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Old 09-04-17, 10:34 PM   #1
Jonahhobbes
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Petite hands may have contributed to crash.

https://i.stuff.co.nz/national/96469...to-fatal-crash


Brakes too big for a cyclist's "petite hands" may have contributed to the crash which killed her.

A coroner's report into the death of Nicole Sharp, who died after crashing in Wellington in 2014, goes on to recommend bike retailers make a greater effort to adjust bikes, and their brakes, to the rider.

Her dad, John Sharp has welcomed the coroner's report saying retailers have a responsibility to check bike set ups and he hopes it will change retailers approach across the country.




Later in Article.

Trainers with the cycling group, which was described as consisting of like-minded enthusiasts sharing tips and did not appear to have formal accreditation, had advised Sharp to return to the bike dealer and have them adjusted.

Sharp is believed to have had the issue fixed, and no faults were found in the brakes themselves.

Paul Davies, who owns Capital Cycles Ltd and has worked in the bike industry for 25 years, inspected the bike after the accident.

He noted that it was becoming more common for outlets to sell with little knowledge or care of what they were doing in regards to fitting.

"The handlebar was too deep for the rider and the shifter hoods to (sic) low on the handlebar and curved downward. This has caused the wrist to be bent forward and will have made braking harder," his submission reads.

The Coroner concluded that wet weather, and fatigued hands for a sustained period of braking may have also contributed.

Road toll figures show five cyclists died on the roads during 2016 – the lowest annual number recorded in 25 years.



Never heard of this being cited as a cause before but Paul from Capital Cycles is probably one of the best fitters in the country so if he says it was a possible cause I'd go with it.

Also I can't believe the other group members didn't insist she do something. There was a very amateur new bike group spring up recently near me and they are a bloody menace! Cycling all over the place.

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Old 09-04-17, 11:17 PM   #2
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I see this issue all the time. Many women come in to my little shop with brake levers in the default position, and I always ask if they have any difficulty reaching or pulling the brakes. I then show them where the adjustment is (for flat bar levers) and reset the reach if needed. For brifters of course it is a more complex issue, but there are still options.
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Old 09-04-17, 11:32 PM   #3
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"The handlebar was too deep for the rider and the shifter hoods to (sic) low on the handlebar and curved downward. This has caused the wrist to be bent forward and will have made braking harder," his submission reads.
Saw that a couple of weeks ago on a custom road bike set up for a 6'6" rider. I could barely get the saddle low enough to test ride it after the tuneup, and it was hard for me to get good leverage on the brakes from the hoods because clearly, whoever chose the components was doing a good job of sizing everything for the owner's hands.

For that matter, I've seen a few flat bar bikes with v-brake levers so far out that they'd be hard for me to grab in a hurry, and I'm far from small.
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Old 09-05-17, 06:12 AM   #4
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I'm sorry to hear of this rider's death. We often depend (maybe too much) on those who assume a position of authority (mechanics, salesmen, etc), and though we realize that the fit is not optimal, we "tough it out" and this works allright 95% of the time.
I don't know how many brifters have this "adjustable reach" feature, but it sounds like something that can be helpful. If her bike did not have this type of brake, then whoever sold her the bike should have given her a shorter stem or some bars with a shorter reach.
Even I use the Cane Creek compact levers, and my hands are not particularly small.
It sounds like the rain caused her hands to slip off the lever(s).
A word of caution about organized bicycle rides, too: If you find yourself making great efforts just to "keep up" with some of the other riders, be vigilant of your fatigue level and the effects it might be having on your reflexes, co-ordination and decisions.
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Old 09-05-17, 10:35 AM   #5
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There's a perfectly good solution to having bikes not properly adjusted for you. Don't buy them at department stores. Get them at bike shops.
Or, legislate that the department stores have to pay the same attention to detail as the bike shops. Then department store bikes will cost the same, or they'll just stop selling bikes.

Either way, result.
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Old 09-05-17, 10:52 AM   #6
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Brakes too big for a cyclist's "petite hands" may have contributed to the crash which killed her.
I wonder if she could stop faster with her two brakes than an experienced fixie kid with "no" brakes?

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...retailers have a responsibility to check bike set ups and he hopes it will change retailers approach across the country.
Yeah Wal-Mart, we're talking about YOU! Good luck.

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Old 09-05-17, 10:58 AM   #7
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Sad. It's easy to say that the seller should make sure that things are set up right, but what does that really mean? If the buyer says "yep, the brake levers feel right", is that reliable enough to say that the buyer will be able to use them in a panic situation? I reckon a competent sales person would have a feel for whether the buyer is over-optimistic in describing the fit, but that's not reliable either. Perhaps a "hand gauge" matched to specific lever sizes.

Even so, there is more to panic braking than lever fit and configuration. I've practiced such braking on all of my set ups, but I am still not confident that I will get it right when circumstances demand it. The ability to anticipate situations so that you avoid the need for panic braking is probably the best tool, but fatigue, weather conditions, and other factors numb this ability.

