CYCLING SAFETY: DO AS I SAY, NOT AS I DO.
Don’t lock your phone.
If you carry your phone as a safety device on rides, there’s no need to passcode lock it.
But there are many, many reasons not to. Here’s a big one.
When I had my latest bad crash, my phone was locked.
For the first couple hours I was in and out of consciousness. Mostly not.
In one of my rare moments of consciousness, face-down in some rocks, a stranger was holding my phone in front of my face begging me to remember the code (and my name). I got lucky and entered the right one (on the third try) and dialed my wife’s number. Then, went nighty-night again.
I get it wrong and my wife may not have known what happened.
I. Got. Lucky.
So forget the passcode.
Because heaven forbid, you may forget the passcode.
Bottom left corner: Emergency call. This is enabled on all phone lock screens, and is mandated by law to be there. Passcode or no passcode, you can call 911. I’m not sure if it works for 999 (United Kingdom) or the mobile phone specific 112 (Australia) but my time in Windows Phone tells me that each phone is configured for each market, so the probability is high it would work as well in America as it does in Australia. If someone has a concussion or loses consciousness, it’s ridiculously stupid for them NOT to go to hospital to at least get checked out, which makes calling emergency worth it (spoken by someone who had a concussion a few months ago…). It’s nice to have the passcode, but you’re not completely screwed if you don’t.
The other thing you could do? Put a little piece of paper with emergency contact information on it in your back pocket when you go riding (preferably in something that is waterproof). Doesn’t run out of batteries, doesn’t require a passcode, is effective and works no matter where you go. You can also tape said information to the bike, but it’s less obvious there.
Mine has 3 ICE numbers, my blood type and that I have no known allergies.
EDIT: Here’s a little tidbit about emergency communications and the difference between 000 (standard Emergency number in Australia) and 112 (mobile phone specific). Telco’s set up their phone systems to reserve a set number of channels for emergency calls, e.g. if they have 100 channels for that tower, 95 will handle standard calls and 5 will be reserved for emergency only. 5 years ago, when you dialed 000 from a mobile phone in Australia, it tried to connect using your specific mobile operator. If you used 112 instead, it would attempt to connect using ANY operator available, meaning 112 had a higher tendency to succeed in low reception areas. I don’t know why they did it this way, but it was something interesting that i learned when working in the 000/112 emergency call center.
Also, contrary to popular belief, at least in Australia emergency 000/112 CAN’T trace your call or activate your GPS. 9 times out of 10, the call will come through and state that you’re on a mobile phone, nothing more. If you want to be useful to the emergency operator, look around, calm down, figure out exactly where they should send the ambulance (as in an actual address) and then call.
EDIT 2: If you ask nicely, police will usually let you observe Emergency call centers in action. It’s an excellent way to learn a lot about incoming emergency calls, and what mistakes people make, as well as the information usually needed by emergency operators.
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