How It All Started
We always remember the time we learned how to ride a bike. This was in the 1970’s for me.
Circumstances took me away from the bike until my late teenage years when I decided to become more fit. Back then, it was not as widespread as it is today.
You either rode a bike in a neighborhood, or you were one of those ‘strange people’ on a highway riding ‘somewhere.’
I became proficient at riding and developed an attraction to it.
I spent my spare time riding ‘somewhere’ throughout the college and post college years. I became a racer and raced for many years having mixed results which lasted throughout my 40’s.
One particular incident occurred in a small town near where I was working, at the time. Through no act of malice, a driver ended the lives of two riders nearby on a lightly traveled road.
This was before the widespread use of cell phones and their later data abilities.
The first thing you should do is check your mirrors.
My thought was ‘if you get into a car, the first thing you should do is check your mirrors.’ Why should a cyclist be any different?
If I can’t trust a person who has no ill intentions, and I’m trusting them to pay attention, should I not be as well concerned?’
At the time, I was riding by myself, and had no vanity about appearance. Wearing a mirror actually allowed me to trust drivers.
For 13 years, I had a basic idea what the drivers were doing behind me. Sound was mostly what was relied upon if there was an impending incident, but, what if there was a loud headwind or multiple distractions?
With a mirror, I began to be able to characterize drivers’ actions behind me. For the most part, it was a positive experience.
Today, I wouldn’t think to ride without a mirror.
Fifteen years later, I wouldn’t think to ride without a mirror because of drivers’ distractions and frustrations.
The same thing applies from years ago, a quick glance lets me know if I have to be ready for a distracted or frustrated driver.
Also, a vehicle respecting my space allows me to maintain my space. When possible, I give those drivers an extra amount of cooperation when they are being considerate.