CLAP for safety on foot, cycle

Updated 12/4/2017 1:43 PM

I want to thank writer Marni Pyke and the Daily Herald for your early November articles on the increasing number of accidents involving vehicles and bikers/walkers in the suburbs. The total injuries and fatalities are alarming. Without more public awareness of safety issues, the tragic statistics will worsen as more people walk and cycle as alternate transportation and the number of vehicle miles grows.

As an avid cyclist (3,200-plus miles annually), I know the benefits of biking -- aerobic exercise, reduced pollution, cost savings -- and the attraction of the cycling community to rely on pedal power to travel. I bike-commute most days of the year and ride for fitness on weekends. However, I am also acutely aware of the risks involved, hence the need to practice safety and to advocate for safe infrastructure.

As membership coordinator of the Bike Palatine Club, I am proud of our safety record for the casual evening rides of 8-10 miles we host twice weekly each summer. Before rolling out, ride leaders Tom Lucas (quoted in your article) and I remind everyone that safety is paramount. Riders must be conspicuous, legal, aware and predictable -- "CLAP" -- and we clap hands to reinforce that advice. Simple as they are, our safety reminders pay off. Last summer we cycled 3,000-plus miles without a single injury or accident on our casual rides.

Finally, as a math teacher, I calculated that a motorized vehicle at 30 mph covers 44 feet per second, and a bike at 15 mph covers 22 feet per second. It doesn't take a brain surgeon to know that neither driver nor cyclist can afford to be distracted by devices of any kind. Taking to the road -- by vehicle, bike or on foot -- must be a conscious effort with safety the top priority.

Ralph Banasiak


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