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  1. #1
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Ideas, let's talk safety... and who's to blame.

    Recently on A&S several ideas have been thrown about, ranging from the need to be more obvious on the road, to some need to have turn signals and lights, to the ever popular take on mirrors.

    At one point a poster even stated "why don't we just drive motorcycles."

    Well, the fact is that even with mirrors, even centered in the lane, even with lights (turnsignals and stoplights) and even making a bunch of noise and it being on a flat road in the middle of the day... 5 motorcyclists were killed yesterday on an Imperial County Highway by an impatient driver who attempted to pass... the unharmed driver left the scene.

    http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2...cles-and-two-/

    ...an eastbound gold Honda Civic went into the westbound lane to pass a dozen motorcyclists also going east. A westbound Dodge Avenger driver saw the Honda in his lane and swerved onto the sandy shoulder to avoid a collision. The Dodge then veered out of control back onto the pavement and collided with some of the motorcyclists.

    The sedan driver suffered major injuries and his female passenger was killed. Both were from Mexico.

    The Honda that caused the incident by trying to pass did not stop, and authorities were looking for the driver.
    Folks as much as you want to try to ride safely, and are, in some cases, willing to even emulate motorcycle riders with loads of lights and helmets et. al., the bottom line is that as long as some drivers act like idiots... your best efforts may be for naught.

    What can be done to get such idiots off the road... Why is it that it is so easy to get a driver's license and so hard to suspend one?

  2. #2
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGukLuXzH1E

    Set F1re To The Ra1n ( NY Night Rain Ride)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7jfcWEkSrI

  3. #3
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    That's terrible. RIP.

  4. #4
    Badger Biker ctyler's Avatar
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    As long as we live in a culture that absolves automobile drivers of responsible behavior, things will never change. To add insult to injury, read the following story:

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl...8S48.DTL&tsp=1
    It's a good day to ride.
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  5. #5
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Yup, amazing ain't it. ^^^^^ you try to do the right thing... But all it takes is some idiot motorist to ruin your whole life, and then the "system" looks the other way.

    Sure there are idiot cyclists out there... but society doesn't give them a "reset button" or a "get out of jail free" card. Nope, you pretty much have to be a motorist for those special exemptions.

  6. #6
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    It really seems like society has just collectively "decided" that driving is an irrevocable entitlement. We don't permanently ban people from driving even when they've demonstrated over and over again that they are terrible drivers (witness all the people with multiple DUI convictions, etc who still have licenses or just ignore their suspended license). We simply don't require any meaningful test of driver competence. Nowadays it often feel like we should be doing some sort of psychological profiling for suitable temperament for driving in addition to tests of competence.

    I guess America has just decided that a certain number of traffic deaths per year is acceptable and that we don't want to do anything meaningful about it. Hence the reason that while traffic deaths have declined a great deal in most other developed countries, they have declined by a much lesser amount here: either we just don't care, or we've somehow collectively been brainwashed into thinking there are no practical solutions to the problem. It's always interesting to me that if you post about this sort of thing on any non-bike forum on the Internet, there is massive resistance to any sort of mention of greater regulation of driver behavior. Aren't non-cyclists also afraid of all the jackasses they share the road with? Or are they convinced that all the high-tech protections in their car will protect them should one of these people hit them? I just don't understand "car culture" mentality, and I don't think I ever will (even though I do drive regularly).

  7. #7
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    As far as actual solutions, we could be doing plenty more to prevent bad drivers from driving that we aren't right now because the problem is not taken seriously. One thing I would like to see is extensive monitoring/surveillance of people with suspended drivers' licenses. Take away their privacy and have them forfeit their right to move around unimpeded without frequent monitoring of their activities. After all, with how hard it is to lose your license, at that point you've proven that you're not capable of behaving as a responsible adult.

    Make them pay to wear an electronic ankle bracelet capable of detecting when they're moving at a speed typical of driving, and have that report in to the cops in realtime. Then, they could do random checks to see if it's you behind the wheel vs. someone else. If caught driving, they could throw in jail for a few years and seize your vehicle. This might not be the best system to use, but I feel confident that electronic monitoring could go a long way towards addressing the problem. It could also be used to address some other problems like aggressive driving, tailgating, and so on.

