Wednesday, May 11, 2016

What to do if you or a friend is in an accident?

Introduction. Recently we received the following article about what to do after a bicycle accident, especially when a car is involved. It was written by a representative of an organization that makes referrals of personal injury lawyers, not by a lawyer, and not by someone local to the Bloomington area. Nonetheless the article makes some important points and raises important issues. It behooves us all to think a little about what we might need to do in such a situation. You may differ about some of the points raised and you might wish to make additional points. If so, please submit a comment or even a full proposed blog post response!


Many Americans choose to ride bicycles instead of drive cars every day. In addition to the benefits to your wallet, health, and the environment, there are also the dangers of driving on roads with much larger vehicles. Even the most careful of bicyclists can be injured in a crash.

Bicycle Laws in Indiana

The first step to keep yourself safe from crashes is to obey bicycle laws in Indiana. Here are a few rules every cyclist should be aware of to keep themselves safe.

  • Bicycles must obey all motorist traffic laws.
  • Hand signals must be used for turns when safe to do so.
  • Between a half hour after sunset and a half hour before sunrise, bicycles must have a white light on the front, a red reflector and light on the back all visible from 500 feet.
  • Bicycles can ride no more than two abreast on roadways.
  • Bicycles must be equipped with a bell or other device to signal that is audible for at least 100 feet, but it can’t be a whistle or siren.
  • Bicyclists must ride with two hands at all times when safe to do so. If carrying a package, the package can’t restrict them from holding both handlebars.
  • Bicycles must be equipped with working breaks.
  • Bicycles are only allowed to carry the number of passengers the bike was designed for. Extra passengers are not allowed in sidecars or otherwise not seated in a regular and permanent seat attached to the bike.

What to Do At the Scene of a Crash

First, be sure to call the police. They should file a report that includes all of the important details of the crash, which you may need later if you decide to file a claim with the driver’s insurance company. Be sure to give your statement of what happened to the police. All too often, bicyclists will be blamed for crashes.

Next, you should take down the contact and insurance information of the driver.

Look for any witnesses to the crash and point them out to the police, or take their contact information so that you may contact them later, as well. Be sure to take photographs at the scene and look for signs of hazardous road conditions or other helpful evidence that you may later need.

Try not to discuss fault with the police or the driver of the vehicle, as anything you say admitting responsibility may be used against you later during insurance settlements.

Above all, you should also make sure that you get medical treatment or visit the hospital, if necessary. Call 911 if you are unable to safely travel to a medical clinic or hospital. Some injuries are not apparent for hours or even days after a crash with a motorist.

Finally, do not repair or replace your bicycle immediately. Take photos of the damage that was done to your bike, helmet, or other gear. This will be vitally important if you want to be compensated for the value of the damaged items.

If you were injured in a bicycle accident, you may have had to miss work and lose out on wages, or pay for medical treatment. In this case, you will need to write a demand letter to the driver’s insurance company in which you seek damages for your claim. The demand letter should include a detailed account of the accident, your medical records and expenses, and any other relevant information. Insurance claims can be tricky, but so long as you have adequate evidence proving you were not to blame for the crash, you should be awarded the compensation you need to get healthy and back on the road.

*This article was not written by an attorney, and the accuracy of the content is not warranted or guaranteed. If you wish to receive legal advice about a specific problem, you should contact a licensed attorney in your area.

What other advice might readers like to offer?

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Ride Planning Meeting

Last Saturday evening a good group of 15-20 club members gathered at the Peppergrass clubhouse to discuss plans for the 2016 riding season.

There were representatives of the iRide group, the OWLS, the Sunday Nice ’n’ Easy, and the Beginners Group, and a number of others who responded to the invitation from John Bassett, our Ride Coordinator, to take part.

Of course many people in the club never stopped riding. Many of us commute and run errands around town all year long, and gravel-riding and mountain-bike trail riding have become increasingly popular. Still, from March to November road biking is our primary focus.

