Bike helmet saves man's life

Roseville resident wants others to cycle safely
By: Sena Christian The Press Tribune
-A +A
Dick Frantzreb wants bicyclists of all ages to wear helmets. California state law requires that bicyclists under the age of 18 wear a helmet, but riding without this piece of equipment is unsafe for everyone, said the Roseville resident. The city of Roseville boasts 83 miles of on-street bike lanes and 27 miles of off-street bike paths. Roughly 35 collisions between bikes and cars occur annually within city limits. With spring’s arrival and more residents traveling by bike, the likelihood of accidents may increase. “Bicycling is safe, as long as one rides safely,” Frantzreb said. The 63-year-old has ridden his bike around Roseville for the past 15 years. Three years ago, on a sunny Saturday afternoon, he rode through the intersection of Foothills Boulevard and Pleasant Grove in west Roseville. Traffic was heavy that day and a car struck him from behind. “I heard a crunch,” Frantzreb said. “I thought: ‘This can’t be good.’” He recalls rolling on the pavement. He got up slowly and walked off the road, looking back to see that his body had smashed the windshield and dented the hood of the car that hit him. “People were amazed I was able to walk away,” he said. The precaution he credits for saving his life: wearing a helmet. The impact cracked Frantzreb’s helmet and he wonders what else would have cracked had the helmet not protected his head. “Everyone under the age of 18 and over the age of 18 should be wearing a helmet, especially parents who should be setting a good example,” said Mike Dour, an alternative transportation analyst with the city of Roseville. As people dust off their bikes for springtime, they should get their bikes professionally checked to make sure the brakes, tires and gears function properly, he said. As for practicing safe bicycling, he said riders should obey traffic laws and speed limits. People should stay in the bike lane and ride on the right with the flow of traffic, not against oncoming cars. Collisions between bicyclists and vehicles often occur because the cyclist is riding the wrong way down the street, Dour said. Be aware and don’t assume the driver of a car sees the bicyclist, he said. Make eye contact with drivers and refrain from weaving between cars or making sudden movements. “The more predictable you can be, the safer you’ll be,” Dour said. On trails, bicyclists should respect other users, such as joggers, dog-walkers and children. Frantzreb recommends taking a bicycle-safety course. Four months before his accident, he completed a course hosted by the League of American Bicyclists, which re-enforced his decision to always wear a helmet. Earlier this month, he rode through Roseville and Citrus Heights to count the number of bicyclists with helmets. Out of 12 people, only one wore a helmet, he said. “When seat belts were introduced in cars, people were cavalier about it,” Frantzreb said. “Now, I would never dream of riding without a seat belt. Helmets should be the same way.” Sena Christian can be reached at ---------- ABC Quick Check from the city of Roseville A is for Air -Inflate tires to rated pressure as listed on the sidewall of the tire. -Use a pressue gauge to insure proper pressure. -Check for damage to tire tred and sidewall; replace if damaged. B is for Brakes -Inspect pads for wear; replace if there is less than 1/4” of pad left. -Check pad adjustment; make sure they do not rub tire or dive into spokes. -Check brake level travel; at least 1” between bar and lever when applied. C is for Cranks, Chain and Cassette -Make sure that your crank bolts are tight; lube the threads only, nothing else. -Check your chain for wear; 12 links should measure no more than 12 1/8 inches. -If your chain skips on your cassette, you might need a new one or an adjustment.