  8. #8
    Senior Member JayButros's Avatar
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    Any 14 year old's death is tragic...

    Was he really ramp-jumping his bike into a busy street?

    We had to hide the ramps when I was 14 and no parent would have let us set up our fun on "Rt 69", I'm not defending either party...

    ...just sayin'

  9. #9
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    I try really hard to stay out of threads like this because they tend to become pointless rants against someone-not-thinking-as-I-do.
    Sh** happens. People die. Assigning blame and getting retribution or punishing "offenders" don't bring the dead back to life nor heal all wounds.
    I'm a fatalist. I'm going to be hit or have a bike accident eventually. It's going to happen. I accept it without being non-chalant about it.
    That allows me to ride without the weight of the world's worries, injustices and pain on my shoulders. It also allows me to sleep well at night.


    Added: When one considers that, in the US, some people believe illegal immigrants have a right to a driver's license, not revoking a license from a legal resident who's been in an accident is far from surprising.
    -----------------------------------------
    While others have labelled me antisocial at various times, it's actually not true. I just don't like people.

  10. #10
    "Per Ardua ad Surly" nelson249's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drmweaver2 View Post
    I try really hard to stay out of threads like this because they tend to become pointless rants against someone-not-thinking-as-I-do.
    Sh** happens. People die. Assigning blame and getting retribution or punishing "offenders" don't bring the dead back to life nor heal all wounds.
    I'm a fatalist. I'm going to be hit or have a bike accident eventually. It's going to happen. I accept it without being non-chalant about it.
    That allows me to ride without the weight of the world's worries, injustices and pain on my shoulders. It also allows me to sleep well at night.
    Probably one of the more sensible things said on this forum. The basic problem is the structure of our transportation networks and urban "planning" on this continent. Not having a car and not being able to drive equals disenfranchisement (indeed many people are more jealous of their right to clog up the roads than their right to vote). As long as we treat driving as a right and have no reasonable alternative. We are stuck with large numbers of accidents and people dying.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member randya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ctyler View Post
    As long as we live in a culture that absolves automobile drivers of responsible behavior, things will never change. To add insult to injury, read the following story:

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl...8S48.DTL&tsp=1
    a helmet won't do shyt for you if you are hit by a motorist traveling at 80+ mph.


  12. #12
    Senior Member randya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JayButros View Post
    Was he really ramp-jumping his bike into a busy street?

    We had to hide the ramps when I was 14 and no parent would have let us set up our fun on "Rt 69", I'm not defending either party...

    ...just sayin'
    so you're inclined to defend the perp?


  13. #13
    aka Jerome CritEastwood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drmweaver2 View Post
    I'm a fatalist. I'm going to be hit or have a bike accident eventually. It's going to happen. I accept it without being non-chalant about it. That allows me to ride without the weight of the world's worries, injustices and pain on my shoulders.
    So, what's going to happen after you get hit? Do you anticipate that you will be back on your bicycle as soon as physically possible? Do you think the weight of your world might gain a few pounds? People seem to react differently after being hit, which is why I'm asking. What do you anticipate?
    Runnin' With The Pack

  14. #14
    aka Jerome CritEastwood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by randya View Post
    a helmet won't do shyt for you if you are hit by a motorist traveling at 80+ mph.
    That's a pretty broad brush, even though I agree with the general notion. There are way too many scenarios to call it accurate though.

    If I were hit from behind by a low-slung/profile car going that speed, chances are that my 63cm frame is going to take the brunt of the hit and I'll mostly sail over the top of it.
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    There are some positive things being done. I read an article in NewScientist last year that described what was happening in one of the Dakotas (I can never keep ND and SD straight). When someone loses his/her license for DUI, they put a wifi-enabled ankle bracelet on. The bracelet detects whether or not the wearer has been drinking. Abstinence from drinking is a condition of the drunk's parole. Whenever the anklet wearer is near a wifi device it sends its data to authorities. They have decided to fight the addiction rather than use all their resources on keeping him/her from getting behind the wheel.

    Then there is the actions being taken in Orange County (and I think a few other CA counties). When someone is convicted of DUI, they make them sign a document stating that they are aware that a drunk driver poses a tremendous risk to innocent people. They then use this document to enable a second degree murder prosecution when the repeat offenders kill.

