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  1. #1
    Senior Member WPeabody's Avatar
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    Article about bike accident statistics.

    Not sure if this has been posted before, but here's a link to an article that shows the odds of getting into an accident while riding a bicycle on roads shared with motor vehicles.
    Entitled Fear, Intimidation and Decision Making
    http://www.livablestreets.com/projec...cision-making/
    What do you call a cyclist who sells potpourri on the road? A pedaling petal-peddler.

  2. #2
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    I didn't have time to read it all, but this seems to be a good article that counteracts the fearmongering that you so often see on this forum.

    Thanks, WPeabody.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  3. #3
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Interesting article... not much in the way of real statistics. Again it touches on the issue of deaths per hours of activity vice deaths per transportation miles... a rather false way to look at a transportation activity if your goal is to go a certain number of miles to work and back...

    One interesting statement that goes back to John Forester's Inferiority Syndrome issues:
    This fear is based on the belief that a significant number of motorists are likely to hit bicyclists while overtaking them. Does it happen? Yes. Is it common? Not at all.
    Frankly that is not the fear I face... the fear I face and see is motorists on cross streets that do not see me, do not see the red light, are distracted, are on cell phones or just do not look before making that right on red.

    I have been hit in my 35 years of cycling by cross or turning traffic 3 times... I have 2 recent close calls that really shook me... one was a cell phone user that just drove right through a red light, the other was a pizza guy that I could not even see due to other traffic, that plowed right through a red light.

    Traffic from behind is not a big deal to me... it is the otherwise distracted driver that is just not looking... and is driving too fast.

  4. #4
    Senior Member one_beatnik's Avatar
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    Good thoughts on this; idealistic, but good. I'm not saying idealism is bad and the writer, himself, admits it. I especially like the concept he portrays of riding with what I call "authority." I AM HERE ON PURPOSE AND I BELONG HERE mentality. I like it and see that changing the car drivers' mentality than anything else. If nothing else, it confuses them and they begin to wonder if I really do belong here and did they miss something somewhere!
    Dan in SW Iowa...
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  5. #5
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by one_beatnik View Post
    Good thoughts on this; idealistic, but good. I'm not saying idealism is bad and the writer, himself, admits it. I especially like the concept he portrays of riding with what I call "authority." I AM HERE ON PURPOSE AND I BELONG HERE mentality. I like it and see that changing the car drivers' mentality than anything else. If nothing else, it confuses them and they begin to wonder if I really do belong here and did they miss something somewhere!
    This reminds me of a cycling slogan from years ago:

    "I'm not blocking traffic. I AM traffic!"

    I've told this slogan to a few "naive" cyclists in Lansing--lower class guys who usually ride on the sidewalks. Some of them get a big charge out of this idea. It seems to empower them to try riding in the street.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  6. #6
    Senior Member WPeabody's Avatar
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    There are days when I let this same fear he mentions in the article keep me from riding, because I hear too much about what can go wrong instead of what goes right most days.
    A couple weeks ago there was a fatal head on collision between two cars along the route I usually ride, about a mile from my home. Two lanes, 45 mph speed limit, narrows down to no shoulder for a couple hundred yards, always hated that part of the ride on my bike, but equally so when driving as well. People get into accidents often on that road, yet I have to drive it to go anywhere else. Lots of people are out on their bikes on this road, which encourages me by their example...
    What do you call a cyclist who sells potpourri on the road? A pedaling petal-peddler.

  7. #7
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WPeabody View Post
    There are days when I let this same fear he mentions in the article keep me from riding, because I hear too much about what can go wrong instead of what goes right most days.
    ...
    I wonder if you've thought about not reading this forum for that very reason. I often stay away from this forum for months at a time because I don't need the fearmongering and endless carping about cagers and cyclists. It reminds me of how people got after 9/11 when all that was on TV was the endless repetitions of the terror attacks. Before long it got so you didn't want to go in a building that had more than 4 stories, and you flinched whenever a plane flew overhead. On this forum it gets so you'll only ride to the end of your own driveway and turn around before a wild pickup truck full of hicks smashes into you.
    Last edited by Roody; 03-24-09 at 11:44 PM.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

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    In the absence of relevant statistics I rely on my own experience. I kind of have to. For instance, most (okay, all) of the drivers who have made contact with me in the last five years have done so while overtaking.

