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Old 12-12-04, 05:41 PM   #1
rockmuncher
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Got something to say?

I came across a rather obscure little article in the motoring section of the Newcastle Herald on Saturday. Here it is verbatim:
It was probably the strangest question I had been asked, and the answer took a bit of thinking about. "What," the woman asked, "do you think is the most dangerous vehicle currently available?"
The scanner in my head started clicking over the available information to search for the answer.
Was it the ultra-high performance vehicles boasting powerful engines? No. Maybe four-wheel-drives with their bulk, high ground clearance and semi-offroad tyres? No, not that category either.
Perhaps small cars that break so easily when walloped by one of those four-wheel-drives? Nope, wrong again. How about any one of a number of categories of motorcycle? No, I decided after working through a mental checklist of pros and cons.
"The most dangerous vehicle currently available, in my opinion," I told her, "is the common or garden variety bicycle."
I did not arrive at this conclusion simply because I am not a fan of bicycles. My personal dislike of them is not because of what they are, but how they are often ridden.
The rationale is based on the observations that bicycles are slow vehicles which are generally not able to keep pace with traffic flow and that their design offers nothing in the way of visual protection to the rider or other road users (bikes are not required to have rear vision mirrors, lights or indicators meaning riders cannot see what is happening behind them nor show any intended action).
Couple that with the fact that bicycles and their riders make for a very small "package" that is often quite agile and difficult for even observant drivers to spot and you have the making of an incident waiting to happen.
That situation is made even more difficult by riders who are generally loath to adopt even the most basic safety measures to protect themselves.
Sorry, but I just cannot see the protective value of lycra shorts, joggers, a T-shirt and a plastic and styrene foam helmet offering nothing by way of cover for the sides of the head and face at those times when bicycle and rider suddenly part company.
Now the funny thing is that, with Christmas approaching, parents all over the country will soon be happily gift-wrapping bicycles for their kids.
The sad thing is that very few of those youngsters will be given much (if anything) by way of instruction on how to use it other than to "keep your balance and watch out for cars".
Somehow I don't think my answer was quite what the woman thought it would be.
I've read this a couple of times, and while the author makes some salient points, it's primary purpose appears to be to incite comment. So I thought why the hell not, I'll throw in my two bob's worth. You can too! I'll collect any comments you want to make and forward them on.

Here's a summary of the points to be discussed:

bikes are the most dangerous vehicle on the road because
  • they are slow, and don't flow with traffic
  • they don't provide adequate protection for the rider
  • they don't incorporate safety features such as mirrors and signals
  • they are small and agile, making them hard to see
  • riders are always not given sufficient instruction on riding in traffic
  • riders are always not given sufficient instruction on road rules and etiquette
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Old 12-12-04, 06:14 PM   #2
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cough cough bull sh*t cough cough
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Old 12-12-04, 06:48 PM   #3
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cough cough bull sh*t cough cough
lol agreed, but I don't think they will print that
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Old 12-12-04, 07:03 PM   #4
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Car crashes are the number ONE killer of teenagers in the US. Not aids, drugs, gang violence, crime or any disease.

Bikes are the most dangerous vehicle? How can that be?

The most insane thing is for a parent buy their kid a car, but warn them that "bicycles are dangerous."
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Old 12-12-04, 07:10 PM   #5
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  • they are slow, and don't flow with traffic
  • they don't provide adequate protection for the rider
  • they don't incorporate safety features such as mirrors and signals
  • they are small and agile, making them hard to see
  • riders are always not given sufficient instruction on riding in traffic
  • riders are always not given sufficient instruction on road rules and etiquette

1) they do go the direction of traffic, so in one sense they do *flow*, but only if the rider is obeying the laws of the road...slower than cars, I will not agrue, since we are.

2) The protection is about the same as a motorcycle, so saying a motorcycle is safer is pure crap. As far asl clothing...wearing leather will only weight you down and make it hard to move, thus making you slower....which is less safe, a little less scrape protection, or moving up to 8mph slower due to restricted movement....I would take the lighter clothing myself.

3) we have a signal, it's called our left arm. Mirrors are an option we can buy....research is the writer's friend...please go meet Mr. Library, he is a kind and warm hearted fellow, full of information.

4) small and agile....smaller than a motorcycle..but guess what, we have a nifty invention called lights. We also have a super neato concept called "paying attention"....given it's hard to see in all conditions, but you can be sure 90% of the time that all is needed is for the driver to get their hands off the burger/cellphone/radio/other person, and just pay attention to the road. As far as agile, a porsche is agile, and I don't see it being a problem for other motorists.

