Aren’t you worried about … ?

As alluded to in my last post, there are two commonly asked questions whenever we discuss riding our recumbent trikes … well, anywhere, not just cross-country. The first, as you have already seen is, “Why not a bike?” The second question usually looks like this, “Wow, that looks comfortable, but dangerous. I could never ride that low to the ground. Aren’t you afraid of not being seen by car and truck drivers? (Click title to read the full post)

Here is the short answer, “No!”

Here is the philosophical answer, commonly attributed to Samuel Clemens (aka, Mark Twain) and now mangled by me:

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than the ones you did. So add on a third wheel, ride away from the safe places. Catch the transcontinental winds at your back. Explore. Dream. Discover.

The quite a bit longer answer (but not doctoral thesis longer) is, “Yes, we are concerned, but we are confident that we can lower the risk by making ourselves and our trikes more visible.” We also believe from our riding experience so far, that much of the concern our upright riding friends have is unfounded for recumbent trikes.


I know, you’re probably saying, “What the what?”

Here’s what I mean. Upright road riding bicyclists are constantly aware of the “three foot” rule, which requires motorized vehicles to give us pedal pushers a minimum of three feet clearance when they pass us. Too frequently, it seems like the only ones who know this rule are the ones riding a bike. There are too many close calls for sure and many cyclists have been injured and worse! So it’s easy to leap to the conclusion that if drivers aren’t giving three feet to two-wheeled bikes, what’s gonna happen when a trike that has a nearly 32″ width gets on the road? It must be even more dangerous, right?

Our experience has been that drivers have become habituated to seeing two-wheeled bikes on the road and as a result they shave that three foot rule pretty close, but our trikes are so unusual, that drivers routinely give us a wider berth. We speculate that they may also think we may have a disability issue. When riding with our two-wheeled friends we have even seen where a driver will give us an entire lane, only to then give our pedaling friends 35 inches!

Of course, we also know that we must be seen! So with Lucia taking the lead, we are constantly working on making our mobility devices more visible.

Safety First! Visibility is just one key.
Safety First! Visibility is just one key.

Flags, lights, and high-vis reflectors, helmets, gloves and tops are all part of the arsenal. Another is sound, so like many other riders we have very loud horns on our trikes.

Can you say LOUD?
Can you say LOUD?

What’s coming from behind?

We need to be able to see, so rear-view mirrors are a must. We will each have two mirrors so we can see behind us on each side.

Oh, and one more thing which is not intuitively obvious. A trike is just more stable, with a low center of gravity, so while potholes, trash, sticks, and side wind can cause us to inadvertently swerve like an upright, we are mostly going to have more control which makes those close encounters between car and trike less likely.

Our biggest worry?

Yep, you guessed it …

Distracted drivers!
Distracted drivers!

We can only hope that by staying alert, plus adding our safety measures, that our challenges can be successfully met.

Keep on rolling!

10 thoughts on “Aren’t you worried about … ?

  1. Mike & Lucia … Thanks for the info … though not a biker or triker any longer, those were my “curiosity” questions … appreciate the info and will definitely stay tuned to your blog and journey.

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting, Richard! Look for us around the lake as we are training over the next several months.

  2. Hi Mike & Lucia – what an exciting & great adventure you are going to have. Is there anyway you can hook up a GoPro to record the whole thing too! I will be looking forward to your updated posts and progress!
    Safe travels!!!!

    1. Thanks for commenting Debbie!

      We are definitely thinking about a GoPro, but … as you will see on a future blog post, we have a LOT of stuff to carry with us, and a LOT of items that will require batteries and charging of batteries, so adding another electronic device is going to require a lot of scrutiny.

      After all, scrutiny can prevent mutiny 😀

  3. I am so appreciative of your blog! I am now feeling inspired to attempt trike riding. An accident five years ago left me with a balance disorder, and without my athletic life. I so want to feel the air rushing past me again, my legs pedaling and getting a good workout, however my ego interfered with the thought of riding a (old lady) three wheeler. Stationary bikes have not been successful for me and riding bents just plain scared me being so low. The movement of the cars passing me may still be an obstacle and trigger loss of balance for hours after a ride BUT your information has encouraged me not to give up hope yet. Thank you for your blog. I will be following you closely. I wish you the best of everything on your trip!

    1. Thanks for reading our blog, Marie! Your story is one we have heard from many ‘bent trikers, including Lucia. She felt compelled to respond to you.

      I had an auto accident in Dec 2014. My neck wont tolerate my upright bicycle for long. DON’T give up. I missed the wind in my face, the freedom of riding. I turned to swimming and still do swim to cross train, but missed the thrill of riding. Mike encouraged me to try a trike. Yes, I too felt “old” when I chose a trike. Are there older and barely moving riders? Yes, but they are moving! Are there younger and I can’t catch them riders? YES! Trikes have evolved. Low to ground, faster. I will however tell you at first the cars do seem too close. It takes time to adjust to a new way of riding. I had many near misses on an upright though. Are there any trails near you? They are a great way to introduce yourself to triking. I love the open road but can also ride trails. Thank you for following our journey. Mike and have have some physical obstacles but they can be worked around.

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