Bicycling in and around
Sullivan County, NY
I have seen more blood already this year than last
and wanted to give some crash avoidance tips. Maybe this will
help prevent some accidents.
Prevention of Accidents:
Anytime you are riding, you should always be aware of an escape
route. In an emergency you can react quicker if you already have
When riding slowly in a group there is no advantage to being in a tight
paceline. Give yourself plenty of room and plan which side you
will swerve to if there is an accident.
When approaching a stop sign or traffic light, EXPECT the person in
front to stop. They have the best view and it is their
Slow down and speed up gradually.
Don’t lead other riders into road debris and pot holes.
During “The Crash” your 1st goal is to avoid hitting the crashing rider
and then not to hit or get hit by anyone else.
Don’t swerve violently or hit your brakes too hard. It may sound
terrible but correct braking will slow you down faster than a person
sliding on their skin.
The goal is to hit your brakes just hard enough and swerve just enough
to miss the crash. Once again, you should know ahead of time if
you are going to swerve right or left.
After you pass the crash, slow to a stop gradually and make sure it is
safe to go before making a u-turn and causing another accident.
Proper Braking Techniques:
Your front brake should provide 75% of your stopping power.
Under hard braking shift your weight back.
Try to get as much braking in before you lean into a turn.
Release your brakes as you go through holes or over bumps. Having
your front brake on multiplies the impact force when your tire rolls
If you come into a turn too fast and
realize you are not going to make
Lose as much speed as possible on the pavement.
Straighten the bike out of your lean, release at least the front brake
but preferably both, and pick a good off-road route. I have seen
multiple crashes because riders were afraid to go off road. At
the very least you will lose more speed and it is better to fall on
dirt than pavement.
Once the bike is stable and upright you can start braking again.
Last year I misjudged a turn and left the road at high speed. I
must have gone 50 feet into the woods and up a steep hill. Not
once did I touch my brakes.
Final note on braking:
If you are braking correctly your rear brake pads should last twice as
long as the fronts.