Again, tragic incident.
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Old 09-05-17, 11:10 AM   #8
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He said after getting the seat height and bike size right, a good fitter should ensure a rider's arms aren't fully extended to reach the handlebars, but slightly bent, as if reaching for a handshake.

"The handlebar was too deep for the rider and the shifter hoods to (sic) low on the handlebar and curved downward. This has caused the wrist to be bent forward and will have made braking harder," his submission reads.

I think I need to take my new (to me) bike back to the shop. I can just about get the ends of my stubby fingers around the brifter levers. Also, they're my first brifters. It's my first road bike in a long, long time, so the different position will take some getting used to; still, I probably shouldn't be quite as stretched out as I am. Good thing to know about the handlebar reach; I had been wondering.
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Old 09-05-17, 12:04 PM   #9
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Or, legislate that the department stores have to pay the same attention to detail as the bike shops.
No need for new laws; just get some lawyers out there with the guts to take cases where people are injured by bad set up, and push hard for every penny they can get out of those. The market will take care of itself.

I'd be satisfied if WalMart was sufficiently terrified of getting sued that they never let another bike out of their stores with the stem loose, or the brakes set too loose to actually do anything. It's up to the rider to figure out whether they can reach everything properly.
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Old 09-05-17, 02:36 PM   #10
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... It's up to the rider to figure out whether they can reach everything properly.
Oh God! Personal responsibility!? Blaming the "victim"!!!! Aaarghhh!

Yeah...I'm not riding anything I can't stop. The buck stops with me.
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Old 09-05-17, 05:09 PM   #11
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I wonder if she could stop faster with her two brakes than an experienced fixie kid with "no" brakes?

Yeah Wal-Mart, we're talking about YOU! Good luck.

Jeez you've not changed. I was quoting the article from the coroners report.
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Old 09-05-17, 05:20 PM   #12
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He said after getting the seat height and bike size right, a good fitter should ensure a rider's arms aren't fully extended to reach the handlebars, but slightly bent, as if reaching for a handshake.

"The handlebar was too deep for the rider and the shifter hoods to (sic) low on the handlebar and curved downward. This has caused the wrist to be bent forward and will have made braking harder," his submission reads.

I think I need to take my new (to me) bike back to the shop. I can just about get the ends of my stubby fingers around the brifter levers. Also, they're my first brifters. It's my first road bike in a long, long time, so the different position will take some getting used to; still, I probably shouldn't be quite as stretched out as I am. Good thing to know about the handlebar reach; I had been wondering.
Don't ride get it sorted if you can't stop the bike comfortably then you are in trouble. What you are describing is an easy fix.

There is a major difference between the lazy laser fitters of bikes that are done by kids in some shops and the proper bike fits by people like Paul at Cap Cycles in Wellington NZ who will spend time swapping out shoes, stems, etc until you feel totally right.

Ask around on the net which is the best bike shop nearby. You can tell when you go as there's always a bunch a guys just hanging around talking
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Old 09-06-17, 03:05 AM   #13
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There's a perfectly good solution to having bikes not properly adjusted for you. Don't buy them at department stores. Get them at bike shops.
Or, legislate that the department stores have to pay the same attention to detail as the bike shops. Then department store bikes will cost the same, or they'll just stop selling bikes.

Either way, result.
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Old 09-06-17, 10:22 AM   #14
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There's a perfectly good solution to having bikes not properly adjusted for you. Don't buy them at department stores. Get them at bike shops.
Or, legislate that the department stores have to pay the same attention to detail as the bike shops. Then department store bikes will cost the same, or they'll just stop selling bikes.

Either way, result.
So where did the bike of the person that was killed come from?
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Old 09-06-17, 02:31 PM   #15
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I'd be satisfied if WalMart was sufficiently terrified of getting sued that they never let another bike out of their stores with the stem loose, or the brakes set too loose to actually do anything.
I'm sure they'd probably think that settling one or two lawsuits out of court would be cheaper in the long run than hiring competent people to assemble their bikes. Settling one case for, say, $30,000 is still cheaper than hiring someone at $9 an hour for each one of their stores across the country.

But yeah, in the end it was the cyclist's responsibility to make sure she could handle her bike, including emergency stopping.
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Old 09-06-17, 03:08 PM   #16
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To me the coroner's conclusions are a bit weird. While the drops too low, and the hoods too far down on the curve may make the brakes harder to reach, that won't affect the strength of someone's grip. Bad set-up may have contributed but he went way too far IMO.
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Old 09-06-17, 03:17 PM   #17
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I've seen topics about road bike brakes for small hands pop up from time to time.

Some of the vintage Aero brake levers seem to work well for kid's bikes, but I could imagine regular brifters being a problem. There are, of course, various adjustment wedges available, but I'm not sure that would be the same as making proportionally smaller brake levers (which may be complex to get adequate derailleur pull with).

Perhaps we'll see small EPS/Di2 brake levers coming out in the future, if only the companies would realize the benefits of marketing to the whole population, not just the big adult men.
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Old 09-06-17, 03:42 PM   #18
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............ if only the companies would realize the benefits of marketing to the whole population, not just the big adult men.
I don't think they are marketing for big adult men. I feel that the brake hoods I rest my hand on are too small.

