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  1. #1
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    percent of cyclists that get hit with a car?

    Is the percent of cyclists that get hit with a car pretty low? Im guessing under 1 percent. Theres so many bicyclists and I only hear of a cyclist getting hit every other month.

    How does the accidents per car driver and the accidents per cycling compare?Im trying to see if car driving or riding bicycle is more dangerous.

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    Senior Member oban_kobi's Avatar
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    Not sure. I assume you've tried googling. I've been hit on a bike but not in a car, but obviously I'm one person, and that means nothing statistically. Have you considered looking up car accidents per capita, and then cycling accidents per year, and estimate how many people ride?
    This is super seriously.

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    Senior Member sggoodri's Avatar
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    You need to define the exposure time. Hit during a lifetime of cycling, say, 10,000 to 20,000 hours of exposure? That percentage might well be over 50% if you include minor collisions.

    I believe most motorists are involved in collisions with other vehicles over the course of their lifetimes. Avid cyclists may have a similar experience depending on exposure time.

    Personally, at age 41 I've never had a reportable collision when driving my car or my bike or while a passenger in a car, and hope to keep it that way. I lightly tapped the rear bumper of my stepfather's car with my car at a toll booth (I was fishing for change in stop and go traffic) while motoring when I was 18, and as a cyclist I once had my long handlebar extension mirror gently brush the side of a minivan that passed me too closely at low speed. Neither involved any loss of control, property damage or injury. Should these incidents count?
    Last edited by sggoodri; 04-27-11 at 08:34 PM.

  4. #4
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    I have been hit 3 times (their fault). Once seriously, the other two relatively minor. But that's over 30 years and well over 300k miles. I have also hit several cars too (usually my fault). Most common is rear ending them from riding too closely at speed in traffic. Cars can just stop quicker than I can sometimes. None of that counts the occasional window tap or fender/hood/door slap for inattentive drivers who drive into me but I am able to evade.

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    During a 7 year period of car free living, I was hit by motorists 3 times. All their fault. Only one motorist got a ticket.

    I also lost control of my bike at least two times... (cornering too fast... and I have a scar on each cheek to prove it) And no doubt I probably dropped it a few times while learning to track stand. Who knows how many times I crashed as a youngster... although there is one memorable event that still gets told around the family holiday table... of the time I went through the picture window at the convent.

    During my time as a motorist, I have been involved in 5 motor vehicle collisions; 2 of which were my fault, and occurred during my first 2 years of driving.

    I was also involved in a motorcycle collision... also my fault. (took up cycling again, right after that.)

    At least those are all the events I remember.

  6. #6
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    It's probably something like <1% of all cyclists.

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    Senior Member Digital_Cowboy's Avatar
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    The only two significant instances that come to my mind are some 20 years ago when I was riding my mother's 5-speed and was rearended and when I was run off of the road by a JAM and into an overturned wood and concrete bus stop bench.

    Yeah, like everyone here, I've had more than my fair share of close calls with motorists that have passed too closely or that have come up behind me and really lay on their horn or rev their engine.
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    If you are going to define getting hit by a car as any contact during one's lifetime, I wouldn't be surprised if well over 10% of cyclists will qualify. If you are going to restrict it to contact that causes serious damage to the bike or rider, then you may find that such data already exists, although it would probably underestimate the true value. For what it is worth, after riding over 400,000 miles I have had one bike destroyed by a car attack and have been contacted eight or nine times. All incidents were the motorist's fault and none resulted in any injury to me.

    I suffered more injuries playing tennis than cycling. Maybe there should be vulnerable tennis player laws.

  9. #9
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    Considering all cycling accidents, roughly 59% occur from the rider losing control of and falling from or crashing their bike... in other terms, single-bike crashes.

    14% collide with a fixed object: a tree, telephone pole, wall, etc.

    11% collide with a moving motor vehicle.

    9% collide with another cyclist.

    3% collide with an animal -- dog, deer, 'possum, etc.

    2% collide with a pedestrian

    1% are those blind Toms who run into the back end of a parked car, or who are "doored."

  10. #10
    Yabba-Dabba-Doo! AlmostTrick's Avatar
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    There was a poll posted here a year or two ago asking people if they were ever hit by a car. The responders answering yes was surprisingly high. (more than half as I remember it)

    Keep in mind that most of these folks have logged many thousands of miles over many years, and none of them were killed from their collisions.
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    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    I regularly road ride, ride motorcycle, and drive cars. It is my belief that road riding is by far the most dangerous for me. Vulnerability on a motorcycle is similar to that on a bike, but at least you're moving at the same speed and are an integral part of the traffic, and other drivers expect to share the road with you. On a bicycle, you're almost always being overtaken at high speed and most drivers expect you to keep the hell out of the way and off the roads...to ride on sidewalks and use crosswalks, not take the lane.