Ride Leaders needed: The first order of business was to set the tentative schedule of Saturday rides, adapted from last year’s schedule, and to solicit ride leaders. Several people stepped forward to lead rides. Contact John Bassett to help lead a ride or two. Maybe talk to a friend about leading jointly.

Altered routes across IN37/I69 needed: A major issue that will need to be addressed throughout the season is adapting current routes that cross IN 37. Several standard crossings that are no longer available include Kinser/Bottom, Vernal Pike, and That Road. Various workarounds are being considered.

The main ride calendar is the official means of announcing all rides. Saturday ride leaders will also ordinarily send out email to the whole club on Thursday before the ride.

Cell phone contacts: One of the leader’s biggest responsibilities is to be sure no one gets lost. The group’s consensus was that leaders should share their cell phone numbers at the pre-ride meeting, so that if someone gets lost or has mechanical or physical issues they can at least contact the ride leader.

It’s especially effective when possible to have two leaders, one of whom monitors the front and one the rear.

John hopes to have a few drive-and-ride events spread through the calendar. He's also interested in facilitating a week end event such as last years ride to Louisville and back.

Welcoming new people to iRides and OWLS: Both iRides and OWLS are training rides, with the OWLS a little slower and more social. But both have similar issues with riders being unsure whether they can keep up or might get dropped or lost. We discussed strategies for dealing with this issue. We decided to designate the first ride of the season and the first ride of each month as a time to welcome riders who might like to try out the ride—e.g. an OWLS rider trying out the iRide, or a Beginner rider trying out the OWLS. We would announce the plans on email and the calendar and try to be extra welcoming of new folks on both rides.

The Nice ’n’ Easy and Beginners rides are essential to bringing new people into the club, but there is still a gap between those rides and the Tuesday-Thursday training rides and the longer Saturday touring rides. And that gap needs continual attention.

Keep an eye on the calendar for all rides. iRides and OWLS will start Tuesday, March 15. Nice ’n’ Easy rides start Sunday, March 13.

Many people in the club help keep the summer ride schedule going.
  • John Bassett is overall coordinator
  • Ron Brown continues to manage and run the Nice ’n’ Easy rides with a rotating cast of 5 routes of approximately 20 miles each. \
  • Tammy Thompson continues to organize the Beginners rides, which are often in the 5 to 10 mile range.
  • John Bassett, Stan Ellis, and Tammy Berger are perhaps the current core of the iRide group.
  • Gail Morell, Allan Edmonds, and CE Taylor handle much of the planning for the OWLS training group.
  • Jim Schroeder will continue to organize mid-week century rides, starting in early April

Feel free to contact any of the above folks with ideas, suggestions, or concerns. Contact information is available on the club membership list.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Annual Meeting and Winter Banquet

A spring-like evening in late February brought out a great group for the BBC annual meeting and banquet. About 65 members and guests were in attendance and there was not an empty seat to be found.


The evening began with fruits and veggies and mingling at 6 pm at the Convention Center. 


Then we had the business meeting required by our by-laws, chaired by club president Jim Schroeder. This included (re-)election of President Jim Schroeder and Secretary Kathy Cummins to new two-year terms. 

Brett Nelson, chair of our small grants committee, announced this year's awards to regional groups for the promotion of biking and/or bike safety: Becky's Place (Lawrence County), Boys and Girls Clubs of Bloomington, deCycles, Bloomington High School South Solar Bike Team, IU Police Department, Hoosier Mountain Bike Association (HMBA), and the Columbus Bike Co-op. In addition to these we also donate to towns or counties along the route of the Ride Across Indiana and to the statewide advocacy group Bicycle Indiana.

Treasurer John Kalill reported on our finances. Short version: Healthy, maybe even robust. 

RAIN chair John Connell reported on planning for the Ride Across Indiana in July (check it out at It's our 30th anniversary of the ride! A special registration deal of $30 during the first 30 days of January brought in almost a thousand registrants. We're now at approximately 1,050 riders. Last year we didn't hit that mark until sometime in May. Merchandise sales are proceeding similarly apace. It's both exciting and scary!

Ride Coordinator John Bassett reported on plans for the upcoming riding season.


