Bike Forums

Bike Forums (http://www.bikeforums.net/forum.php)
-   Advocacy & Safety (http://www.bikeforums.net/advocacy-safety/)
-   -   Accidents caused by non/mal-functioning brakes? (http://www.bikeforums.net/advocacy-safety/829315-accidents-caused-non-mal-functioning-brakes.html)

SteamingAlong 07-06-12 01:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Keith99 (Post 14447732)
When I was a kid most of us had bikes with 2 or 3 speed hubs where a slight backpedal changed gears and a harder backpedal braked. Most of those bikes had no hand brake for the front.

Drop or break a chain and no brakes.

I never recall that happening, but it is something to consider.

That's a really common argument among the pro-brake(s) fixed gear crowd, since if the chain breaks while counter spinning your pedals on a fixed gear and you don't at least one brake, there are only two ways to stop.

1.) Fred Flinstone style.
2.) Wait until you land/stop rolling across the asphalt, pick yourself off, check for injuries, check for bike damage.

DPN 07-06-12 01:23 PM

When I was a kid in the mid to late 60s my early bikes had coaster brakes and one speed. I recall on 2 different occasions when the chain came off the chainring, resulting in NO brakes, and both times going down a hill that ended in a cul de sac. Wiped out both times!

However, with HAND operated brakes I have always been able to stop. I did have a cable break, but I was still able to stop.

DPN

Quote:

Originally Posted by Keith99 (Post 14447732)
When I was a kid most of us had bikes with 2 or 3 speed hubs where a slight backpedal changed gears and a harder backpedal braked. Most of those bikes had no hand brake for the front.

Drop or break a chain and no brakes.

I never recall that happening, but it is something to consider.


PJCB 07-06-12 01:42 PM

It's interesting that you've brought this up. I used to ride downhill and singletrack/crosscountry MTBing, and not once did I worry about brake failure. Now that I ride as a commuter/utilitarian/recreational road cyclist, I am always nervous when going down a hill that something will cause the bike to seize and I'll be flung off the bike. I think its just my paranoia, and the fact that my invincible years are coming to an end, but it was an interesting realization. Brakes were definitely important while racing down mountains and launching myself off cliffs, something about the pavement makes me feel like it would hurt more to land there...

rekmeyata 07-06-12 05:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SteamingAlong (Post 14447593)
.

On a long descent with a bike equiped with rim brakes, it is possible to overheat the rim and cause a high speed tire blowout, which at high speed this could be deadly, especially if it's the front wheel.

I don't care what book covered it it's not entirely correct. I use to live and ride and race in the mountains of S Calif and even on hot days were temps exceeded 100 degrees never blew a tire braking. Tubulars have been known to blow due to overheating either because the latex tube couldn't handle the heat or the glue became overheated and became useless, and CF rims have been known to delaminate from heat build up, but clincher tires with butyl tubes on aluminum rims will not suffer from that, and if one were to suffer from that it would be one of those lightening bolt strikes occasions...a rare and unusual event.

Regardless the whole thing about tires blowing is completely unrelated to brakes stopping a bike.

rekmeyata 07-06-12 05:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PJCB (Post 14447902)
something about the pavement makes me feel like it would hurt more to land there...

I would think crashing into boulders, rocks, cliffs, side of mountains, etc would be worse then landing on pavement, but that's just me.

Grim Ace 07-06-12 06:39 PM

I think it is important to maintenance your bike to make sure everything works correctly, especially if you regularly cycle fast. As for breaks, I trust my V-brakes. When I need to brake, I usually do so smoothly and from a distance which gives me plenty of time to maneuver out of the way if they would not work for some reason. Though truth be told, I did get into the bad habit of using my back brake later, at higher speed and more aggressively, making my bike slide a little. I should probably stop doing that, people just think I'm a jackass for doing it, though it is just childish playfulness.

John Forester 07-06-12 06:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SteamingAlong (Post 14447593)
I haven't heard of a brake failure due to defect, however there is one issue I haven't seen mentioned yet.

