You may wonder as you read the title if this is another country we’re fighting or think I spelled Iraq wrong, but this is about the war zone of IREQ, sounded out and meaning (I WRECK!)
I learned first hand that “ground forces” are no match for one who is not dressed in proper gear and fully prepared to meet it. I never anticipated as I rode my bike home from work that bright sunny day, that I would be deployed to IREQ. (I Wreck).
It was one of the first sunny days in awhile, and I wanted to ride my bike to work. I nearly always wear my helmet and try to encourage my 3 children to do the same. However this day I wanted my freedom, without the confinement of a helmet, so I could fully appreciate the sunshine.
I had just purchased solid tube tires for my mountain bike, so I wouldn’t have to keep replacing the normal air tires from all the sticker burrs that get in them. I don’t know if the tires were too small for the rims or if it was that they had no give and couldn’t cling to the rims when ridges or bumps were met, but all I know is they didn’t serve me well. They didn’t stay united with the troop on board the bike, as they quickly popped off from the rims, with the first minor bump in the road.
It was no sooner after the tires left the rims, that I left my bike, going head first to meet the “ground forces.” I was involuntarily thrown into the war zone of IREQ (I Wreck). I hit hard, splitting my forehead open, with road rash and bleeding to accompany my pain. It was not a pretty site to see for those who were stationed at Subway eating lunch, to have to leave and come to my aid. I was thankful yet embarrassed that I was such a mess at the busiest time of the day. I wasn’t planning on making such a grand landing in front of so many, but I was so grateful for so many to come to my rescue.
After five stitches and a very black and blue scraped face the emergency team at the Morgan Health Center sewed me back together and sent me back into the zone! I realized how important it is to take summer safety precautions.
I have heard of 4 other biker’s this summer getting sent to IREQ. Some ended up there from using the wrong breaks when stopping on their bikes. A major accident a friend of mine witnessed was a group of bikers in Arizona getting hit by a car not paying attention on the road. The car accidently hit the bikers and one had to be life flighted out.
So here are some Summer Safety Tips when entering the unknown zone:
1. Wear your helmets when riding bikes. Parents and kids, you may think wearing a helmet makes you look “stupid” as my kids tell me, but I can tell you first hand you look a lot more “stupid” with head injuries or a black and blue face.
2. Check out your bikes in advance and make sure everything is in it’s proper working order, tires, breaks, gears, seat height, etc.
Use a basket for hauling items ( I can’t believe I just wrote that) or get a back pack so you can use both hands on the handle bars.
3.If you’re riding and need to stop quickly, make sure you use both front and back breaks. Using only your front breaks could cause you to flip forward.
4. Drivers, SLOW DOWN! Kids are at play, many who are just learning how to ride a bike, and are unsteady on the road. I’ve seen too many drive too fast in residential areas, and too often it is the big delivery trucks coming in from out of town. You don’t want to be the reason for an accident or casualty of any kind.
5. Watch for pedestrians and bikers always. In summertime everyone is out, so please watch as you head to your various summertime destinations. Many are so eager to get on the road to their vacation destinations that they don’t always keep their minds in the moment. Some neglect to look around, behind, beside, or ahead of themselves. Always check behind your vehicle before getting in motion.
6. Take more time for safety measures. If you’re always backing out of your driveway, take time to back into your drive way, so your car is facing forward. This small tip could save a life. You can’t always see little people through your rear view mirror.
7. Always walk all the way around your vehicle before taking off. This is in the drivers handbook, but how many of us actually do this?
8. If you are a biker or a walker take note of how far out you are in the road. Can a car comfortably get around you without having to go into the oncoming traffic lane? Stay as far over on the shoulder of the road as possible, and as a walker use sidewalks whenever possible.
9. Teach children to always look both ways before crossing the street. I know these all sound like no brainers, but many times I see kids crossing into the road without looking, when a friend across the street is beckoning them over. Also, when kids get together with their friends, they often become neglectful and stop paying attention to what’s going on around them. Vehicle drivers need to be much more cautious in the summer as well, knowing that children are out playing and can be non observant of their safety at times.
We all need to pay attention to everything going on around us so we can all enjoy a happy and safe summer, staying out of the battle zones of IREQ that we don’t need to be in!