Once the business meeting was concluded we queued up for a nice buffet dinner. A special thanks to Tammy Berger, membership chair, for making all banquet arrangements!

Awards and Presentations

After dinner we finished out the evening with a round of "Razzies"; presentations of special awards; a presentation by past president Paul Arlinghaus of HMBA; and a slideshow about RAGBRAI, part of an effort to recruit a substantial BBC contingent for this famous week-long party on wheels in Iowa.

The highlight of the evening was the presentation of the formal awards. The board has created this new program of awards to recognize a range of club members for their various contributions. Yusuf Nur, chair of the Awards Committee, oversaw development of the awards. The following club members received an engraved desk-top plaque for their achievements: 

  • Lifetime Biking Achievement Award presented to Joe Anderson (in absentia) by Dana Marsh.
  • Most Improved Cyclist Award presented to Judy Akhras by Tammy Thompson.
  • Outreach/Advocacy Award presented to Ron Brown by Jim Schroeder.
  • Volunteer Award presented to Susan Bassett by Sylvia Schroeder.
  • Service Award presented to Jennifer Miers by Ben Ekloff.
  • Good Samaritan Award presented to Steve Galvin (in absentia) by Gail Morell.
  • Mileage Maximus award presented to Dave Tanner by Warren Smith.

These "serious" awards were preceded by "Razzie" awards presented by Jim Schroeder, which were more than slightly tongue-in-cheek. The "Hostess-with-the-Mostest Award" to outgoing membership chair Tammy Berger deserves special mention as being more serious than the others. The more in-fun awards included "Best-Dressed Award" to Stan Ellis, "n+1 Award" to Warren Smith (for owning the most bikes), "Yellow Pages Award" to secretary Kathy Cummins (for fingers walking across a keyboard). Other Razzies included the "AlkaSeltzer I Can't Believe I Hit the Whole Thing Award" (for unfortunately getting all of a trail ballast) to John Boshears; the "Lance Armstrong Livestrong Award" (for coming back strong from illness) to Mike Finger; the "Moses Award" (for literally riding through water) to Yusuf Nur; and the "Persistent Bike Award" to Yusuf's bike. You really needed to be there!

Thanks to Kathy Cummins for help with this report.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Board Meeting in February

Club secretary Kathy Cummins provides a nice summary of this week's board meeting. 

The board meets every one to two months and meetings are posted in advance on the calendar. Recently meetings have been 6:00 pm to 7:30 or 8:00, in the backroom of Crazy Horse Restaurant on Kirkwood. Any club member is welcome to attend. 

Currently the board consists of the elected officers Jim Schroeder (President), Warren Smith (VP), Stan Ellis (At Large), John Kalill (Treasurer), and Kathy Cummins (Secretary), plus committee chairs Ron Brown (Advocacy), Allan Edmonds (Media), John Bassett (Ride Coordinator), Dan Hickey (Mountain Biking), Brett Nelson (Grants), Tammy Berger (Membership), Yusuf Nur (Marketing), John Connell (RAIN), and Andrew Dingman (Education).