I'm sure they market for the average size rider. To market for every combination of physical attribute will be costly. Will the niche markets pay more for a brake/shifter lever made for a small hand if they can get one made for the majority of the market at a lower price? I doubt it.
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Old 09-06-17, 04:10 PM   #19
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I don't think they are marketing for big adult men. I feel that the brake hoods I rest my hand on are too small.

I'm sure they market for the average size rider. To market for every combination of physical attribute will be costly. Will the niche markets pay more for a brake/shifter lever made for a small hand if they can get one made for the majority of the market at a lower price? I doubt it.
Lots of issues. Hand strength, hand size, cable pull (brakes & shifters), throw of shifter mechanism, etc.

That is why it might be easiest to support multiple sizes/designs with EPS/Di2. Then one would simply have to match the levers with the brakes, and add a small amount of electronic circuitry. Fortunately smaller people tend to be lighter (not always, but typically), so braking strength could be proportional to rider weight.

Perhaps it would even be a market that a small company could break into.

Now, if costs would just come down a bit.
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Old 09-06-17, 04:36 PM   #20
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No need for new laws; just get some lawyers out there with the guts to take cases where people are injured by bad set up, and push hard for every penny they can get out of those. The market will take care of itself.
No I disagree. You could see a lot of deaths in the mean time. Instead how about a big sticker wrapped around the brake lever of every new bike sold warning that they must be adjusted to suit the rider. We see these stickers on things all the time, like the ones on bungee straps warning they can fly back and take your eye out. I wonder how many eyes were lost before they did that.
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Old 09-06-17, 05:05 PM   #21
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........................like the ones on bungee straps warning they can fly back and take your eye out. I wonder how many eyes were lost before they did that.
I don't know if they put warning stickers on them here in the USA. I quit buying them well over 10 years ago when the person on the other end of a long bungee let go and I got hit square in the chest.

It F%$#king hurt!

I immediately realized the issue of it hitting in the eye and threw all mine away, except for the little six inch ones.
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Old 09-06-17, 05:20 PM   #22
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No I disagree. You could see a lot of deaths in the mean time. Instead how about a big sticker wrapped around the brake lever of every new bike sold warning that they must be adjusted to suit the rider. We see these stickers on things all the time, like the ones on bungee straps warning they can fly back and take your eye out. I wonder how many eyes were lost before they did that.
How about all bikes being sold for riders < 5'5" be configured by default for small riders. There'd be a few exceptions, but set them right by default then deal with the outliers (racers on small frames with everything custom?)

I suppose the other thing is... if one is buying a $500 groupset... perhaps just toss in a couple of those plastic adjuster wedges for free.
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Old 09-06-17, 05:31 PM   #23
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How about all bikes being sold for riders < 5'5" be configured by default for small riders.
Well now you are just assuming small height means small hands. That is not true by any stretch of the imagination.
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Old 09-06-17, 06:19 PM   #24
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IMO this simply another example of the blame spreading we see too much of in modern culture.

I start by noting that "may have contributed" is about as weak an assignment of blame as can be expressed in English, short of "not a factor at all...."

But let's grant that the brake levers were in fact too large.

1- She'd been riding for a few months, plenty of time to note the problem, tell someone and seek a solution.
2- the crash was in a relatively urban area, and I have to wonder if this was simply a case of too fast for conditions
3- the actual crash wasn't a straight on inability to scrub off speed, but was a swerve initiated by the rider. Whether this was a poor decision resulting from panic, or a calculated decision made because she knew braking wasn't going to be enough s anybody's guess, but if the latter, it implies knowledge of her limitations.

SO, while all sort of things MAY have contributed to an extent, the primary cause boiled down to "too much speed for conditions" and poor decision making by the rider.. With the conditions including, the traffic speed and density, and the limitations of her braking.

I agree that we should do better in terms of helping people especially newbs, by checking that the bike is suited to their needs and they can ride it safely, but we can't be with them when they do, and so, as adults, they need to take responsibility for their own safety. The alternative is to remove their freedom to make those critical decisions for themselves, and let others tell them what they can and can't do, down to the smallest detail.
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Old 09-06-17, 08:17 PM   #25
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Don't ride get it sorted if you can't stop the bike comfortably then you are in trouble. What you are describing is an easy fix.

There is a major difference between the lazy laser fitters of bikes that are done by kids in some shops and the proper bike fits by people like Paul at Cap Cycles in Wellington NZ who will spend time swapping out shoes, stems, etc until you feel totally right.

Ask around on the net which is the best bike shop nearby. You can tell when you go as there's always a bunch a guys just hanging around talking
Believe me, I'm only going around the block to check fit. I can get up to the first knuckle on my index and middle fingers around the levers up near the top, so the leverage is sucky, but I can make it stop. Even my husband, with his big hands had difficulty reaching them. Yay brifters.

It's weird how the frame fits me nicely but everything else is ridiculous, including the extra long stem, huge handlebars, and long cranks. We're looking at at drops and I'm getting more and more confused. ::facepalm::
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