    I don't know how effective either of these programs have been, but at least the prosecutors are thinking outside the box and trying to improve an inadequate system.

  16. #16
    Senior Member ianbrettcooper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by randya View Post
    a helmet won't do shyt for you if you are hit by a motorist traveling at 80+ mph.

    But it might if I get hit by a motorist doing up to 30mph.

    No one ever argued that a bike helmet could save a person from an 80mph collision, or from a high speed train wreck, or an airplane crash, or a meteor impact for that matter. So I'm not sure what your point is.
    1997 Jamis Aragon (converted to touring bike), two white 1974 Gazelle-built Raleigh Grands Prix, two red 1973 Gazelle-built Raleigh Grands Prix.

    All I need is a bike and a road, and to be left with the same freedom any other road user has to decide what's the safest lane position.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by CritEastwood View Post
    So, what's going to happen after you get hit? Do you anticipate that you will be back on your bicycle as soon as physically possible? Do you think the weight of your world might gain a few pounds? People seem to react differently after being hit, which is why I'm asking. What do you anticipate?
    The reality is I don't think about "what happens after". I'll deal with it or be dead - either way, worrying about it now won't affect what happens then.

    And let's be REAL. A 3-foot law, for example, means NOTHING to a driver while actually driving (including myself). No one I know carries a 3 foot ruler strapped to either the right or left side of the vehicle being driven. It's always going to be an "eyeballed" measurement. If a driver gives "3 feet" of room, it'll be a coincidence or a complete abdication by the car driver...not an adherence to the law, per se.

    Laws, in general, also don't do sh** to protect anyone. They certainly don't prevent being right hooked, t-boned, or blown around by 18-wheeler drafts. How often do you see drivers change lanes/turn without signalling? What about texting while driving in states that have laws against that? Talking on the phone? Speeding? Reaching over the seat to quiet/correct a kid? I'm pretty dang sure that there are laws aginst those things too. Laws do not PREVENT bad driving behavior - only identify that which CAN BE grounds for "criminal" legal action.

    Helmet laws don't prevent injuries or death - they only make those who wear them feel more secure before accidents. I'm pretty damn sure Sonny Bono's helmet didn't stop him from dying after skiing into that tree did it? Or that Kennedy kid doing the same thing? Admittedly those were skiing accidents, but the central idea to the argument is consistent. Certain laws are "feel good" laws. Laws, by themselves, don't change anything.

    I ride defensively, but not overly so. I ride aggressively, but not rudely. I take the lane when appropriate - which is far less often than lots of riders I see as just obnoxious, ill-mannered idiots. My legal and moral rights to the road are outweighed by a ton or more of metal that hits me, if/when it does. There's no realistic counter-argument to that. If I'm dead/seriously injured, arguing that "I had the right of way/he was at fault" won't bring me back to life or make any pain go away.

    So, "change my world"? Add weight to it? Pffft. Dumb question - I already said I'm a fatalist.
    Last edited by drmweaver2; 11-15-10 at 07:42 AM.
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  18. #18
    Senior Member skye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ianbrettcooper View Post
    But it might if I get hit by a motorist doing up to 30mph.

    No one ever argued that a bike helmet could save a person from an 80mph collision, or from a high speed train wreck, or an airplane crash, or a meteor impact for that matter. So I'm not sure what your point is.
    No, it would not. Even in a 30 mph collision with another vehicle, a helmet would not protect you from injury. You are ascribing magical properties to The Bicycle Helmet which do not exist, even in the manufacturers' literature.

  19. #19
    Senior Member ianbrettcooper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skye View Post
    No, it would not. Even in a 30 mph collision with another vehicle, a helmet would not protect you from injury. You are ascribing magical properties to The Bicycle Helmet which do not exist, even in the manufacturers' literature.
    So are you seriously suggesting a helmet could never do anything positive even in a collision of 30mph or less? Remember, all I said was that a helmet might have a positive effect in collisions up to 30mph. I never said it would protect from 'injury' - you seem to be arguing against a point I never made. Heck, I'm well aware that helmets don't protect against broken limbs. But if you think a helmet doesn't reduce the potential for head injuries in low-speed impacts, there's no point in discussing this with you because you're living in a fantasy world in which the laws of physics don't apply.

