Tippecanoe County

Getting into it, where can you start?

Bicycle Lafayette – Bicycle Lafayette is actively pursuing better bicycle infrastructure in the Lafayette area to make cycling safer for everyone as well as making it a viable alternative to driving motor vehicles. The mission of Bicycle Lafayette is to advocate for cyclists’ rights and safety, to educate drivers and cyclists, and to promote cycling.

Critical Manners – The third Friday of every month Bicycle Lafayette participates with Lafayette Critical Manners and meets at HotBox on Chauncey between 6:30-7:00 to go for a ride around campus or the Lafayette area. The monthly ride is typically very leisurely and can accommodate riders of all skill levels. The ride helps promote cycling in the community as well as educating cyclists about being a courteous rider.

Marc Silver wrote a great piece for NPR, “Don’t Salmon, Don’t Shoal, Learn the Lingo of Safe Cycling.” I learned a bit of bike etiquette, and also some fun terms that have yet to make their debut in Urban Dictionary. If you only remember one word, remember Salmoning; it’s not only illegal, it’s dangerous! Newton’s Third Law of Motion is: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.  A car carries significantly more mass than a cyclist, I would certainly not want to experience the opposite action of any oncoming vehicle, even a Smart car.

For the drivers

Not everybody rides a bicycle, but nearly everybody reading this will drive a car. Eventually every driver is going to come upon a cyclist. What do you do? Be respectful! Most cyclists will appreciate your respect for them and do what they can to help you move along when it is safe for them. Occasionally, I will meet an angry driver who decides that honking their horn and yelling at me will make me pedal faster; I am typically already pedaling as fast as I can, but when I encounter an angry driver I have something else to worry about, therefore, the result is actually me pedaling slower.

Remember, even if you do not like someone riding in the road, it’s still another human. No amount of time a minor delay could cost you, or time you could “save” by reckless driving, would be worth risking that person’s life. We don’t ride in the road because we want to make you angry; we’re there because it’s actually the safest place for us with the existing infrastructure. Cyclists ride for a variety of reasons, and it’s one of the most diverse crowds of people I’ve met; from race to religion, politics to genre of music, I’ve never met another group that was so different, but shared the same passion. Every time I see a cyclist I have yet to meet, I have to wonder: “How long until I meet them?”

Whether you’re on a bike, or in a car, be safe out there!