On a long descent with a bike equiped with rim brakes, it is possible to overheat the rim and cause a high speed tire blowout, which at high speed this could be deadly, especially if it's the front wheel.


It's one of the topics covered in the book "Bicycle Science".

The pressure rise in a tire mounted on a rim subject to heavy, continued braking will be no more than about 20%, which any normal tire is supposed to take. The official test overpressure is 50%. The paper giving the temperature rise is in my website johnforester.com, under Articles/Bicycle Engineering/safe brakes that burn up. The 20% pressure rise is calculated from the less than 120F temperature rise under the worst case.

vol 05-24-13 09:45 PM

Here is the report of a recent tragic accident.

"A teenage cyclist was killed after the brakes on the kit bike he had built from scratch apparently failed as he rode down a hillside with his father and sister, sending him speeding towards a busy A-road where he collided with a van."

The victim's father blamed the bike shop's work on the brakes hours before the accident.

RaleighSport 05-24-13 09:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by vol (Post 15665096)
Here is the report of a recent tragic accident.

"A teenage cyclist was killed after the brakes on the kit bike he had built from scratch apparently failed as he rode down a hillside with his father and sister, sending him speeding towards a busy A-road where he collided with a van."

The victim's father blamed the bike shop's work on the brakes hours before the accident.

so it took you over 10 months to find 1 instance to bring up and bring this thread back?

CB HI 05-24-13 10:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by raleighsport (Post 15665118)
so it took you over 10 months to find 1 instance to bring up and bring this thread back?

So what

RaleighSport 05-24-13 10:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CB HI (Post 15665165)
So what

Doesn't that play against his overall concern about the frequency of which it happens?

Greyryder 05-24-13 11:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nelson249 (Post 14438701)
A trend round here among young boys is to remove the brakes from their BMX bikes.

That's been going on in freestyle, since the mid 90s. It's become so common, that not only are most forks no longer made with brake lugs, but a lot frames are being built without them, as well.

CB HI 05-25-13 03:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RaleighSport (Post 15665171)
Doesn't that play against his overall concern about the frequency of which it happens?

She asked a valid question. Got responses. Then she found a case that adds to the thread. Then you act like she has been doing an unending search all this time. Your response to her seems off base to me. The number of news articles is not a got indicator.

Does it really seem, based on news articles, that there are 30,000+ motor vehicle deaths in the USA each year. I certainly have not read 100 such articles each and every day.

RaleighSport 05-25-13 10:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CB HI (Post 15665435)
She asked a valid question. Got responses. Then she found a case that adds to the thread. Then you act like she has been doing an unending search all this time. Your response to her seems off base to me. The number of news articles is not a got indicator.

Does it really seem, based on news articles, that there are 30,000+ motor vehicle deaths in the USA each year. I certainly have not read 100 such articles each and every day.

It was a valid question and she got a ton of informative feed back (I'm going to assume you know the OP is a female for fact). I never claimed she unendingly researched, but I'd be willing to bet if she saw others she'd have posted them here, despite my gruffness earlier my actual concern is the OP is over worrying something and judging by their feelings on the subject, I would assume their brakes are flawlessly tuned up at all times, clean rims etc (If rim brakes), so there's probably no need at all for them to be worried.

ItsJustMe 05-25-13 10:56 AM

You'd have to know more about that incident. It said he "built the bike up from scratch." What does that mean? Did he grab some crappy brakes off of an old Huffy bike, or did he buy new brakes? What kind of brakes were they? The father said that the bike shop worked on the brakes hours before. Does he KNOW that they worked specifically on the brakes, or did they work on something else? Did they inspect the brakes, and if so, what did they say about them? It's possible they looked at the brakes and told the kid "these brakes suck, you need to fix them" and he said "meh, whatever" and never told his dad. Did he have two sets of brakes, or was this a single speed with coasters, or a fixie with just front brakes?

We just don't know. Without this information, it doesn't really add much to the discussion.