  12. #12
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
    There was a poll posted here a year or two ago asking people if they were ever hit by a car. The responders answering yes was surprisingly high. (more than half as I remember it)

    Keep in mind that most of these folks have logged many thousands of miles over many years, and none of them were killed from their collisions.
    It is quite amazing how resilient the human body is to low speed crashes. If the head is somehow protected, (even by arms) the rest of the body tends to heal fairly well if bits are not removed.

    I believe there are graphs showing the human body can withstand impacts up to a fairly high speed. I think over 40MPH or so the odds go down dramatically.

  13. #13
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    This is making a strong case for protective bicycle gear when road cycling. I only tend to think about body armor in terms of what I'm going to do to myself; but if I want to consider potential bike-destroying collisions, spine protection and hip protection become a lot more relevant.

    Further, the body armor I want is only to protect me from pain; I don't need elbow pads or forearm cover, but it'll save me from painful impacts and road rash. This isn't an actual safety concern. If you start asking me what kind of stuff I should wear to protect myself in case of vehicular accident, analogous to air bags etc, I'm going to have to take a look at full mountain biking suits.

    This of course raises a lot of questions. How often do you replace your helmet? Roughly every 5 years Snell recommends replacement due to degradation of the materials; but once a helmet is used, its material is destroyed and you need a new one. If you replace your helmet when it's old and degrading, then it makes obvious sense that you're not suffering head impacts from bicycle accidents. Given that, you're protecting against a low risk with a high cost; so...



    What about spine injury in the event of a motorist collision? That could be paralyzing, easily. If a helmet is obviously necessary, then is this kind of gear necessary as well? Would this even help in a theoretically spine-injuring collision? (Let's say you come off and you're thrown to your back, land your back on a curb, your bike twists and throws your back on the car's hood or bumper, etc).

    Quote Originally Posted by genec
    I believe there are graphs showing the human body can withstand impacts up to a fairly high speed. I think over 40MPH or so the odds go down dramatically.
    And this seems to make sense of why my state bans bicycles from roads with a speed limit above 50mph: if the cyclist averages over 10mph, then the average collision speed from a rear impact should be under 40mph.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member sggoodri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluefoxicy View Post
    And this seems to make sense of why my state bans bicycles from roads with a speed limit above 50mph: if the cyclist averages over 10mph, then the average collision speed from a rear impact should be under 40mph.
    I don't think injury severity has anything to do with such bans. If it did, they would ban traffic traveling in the opposite direction on the other side of the road, where the velocity difference is over 100 mph, resulting in many fatal collisions when drivers drift over the yellow line.

    They should also ban intersections and crossing/entering maneuvers that result in high velocity differences. Come to think of it, there is a separate class of roadway where all of things are prohibited to eliminate the most common, serious collisions: fully controlled access highways.

    I believe bans on slow vehicles on ordinary, non-controlled-access roads are based primarily on a desire to avoid inconveniencing motorists without increasing pavement width, at the expense of bicyclists' mobility. The most serious safety problems on those roads involve opposite direction and junction traffic.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    I believe there are graphs showing the human body can withstand impacts up to a fairly high speed. I think over 40MPH or so the odds go down dramatically.
    Newton's laws dictate that a doubling in vehicle speed results in a stopping distance four times as long and four times as much kinetic energy absorbed during an impact. Driver response times further increase stopping distances. As a result, a small increase in roadway traffic speeds results in a HUGE increase in pedestrian fatalities. For all practical purposes, cyclists' and pedestrians' vulnerabilities in such a collision are pretty much the same.

    There are several good studies out there which discuss the effect of vehicle speed on pedestrian fatalities in car vs. human collisions. It's a fairly sharp S-shaped curve, and is more commonly portrayed via a bar graph:
    crashstats_graph1.gif

    At a speed of 40 mph, the probability of the pedestrian being killed is either 83 or 85%, depending on whose figures you cite. If the speed is lowered to 30 mph, then the likelihood of a fatality is lowered to 45, or 37% respectively. At 20 mph, both studies agree on a probablity of 5% fatalities.

    Here's the S-curve, plotted in kilometers/hr:
    probabilityimpact.gif

    This is the driving science behind the idea of reduced speed limits in school zones, highway work zones, and other places where there's likely to be car/pedestrian interactions.


    [Source 1: Killing Speed and Saving Lives, UK Dept. of Transportation, London, England. See also Limpert, Rudolph. Motor Vehicle Accident Reconstruction and Cause Analysis. Fourth Edition. Charlottesville, VA. The Michie Company, 1994, p. 663.]
    [Source 2: Vehicle Speeds and the Incidence of Fatal Pedestrian Collisions prepared by the Austrailian Federal Office of Road Safety, Report CR 146, October 1994, by McLean AJ,Anderson RW, Farmer MJB, Lee BH, Brooks CG.]

  16. #16
    Single-serving poster electrik's Avatar
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    Given enough exposure the survival rate plummets to zero. Even mountain bikers will get hit by cars, granted they might be driving one at the same time!

    For what it's worth all my collisions have been with roadies and teenagers riding bicycles going kamikaze on the MUP.

