Crusin’ down the highway…...
Wind in my hair….
Driving my brand new….bike
By Amy Haldorson
I like think I was a free spirit in my younger years, still am in many ways. My parents would argue that I was more of a troublemaker. It’s a matter of perspective in my opinion. In lieu of Bicycle Safety Month, I was trying to think of my best bicycle story and only one came to mind. With all the shenanigans I pulled growing up, it’s a wonder my parents survived. In high school I had few instances where my car privileges were revoked, but need not worry. I had my own way to get around; my bike. I lived a few miles from the nearest town, but that didn't stop me. Now, my parents wouldn't allow me to just bike to my friend’s whenever I wanted so I did the most logical thing. I rode my bike at night. If my daughter happens to read this, I was very very bad, don’t ever ride your bike to Harvey. So, this one night in particular, I waited till my parents went to sleep and took off on my bike. I was afraid of nothing and loved the peace and quiet of the dark. Not being an avid bike rider, it took me a couple hours to travel the few miles to town.
When I finally made it to hang out with my friends, I was exhausted. I visited with them for a while and decided it was time to head home. There was no way I was pedaling any more that night, so I got a ride home. I left my bike on the side of the rode near my friends house thinking I would get it the next day. So I made it home and went to sleep. The next day my brother of all days decides he needs to go bike riding and his has a flat. I watched as he searched every building looking for my bike. I was laughing to myself until he got my parents involved. They even made me join the search. I had to "pretend" to be very upset by the vanishing of my new bike. I called my friend and told her what was happening and we had a good laugh….until she decided to help. All of a sudden I see her driving down my driveway with my bike in her trunk. I looked around nervously hoping she wasn't doing what I thought. Yep, she pulls in and dramatically comes up to my parents with my bike and says "would you look what I found in town, someone must of stole this bike". Someone give her an Oscar. I look at my parents and they aren't buying this for a second. I could almost see the puzzle pieces click in their heads. To make matters worse, my bike was mangled. It was evident that it had been run over or hit by a car. Long story short, I was grounded and they never did find out if their suspicions were true….until now. Sorry mom and dad!
This story got me thinking about how dangerous it was, number one, riding at night, and two, riding without a helmet. I could have easily been hit by a passerby. If you find your self riding at night, you should definitely be using a front headlight. It is actually required by law. Another good tip is, if you cannot make eye contact with a oncoming driver, wave your arm. Its easier for them to see you waving then see a bike coming towards them. Slow down as much as you can, especially at night.
From an insurance standpoint, in the event you were hit by a car on your bike, there are steps you should take. No matter how mild you think it might be, call the police. This way, a report is filed and fault may be easier to determine. In addition, its important that you obtain the vehicle drivers insurance information. Don’t be afraid to take a trip to the ER if something just doesn't feel right. If the motorist is at fault, his auto liability should cover the damage to your bike. Their auto PIP coverage is primary for any injuries, the cyclists auto PIP is secondary and the cyclist's health insurance is third in line.
So, the moral to this story is, I am very lucky I wasn't injured while night riding. Now, if you will excuse me, I'm deflating the tires on my teenager’s bikes.