Truth is I trust the brakes on my bike at least as much as the brakes on my car, because in 5 seconds I can inspect everything that there is about the brakes that might fail, and if there's the slightest thing wrong I can probably feel it immediately when I'm using the brakes, far before it becomes dangerous. AND there are two completely independent sets of brakes on almost all bikes.

LesterOfPuppets 05-25-13 10:59 AM

The Long Haul Trucker isn't particularly suited to fixed gear but I guess it could have been.

I'm just glad I've put in many miles on brakeless freewheel bikes so feel fairly confident braking without brakes.

kenji666 05-25-13 11:12 AM

What if your car accelerator stuck while going 70 mph? What if your car brakes failed going that fast? What if, what if? Life is too short. Check your equipment before riding and just enjoy the ride.

rekmeyata 05-25-13 11:39 AM

Yup, the world is full of what if's, I say so what? Don't live your life in fear of the what if's, but live it instead to the fullest.

FBinNY 05-25-13 03:23 PM

Bicycles are equipped with 2 independent brakes. this redundancy makes it nearly impossible to have an accident caused brake failure alone. Granted, the failure of one brake can increase the braking distance leading to a possible accident, but even this is unlikely if the rider rides in control.

The accident described in the UK newspaper happening because of brake failure is unlikely almost to the point of impossibility. It would have requires total failure of not one but both brakes -- such as might happen from shoes falling off, or cables breaking. Either brake alone would have been enough to prevent runaway acceleration even on a super steep hill.

I'll venture that a forensic examination of the brakes will show them to be functional, and the actual cause to be a form of user error.

BTW- user error due to panic is far more common that you might think. Both adults and children, on bicycles and in automobiles, often crash simply because they never even tried to apply the brakes.

CB HI 05-25-13 07:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ItsJustMe (Post 15666283)
You'd have to know more about that incident. It said he "built the bike up from scratch." What does that mean? Did he grab some crappy brakes off of an old Huffy bike, or did he buy new brakes? What kind of brakes were they? The father said that the bike shop worked on the brakes hours before. Does he KNOW that they worked specifically on the brakes, or did they work on something else? Did they inspect the brakes, and if so, what did they say about them? It's possible they looked at the brakes and told the kid "these brakes suck, you need to fix them" and he said "meh, whatever" and never told his dad. Did he have two sets of brakes, or was this a single speed with coasters, or a fixie with just front brakes?

We just don't know. Without this information, it doesn't really add much to the discussion.

Truth is I trust the brakes on my bike at least as much as the brakes on my car, because in 5 seconds I can inspect everything that there is about the brakes that might fail, and if there's the slightest thing wrong I can probably feel it immediately when I'm using the brakes, far before it becomes dangerous. AND there are two completely independent sets of brakes on almost all bikes.

Many, maybe most of your questions were answered in the linked article.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk...s-8598118.html

FBinNY 05-25-13 07:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CB HI (Post 15667608)
Many, maybe most of your questions were answered in the linked article.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk...s-8598118.html

No, in fact they left more unanswered. Since the child was described as standing on his pedals and screaming, I have towonder of this was a first bike with hand brakes, and in his panic he tried stopping it by foot as he would with a coaster brake.

As I said earlier, the chances of total failure of both brakes are super remote, so one has to wonder at what else isn't said.

CB HI 05-25-13 08:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FBinNY (Post 15667639)
No, in fact they left more unanswered. Since the child was described as standing on his pedals and screaming, I have towonder of this was a first bike with hand brakes, and in his panic he tried stopping it by foot as he would with a coaster brake.

As I said earlier, the chances of total failure of both brakes are super remote, so one has to wonder at what else isn't said.

Why are you acting like I was talking to you in my post. Trying to set up a straw man?


Really, you guys cannot read the article to answer some of the questions by ItsJustMe. OK lets go slowly now!

