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“On your left!” as they approach slower riders, walkers and especially those with dogs or small children.
Early in the year it is fun to see all of the new riders on the Withlacoochee State Trail. Some are snowbirds; others are locals who apparently have embraced their new year’s resolutions to bicycle. Most seem to be couples, although there are small clumps of men, some women friends and of course my Withlacoochee Bicycle Riders group. Most of the time, bicyclists remember to call out, “On your left!” as they approach slower riders, walkers and especially those with dogs or small children. This is trail etiquette, as is staying on the right side (as opposed to walking on the left side of a road facing traffic).
In much earlier posts, I’ve covered some of the ABCs of bicycling, including appropriate gear. It’s time to say “H is for Helmets” as a safety reminder. I cannot count the number of people on the Trail this year who are riding without helmets, no matter their type of bicycle. Many are dressed in casual clothes, which is fine, but they really need to wear helmets – hitting the pavement with your head can change your life, and not for the better! Please, please get yourself a helmet and wear it! (Yes, I’ve seen bicyclists with helmets hanging from their bike bars or sitting unbuckled on heads.)
Currently I use both an upright road bike and a long wheelbase recumbent bicycle. In the past my late husband and I enjoyed riding recumbent trikes. We always wore appropriate cycling gear, including helmets, when we rode the trikes, but more and more I see trike riders enjoying our beautiful Trail, helmet-free. A cautionary tale (and one of complete stupidity): I was descending quickly down a road in Citrus Springs and without slowing down, downshifting or even leaning, I whipped 90° to get on the Trail. I flipped. Thank goodness for my helmet – and for my husband stopping his chastising after a few days . . . .
H is for Helmet!