TOP
Tuesday,December 01,2020 21:21 PM

Cyclists Should Wear Bright Clothes

By Vision Reporter

Added 8th March 2004 03:00 AM

By Jean-Marie Nsambu

IN January in the United States, a Unity Township motorist, Ryan Merle Thomas, 27, was charged with two counts of homicide (killing another) by a vehicle.
Thomas allegedly killed a motorcyclist, Brian Betler, 20, Latrobe and his (Betler’s) passen

By Jean-Marie Nsambu

IN January in the United States, a Unity Township motorist, Ryan Merle Thomas, 27, was charged with two counts of homicide (killing another) by a vehicle.
Thomas allegedly killed a motorcyclist, Brian Betler, 20, Latrobe and his (Betler’s) passen

By Jean-Marie Nsambu

IN January in the United States, a Unity Township motorist, Ryan Merle Thomas, 27, was charged with two counts of homicide (killing another) by a vehicle.
Thomas allegedly killed a motorcyclist, Brian Betler, 20, Latrobe and his (Betler’s) passenger, Amy Lundquist, 38, of Hempfield, on November 3, 2002, in an accident near Twin Lakes Park in Hempfield Township.
According to a writer, Paul Peirce on the Tribune-Review Publishing Company, Justice James Falcon of the Youngwood-area district found sufficient evidence against Thomas, at the preliminary trial.
Betler the motorcross racer was carrying his passenger on a dirt bike at night, when the accident occurred. Court was told that Thomas was driving a pick-up truck just before 1:00am, when he crossed into the opposite lane, hitting the motorbike head-on.
Peirce writes that Thomas had a blood-alcohol level of 0.12 percent. “Under recently passed legislation, Pennsylvania drivers with a blood-alcohol level of .08 are under the law, drunk.”
Putting up a defence, however, Thomas’ attorney William McCabe, repeatedly asked Falcon to dismiss the more serious homicide by vehicle charges, submitting a number of mitigating factors.
Among them he argued that the deceased motocross racer’s blood-alcohol level at the time of the accident was 0.16 percent.
Notwithstanding the decision of the court, however, it is true that cyclists are expected to take greater precautions upon mounting their bikes. But, most riders overlook such measures to their own and their passenger’s peril. For instance, while many boda boda riders wear helmets, very few if any, put on reflective wear at night.
A motorcycle, while the most comfortable, swift and enjoyable, is the most risky means of transport on African roads. This is because drivers care less about cyclists. And cyclists, especially boda boda riders make the situation worse, by riding often recklessly. I have heard a number of drivers say that other than the risk the life of occupants of their vehicles, they rather crash a cyclist!
A colleague of mine has nursed a broken leg for close to a year now, following an accident at the Entebbe-Kajjansi junction, where a pick-up truck knocked him as he rode a Honda motorbike to Kisubi.
It is estimated that approximately 70% of motorcycle – car/truck accidents occur at road junctions or intersections!
Cars often and unexpectedly turn in front of motorcyclists from a side street, without care. It is worse at night. Most drivers blame the cyclists, who they say are not easily visible.
That is why it is important for a cyclist to ensure they are clearly viewed by other motorist. At intersections where vision may be limited by shrubbery, parked vehicles, or buildings, precautions should be higher.
Cyclists with experience say that it is important to slow down and assess the traffic, before riding on. Also pertinent, is for the cyclist to keep in mind the power of their motorbikes. Some motorcycles are of very low horsepowers that it would be risky to attempt riding at the pace of cars, but close to the shoulders, just in case it necessitates pulling off the road.
Motorcycles of 250 horsepowers and beyond, have advantage when overtaking. Some motorbikes like BMWs are stronger and faster than some cars.
Experienced cyclists say that at all times a rider must consider him or herself invisible to motorists, so as to be more cautious. John Lwanga, a legendary Kampala speed-cat race star adds that a rider must position himself or herself in such a way that they are seen from a distance.
He notes that it is dangerous to overtake a vehicle from the left side, even if such vehicle is in a slow motion. “Some people are fond of jumping out of a vehicle when it is still moving and a cyclist can hit the door and get fatal injuries.
An international expert giving tips on riding a motorbike says that all motor vehicles have blind spots where other vehicles cannot be seen with mirrors.
“These blind spots are to the left and right rear of the vehicle. Do not linger in motorists’ blind spots.” He also recommends the use of motorcycle headlights, day and night. This is a rule in Uganda.
The expert counsels that at night, cyclists must wear brightly coloured clothes. Preferably, there should be fluorescent linings, for distinct view. “Use retro-reflective materials on clothing and the motorcycle, especially at night,” he stresses.
Ends

Cyclists Should Wear Bright Clothes

Related articles

More From The Author

More From The Author