Hello: My Name is Mighk

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mighk1Hi, my name is Mighk Wilson and I am 56. I have a beautiful wife Carol and a 9-month-old Lab/Whippet mix named Marely. I went to school at Ringling School of Art & Design (1982) and Rollins College (2008). I am a Bicycle and Pedestrian Planner for MetroPlan Orlando, and in my spare time executive director of the American Bicycling Education Association. My wife and I share a 2002 Subaru Outback with 75,000 miles on it. (So you can see we don’t drive it much.) We consider it to be our most expensive cycling accessory. When I am not cycling I like to garden.

mighk3I ride because it’s a habit I don’t want to break. The thing I love about Cycling is that it’s fast enough to see the forest, but slow enough to see the trees. When asked about the repercussions of being hit by a car that could affect my life: Since cycling is such a safe activity I don’t dwell on that aspect much. And no, I’m not being facetious or sarcastic. Cycling is quite safe. But our culture insists on first, telling everyone it’s dangerous, and then second, telling people to ride in ways that both make it feel dangerous (riding on the edge of the road) and actually increase the risk (“Get on the sidewalk!” “Get on that white line!”). Also when asked Knowing the risk why you continue riding: Knowing what I know is why I worked with Keri Caffrey to develop the Cycling Savvy course and helped start American Bicycling Education Association.

Teaching people to ride properly is more about breaking bad habits and busting harmful myths than about things like “awareness” or admonishing people to “be careful.” All around me every day I see people cycling who are doing things that increase their risk, and I’m sure most of them think they are “being careful.”

mighk2Cycling safely does not depend on being fast or “aggressive;” it’s a result of understanding how crashes really happen and learning some smart strategies to get motorists to do what you want them to do.

Some thing I want motorists to know is when you see me in the center of the lane in front of you, understand I am driving my vehicle in the safest possible manner. Cycling this way I avoid all the most common hazards (like potholes and other surface hazards) and motorist mistakes. I’ve been analyzing official crash reports for 20 years, and I’ve found that far more motorist-at-fault crashes happen to bicyclists on sidewalks and bike lanes than to cyclists in regular travel lanes.

Oh, and I’ll be out of your way — or you’ll be able to pass me — in no more than half a minute, so relax.

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