FREDERICK, M.d. (WDVM) — Cyclists are taking a popular pool toy out of the water and onto their bikes in the name of safety.
Dan McGrail has been cycling nearly all his life. He finds it relaxing, but the mood sometimes changes when he starts sharing the road with cars and trucks.
“Oh it’s terrifying. You know it can be kind of scary at times if someone comes close,” McGrail explained.
According to the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration, fatal bicycle crashes have declined from 2016 to 2017, but the total number of crashes from 2013 to 2017 has steadily increased.
On McGrail’s bike you’ll spot something he’s hoping will lower his chances of getting injured.
“I saw this online, the noodle. Somebody was using it, some guy biking in Arizona, I believe. I thought ‘What a great idea,” McGrail said.
McGrail attached a neon green 2-foot-long pool noodle just behind his seat that sticks out on his left side. He’s used it for the past week on travel from King of Prussia, Pennsylvania and through Frederick County.
“It really works. I mean, anecdotally, I think it really reminds people to keep their distance,” he explained.
Roger Rinker, manager of The Bicycle Escape and founding member of the Frederick Bicycle Coalition, has helped promote the laws aimed at protecting cyclists, like Maryland’s “Three Foot Law.”
“There’s what’s called the “Three Foot Rule,” or “Three foot Law,” which means no vehicle should come closer than three feet to a cyclist. When you’re driving down the road, if you see one of those noodles and it’s sticking out three feet, it reminds you to move over,” Rinker said.
Rinker says he seeks postings online from cyclists using the noodle but hasn’t spotted in the county.
And not all area cyclists are rushing to craft their own.
“It’s definitely not something that I would go out and buy. But i definitely wouldn’t look at somebody and like look down upon them or think it’s weird. Cars come very, very close to your bike when they pass you, so I can understand why people do it,” said local cyclist, Frederick Genau.