The Eyes Have It


by Erick Wikum

One bright spring day, my daughter and I set out on our bikes to explore the Little Miami Scenic Trail together. As we approached a group on horses, I encouraged her to pass with care and moved to the front to demonstrate. As we drew nearer, one of the riders (clearly an inexperienced one) suddenly pulled back on the reins, causing his horse to back up across the trail.
It was too late for me to brake. My instincts kicked in and I directed my gaze at the horse and rider. The result? It is too gruesome to recount here!

Let’s rewind the tape and try again.

My instincts kicked in and I directed my gaze to an escape path through grass bordering the trail. In what seemed like slow motion, I rolled off of the trail, perilously close to the horse’s advancing rear end. I was certain that the horse would spook and kick me, but I narrowly avoided that catastrophe. Heart pounding and body limp, I slowed to ensure me daughter was all right. Fortunately, she was.
I owe my escape (true story here) to a simple principle. Where you look, so too will you steer. Look where you want to go and not at what you want to avoid.

The next time you are riding your bike, try this experiment. First, swerve around a cone (or similar object) while staring at the cone. Then, swerve around the cone while looking at a path around the cone. Practicing this principle in a controlled environment will not only improve your bike handling skills, but will also prepare you to respond appropriately when the inevitable need arises. When it comes to avoiding collisions, your eyes have it.

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