While summer riding is still to come for the 2016 season, the first BBC board meeting of the year was held on Monday, February 15.
            Ride chair John Bassett noted at the meeting that the club does have winter gravel rides on the calendar and that a handful or more riders have been coming out with their lights to ride on Tuesday and Thursday evenings or during the day on Saturdays. John has scheduled the annual ride planning meeting for March 5 at 7:00 pm at Peppergrass Clubhouse. Interested members are encouraged to attend or to contact John with route ideas—or to volunteer as a ride leader for their favorite ride.
            Mountain biking is also ongoing during these winter months. Some good snow riding has occurred, although lately the warmish weather has made for some poor conditions.  Warren Smith reported that the club continues to be working in conjunction with the Hoosier Mountain Bike Association on trail building and upkeep, especially in Yellowwood.
            Ron Brown reported that Monroe County has finally (at his request) replaced the dangerous grate on Fairfax Road in Smithville. Thanks to Ron for helping eliminate one more hazard on our regular riding routes! As part of Ron's thorough advocacy work, he also attended a recent Town Hall meeting (along with Jim Schroeder) at which he and city Planning and Transportation Department director Tom Micuda discussed ways to avoid "dooring" of cyclists using bike lanes in the city. Ron has also been in contact with county councilman Geoff McKim and city planner Scott Robinson about the Crescent Road route from Vernal Pike to the B-Line, which could be extended one block west to Vernal Pike. Additionally, an upgrade of Tunnel Road from Riddle Point to Robinson Road, with eventual bike lane upgrades all the way to Griffey Lake, is in the planning stages and has been endorsed by the club through Ron and Jim after they requested a special meeting on the subject with county officials.
            Andrew Dingman, our Safety and Education chair, is planning some road safety classes for us before the riding season begins. Marketing chair Yusuf Nur is busy planning a special club award presentation for this year's Annual Meeting and Banquet, which will be held February 27 at the Convention Center. Thanks go to Membership chair Tammy Berger for planning the banquet, as she has in years past.
            John Connell, head of the RAIN committee, has reported that 950 riders took advantage of our low January sign-up fee this year: 30 days of $30 to celebrate the 30th year of RAIN.
            Two final topics filled out the remainder of the board meeting's agenda: website updating and awarding of our annual grants. You probably have noticed that both the BBC website and our RAIN ride website have changed looks. A professional web designer was hired to revamp the RAIN site, and the board has been discussing how to finalize changes to our main site as well, while maintaining, among other things, our extensive online map database, club records, and our important ride calendar.
            Brett Nelson, chair of the small grants committee, reported that his committee received six applications for grants up to $2,000 and recommended approval of five of them. The board voted to approve these five as well as one additional grant request that came in at the last minute; support for an IUPD program to increase bike safety among university students was also approved. Details about these grants will be presented at the Annual Meeting.
            Full meeting minutes are posted in the Members Only portion of our website after they are approved at the subsequent board meeting.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Personal Reflections on RAIN

By Allan Edmonds

The 2015 Ride Across Indiana (RAIN) is now history. Over 1500 riders registered for the event, and we’ll soon hear the more-or-less official numbers of starters and finishers and their times.

It’s a big event and each person experiences it somewhat differently.

Who would ride a bicycle for up to 14 hours? Most people cannot even imagine it. But even if you can imagine it, there are many things to worry about. What if it rains? What if it’s sweltering hot? What if the wind blows all day in your face? What if you have a flat or break a cable? Can you surmount those obstacles?

Everyone who does this endurance ride has his or her own reasons and goals for the day. Many people are doing it for the first time and just hoping to finish. Others are trying to beat their previous times, although we’re at pains to emphasize that this is not a race. Yet others are helping friends and acquaintances do it, either on the ride itself or by driving a support vehicle. Most people would appear to be part of a small group doing it together. In fact working in a group, whether formal or informal, is absolutely necessary for the best times (both in the clock sense and in the camaraderie sense). But a surprisingly large number do it on their own. In any case the road is pretty crowded with bicyclists and a successful rider must be alert and courteous to others.

One of the most inspiring riders we observed along the way was a woman pulling her brother with physical disabilities in a trailer. We learned learned that she did that between two successive rest stops, before moving our on her own to finish the ride.

Perhaps the most interesting “vehicle” we saw was an Elliptigo, basically an elliptical trainer mounted on wheels. We saw one, although we have heard there were three and at least two of them finished. Whew! I had heard of such things but had never seen one and never would have imagined someone riding it across the state. But that’s what RAIN brings out in people!

More about the above riders can be gleaned from the RAIN Facebook page.

In my own case we rode in a group of 7 most of the day, all members of the BBC, including in addition to myself, CE Taylor, Kathy Cummins, Gail Morell, Thom Simmons, Tim Gehres, and Steve Galvin. (Up to the first rest stop we also rode with Robin Bruegmann, who was in the lead and just kept heading down the road when the rest of us turned into the first rest stop.)