    Straw man arguments like yours are the whole reason I find it hard to keep coming back here. Someone makes a comment, then someone attacks it because they've either misunderstood it or they desperately need to mischaracterize it. At a certain point, the straw men get so common that it becomes clear that most people are not interested in having a conversation at all - they just want to watch themselves yell, bully and berate. I mean what's the point of saying "I like cake" when someone immediately comes along to quote me out of context and say "You're a moron! If you like pie, you're crazy! Pie fans should DIE!"
    Last edited by ianbrettcooper; 11-15-10 at 05:28 AM.
    1997 Jamis Aragon (converted to touring bike), two white 1974 Gazelle-built Raleigh Grands Prix, two red 1973 Gazelle-built Raleigh Grands Prix.

    All I need is a bike and a road, and to be left with the same freedom any other road user has to decide what's the safest lane position.

  20. #20
    Senior Member irwin7638's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nelson249 View Post
    . Not having a car and not being able to drive equals disenfranchisement (indeed many people are more jealous of their right to clog up the roads than their right to vote). As long as we treat driving as a right and have no reasonable alternative. We are stuck with large numbers of accidents and people dying.
    I think it is worse than that. Automobiles are not looked up as transportation in this country, they are the primary means of self-expression. We (as a society) have bought the Madison Avenue premise that our vehicle is a social identifier.
    Read Simply Cycle

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  21. #21
    LCI #1853
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    Quote Originally Posted by randya View Post
    a helmet won't do shyt for you if you are hit by a motorist traveling at 80+ mph.

    Safety is a layered, behavioral system. Wearing a helmet isn't part of the layer(s) that protects you from getting hit by another vehicle.

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    Quote Originally Posted by irwin7638 View Post
    I think it is worse than that. Automobiles are not looked up as transportation in this country, they are the primary means of self-expression. We (as a society) have bought the Madison Avenue premise that our vehicle is a social identifier.
    Yes, they are. I don't really understand this mentality, but you're right. The "average" American views their car as an extension of themselves, not as a useful appliance that helps them to get from Point A to Point B. This is a triumph of marketing, and a tragedy for our society. It often seems like people have a sort of literal Stockholm Syndrome towards the cars that keep them captive. They get very defensive if you criticize drivers, driving, or car society in any way, because they identify with those things. It's gotten to the point that the car is literally the most fundamental aspect of the American Way of Life, and anyone who has a problem with that is seen as a socially maladjusted agitator.

    I also think this thing about how the kind of car you drive signals your social status is very true, and definitely contributes to how some drivers treat bicyclists on the road. Because the majority of people who don't drive cars every day are in that situation because of low economic status, many people associate not being in a car with low status (or, conversely with high status: look at all the people who baselessly assume that anyone in Lycra is a "recreational" rider selfishly impeding their commute to work). This, I think, causes many of them to think that it's socially acceptable to push bicyclists around with their cars. We need to somehow break this mentality, but I doubt it will happen without a major increase in the cost of car ownership and operation. Only then will bicycling for transportation start to seem more "normal" for people.

  23. #23
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drmweaver2 View Post
    Sh** happens. People die. Assigning blame and getting retribution or punishing "offenders" don't bring the dead back to life nor heal all wounds.
    I'm a fatalist. I'm going to be hit or have a bike accident eventually...
    so, are you making the same argument while doing other things (and not just when cycling)?

    Drive a car and get T-boned, walk across the street and be hit by a distracted driver, use the stairs, trip and break your neck from the ensuing fall?
    "My two favourite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything" -Peter Golkin
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  24. #24
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ianbrettcooper View Post
    ... all I said was that a helmet might have a positive effect in collisions up to 30mph...
    and pigs might fly too.

    How is it you think a helmet made to protect children from simple falls with no involvement with cars, is also able to protect adults traveling in traffic and being hit by cars?
    Last edited by closetbiker; 11-15-10 at 10:31 AM.
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  25. #25
    Senior Member canopus's Avatar
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    People, The only thing safety related that needs to work is the human brain, everything else is just an excuse, a crutch or window dressing on a pig. A helmet won't do anything unless the person wearing it exercises mental clarity during its use. Cars will never be safe as long as some drivers brain tells them that 3 seconds is a lifetime and they better pass this (insert your own noun here) or they are going to be late.

    It takes brains to be safe, nothing else matters, no law, and no safety device.
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