Turn indicators should be hand-signal supplement for cyclists

craig.hill@thenewstribune.comAugust 4, 2013 

FireFly turn signal bike grips.


Answers to important questions nobody has asked me yet:

Why don’t bicycles have turn signals?

Well, as of mid-July, they can if you like.

Inventor and former Gig Harbor resident Jeri Rutherford’s company, RideOut Technologies, unveiled its FireFly turn signal grips three weeks ago. The $37.75 ergonomic grips can be installed on most bikes allowing cyclists to signal which way they plan to turn with the press of a button.

“We have ever more car/bike collisions,” Rutherford said via email. “I, myself, had an elderly lady roll right into me (while) making a left-hand turn. She ‘just never saw me.’ Kids riding back and forth to school and commuters are typically riding in the heaviest traffic and in the worst light conditions. These lights are simply about keeping riders safe.”

I tried a pair of Rutherford’s grips recently and the first thing I noticed is that the thick rubber grips are quite comfortable. They’re also easy to use and, unlike my car, if you forget to turn off the signal they will turn off on their own after 10 seconds.

The LED lights are bright and seem to be easy to see.

Still, I’d highly recommend that if you use these grips, you let the blinking orange lights be a supplement to proper hand signals, not a substitute.

“Several parents have already written to me because they like the idea of helping their kids stay safe,” Rutherford said.

The grips work on most straight handlebars found on mountain bikes, kids bikes, cruisers and hybrids, Rutherford said. But they will not fit on drop handle bars like those found on road and cyclocross bikes.

The lights use AAA batteries and Rutherford says, “typical usage is over a year before batteries need replacement.”

The turn signal grips are the second patented bicycle invention in two years for Rutherford, who currently lives in Boise, Idaho. She also invented a carbon bike seat designed to make riding more comfortable.

Old Town Bicycle plans to carry the FireFly grips. The grips also are available on her website, rideouttech.com.

How did Don King do at the CrossFit games in Carson, Calif., and what in the world is a Nancy?

The Tacoma resident is a Nancy world champ.

King, 55, started off his first CrossFit Games by winning the first of the six workouts in the 55-59 age group.

So what in the world is a Nancy? In CrossFit speak, Nancy is the name of a workout that requires running 400 meters then doing 15 overhead squats with 95 pounds and then repeating this four more times. Participants had 20 minutes to finish and seven of the 20 participants needed extra time.

King, who trains at Tacoma Strength, needed just 14:36.5 and finished nearly 34 seconds faster than runner-up Tom Bourdon of Georgia.

King finished in the top 10 in four of the workouts and finished tied for third in the finals with Alan Hindmarsh of Australia.

Hilmar Hardarson, 56, of Iceland won King’s age group.

What’s the best way to get some exercise this summer with my best friend while raising money for cancer research?

Well, if your best friend is a person and you have as much as 24 hours to spend walking, there are still American Cancer Society Relay for Life walks around the South Sound this summer. Check relayforlife.org for more information.

But if your best friend is a dog and you have only an hour or so to walk, the society is bringing back what it calls the Bark for Life.

“We did it at Wright Park a few years ago,” said Katrina Minton-Davis of the cancer society. “This year we want to make it more of a regional thing instead of just a Tacoma thing.”

This year, the 5-kilometer walk will be at 8:30 a.m. on Aug. 24 at Cheney Stadium. The walk will start near the stadium and use nearby trails.

Registration is $25 for the first dog and owner, and $10 for additional dogs. Entry includes a purple Relay for Life bandana.

Dogs must be on leashes and owners must clean up after their animals.

Minton-Davis says registration has been slow so far, but the ACS plans to soon launch a temporary discount on registration. “I think we’ll end up with quite a few people,” she said. Check relayforlife.org for more information.

Craig Hill: 253-597-8497 craig.hill@thenewstribune.com thenewstribune.com/fitness theolympian.com/fitness @AdventureGuys

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