Quote:

Originally Posted by ItsJustMe (Post 15666283)
The father said that the bike shop worked on the brakes hours before. Does he KNOW that they worked specifically on the brakes, or did they work on something else? Did they inspect the brakes, and if so, what did they say about them? It's possible they looked at the brakes and told the kid "these brakes suck, you need to fix them" and he said "meh, whatever" and never told his dad.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Article
his 1,200 Long Haul Trucker bicycle

Long Haul Trucker = front and rear hand brakes

Quote:

Originally Posted by Article
Philip Birkett, who owns the Acceler8 cycle shop in Marlborough, told the hearing that Kadian had come into his store and asked him to look at the gears and the rear brakes, resulting in the decision to replace the rear brake cable. Mr Birkett added: “I stand by my work and everything I did was correct. When that bike left the shop it was in a perfectly safe condition.”

So as a minimum, the LBS replaced the rear brake cable.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Article
Mr Harding, who is the cousin of former Times editor and new BBC head of news James Harding, said the brakes had seemed “much firmer” after the visit to the shop,

So Dad noted the brakes were tightened up after the LBS visit.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Article
Mr Harding said his son had been excited about having the bike, which he had assembled himself. But he added he had been clear with the teenager that the cycle would have to be checked by a professional before it was cleared for use on the roads.

So the son assembled the Long Haul Trucker and another LBS checked it out, and cleared it for use.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Article
The family, who had recently returned to Britain from the United States where Kadian’s mother runs a chain of bicycle shops,

So Mom is in the bicycle business but Mom or Dad cannot fix or adjust brakes?



Quote:

Originally Posted by FBinNY (Post 15667639)
Since the child was described as standing on his pedals and screaming, I have towonder of this was a first bike with hand brakes, and in his panic he tried stopping it by foot as he would with a coaster brake.

I missed where ItsJustMe asked that question in the post that I responded to. Can you point to it?

FBinNY 05-25-13 08:36 PM

You're taking a bunch of buttons and sewing a vest on it. Yes, it was a LHT, and I know it came with 2 hand brakes. Yes, we know the shop replaced one cable, and yes, mom owns or manages some retail bike shops, but the article implies she was still in the USA at the time.

I didn't imply that I thought your response was directed at me, just that I had similar questions to those raised by Itsjust me.

What isn't answered is why the child accelerated away form his dad on the descent, why he was standing, whether he was, in fact, applying or trying to apply the brakes, how steep the grade was, the time and distance elements, the child's experience with hand brakes, and so on.

All we have is a bunch of facts, but nothing that strings them together well enough to form a theory. I don't know what policy is in the UK, but here the police would have impounded the bike, and at some point tested the brakes to see whether they worked or not.

CB HI 05-25-13 08:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FBinNY (Post 15667801)
You're taking a bunch of buttons and sewing a vest on it. Yes, it was a LHT, and I know it came with 2 hand brakes. Yes, we know the shop replaced one cable, and yes, mom owns or manages some retail bike shops,

After reading ItsJustMe's post, do you really thinks that HE understands that?

Quote:

Originally Posted by FBinNY (Post 15667801)
but the article implies she was still in the USA at the time.

The article says the family moved back to the UK. Do you not consider Mom part of the family?

FBinNY 05-25-13 09:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CB HI (Post 15667813)
After reading ItsJustMe's post, do you really thinks that HE understands that?

The article says the family moved back to the UK. Do you not consider Mom part of the family?

I do consider Mom to be part of the family, but her presence is never explicitly mentioned, just Dad, son and daughter, so I take that to mean she wasn't with them at the time. Furthermore I credit the writer with knowledge of verb tenses. The family had returned to the UK...where Kadrian's mother runs a chain of bicycle shops. Since mom can't be in two places at the same time I inferred that she was still in the US. If she had been mentioned at all, or if the writer said the family was visiting the UK, I wouldn't have made the same inference.

As it is, there's no mention either way, and it isn't germane to the issue except that you raised the issue that mom would know how to adjust the brakes, though it is possible to run bike shops and not know anything about bike mechanics.


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 04:41 PM.