fixed gear bikes and safety
Fixed gear bikes look cool, but unless they have brakes, are extremely dangerous.
Fatal in fact.
Here are some quotes from the following news article from the Santa Cruz Sentinel
- Despite differing opinions about the safety and practicality of fixies, one thing all interviewed for this story agreed on was that riding in traffic, whether on a fixie or not, requires that cyclists and motorists both be acutely aware of their surroundings.
- "Riding a fixed-gear in town without a helmet does not seem like the best way to go to me," Potter said. "I've been hit several times by cars myself, and that's with a regular bike. Sure there's people out there who are really good at it and it's no problem, but that's probably about 2 percent.
- "It's definitely contrary to self-preservation, I would say."
Here is the full article:
Recent death puts spotlight on biking fad( read complete article - click here)
SANTA CRUZ -- To stop his bicycle, Josh Long leans forward, over the handlebar, and uses the clips on his riding cleats to pull the rear wheel off the ground. He then immediately stops pedaling, causing the chain to quit pulling and the rear wheel to stop spinning. When the back tire touches back down to the pavement, the bike skids, slowing its forward momentum, eventually coming to a complete halt.
"To say that these bikes have no brakes implies that they have no stopping power, which to those of us who enjoy life [riding a bicycle that could not be stopped] would just be absurd," Long said.
Wednesday, Lucian Gregg, 18, died in a traffic accident at the bottom of a hill on East Cliff Drive at Jessie Street when he crashed his fixed-gear, brakeless bicycle behind a FedEx truck that was making a right turn onto Jessie Street ahead of him. Gregg was flung from his bicycle and died of severe head trauma. He was not wearing a helmet. Police do not know if he was hit by the truck, but his bicycle was not damaged.
Enthusiasts of fixed-gear bicycles, or "fixies," as the bikes are commonly known, maintain that cycling accidents occur frequently and often do not involve brakeless bikes, so concluding Gregg's death was a result of the type of bicycle he was riding, and not just a traffic accident, is premature. But the attention that Gregg's death has received raises questions about the safety -- and legality -- of fixed-gear bicycles.
A fixie is a bicycle that cannot coast. The rear wheel only moves forward when the pedals are pushed [a fixie can be pedaled backward]. Fixies originally were developed for racing in indoor velodromes, where braking, coasting and changing gears are of little importance. Fixies also are used as a training bike for cyclists who wish to exercise muscles in their legs and develop stronger pedaling technique.
Bottom line: wear a helmet, it will SAVE YOUR LIFE.
And if you don't die, suppose you only got, oh, just a wee bit of severe head trauma? That's also extremely bad sh1t: a broken brain takes a long time to fix, possibly never. And a brain is very, very useful for this one reason only: it tells us when we're having fun!