Last year our group was a bit over 11 hours and some of us (or at least I) hoped to improve just a little and finish before 6pm. It wasn’t to be. In fact we were all over 12 hours this year. How did that happen? The conditions were good to excellent and I actually had more training miles than ever. Our lead group finished at 7:04. We can point to several places where we lost a little time: We were about 2 minutes back in the mass start. We lost another couple minutes when a freight train blocked our route in Terre Haute. (It was certainly a very large group that stopped for the train; but I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the lead pack beat the train.) We were almost involved in a pile up when another rider dropped a wheel off the edge of the road and fell. We stopped for around 5 minutes or so to be sure the two people most involved (including Robin who was penned in and had to ride over the down rider’s rear wheel before finally going down himself) were okay. We were part of a traffic jam on Southport Road that had little to do with RAIN. Again a lot of riders experienced that, maybe even worse than we did. The mild breeze occasionally took the form of a headwind. Some of our group wanted to go a little slower, perhaps for reasons of previous training or just not feeling great. I think we did hold our rest stops down a little from last, with 1:15 in stops, including almost 30 minutes at lunch. We had absolutely no mechanical issues or flat tires that might have delayed us. 

After our last rest stop in Dunreith we informally split into two groups for the final stretch into Richmond. Four of us found ourselves hammering along, thinking whether it was just possible to make it before 7. We couldn’t quite do it, but we did ride that last 28 miles at about 17.6 more than 2 mph above our moving average for the first 133 miles. When we got to Earlham Gail, Thom, and I rode into the finish chute. But Steve turned around and went back to where CE, Kathy, and Tim were, 3-4 miles back and accompanied them to the finish about 15 or 20 minutes later. I’m glad our smaller group, who still had some energy left, took the opportunity to see what we could do over that last segment of open road.

Special Kudos to Steve for pulling us when we needed it, looking out for everyone, and in going back to finish with the other riders (That’s how got 168 miles when the rest of us had 163.); Special Kudos to CE for always looking out for everyone—we all benefitted from his famous “packing list”; Kathy  completed the ride in fine fashioneven though she had substantially fewer training miles than the rest of us; Gail put on a good show pulling our group along at crucial points. Thom pulled me along when I flagged a bit in our push at the end. And Tim was usual steady self.

After talking to friends and getting cleaned up, a few of us gathered at the finish line to cheer Rachel Caswell in. For the second year she had pulled her sister Sara along for around 80 miles before Sara’s knee announced that she was done, and then Rachel did those final 80 miles the hard way, on her on. This again seemed like RAIN at its best: helping another rider do her best and then showing the grit and determination to complete the ride on ones own.

I can’t end without mentioning all the BBC volunteers who have made the RAIN Ride a resounding success. All those volunteers at registration and the start line, at the rest stops and the lunch stops, and at the finish line. And then a core of really dedicated volunteers who manage the RAIN over the year: planning, design, web sites, merchandise, registration, contracts for rest stops and start and finish and for lunch, planning the route, making maps, painting the route, dealing with last minute road closures! This includes John Connell (chair), Jen Miers (co-chair), Tammy Berger (merchandise), Keith Bobay (registration), Mark Villanova (rest stops), John Bassett (route), Klaus Rothe (web site), Kathy Cummins (secretary), and Ron Brown (finish line recording). It’s a big job, especially for a small club and an event that takes place over such a distance and at such long way from our home base. RAIN is better for the club the more people are involved. As most club members know, RAIN funds our important local grants program as well as a few social activities over the year. Congratulations to all for a job well done.

Friday, March 6, 2015

The Hill of Some Concern

Recently Jim Schroeder was moved to reminisce a bit about biking trips to the Asheville area, where in 2004 he first encountered "The Hill of Some Concern"  [THOSC].

On one of our spring training trips, my friend Paul said he had his brother-in-law's getaway place to stay in North Carolina southeast of Asheville for three days.  Well, we arrived in Asheville and ate at a Denny's buffet (not recommended) and then travelled to "the place".  It was quite dark by this time, and in the Subaru we were going every direction: E, N, W, S and especially down.  I was ready to see fire and all, as I was sure we had travelled to hell!

