Friday, October 17, 2008

Fight the ninjas

(Yehuda Moon is always worth a read.)

I was cruising through a thin fog this morning (Is there anything more fun than riding in fog?) when a dark silhouette appeared ahead of me, illuminated by the portable lights at a nearby construction site. It was the dreaded Bike Ninja.

Bike ninjas are those riders who are too cheap or stubborn to use lights, making them more dangerous to everyone—motorists, cyclists, even themselves. On routes with plenty of ambient light sources, they’re little more than an annoyance to other riders, but in really dark areas, they’re a freakin’ menace. Most of us who have spent any time commuting know the shock of seeing another rider suddenly appearing in our headlight beam as we swerve to avoid a head-on collision.

Being a bike ninja is selfish and dangerous, and there's really no excuse for it. For about $12 at a Fred Meyer supermarket, anyone can buy a pair of flashing be-seen lights. Last winter, they were charging $6 for a red, blinkin’ butt light, and the same price for a white light you could tape or zip-tie to a handlebar. And these aren’t the crappy, single-LED things that are often given away as promotional freebies. These thins have multiple LEDs and bright flashing sequences.

If you’ve been running in stealth mode, stop by the store and grab a couple. Please.

They’re far cheaper than medical bills.

6 comments:

linda morgi said...

yeah, I hate bike ninjas too. The worst are those who scream at you for swerving at the last second. But those text messaging, on the phone or riding with both hands in their pockets are a menace as well...

aldrichsteve said...

I live in a metropolis of bike ninjas -- a huge university town. Between clueless students and hapless homeless folks (who I forgive for not having lights when they're not riding drunk) it's dangerous to ride after dark.

When 4 miles of the 6 you commute every day have the potential for bike-on-bike collision you get pretty grumpy at the folks who are not using lights and biking the wrong way in the bike lane...

Lucky said...

Supplies! Feats of prowess, like balancing a cigarette and a Tim Horton's coffee while navigating can only be mastered by black belt bike ninjas!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qve-THEDTs0

JordyB said...

I hear ya! I rode Friday in the Fog as well, but didn't see any bicyclists! Lucky me I guess. Like you said, I currently have two rear red LED blinky's mainly used for walking the dog walking, one is zip-tied to the helmet, the other, seat post. They work great and very cheap! I just picked up a Shwinn Flasher @ Walmart yesterday and used it this morning, it works great so far. I even got a compliment from a runner who had a red led on his front. And then have a head lamp minus elastic band ziptied to the helmet for a small spot beam!

On my commute this AM, there was only one walker who didn't stand out to well, oh well.

Real lights are on order tho! ;p

Kirk said...

I'm looking forward to the "Ski Ninja" and his/her unleashed canine companion. I always like the look the give you, like some how you're wiping your ass on some sacred thing.

lucifer sam said...

In my situation I go both ways on this topic. I only have 6 miles each way to and from work but part of that distance is in a secluded section of the green way where you run into all sorts of unsavory people not on bike. They hide between the pillars of the many bridges you ride under and prey on people for their money, bikes etc. (during the summer that is) so I do turn off my lights because then I am stealth and "ninja". I am not going to give them a half a mile "hey here I am get ready for me to bike by you"... If another biker is approaching I will switch my lights on to let them see me, as soon as they pass they are off again. I have blown by many people I believe would have given me a hard time or tried to harm me, but they couldn't see me coming so they didn't have a chance to get in place and let their buddies know I am coming. Once back where bikers are frequent and especially when back with the vehicles, my lights are on. They are on during the day if snowing or raining. Don't hate me.