Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Self-Defense While Bicycling


Greg Ellifritz has a new post with the title "Your Tactical Training Scenario- Attacked on a Bicycle". It's not the first time he has addressed this topic, as this article is an updated version of an article published in 2014, and in 2013 he posted at his blog an article he had written for Concealed Carry Magazine on the topic of 10 self-defense tips for using a firearm when bicycling together with photographs that had not made it into the print edition

    While not as extensive of advice as Greg's, other authors have at least attempted to address the issue of concealed carry while biking, such as "Concealed Carry For Bicycle Commuters And Recreational Cyclists," a 2015 article from the Alien Gear Holster Blog, and this 2011 article from The Truth About Guns, "The Truth About Bicycle Carry." However, I used to be quite the avid biker and based on my experience with biking and concealed carry, I find the articles by Ellifritz to be more complete and accurate.

    For instance, my experience with concealed carry showed that certain carry methods were just not going to work well because of printing. If you have a loose, flowing shirt (e.g., the quintessential Hawaiian shirt), you can get away with strong side carry at a 3 or 4 o'clock position, but not at 5 o'clock. Small of the back is right out not only because of printing but because more than likely the shirt will ride up and get caught above the handgun clearly exposing it to view. I don't have experience with appendix carry while biking, but Ellifritz states that this method won't work very well because the bent over posture while riding will mean that you are constantly jamming the firearm into your body while peddling. 

    Greg recommends using a fanny pack, which is what I also found to be a good method of carrying, so long as the pack is rotated behind so it is hanging over your fanny (thus the name).  Otherwise it just gets in your way. Another advantage to the fanny pack is that you can wear a tight shirt or wear a shirt tucked in. In fact, if you go to my article on concealed carry and scroll down to the first photograph, you can see the fanny pack I use when biking. I've never had an issue with the fanny pack or losing my firearm, even after a couple violent accidents that had me flying over my handlebars. My particular pack was intended for a very small auto, but, with some judicious modifications, I was able get it to work with my snub-nosed revolver. It is so small that even people who themselves carry firearms don't identify it as a fanny pack for a handgun.

    In the last couple of years, however, I have actually switched over to using a Kit Bag made by Hill People Gear. The advantage I found to these is that they keep the gun in front of you (over the chest) and so are more accessible than the fanny pack with the pack twisted around to your back. The particular kit bag I have is the standard recon kit bag which features Molle attachments; but for lower profile, I think I would go with either the original kit bag or a snubby kit bag without Molle attachments.

    I had tried carrying a pistol in a pannier for a while, but it wasn't easy to access, I didn't always want or need to have a pannier, and I was uncomfortable with not having the firearm on my person. 

    Anyway, Ellifritz's article goes beyond just methods of carry to address potential ambush sites (although a person could simply push you over). He especially warns riders to exercise caution when riding on a roadway as a driver could easily strike you with the vehicle, push you, or force you off the road (see also this news article). 

    I guess to illustrate this point, I will relate a story told me by an avid bicyclist: He lived in Hawaii at the time and was riding on the edge of a highway when a truck coming toward him started to cross the lane and he could see the driver holding an arm out the window with something in the arm. He pulled loose his pump from under the bar and struck at the man's arm as the two passed. He heard something crack, but just kept peddling.

    Ellifritz also observes that speed is your friend, so keep going, don't slow down if someone attempts to stop or attack you. 

    If you are attacked and can't get away, Ellifritz advises using the bike as a barrier, weapon, or distraction. That means, putting the bike between you and a potential attacker. Even if the bike gets knocked down, the attacker will have to go around the bike or risk tripping and stumbling over the bike if he tries to cross it. Or, as Greg advises, push or throw the bike at them and use the distraction to draw your weapon or run away. 

    If you can lift the bike up a bit (about chest height) and angle the wheels so they are about knee high to the attacker, and rush toward the attacker you probably will force them to bend awkwardly at the hips to try and reach you or to back up. If they grab at the bike, it will probably be the wheels--just shove toward them and then let go once they grasp the wheels and make a break for it or draw your weapon.

    Finally, Ellifritz advises you to learn how to access your weapon if you have crashed--another reason not to keep your weapon in a pannier, basket or other type of bag attached to your bicycle--not to try and draw and stop at the same time, suggests attaching a less than lethal weapon (a baton or pepper spray) to your bike (even a bike lock can be an effective weapon), and recommends you unbuckle your helmet as soon as you stop so your attacker can't grab the helmet and use it to leverage you. Be sure to read the whole thing.

Related Posts:

"Post SHTF Bicycles--Some Thoughts"

Related Articles:

"Bicycle Maintenance"--Blue Collar Prepping.

"Bicycle Trailers and Cargo"--Blue Collar Prepping.

"BRACKEN: THE PATROL BIKE"--American Partisan

"This Is How to Survive an Animal Attack on Your Bike"--Bicycling.

"3 Smart Ways Cyclists Can Handle Drivers With Road Rage"--Bicycling.

"Bicycle Safety"--National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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