    That doesn't result in needless fear, I just adjust my riding to match the key concern. Sometimes that means riding in a full lane on a busy arterial, sometimes it means detouring somewhere there are no overtaking cars.

  9. #9
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    I like that he considers in all those collisions the cycling behavior that led to the collision.

    I always bring up when I read the case reports of cycling deaths in my province, how many of those deaths were entirely and easily preventable.

    The deaths to those cyclists who were doing all the "right" things were very few and when you consider the nature of life, it can't be said that cyclists run any worse risk than many others and in fact due to the inherent nature of enforced exercise needed to ride a bike, it's not surprising to find those who rode their bikes to work live longer than those who didn't.
    Last edited by closetbiker; 03-25-09 at 11:44 AM.
    "My two favourite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything" -Peter Golkin
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  10. #10
    Senior Member twinquad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruiser View Post
    For instance, most (okay, all) of the drivers who have made contact with me in the last five years have done so while overtaking.
    What? In the past five years, you've had multiple collisions while being overtaken? Care to share details? Could be some interesting lessons here.

    Quote Originally Posted by closetbiker View Post
    I always bring up when I read the case reports of cycling deaths in my province, how many of those deaths were entirely and easily preventable.
    Yup, be visible, be predictable, follow the rules of the road, use lights at night, and don't drink and ride, and cycling risk drops down into the noise of everyday life. Unfortunately, the other thing you have to do is be an adult. I'm having trouble getting my stepkids to cooperate with that one.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by twinquad View Post
    Yup, be visible, be predictable, follow the rules of the road, use lights at night, and don't drink and ride, and cycling risk drops down into the noise of everyday life. Unfortunately, the other thing you have to do is be an adult. I'm having trouble getting my stepkids to cooperate with that one.
    Kids will be kids.

    Funny how people take stats that are about kids and expect them to apply to adults.
    "My two favourite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything" -Peter Golkin
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  12. #12
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by twinquad View Post

    Yup, be visible, be predictable, follow the rules of the road, use lights at night, and don't drink and ride, and cycling risk drops down into the noise of everyday life. Unfortunately, the other thing you have to do is be an adult. I'm having trouble getting my stepkids to cooperate with that one.
    I wish I could agree with you... what I have found however is that even following all those suggestions there are motorists that will chose not to follow the rules when cyclists are present... and will themselves become somewhat unpredictable... such as turning right from straight through center lanes, making right turns from left hand lanes, and racing cyclists to stop signs by crossing the double yellow into oncoming traffic to do so. (just a few examples)

    Childish behaviour demonstrated by motorists that do not wish to "play fair."
    Last edited by genec; 03-25-09 at 01:17 PM.

  13. #13
    Senior Member charmed's Avatar
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    I think in the US the obvious way to get rid of the fear and intimidation cyclist and pedestrians get from cars is to make drivers responsible for their actions. You hit a cyclist or pedestrian or another car, you get your license pulled. You lose control of your vehicle, you get your license pulled. You are seen passing too close to a cyclist or pedestrian, you get a ticket.

    In other countries the cyclist feel safer, because they know people who drive are paying attention, or they won't be driving for long. They claim driving in this country is a privilege, but do not legislate or enforce it as such.

  14. #14
    Senior Member twinquad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    I wish I could agree with you... what I have found however is that even following all those suggestions there are motorists that will chose not to follow the rules when cyclists are present... and will themselves become somewhat unpredictable... such as turning right from straight through center lanes, making right turns from left hand lanes, and racing cyclists to stop signs by crossing the double yellow into oncoming traffic to do so. (just a few examples)

    Childish behaviour demonstrated by motorists that do not which to "play fair."
    Well, I'd never say you can eliminate risk; this is impossible given that you can't control other people's behavior. On the other hand, with an appropriate balance of assertiveness and defensiveness you can influence and be prepared for other people's behavior, thereby further minimizing risk.

    Look, I see plenty of dangerous motorist maneuvers; I'd love to see streets that are safer for cyclists. But I wish that people who are reluctant to ride on the road because they're afraid or intimidated could be made to understand that their fear is out of proportion to the actual risk, especially if they observe some basic safety guidelines.
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  15. #15
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by charmed View Post
    I think in the US the obvious way to get rid of the fear and intimidation cyclist and pedestrians get from cars is to make drivers responsible for their actions. You hit a cyclist or pedestrian or another car, you get your license pulled. You lose control of your vehicle, you get your license pulled. You are seen passing too close to a cyclist or pedestrian, you get a ticket.

