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Old 02-20-05, 05:38 PM   #1
77Univega
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Spills in Traffic: Legal Implications?

- - The recent thread "What can we learn from this video" raises a serious issue which may potentially obstruct pro-bicycling legislation. It is the fact that sometimes bicyclists do take spills in traffic which can lead to their own injury and disrupt traffic flow.
Two examples of my own:
1. When I first started riding again, my left shoelace got caught in the crank and so I could not prevent myself from toppling left into the traffic lane. There were no cars coming so I lucked out. (Now I tuck laces in)
2. I hit a patch of sand in the road which sent me down. Again, it was just luck that no cars ran over me.

My concern is that political interests who are against bicycle commuting can use this fact to their advantage: that it is a natural characteristic of bicycles that they can and (sometimes) do "fall over" and create a traffic hazard.

What can we, as bicycling advocates, do to anticipate and foil this argument?
Have any of you taken any dangerous spills in traffic?
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Old 02-20-05, 06:08 PM   #2
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Training wheels?

I think you're really reaching on this one.................
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Old 02-20-05, 06:13 PM   #3
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I'm not sure I get the point. Vehicles of all type are involved in mishaps. From bicycles to space shuttles. It's nothing new. Everyone knows this.
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Old 02-20-05, 06:34 PM   #4
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I've never seen a bike accident create a 12 miles traffic jam like an motor vehicle accident can.
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Old 02-20-05, 06:41 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DieselDan
I've never seen a bike accident create a 12 miles traffic jam like an motor vehicle accident can.
I'm working on that one...
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Old 02-20-05, 06:42 PM   #6
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Motorcycles have the same characteristics, so unless the hypothetical political interests are suggesting taking all two-wheeled vehicles off the road, their argument would be easily perforated.

It is true that if you fall over on your bike you could possibly be run over.
Of course, the easy solution to this problem is to ban automobiles.
Duh.
Or maybe we could be nice and give them a car lane on most roads so they won't have to worry about us falling over and getting their way.

Honestly, I don't think we need to anticipate substantial anti-bike movements (not that isolated incidents won't happen). The momentum is in the other direction. Mass-transit by automobile is proving itself to be less and less feasible. More people every year are sick of paying for cars and sick of driving them.
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Old 02-20-05, 07:51 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DieselDan
I've never seen a bike accident create a 12 miles traffic jam like an motor vehicle accident can.
I have. Bike vs car accident with death shut down the entire JFX for hours when I lived in Baltimore. (yes, bikes aren't allowed on the JFX).
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Old 02-21-05, 05:13 PM   #8
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If the cars are observing legal following distances, there shouldn't be any problems.
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Old 02-22-05, 09:35 AM   #9
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Let's see a car has probably over 2000 parts that can break down and create a safety hazard for the driver, compared to a bicycle which might have 100 (OK maybe more if you coun't the ball bearings seperately). I think I would side with bicycles for actually making less of a hazard. Plus, in the event of an accident bicycles are easier to reroute as officers can direct them to sidewalks, or a much narrower section of the road to clear the accident. Also, don't forget the fact that when a bicycle breaks in the road the owner can just pick it up and move it to the side (or a bystander if the the rider can't). Cars just sit out there and need a special vehicle to remove them from the road which can take a long time to get there.
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Old 02-22-05, 02:43 PM   #10
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Quote:
What can we, as bicycling advocates, do to anticipate and foil this argument?
We can point out that all road users take spills in traffic which can lead to their own injury and disrupt traffic flow, so we should be treated just like everybody else.
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Old 02-22-05, 03:28 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thechrisproject
If the cars are observing legal following distances, there shouldn't be any problems.

LOL... Autos do not even do this with each other in rain in So Cal... you expect them to safely follow a bike???
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