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Jul. 26 2013

Awareness

By Mark Malinowski | Posted in Host Blogs | 9 Comments

In an earlier missive, I mentioned how riding a bike gives one a new perspective on one’s surroundings.   Well, I’ve been commuting to work here at WBJC from my home in Catonsville for a few weeks now, and I have to say that my perspective on several things has changed since I started.

For one thing, it’s amazing how different the city is at 3:30 am than at 11 am.  Truly 2 different worlds.  More and more, I think I prefer the 3:30 am world.

Another thing that has changed is that I feel that because of my cycling, I have become a better driver.  This is why I think so:

When riding a bike, you have to pay very close attention to everything around you.  A bump or small hole in the road you wouldn’t notice in your car can create major problems on a bike.  Also, when riding in traffic, there are no “fenderbenders” on a bike (my bike doesn’t have fenders).   Just about any physical encounter with a motor vehicle will result in something extraordinarily bad.  While the majority of the motorists I have encountered have been courteous, careful, and respectful of the bike, there are a few who are either not paying attention,  don’t care, or are openly hostile (yes, they’re out there).  A little paranoia might save your life.  Most bike mirrors are convex, to give a wider view, but that also distorts the appearance of distance.  Cars go fast.

Then, there are those pesky pedestrians.  I often wonder why someone chooses to walk in the street when there is a perfectly good sidewalk available.  Yet, some do.  On more than one occasion I have been forced to brake hard to avoid hitting a pedestrian who stepped right in front of me. I know I’m not as big as a car, but I’m a big guy–hard to miss.  As Kati will tell you, an encounter with a pedestrian can have catastrophic results, and usually worse for the cyclist.  Gotta watch out for pedestrians.  I’m always ringing the bell when I see one.

Now, when I drive, I find that I pay much closer attention.  I have always been a careful driver (I know–everyone says that.  But in my case it’s true.), but after spending quite a bit of time on two wheels, I feel that my sense of awareness, even when using four, has been heightened.  Riding a bike has made me a better driver.  Maybe more people should try it out–we might have fewer accidents.

Mark Malinowski

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Mark is WBJC's morning host. His full bio can be read here.

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