  17. #17
    Single-serving poster electrik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluefoxicy View Post
    Further, the body armor I want is only to protect me from pain; I don't need elbow pads or forearm cover, but it'll save me from painful impacts and road rash. This isn't an actual safety concern. If you start asking me what kind of stuff I should wear to protect myself in case of vehicular accident, analogous to air bags etc, I'm going to have to take a look at full mountain biking suits.
    You might want to consider that the ulnar nerve is the second longest unprotected nerve in your body and any fall on the elbow can be damaging. I am recently recovering from a bad fall and can tell you it's an uncomfortable thing having your funny bone done in for months.

    Full spine and hip protectors are a good thing offroad and on ice/snow, particularly as you get older, but they are very hot.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by sggoodri View Post
    I don't think injury severity has anything to do with such bans. If it did, they would ban traffic traveling in the opposite direction on the other side of the road, where the velocity difference is over 100 mph, resulting in many fatal collisions when drivers drift over the yellow line.
    WHAT yellow line? Any road with a 50mph+ speed limit here is a divided highway by jersey wall or median strip at least a lane and a half wide!

    Quote Originally Posted by electrik View Post
    Full spine and hip protectors are a good thing offroad and on ice/snow, particularly as you get older, but they are very hot.
    I know, chicks dig my Judge Dread-esque road gear right?

    (And why would being "hot" be a non-feature in the snow/ice?)
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  19. #19
    Senior Member sggoodri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluefoxicy View Post
    WHAT yellow line? Any road with a 50mph+ speed limit here is a divided highway by jersey wall or median strip at least a lane and a half wide!
    Here in NC, many two-lane roads outside incorporated areas are posted 55 mph. Many of these have low traffic volumes and are popular cycling routes, and even have the occasional tractor or combine driving on them at 10 mph. Some have 4' or 2' paved shoulders, some have no paved shoulders. One of the few roads into Research Triangle Park, a major single-use-zoning employment center, is posted 55 mph and is used by bike commuters due to a lack of alternate routes.

    But back to crossing the center line - the majority of fatalities on these roads involve drivers drifting left of center and hitting oncoming motorists. Sometimes they drop a wheel into the soft shoulder before overcorrecting into the oncoming lane. It seems that I read about such fatalities weekly in the local paper. I've never heard about such a collision as the result of passing bicyclists; it is driver inattention, error, recklessness, drowsiness, or DUI. Also, I rarely hear about car-bike collisions on these roads, although buzzing is common.

  20. #20
    Senior Member ladyraestewart's Avatar
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    I was hit by a car almost a month ago and in less than a month two cyclists in Austin (that I know about) were involved in automobile - bike collisions. I not going to attempt to figure out the numbers but we have a lot of cyclists in this city.
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  21. #21
    Single-serving poster electrik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluefoxicy View Post
    I know, chicks dig my Judge Dread-esque road gear right?

    (And why would being "hot" be a non-feature in the snow/ice?)
    Yes, chicks also dig scars... so we need to pick which truism to follow. The problem is that stuff ALWAYS get's TOO hot and rubs, otherwise it's all gravy.

  22. #22
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluefoxicy View Post
    And this seems to make sense of why my state bans bicycles from roads with a speed limit above 50mph: if the cyclist averages over 10mph, then the average collision speed from a rear impact should be under 40mph.
    That ban has nothing to do with cyclist safety and everything to do with getting cyclist out of the way of long distance commuting motorist heading into and out of Washington DC and Baltimore.
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  23. #23
    Senior Member Digital_Cowboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
    That ban has nothing to do with cyclist safety and everything to do with getting cyclist out of the way of long distance commuting motorist heading into and out of Washington DC and Baltimore.
    Ya know there is one thing that has never made much sense to me. That is why people are willing to work in areas that they aren't willing to live in?

    I'm not talking heavy industrial/manufacturing, but rather just what would in most places be called "seedy" or "the other side of the tracks." If more people lived close to where they worked, than we wouldn't be in the situation that we currently find ourselves in.
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  24. #24
    Single-serving poster electrik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digital_Cowboy View Post
    Ya know there is one thing that has never made much sense to me. That is why people are willing to work in areas that they aren't willing to live in?

    I'm not talking heavy industrial/manufacturing, but rather just what would in most places be called "seedy" or "the other side of the tracks." If more people lived close to where they worked, than we wouldn't be in the situation that we currently find ourselves in.
    Has more todo with planning a city, lots of places get built up as suburban housing and there are NO real jobs planned for, no light industrial or anything... since industry can't be there it gets concentrated elsewhere and it gets hard to find a spot with respectable housing and neighbourhoods that isn't a hole-in-the-wall ghetto surrounded by office buildings.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digital_Cowboy View Post
    Ya know there is one thing that has never made much sense to me. That is why people are willing to work in areas that they aren't willing to live in?

    I'm not talking heavy industrial/manufacturing, but rather just what would in most places be called "seedy" or "the other side of the tracks." If more people lived close to where they worked, than we wouldn't be in the situation that we currently find ourselves in.
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