Your Negligence, My Safety

When other riders’ bad form puts you at risk

A dangerously worn chain. Would you leave a note?SteveSweetz

I am generally in the “If it doesn’t concern you, leave it alone” school of thought when it comes to meddling in other folks’ affairs. If someone asks my opinion, I’m usually happy to give it. But there are times when you need to draw the line and make the call that, for someone else’s safety or your own-- something’s gotta give.

Noticing problems in the parking lot is always much easier than out on the road.If you see a tire showing metal, it's much easier to leave a note or quickly point it out. Noticing the same rider out hot-dogging on the road, you can bet I'll be doing everything but trying to catch up with him to let him know he's closer to an accident than he may know.

Something like the extremely crusted/ rusty chain shown above can go wrong on so many levels. It can snap and go flying back into another rider, a car’s windshield, or just get caught up and lock the rear tire up at speed. All of which are terribly dangerous. If all it takes is leaving a note to point it out, I say do it.

New riders are going to be the ones most likely to be making these mistakes, and as is so common with other things, a lack of experience can breed insecurity. This means that people may not want to hear your criticism, or could take offense even if they are blatantly in the wrong. Handle these situations carefully, we were all new riders once and maybe letting them know that you’re just looking out for their safety can help.

While it might be tempting to let natural selection do it’s thing, it’s best to think about the other people on the road. Hopefully any riders making these poor decisions can realize that they’re not the only ones out there, and should take a little responsibility for the state of their ride.