Subscribe -- FREE!
Shel Horowitz's monthly Clean and Green Newsletter
Receive these exciting bonuses: Seven Tips to Gain Marketing Traction as a Green Guerrilla plus Seven Weeks to a Greener Business
( Privacy Policy )

How to Bike in Traffic (Frugal Fun Tip, May, 2002)

Shel Horowitz's Monthly Frugal Fun Tip for May, 2002, Vol. 6, No. 1

THIS MONTH'S TIP: How to Bike in Traffic (#2 of three in a row about children's activities)

I've sung praises to the bicycle already (See the May, 2000 Tipsheet: Pedal Power). Not only is it cheap, fast transportation, but it gets your heart rate up too.

For children in the suburbs, the bicycle can be a lifeline--and a lifesaver for harried parents who would otherwise be driving their children all the time. Considering that the vast majority of car trips in the U.S. are under five miles--a distance where the bike can actually be faster than a car or bus, if traffic is heavy--it's useful as transportation, too.

I've paid $10 to $50 for decent basic used bikes (usually three-speeds). Even buying new, you can get a very good quality 18 or 21 speed hybrid from around $300--and if you get 15 years out of it, that's only $20 a year.

But too few parents take the time to instruct their children in basic bicycle safety. If you ride with your children until they know safe practices inside and out, they'll not only be much safer on their bikes, but when they get to be driving age, they will probably be better drivers.

* Use proper equipment. Always wear a helmet, make sure the bike is equipped with reflectors, consider an attached mirror. If they will be riding on busy streets or in less than perfect light conditions, reflective orange vests and/or safety flags can make them a lot more visible to drivers. And the bike should fit properly, which probably means adjusting the seat every few months.

* Ride on the right side of the road, in the same direction as traffic; while it's true that it's safer to walk facing oncoming traffic, on a bike, you are infinitely safer going with the traffic flow, because drivers can predict and anticipate your movements. Use your mirror or just turn your head to scan behind you. Keep as far toward the shoulder as possible. If you face an obstacle, such as a sewer grate or broken glass, stop the bike and wait if you don't have time to swing into the traffic lane.

* Use hand signals when turning, stopping, or changing lanes. Left arm extended for moving to the left, left hand upright (If you're in the right lane already) or right hand extended (if you're merging into traffic) to move right. Left hand pointing down if you're slowing to a stop.

* Always ride single file in traffic.

* Never dart into traffic or swerve out suddenly from between parked cars.

* If riding with small children, an adult should bring up the rear; children should wait at all intersections and stay within voice range.

I started commuting to school by bicycle when I was 14--in busy New York City traffic. I had a 3-mile commute, and then when we moved, it was over five miles. It was faster and more enjoyable than the bus!

Recently, I've been training my 9-year-old son in bicycle safety, and he now rides with me (not yet by himself on a busy, hilly state highway).

__________________________________________
FREE STUFF FOR YOU

I used too get so tired of wading through my local newspaper's automated voicemail to get a local weather report. Now I just go to http://www.weather.com/, where I've bookmarked the page for my own zipcode. Faster, more comprehensive, and targeted to my own town, not just the county. Annoying popups, but I can close 'em pretty quickly--and I don't have to listen to any commercials first.

http://www.FTN.info/Shel
If you've been reading a while, you know two things:
1) I have a long-standing interest in energy conservation and have even considered writing a book on it
2) I don't sign up for many affiliate programs.
This may be in the category of too good to be true, but for $9.75 I was willing to risk it. These folks have come up with what seems like some extremely novel energy saving technologies, and two lucky winners in each state will get a system installed for free (others qualify at a 50% discount). I did go as far as calling the person who told me about it and determining that the company seems to be on the up and up and has not abused the relationship in any way. If one of you is the lucky winner, please tell me about it.
The investment is small enough and the potential payoff big enough that I did sign up as an affiliate. I'll keep you posted!

Return to the Frugal Fun Tips Archives
Preview Shel Horowitz's Penny Pinching Hedonist: How to Live Like Royalty with a Peasant's Pocketbook a 280-page e-book that shows you how to save a big pile of money on travel, dining, entertainment, recreation, and all sorts of other fun.
This article originally appeared in Shel Horowitz's Monthly Frugal Fun Tips. Please click here for your free subscription.


Share this article/site with a Friend
Share/Bookmark


  
Bookmark Us




Many of the 1,000+ articles on Frugal Fun and Frugal Marketing have been gathered into magazines. If you'd like to read more great content on these topics, please click on the name of the magazine you'd like to visit.

Ethics Articles - Down to Business Magazine - Frugal & Fashionable Living Magazine
Global Travel Review - Global Arts Review - Peace & Politics Magazine
Frugal Marketing Tips - Frugal Fun Tips - Positive Power of Principled Profit

Clean and Green Marketing

Our Privacy Policy


Disclosures of Material Connections:
  • Some of the links on our site and items in our newsletters are sponsored ads or affiliate links. This financial support allows us to bring you the consistent high quality of information and constant flow of new content. Please thank our advertisers if you do business with them.
  • As is the case for most professional reviewers, many of the books I review on this site have been provided by the publisher or author, at no cost to me. I've also reviewed books that I bought, because they were worthy of your time. And I've also received dozens of review copies at no charge that do not get reviewed, either because they are not worthy or because they don't meet the subject criteria for this column, or simply because I haven't gotten around to them yet, since I only review one book per month. I have far more books in my office than I will ever read, and the receipt of a free book does not affect my review.

Site copyright © 1996-2011 by Shel Horowitz