles were at fault rather than poor or deranged drivers. Absent impaired (physically or psychologically) motorists, this is mostly not justified for even minimally educated cyclists. I could name dozens of sites that play on this fear, including one that quotes the LAB President, though I don't know if they got the context right.

However, I should NOT claim that cycling is particularly safe and a LITTLE fear may be appropriate. Since I started this blog I have made three cycling-related trips to emergency rooms. None of those trips involved motorists or any sort of second vehicle. The first was a pulmonary embolism due to deep vein thrombosis. The second was a fall into a ditch that was dug while I was on a one-week vacation. The third happened this year on the last day of February. Put simply, I fell over in the driveway. Upon stopping, my foot got stuck in the toe clip. While that sounds minor, it kept me off my bike until I used "Bike to Work" day as an excuse to take a short ride. I followed up with an encore the next day. It hurts to ride and I'm reluctant to ride any place an emergency maneuver could be required. Like in traffic where there are things like traffic lights and stop signs and situations where one might need to get off the bike using both hands.

Since then I've been taking advantage of my pre-Obamacare COBRA healthcare. To make a long story short, I dislocated my left shoulder, badly cracking the humerus at the upper joint in the process. For reasons I do not yet know, I've lost strength in my left hand. That has an added negative effect of making me reluctant to take a motorcycling course I've signed up for (hard to operate the clutch when your left hand isn't working). It also makes it hard to work the front brake on a bike. That is the important brake.

Monday I go to another doctor. Looks like I'll not be back to Ocean Shores until late July at the earliest. I think this time, things will take a while to heal. At least I didn't have to STAY in the hospital this third time.Sigh, I guess I'm not a teenager that's made of rubber anymore...

Recent Replacement for this Toe Clip Trapped my Foot


Chandra said...

My friend Steve,
I hope you heal quickly, so you can do whatever your heart desires.
I wish you lots of good health and I am sending a lot of positive vibes your way.
Peace :)

Steve A said...

This morning, the doctor said it will take three more months, but he doesn't think carpal tunnel surgery will be needed based on the latest MRI. We'll see if anti-inflammatory drugs help. I felt those vibes this morning. Thanks.

Invisible Man said...

I'm sorry to hear you're having these problems, Steve. It's miserable when one's body restricts what one can do. I hope it recovers more quickly than you expect.

Khal said...

"...I'm reluctant to ride any place an emergency maneuver could be required. Like in traffic where there are things like traffic lights and stop signs and situations where one might need to get off the bike using both hands...."

My Ph.D. advisor, Gil Hanson, now in his eighties, has said much the same due to some very serious health issues he had to overcome in the last few years. Gil, who has been a dedicated roadie since I was his doctoral student back in the 1980's, now wishes for some quiet european style paths where he doesn't have to worry as much about vehicle traffic.

Linda bus driver said...

Don't worry Steve, your body will heal. I highly recommend hiking in the meantime. Just watch for the potholes one can trip on and break one's leg (as I have done). Guess there is no foolproof method of outdoor life that protects against injury. As they say, Shit happens. But I have confidence you will heal. Cuz that happens too, fortunately.

cafiend said...

Crashing is bad, but the aftermath is worse. After the initial pain fades you feel like doing things you can't.

Traffic fear may be more or less legitimate depending on your riding venue. Mixing large armored vehicles with small, squishable ones creates a few irreducible complications and a lot of additional possibilities for unpleasantness. Providing infrastructure for all potential cyclists rather than just the existing number and a few extra takes a lot of number crunching. But it's worth doing, in my biased opinion. the ultimate goal is to be able to get all the various users past each other without undue interference. There's no single answer -- all tools should be considered when blending vehicles with widely disparate top speed and power.

I don't read a lot about cycling. When information catches my attention I'll follow up on it, but the Internet is full of people who know better than I do, so I don't go out of my way to be reminded of that. So I have no idea what people are talking about a lot of the time. I know things could be better and should be better and that a vast number of people feel that cycling is too dangerous for them. You can do a little counseling, but you can't deny that cyclists do get whacked, sometimes accidentally, sometimes on purpose. And even an experienced cyclist will have those moments when you wish you could be on some quieter road than the conveyor belt of impatience you're dealing with right then.

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