Tag Archives: AAA

The easiest way to eliminate accidents is to assess road hazards in advance.Read on to learn about the most common road hazards and how to manage them.

Staying Safe by Assessing and Avoiding Road Hazards

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

Nothing spoils a great ride like a bad accident, but most accidents are avoidable. The easiest way to eliminate accidents is to assess road hazards in advance and avoid them. Read on to learn about the most common road hazards and how to manage them.

Road hazards broken and uneven pavement

The easiest road hazard to spot is broken or uneven pavement. Oftentimes starting at the roads edge (where many of us ride), pavement begins to break and crumble from annual hot/cold cycles. The first and best option is just avoid loose sections entirely, but anyone can tell you that’s not always possible. When you are riding through bad pavement, try to raise your body off your saddle by an inch or so and allow your legs and arms to absorb impact. Concentrate on being loose, allowing the bike to move around underneath you, and keeping your momentum directed to where you want to go. Focusing on where you want to go is the most important part, focusing on objects you don’t want to hit increases the chance of hitting them.

road hazards

Narrow roadways

Sometimes the road narrows, and doesn’t allow for you and drivers to occupy the road together safely. In these situations, it is important to take control of your safety.  Do not try to be off to the side as far as possible, this will only encourage drivers to attempt to make an unwise pass. Instead, give yourself space on the road, and try to be as visible and deliberate as possible. Narrow roadways are the ideal place to use hand signals. Additionally, be aware of what is behind you by looking back more frequently than usual. Looking to see who is behind you will give you the information you need, and let drivers know that you see them. Oftentimes drivers will be more patient if they know you are aware of the situation.

road hazards

Blind turns, driveways, and alleys

You can’t easily avoid what you can’t see, especially if you are going fast. When approaching any blind road or path section, slow down and assume there is someone coming around the corner. Approach the corner with caution, and only accelerate once the coast is clear.

Loose debris on hard surfaces

Sand, Gravel and dirt on pavement can be a recipe for disaster. Any loose debris on the road robs you of the traction you need to ride confidently. Shy of vacuuming every road or trail before your ride, there is no way to avoid the inevitability of debris. What you can do however, is use good judgement when you do encounter it. First, don’t slam on the brakes. Braking shifts your weight forward onto the front wheel making you more unstable in loose conditions. Instead, apply your brakes gently and evenly while trying to remain loose on the bike in case your tires break free. Second, try to keep the bike as vertical as possible and turn only if necessary.

road hazards

Ice and water

Water and its colder cousin ice are a serious road hazard. You will find that roads and paths that are wet offer far less grip than when dry. Therefore, keep your overall speed down on wet days and brake before turning. If ice is in the forecast, the best measure is to avoid it. Start by ditching the polarized sunglasses that will make the ice difficult to see. Polarized glasses eliminate most glare, and glare is a prime means to identify ice. If you do find yourself on ice, be careful! It takes almost no side motion to put you on the ground when riding on ice. I find it best to do almost nothing until you make your way off the ice, that means no braking, no turning, no movement, Just coast.

road hazards

Paint and slippery surfaces (metal, marble, tile) train tracks

The last set of road hazards worth mentioning are slick surfaces. These surfaces include metal (train tracks, manholes, and sewer grates), painted pavement, and smooth aggregate (like marble or tile often found in industrial zones). For metal, try to avoid it when wet (it’s as slick as ice) and cross train tracks as perpendicularly as possible. Painted surfaces and smooth aggregate need to be avoided when wet as well. While they have more traction when dry, it’s still worth being careful.

road hazards

After reading this, you may feel like everything on the road is out to get you. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, you have probably encountered all these hazards on your last ride and survived. Overall, road hazards rarely cause an accident but are something to be cognizant of.

 

AAA announced that it was extending its popular AAA Roadside Service to include bicycles, offering cyclists and added peace of mind.