    In other countries the cyclist feel safer, because they know people who drive are paying attention, or they won't be driving for long. They claim driving in this country is a privilege, but do not legislate or enforce it as such.
    From the article here is a quote about what might "set things right" if it were ever done...

    I have thought about this for a long time and feel that the only way to confront this is to completely reorganize the transportation heirarchy as we know it. In urban areas, business districts and neighborhoods, peds, bicyclists and transit are given priority in that order. Private automobiles, delivery trucks, etc are moved to the bottom of the ladder. This is across the board starting with the planning and design phase through construction and included as specific policies for law enforcement, funding, etc. Undoubtedly this will be years in the making - if it ever happens.
    I know in some European countries motorists have responsibility for a human/car collision unless it can be proven that the human acted in an improper way.

    Here in the US we have given motorists carte blanche... as you said, they have long forgotten that driving is a privilege.

  16. #16
    Fred J.G. dwilbur3's Avatar
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    It's possible that a motorist will do something crazy that is out of your control. (Maybe they're driving 100 mph, running red lights and jumping curves in your neighborhood? These things occasionally happen.)

    But in most cases you have some control over the risks. If you are proactive about what you can control, most (not all, but most) accidents can be avoided.

    So use good lighting, wear reflective and brightly colored clothes, drive on streets with less and slower traffic, constantly watch for traffic from side streets and driveways, never assume anyone sees you, never assume someone will stop for you, etc.

    RIDE DEFENSIVELY. Nothing in life is guaranteed, but riding smart is good insurance.

  17. #17
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by twinquad View Post
    Well, I'd never say you can eliminate risk; this is impossible given that you can't control other people's behavior. On the other hand, with an appropriate balance of assertiveness and defensiveness you can influence and be prepared for other people's behavior, thereby further minimizing risk.

    Look, I see plenty of dangerous motorist maneuvers; I'd love to see streets that are safer for cyclists. But I wish that people who are reluctant to ride on the road because they're afraid or intimidated could be made to understand that their fear is out of proportion to the actual risk, especially if they observe some basic safety guidelines.
    It is not a matter of eliminating risk, nor being assertive... I am talking about motorists that refuse to obey the laws when cyclists are part of the equation... motorists that go out of their way (and to their possible detriment) to get their own way.

    I am talking motorists that just choose to do blatantly obvious bad moves just so they don’t deal with cyclists on a 1 to 1 level. As I mentioned… making right turns from left lanes so they don’t have to deal with a cyclist taking a lane.

    Or the classic example of the LA Doctor that swerved around a group of cyclists and then slammed on the brakes…

    There is flat out no justification for such behavior, and yet any regular riding cyclist can tell you tales of “the idiot I saw today.”

    Sure, most of the time it is smooth riding out there… but there may also be some combination of driver that in someway just goes beyond the edge… just because you are a cyclist.



    BTW in the article the writer even conveys stories of this type...

    Here’s a story to illustrate the silliness of the “I didn’t see you” line. My wife Carol and I were on our tandem at dusk in downtown Orlando. We were signaling a left turn and moving into the center of the lane. A motorist passed us on the left, crossing the double yellow line, again, as we were signaling a left turn. After the unsafe pass I decided to go straight instead of making our left and see if we could catch her. We caught up with her a few blocks later as she was exiting her SUV to enter a house and I asked for an explanation for her action. She said she hadn’t seen us. We were on a tandem with a trailer with a yellow flag and a flashing red taillight on a slow-speed, well-lit street and she crossed the centerline to avoid us…but she “didn’t see us.” What were her response choices? A: “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have done that” or B: “I didn’t do anything wrong; you did something wrong.” But since she couldn’t identify anything we had done wrong she could only say, “I didn’t see you.”
    Anyway… it is a good article, and I enjoyed it. Keep spinning. And watch for kooks.
    Last edited by genec; 03-25-09 at 01:45 PM.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by twinquad View Post
    What? In the past five years, you've had multiple collisions while being overtaken? Care to share details? Could be some interesting lessons here.
    Not really collisions, just some pretty good contact. Nothing dramatic. I wasn't knocked over or anything, although my mirror was taken out.

    Two were deliberate nudges by male geriatrics angry about my aggressive lane position, one was a older lady with distance judgment issues.

    All were resolved to my satisfaction through subsequent roadside discussion without police involvement.

    No lessons I've been able to gather.

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