5) this is very true, and local DMVs should have a "defensive riding" class for riders who get caught for not following rules repeatedly.

6) this could be easily solved by having bicycle specific segments of vehicle code, where bicycle specific laws and regulations are covered without having to parse all odd-hundred pages of law. However, I DO know the laws of whatever region I ride in...if I don't know the laws, I try to stay off the road.


As a counterpoint:

cars

1) do not know the laws they have to follow regarding bicycles, nor etiquette

2) drivers often distract themselves, therefore posing a higher risk than a bicycle would to others (trust me on this, it's hard to see the forest from the trees)

3) in many adverse conditions drivers neglect to use their lights, on the flawed basis that the lights are for them to see....however lights are also so they can be seen.

in end, basically both sides do have their screw ups, but of the largest flaws, bike riders and cars share those problems, it's basically human nature.
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Old 12-12-04, 08:03 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockmuncher
The sad thing is that very few of those youngsters will be given much (if anything) by way of instruction on how to use it other than to "keep your balance and watch out for cars".
Even sadder is the fact that 99% of motorists don't consider bicycles legitimate road users, even though it's the LAW to do so.

And most kids don't ride on the road until they are teenagers or older anyway, he/she is really referring to older people who DO have road knowledge and common sense on the laws and how to ride a bike.

What's the #1 problem on the roads? Not enough roads/too many cars. More bikes = less cars.

Average time it takes a vehicle to pass me SAFELY - about 5 seconds.
Average time that your car is stopped at a traffic jam or behind another vehicle which they cannot pass during their 30 minute drive to work - mmmmmmm, take a guess, I'd say a few minutes at least where I live.

These articles are annoying, how many times can someone post the same crap about bikes suck etc. etc. when the real problem is actually TOO MANY CARS.
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Old 12-12-04, 08:18 PM   #7
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1. Drinking.
2. Cell phones.
3. Loud music.
4. NASCAR wannabes.

Clean up you own house.
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Old 12-12-04, 08:34 PM   #8
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Speed Kills - That is why cars are a lot more dangerous both to occupants and other road users.

Knowledge of how to drive and etiquette - is a driver/rider issue and not a vehicle issue. The question was 'what is the most dangerous vehicle?'
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Old 12-12-04, 08:54 PM   #9
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I saw a nice post from someone a while back where they simply stated that "bicycles don't hold up traffic, they are traffic". So often motorists forget.

One of my pet peeves is being honked or brushed by someone behind me when I'm doing 40 in a 60 zone. They don't do that to slow moving trucks and buses, so why to bike riders? Dun figure.
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Old 12-12-04, 08:58 PM   #10
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That is the other sad truth...the faster vehicle often defines how safe any roadway is...so the majority of the burden of safety is on the motorist. True the flow of traffic might be 45, but if it's a 35 zone, you should be going 35. I know how bad it sucks, but that's just the way it is. Now if a guy going 35 gripes about a cyclist going 20mph slower (15mph), well that 20mph is safer for both ends than the 30mph difference if drivers sped by the usual 10mph that is done on 35mph roads.

Things arent always one sided.
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Old 12-12-04, 09:27 PM   #11
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Roughly 700 cyclists get killed in a YEAR in the USA. How many are killed in motor vehicle accidents a weeK?
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Old 12-12-04, 10:20 PM   #12
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>>>>"The most dangerous vehicle currently available, in my opinion," I told her, "is the common or garden variety bicycle."<<<<<<<

If this person is killed, it will be by the garden variety car or truck and not bicycle.
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Old 12-12-04, 10:35 PM   #13
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They are dangerous? Something that promotes a happy, healthy lifestyle that is LIGHT YEARS beyond whatever this woman does to keep herself feeling right in her smug little BS opinions is dangerous? Wow, so a car hits a bicycles, who is going to be on the receiving end of the blow here? If the driver can hear the bike getting crumpled and its rider thrown over that obnoxious cell phone drivel, then I would say the driver is in grave danger. What a tool. I am going to go ride my bike down the middle of hte road right now out of spite (just kidding, by the way, its too cold and windy right now).
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Old 12-12-04, 10:39 PM   #14
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I can only think of about 2 whole instances where a bicycle has actually killed the operator. But I can think of HUNDREDS of instances where an automoble has either killed its operator, occupant, a bicyclist, or all of the above.
Bikes don't kill people, people in cars kill people.

Last edited by slvoid; 12-17-04 at 08:21 AM.
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Old 12-13-04, 05:12 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by slvoid
I can only think of about 2 whole instances where a bicycle has actually killed the operator. But I can think of HUNDREDS of instances whether a automoble has either killed its operator, occupant, a bicyclist, or all of the above.
Bikes don't kill people, people in cars kill people.
LMAO slvoid.