New AAA Roadside Service adds peace of mind for your next bike ride

by, Russ Lowthian, HaveFunBiking.com

As more people take to bicycling for recreation and transportation it is nice to know there is someone to come to rescue if a bike breaks down. In a move to support bicyclists, AAA is now offering support. Recently, the company announced that it was extending its popular automotive AAA Roadside Service to include bikes. Here at HaveFunBiking.com, hearing the news is exciting. This is a perfect service that will assure cyclist, someone will be there if they breakdown.

Any bike you are riding is covered by AAA Roadside Service

With wheel bearing going out this cyclist wouldn't be carrying his bike hope if he had a AAA Roadside Service membership?

If this rider had AAA Roadside Service, he wouldn’t be carrying his bike home because of a mechanical issue.

How the program works? For as little as $49 a year you can purchase a AAA membership that offers Roadside Service for both your car and bike. If you are already a member you are now covered when bicycling. Just call your roadside assistance number on the back of your membership card.

Like the automotive Roadside Assistance Program any bike you are riding (road, mountain, recumbent, e-bike, tandem bikes, bike rentals and bicycle trailers) is eligible. Coverage applies to any qualified bike a member is riding at the time the bicycle becomes disabled. A member should be with the bicycle and have their AAA Membership Card in hand at the time of service. Keep in mind, the Roadside Service is provided only for the rider whose bicycle has become disabled or inoperable. However, any accompanying minors of a member is covered.

When a quick fix isn’t an option, AAA Roadside Service is there

The second most common mechanical problem to a flat tire, is a broken chain. Read on to learn the causes of and quick remedies to fix your chain.

The second most common mechanical problem to a flat tire is a broken chain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If a quick fix isn’t an option, (examples: you blew a tire; some spokes broke; or the chain busted) first call a family member or friend. Then, if no one is available to assist, AAA Roadside Service may be your best option.

It’s like “Having a SAG Wagon in your back pocket,” especially when you are touring away from home, on vacation, etc. This roadside service is something that will give a cyclist peace of mind.

Three levels of SAG (service and gear) support for you and your bike

Under the new terms of the roadside pickup service. AAA will transport you and your disabled bike to any point of safety within the limits of your coverage. This is based on three available levels of membership below:

  • The Classic: Gives you up to four transports of your bike or car, within a 5-mile radius of the breakdown per year
  • The Plus: Gives you up to four transports of your bike or car, within a 100-mile radius of the bicycle breakdown
  • The Premier: Gives you one transport of your bike or car, up to a 200-mile radius of the breakdown; remaining transports are 100 miles.

This is exciting news if you are a casual, touring cyclist or a bike commuter! Mary Miller, from South St. Paul was ecstatic to hear the news. She stated, ” now I feel comfortable riding my bike more often knowing that I can call AAA to come and get me if I breakdown.”

What You Don’t Get

The service is strictly a pickup and delivery service and does not offer any repair amenities or supplies. If you are capable of fixing a flat, repairing a broken chain or spoke and continuing your ride, please do so. The service is designed when you have run out of quick repair options. In fact, there is a laundry list of “services not included:

  • Airing or changing a flat tire
  • Pickup from anywhere not reachable from a paved, “regularly traveled” road
  • Parts, including tires
  • Pickup of bicyclists who are physical unable to continue with the ride
  • Locksmith services, in case you accidentally lock up your bike and lose the key or combination.

AAA Roadside Service is available in many states across the U.S.

“We are tremendously excited about this great new bike benefit program available to AAA members across most of the upper Midwest, Southeast and much of our country,” stated Gail Weinholzer, Director of Public Affairs, AAA – The Auto Club Group.

The new bicycle service is available throughout the entire territory served by AAA. The Auto Club Group which includes all of: Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Tennessee and Wisconsin; most of Illinois and Minnesota; and a portion of Indiana.

For bicycle coverage outside the above states and for full details on AAA Roadside Membership visit AAA.com/Bicycle.

 

Beyond Laws and rules, we should work to employ some common courtesy toward each other while riding our bikes on the road and trail.