We all bedded down, and didn't think till morning that we had to climb THOSC to get to breakfast.  Not just once but a total of three mornings in a row! 

At the top of THOSC


I've taken a contingent of BBC members down there on three different occasions in May.  I was thinking of doing it again this year at the first May weekend, but Bloomington racers are having crits on Saturday and road race on Sunday, and they're asking BBC to volunteer and co-sponsor the weekend.  Maybe next year.  On Saturday we would ride a 90 mile loop that rides to Marion and then follow the Assault on Mt Mitchell route up to Mt Mitchell and then Craggy Gardens back to Asheville suburbs.  On Sunday we would ride a 60 mile loop from Chimney Rock to THOSC and Saluda.  That is a beautiful ride, too.

What a view!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Banquet and Annual Meeting

For at least the third year the club met for its annual winter off-season meeting and banquet at the Monroe County Convention center. During informal time starting at 6 PM there was conversation, a slide show of 2014 events (prepared by John Bassett), and fresh fruit and vegetable hors d'oeuvres.

About 6:15 President Jim Schroeder called the business meeting to order. The first order of businesswas the election of officers as proposed by the nominating committee. Three offices needed to be filled. Warren Smith (vice president) and Stan Ellis (at large) were elected continue in the offices they had previously filled. John Kalill was elected treasurer to replace outgoing treasurer Jerry Arveson. All will serve two-year terms. Kathy Cummins (secretary) and Jim Schroeder (president) will be completing their two-year terms in the coming year.

Following the election Jim introduced ongoing committee chairs, including John Bassett (ride director), Andrew Dingman (education), Ron Brown (advocacy), Tammy Berger (membership), Brett Nelson (grants), and Yusuf Nur (marketing). Then he presented the recipients of BBC grants for this cycle: Bloomington Catholic Workers Charity, Bloomington Bike Project, Bloomington Parks and Rec, Boys and Girls Club, DeCycles, Hoosier Mountain Biking Association (HMBA), and IU Bloomington Health Live Well Campaign. Amounts ranged from $600 to $5000, averaging about $2000. We had a smaller pool of applicants this year and a couple of the awards went beyond the usual maximum of $1500 because of solid proposals and the availability of funds since fewer than usual grants were awarded.

Finally outgoing treasurer Jerry Arveson presented his annual report. Finance are solid, with RAIN providing by far our largest source of income and expenses. Ridership and income from RAIN were a little off in 2014 but expenses were controlled, leaving us still with a good net. We have maintained a healthy savings account and a CD over the last three years, with the expectation of possibly awarding a major grant that would have substantial impact on local bicycling infrastructure.

Following the business meeting we shared a very nice catered buffet dinner that included salad, green beans, mixed vegetables, eggplant parmesan or chicken cacciatore as entrée, rolls, and dessert of baked apple (a favorite) or pie. A big thanks to Tammy Berger who handle all arrangements!

After dinner we had a report from RAIN chair John Connell about plans and volunteer opportunities for this year's event. Key people on the committee include Jennifer Miers (assistant chair), Keith Bobay (registration), John Bassett (Route and Start), Mark Villanova (Rest Stops), Ron Brown and John Connell (Finish Line), Tammy Berger (Merchandise), Yusuf Nur (Marketing), and Klaus Rothe (Web Design). Lots of volunteers are needed; travel expenses are reimbursed. Important needs include help with marking the route and site coordinators for rest stops in Plainfield and Franklin. There will be places for lots of folks stuffing packets, helping with registration and merchandise sales, traffic control at the start, and helping with several rest stops, as well as the finish line.

Then we had a presentation from Paul Arlinghaus, president of HMBA, discussed the history of the organization and gave an overview of past, current, and future trail development activities in Brown County State Park, Yellowood State Forest, and National Forest lands.

Finally Geoffrey McKim, BBC member and member of the Monroe County Council presented a report on "The Bicycling State of Monroe County".  He gave an overview of bicycling and multiuse trails and marked bike lanes in the county, existing, coming soon, and being planned.

Thanks to Mike Finger for the photos.