It's that time of year again. People start dusting off their bikes, their kids bikes and hit the roads. This literally is my favorite time of year, next to summer itself, but it continues to baffle my mind how anyone can think that riding a bike against the flow of traffic is safer. Besides the fact that in the majority of states it is illegal to ride against traffic, it is also one of the top leading, if not the leading cause of bicycle related deaths.
It's really just simple math to figure this out too. If you are riding at a modest 10 mph, and a car is going 30, your impact is 40mph, and you fly into the car. If you ride with traffic you could actually just get tossed into the ditch – yes, it would hurt, possible break an arm, but you stand a much greater chance of survival. Here's another way of looking at it. You're playing soccer chasing down a ball, and have to catch it and kick it from behind. Since the ball is moving with you, the force you hit it with is diminished. Now, let's say the ball is coming at you. If you kick the ball, what happens the moment your foot hits the ball? It stops; then it accelerates in the opposite direction. That's you in a head-on collision with a car.
Bicycle safety is something that should really be reinforced every year at home and at school.Telling kids to ride against traffic, down the sidewalk, or even better; against traffic down the sidewalk is simply nuts. I've been on a bike since I was 5 years old, and have hardly ever gotten off. I've raced, ridden almost 1,000 miles in a week from one side of Oregon to another, bombed down a fire lane goin' stupid fast over logs and through under brush – and through all of this I have been WAY lucky. I have had friends get seriously hurt and killed doing the same thing I have done. You can't account for folks who don't watch for people on bikes, but riding in an expected manner helps lower your odds of being street pizza.
And if you're feeling really spry, try it naked. Oh yeah, and for God's sake! Wear a helmet!