Riding Courtesy; Great Ways to Consider Others on Your Next Adventure

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

Did you know that bicycle traffic laws are different in many states? While these laws guide how you should operate on your bicycle, they also regulate how drivers should treat you. Laws are designed to keep both drivers and cyclists safe. Then there is offroad riding and most trail systems have guidelines that match up with the published list of rules from IMBA (International Mountain Bicycling Association). Beyond the laws and rules, we should also employ some common courtesy toward each other on both the road and trail.

Offroad Courtesy To Other Riders

Courtesy offroad is all about sharing the trail, leaving the environment as pure as possible, and not negatively impacting others experience. The simplest way to share the trail is to maintain control. Careening down a trail at Mach 5 with no ability to stop in time is a quick recipe for disaster. If you can’t control yourself, you are more prone to run into others or at the very least scare them. In order to maintain the environment, consider the trails off limits when wet. Trail systems that are wet are far more susceptible to damage from riders by leaving deep ruts in the dirt. In addition to leaving ruts, leaving any trash behind is unacceptable as well. Take care to pack any trash, like powerbar wrappers, inner tube boxes, or gel packs out with you. Finally, be concerned with others experience. There is nothing easier to reach that goal than to yield the trail when appropriate. If an overtaking rider wants to pass, slow down and make room for them to get by. When others are climbing up a steep grade, wait at the top of that trail for them to pass, before heading down.

Trail Courtesy To Other Riders

Be courteous on the trail especially when a one-way merges into a two-way.

Be courteous on the trail especially when a one-way merges into a two-way.

While riding on the bike paths, small amounts of courtesy can go a long way to keep you and those around you safe. To begin, always pull off the trail when stopping. Making yourself a big roadblock in the middle of the trail puts all those who must get around you at a risk. Don’t assume others know where you are going, hand signals help for those looking, but also feel free to tell people (especially people you are passing) what is going on. A simple “on your left” can make a pass far safer.

Road Courtesy To Other Riders

While stopping along a road pulling off to the shoulder is being courteous to motorists and the safest thing we can do.

Road riding courtesy is most needed when riding in a group and drafting. Safety in a group is about two things – Consistency and communication. For Consistency, be sure to ride a steady line, don’t swerve from side to side. Also, try to keep a consistent pace, If riders are drafting behind you, it can be difficult and tiring if you constantly speed up and slow down. For communication, be sure to signal If you are stopping, where debris in the road is, and what direction the group is turning.

Trail and Road Courtesy To Traffic

Courtesy to traffic is as easy as being predictable. Try to ride at the same distance from the curb as consistently as possible. Also use hand signals when turning, and be clear when stopping (by placing your open palm down at your side). Using a bell is also a great way to signal your approach to parked cars. Ultimately, you want drivers to know where you are and where you are going so they can make safe choices as well.

Keeping Yourself Safe

Riding courteously is just another way to keep you and those around you safe while riding. Once you begin to employ these tips, and make them second nature, you will find that your rides become less stressful. Eventually, I hope you help remind others what courteous bike riding can do for everyone.

Please pass this information on to friends and family – Thanks!

As a cyclist or a safer driver you become aware of what drivers of both bikes and cars are doing and learn how to keep yourself safe - observe and practice.

Being a Safer Driver Is Easy With A Few Lessons Learned On Your Bike

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking

Riding a bike is both a fun sport and mode of transportation if done safely. One of the main concerns while riding your bicycle when traffic is around you is, what to do? As a cyclist, you become aware of what drivers of cars are doing and how to keep yourself safe. Now, what happens when you get back in your car? Take some of the lessons you learned while riding your bike and use them to become a safer driver of an automobile.

Know Where You Are As A Safer Driver

When you are driving in your car, safety concerns change with the surroundings. Traffic signs like deer crossing, children at play, and school zones offer a great indication that you should be paying close attention to what’s off the road as well as what’s on it. In residential areas, be aware of cyclists on sidewalks, in driveway as well as on the road. Pay particular attention to children as their behavior can be a bit more erratic than an adult.  In the case of adults, look for hand signals to alert you to their changes in direction.

