Friday, August 30, 2013

Biking: An Open Letter to Parents

Dear Parents,

I'd like to introduce myself.  My name is Bari and I'm a (poor) cyclist - as evidenced by my 2nd tip-over of the season today - and (sometimes) triathlete.  I ride a road bike that I happen to be physically attached to via my shoes.  I'm not super fast, I usually average around 14 or 15 miles per hour with top speeds around 20 mph, but that's fast enough to cause serious damage when I crash into your child who isn't paying attention as they bike in front of/next to/around me.  I can't simply stop on a dime and jump out of the way.

First the good - all of your children out biking today were wearing helmets. Great job, parents!! Now, I can't say the same for you.  I think (this is a guess and we know I suck at math so it's probably way off) that only about 20% of you were wearing helmets.  Just so you know, your brain isn't any safer than theirs.  In fact, you are farther from the ground, will fall harder, and are less likely to recover from a serious brain injury than they are.  Put your brain in a bucket, too.  Set a good example for your children and you might even be around to see them grow up.

That's if I don't accidentally kill one of them first.

During approximately 7 miles of my 14 mile ride today, I had at least 4 children try to kill me.  Or themselves.  Most likely themselves because if I sent all 150 pounds of me and bike into your 4 year old at 15 mph, I might end up with a couple broken bones but your child is going to to be killed.  Just saying.

Do your kids a favor and PLEASE teach them to be aware of other people around them when they are biking.  All of these kids (with the exception of the kid learning to ride while his dad roller bladed right behind him) were far enough away from you that you couldn't have warned them to stay to the side.  This also includes that little 4 year old on her tricycle.  I had 2 (probably 7 or 8 year old) boys riding toward me while watching the side of the trail as opposed to where they were going.  When they saw me they both turned TOWARDS ME. WTF???? I hope your kid uses that f-bomb I yelled as I swerved out of their way and you can explain to him why I said it.  These two were definitely old enough to understand the rules of the road.  Seriously.  The 4 year old is another story.  She had no clue what she was doing and turned around directly in front of me.  Thankfully I sorta know how preschoolers think and was unclipped and slowing down, but I still only missed her by literally about 6 inches.  The final boy - the one learning to ride with his dad - at least dad was trying to keep him to the side, but holding onto the back of his shirt did nothing when I said "passing" and he turned in the direction of my voice.

Bottom line...we ALL need to share the trails.  This means teaching your kids to be safe and courteous to other riders.  This also means I need to be aware and expect your children to ride like idiots.  Otherwise, someone is going to get seriously hurt.

Signed,

A pissed off cyclist/triathlete who would not like the guilt of killing one of your children and is ready to hang up her bike because it's just not worth it