And thanks to the rest of you. I'll pick up your contributions in about 9 hours and send it (the stuff that can be published) off to the letters to the editor.

Thanks again guys and gals, and have a good night.
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Old 12-13-04, 05:33 AM   #16
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The Newcastle Herald's author is a troll, surely. How can something be the most dangerous thing, when it doesn't actually kill people? How, when cars are up there with cancer and homicide and coronary heart failure, can bikes possibly be considered dangerous? Not basing their opinion on prejudice? Bah, rubbish. Ignore such idiots.
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Old 12-13-04, 05:41 AM   #17
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The Newcastle Herald's author is a troll, surely. How can something be the most dangerous thing, when it doesn't actually kill people? How, when cars are up there with cancer and homicide and coronary heart failure, can bikes possibly be considered dangerous? Not basing their opinion on prejudice? Bah, rubbish. Ignore such idiots.
His article was intended to inspire emotional argument such as this. He doesn't care what you think, just that you will put up a fight.

My circular saw won't kill me, but it might take off my two year old daughter's arm in less than a second. It's bloody dangerous without being fatal, that's why I keep my kids away from it.
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Old 12-13-04, 11:27 AM   #18
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Depends on your definition of dangerous. If he's arguing that people on bicycles get hurt because they get hit by cars, IMHO that means that the cars are dangerous. Most people who get shot are standing on their feet; that doesn't mean feet are dangerous. The bigger the car, the more dangerous it is. At some point (SUVs) they become inordinately dangerous even to people hiding inside other metal cages. Heck, cars have even been known to kill people sitting inside buildings.

As far as them being dangerous because of how they're ridden, that's a given. You can operate any vehicle in an endangering manner. If you get a Hummer and decide to start racing freight trains to the crossings, well buddy, you're going to be eating steel one day.

I will agree that a very large percentage of riders in the U.S. are improperly trained, and the vast majority of accidents and fatalities occur primarily because of people doing stupid stuff on bikes. The same is true for motor vehicles. Let's not blame the vehicles OR the many people who operate them in a safe and conscientious fashion.
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Old 12-13-04, 01:05 PM   #19
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Roughly 700 cyclists get killed in a YEAR in the USA. How many are killed in motor vehicle accidents a weeK?
How many more cars are on the roads than bikes?

You need to look at accident rates as a percentage of the total.
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Old 12-13-04, 03:03 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slvoid
I can think of HUNDREDS of instances whether a automoble has either killed its operator, occupant, a bicyclist, or all of the above.
Or pedestrians. How about the car that plowed through a farmers market killing a bunch of people? That would be real hard to do on a bicycle.
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Old 12-13-04, 04:37 PM   #21
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http://www.hwysafety.org/safety_fact...ts/general.htm

At least he considers the bicycle to be a vehicule. The problem with his argument is that he says the bicycle is dangerous because of cars. So the problem is the car, not the bike.

I agree with some points though. Active lighting should come stock on bikes, maybe even turn lights. The law should be better enforced when it comes to traffic lights and turn signals.
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Old 12-13-04, 05:11 PM   #22
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I would conjecture that statistically riderless bicycles and driverless cars present little danger in and of themselves, though perhaps either might be an occasional traffic obstruction depending where they are located.

It seems that the addition of a human operator of either vehicle markedly increases the danger inherent.
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Old 12-13-04, 05:49 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndrewP
Speed Kills - That is why cars are a lot more dangerous both to occupants and other road users.


you are right speed kills, maybe not the speed you were talking about but certainly this stuff called "speed" does. (it may be crack i am not sure)
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Old 12-13-04, 06:32 PM   #24
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Rockmuncher,

Can you also post the letters that the Newcastle Herald is bound to receive over the next few days?
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Old 12-13-04, 08:51 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erick L
http://www.hwysafety.org/safety_fact...ts/general.htm

At least he considers the bicycle to be a vehicule. The problem with his argument is that he says the bicycle is dangerous because of cars. So the problem is the car, not the bike.

I agree with some points though. Active lighting should come stock on bikes, maybe even turn lights. The law should be better enforced when it comes to traffic lights and turn signals.
Turn signals come on all bikes, we signal by pointing where we're going, with the exception of the right turn. Adding lighted signals would just add much more weight for us to pedal around. My heaviest bike right now weighs just under 26 pounds, and that's where I want it to stay. If I want lights on my bike, I put on the quick release type, especially to deter theft while I'm off the bike.
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