Passing As A Safer Driver

To be a safer driver pay close attention when passing a cyclist. Take the time to do it right, and by that I mean, literally take the time! Slow down, allow the rider to know you are approaching, ensure that the road ahead is clear for you as well as the cyclist and pass at a safe distance. Even if you need to wait a few minutes to pass safely, be sure not to act too aggressively when the opportunity does arise to pass. See new law revisions when passing a bicyclist in Minnesota.

safer driver

A safe driver when passing gives the bike rider plenty of room and you plenty of time to deal with any oncoming traffic.

safer driver

Too little room can force a rider off the road and into a bad situation.

safer driver

Look down the road and ensure you have ample room and time to pass safely.

Turning As A Safer Driver

Most cyclist will ride to the right side of the road and in doing this they put themselves in danger for cars turning right. To be a safer driver, pay close attention to bike riders on the shoulder of the road. As you pass them be sure to offer plenty of room before you begin to turn your car in front of them. Sadly, many drivers will look forward for a clear road while turning, but not off to their right. This leads to cyclists possibly impacting the right side of a car.

Give cyclists ample room to stop or slowdown if needed.

Opening Your Door As A Safer Driver

Just like turning, when opening your car door be sure to look behind you. Riders use the right side of the road, so when you park on the street, you can do serious damage to a rider and your vehicle if you accidentally “door” them. A moment to look in the rear view mirror can save you and those around you a lot of pain and trouble.

Pay close attention to what is behind you before opening your car door when parked on the street.

Distractions On Your Bike Or In A Car

We live in a digital world and it is difficult to unplug with all  the distraction. Please make the pledge to yourself to use your digital devices as little as possible in the car. Other distractions can be music that is too loud, children that are excitable (I struggle with this one) or GPS devices. Try to plan your route in advance, limit the digital distractions, and remind your children of the dangers of distracted driving.

We should all hope that the same care we take while riding on our bike goes into our driving habits and vise-versa. Being more aware of our surroundings, more aware of others, and less distracted goes a long way to make you a safer driver of both your car and your bicycle.

More perfect bicycling weather - Ride Safe! Photo taken in the Twin Cities Gateway Area on a ride showcasing the bike freindly roads connecting to a vast system of trails.

Bike Pic Sept 14, More Perfect Bicycling Weather – Ride Safe!

More perfect bicycling weather – Ride Safe! Photo taken in the Twin Cities Gateway Area on a ride showcasing the bike friendly roads connecting to a vast system of trails. Here, driving their bikes and following road safety etiquette, members of the Hiawatha Bicycling Club rode a 32-mile loop.The route they toured passed through the towns of Anoka, Blaine, Fridley, and Ham Lake in the gateway communities.

Notice in the photo that the riders approaching the intersection’s stop light are riding two abreast and staying in the center lane to go straight through. This is a Share the Road procedure so vehicles in the right and left turning lanes are not blocked from making their turn. See more safety riding tips in this AAA Video. Want to take a cycling 101 class, see: BikeMN.org for their schedule or your state bicycle advocacy group.

See many more perfect bicycling weather tips and bike friendly places to explore, in the new Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide

Thanks for viewing the Perfect Bicycling Weather Pic of the Day. 

Now rolling into our 10th year as a bike tourism media, our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike and have fun. While showcasing all the unforgettable places for you to ride. As we continue to showcase more place to have fun we hope the photos we shoot are worth a grin. As you scroll through the information and stories we have posted, enjoy.

Do you have a fun bicycle related photo of yourself or someone you may know that we should post? If so, please send your picture(s) to: [email protected]. Include a brief caption (for each), of who is in the photo (if you know?) and where the picture was taken. Photo(s) should be a minimum of 1,000 pixels wide or larger to be considered. If we do use your photo, you will receive photo credit and acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As we continues to encourage more people to bike, please view our Destination section at HaveFunBiking.com for your next bike adventure – Also, check out the MN Bike Guide, now mobile friendly, as we enter into our 8th year of producing the guide.

So bookmark HaveFunBiking.com and find your next adventure. And don’t forget to smile, while you are riding and having fun. We may capture you in one of our next photos that we post daily.

Have a great day!