Warren Buffett, a legend in his own time. Ever since I first heard of him I have been amazed at how he works. By simply picking stocks and buying companies in a sensible manner he has managed to get over 13% growth per year on average for the last 40 years.
The average investment advice basically assumes that the market is absolutely efficient, so you can’t really do anything to beat it. The best approach is just to buy a spread and ride the same waves the market rides. Basically everyone ends up with the same odds.
But Buffett proves this assumption is wrong.
By preparing, staying informed, making sensible choices, avoiding duds and understanding the companies he invests in, Warren Buffet has been able to beat the market. It is true that he doesn’t let on to the complete details of his investment strategies, but he proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that you can beat the odds.
You can beat the odds of having an accident too.
When you’re out on the road cycling, your odds of being in an accident are related to your riding skills, your awareness while riding, your riding position, choice of approach and ability to avoid dangerous situations.
A lot of this has been adapted from Bicycling Safe as I thought it did a great job at explaining things clearly.
The ultimate goal for cycling safety is to not have accidents in the first place.
No accident = no injury or death… simple.
Helmets are promoted as the way to cheat death while riding.
Lies, all lies.
Your bowl of polystyrene is very unlikely to put up much of a fight against an 18-wheeler.
Most likely result: big truck 1, little cyclist 0
Ride like you’re invisible
The trick here is to be as visible as possible, but to ride in such a way that even if you were invisible, you still wouldn’t get hit by any cars. Basically avoid every single possible situation where a car or other traffic vehicle would have to react or alter their course for you not to get hit. Easier said than done, but worth the effort.
Relying on the other drivers not to hit you is a guaranteed shortcut to the emergency room or worse. Your safety is entirely your own responsibility. Whatever crappy roads or driving get thrown your way, you have to deal with it to ensure you arrive home safe for your loved ones.
Pick safe routes
Better than trusting your skills to save you is to not have to use your skills.
Choose the safest route possible. Choose quieter roads, choose roads with a wide shoulder, choose bike paths, take the longer, less traveled path.
Ride further into the lane
Ride far enough into the lane that you will not slam into a car door if it is opened in front of you. When there are no parked cars you can ride closer to the side.
This position also makes you more visible to cars at intersections in front of you. Don’t hold this position all the time as it can be quite annoying for drivers behind you, but be aware of your safety before their annoyance.
Avoid crosswalks and riding on the wrong side
You are most visible when you are going with the flow of traffic.
Cars are looking for other traffic and that is their primary concern. Pedestrians or bicycles crossing from the right when the car is turning right are not seen. The car is looking for traffic from the left. Best to wait and cross when there are no cars or ride on the correct side of the road.
Don’t stop or ride in the blind spot
The blind spot is the position directly next to the car stretching about as far back as the rear bumper.
Do not stop in this position as the driver cannot see you in the rear view mirror and might turn into you. This also applies while moving, stay out of this position. Drop slightly back to where the car behind can see you but you won’t get clipped by the turning vehicle.
Lights, lights, lights
In Taiwan this is particularly bad. Very many people don’t use lights at night, and the places where there are less street lights, there seem to be even less bicycle lights.
Cars cannot see you. Really.
Cars have the oncoming lights in their eyes, which detracts from their ability to see you. Those same lights cast you into shadow. Use big reflectors if necessary, the bigger, more garish and uglier, the better.
Nighttime kit includes:
- front lights
- rear lights
- front reflectors
- rear reflectors
- side refelectors
- reflective jacket (construction site style)
- anything else reflective or bright
And when it comes to the ugly reflective jackets, the phrase “I wouldn’t be seen dead in that,” rings true. If you’re wearing the reflective stuff your chances of an accident are less.
Remember that in the end you want to get home safe and sound. Being overly worried about safety is not helpful, but being aware enough to take the relevant steps to improve your safety is key.
The two guides below are highly recommended and put into text many things which have become second nature after years in the saddle.