Diary of a Biker Dude

I’ll let you in on a personal secret: I do not enjoy the heebie jeebies. The House of Wax trailer looks totally insane and creepy. I hear Paris Hilton totally bites it during the film, but that doesn’t mean I will go see it voluntarily (try “kicking and screaming”).

Since all aspects of life can be related to biking, there are also some scary things that bikers can encounter. They are less, uh, enchanted and evil than a House of Wax. They also probably couldn’t kill Paris Hilton (what can?) in most situations, but to bikers they are the scariest. Here are four things that fill this biker dude with terror.

Car Doors:

“Please do NOT open your door” races through my mind when caught betwixt vehicles in traffic and vehicles parked on the right side of the street. At the wrong moment smooth sailing could turn into smash city, resulting in injuries I don’t even want to think about having. I always make sure to stay on my toes in case some jerkstore decides to open their door at the wrong moment. Fortunately, I’ve never paid a visit to smash city, but unfortunately I had a slight run-in with …

Side-View Mirrors:

Once upon a spring day last year, I was on my way down Sixth Street back home to South Philly. Right after passing South Street, a driver forced me right into some car’s side-view mirror. I tumbled off my bike into the street, shocked but unscathed. I wrote a note and put it on the car’s windshield with my cell number, letting them know that I was the culprit, poor and in college. Thankfully I never got a call, so this method is effective if you are ever in a similar, unfortunate situation. Hopefully you won’t be, and hopefully you won’t meet any …

Drivers that just don’t pay attention:

My friend Allie was hit by a car on her way to school a few weeks ago. She was coming up 13th Street and a car came up from behind her to make a right onto Pine Street. The driver did not yield to her.

“The moment I realized there was a car trying to turn, I was on the street with my bike on top of me,” she said.

Allie escaped the accident with bruises on her legs, but her bike was so messed up that she couldn’t ride to school. Moral of the story: be extra careful when biking in traffic. Drivers are supposed to yield to us, but sometimes they are negligent. Stay alert. I know I say this a lot, but you should always stay alert, especially when you could potentially run into …

Unexpected potholes or construction:

A lot of Philly’s streets are filled with potholes and other cumbersome dangers on their surface. Going over one at a good clip could throw off your balance and put you in a bad situation, especially if you are in traffic. An easy solution to this would be to stick to routes you know. I know there are some huge holes on 13th Street between Vine and Callowhill streets, so I avoid them. Still, one may never know the dangers lurking on the road ahead. Stay alert!

James Saul can be reached at jamsaul@temple.edu.

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