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Old 09-22-13, 06:51 AM   #1
Retro Grouch 
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Rethinking riding on the street.

My neighbor's legally parked car was just rear ended and pushed about 50 feet forward. I can only assume the woman who hit it was paying more attention to her cell phone than she was to her driving. I've had 2 internet bicycling acquaintances who have been killed by similar un-attentive drivers.

My worst bicycling injuries have all happened on car-free trails. I understand that frequency vs. severity issue. But I'm thinking a lick that's hard enough to push a parked Buick 50 feet would definitely seriously injure or even kill a cyclist and there's really no defense or precaution for that.
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Old 09-22-13, 07:47 AM   #2
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RIGHT!
I quit motorcycle riding because of cell phones
Texting could put paid to many bike riders
especially VCers "taking a lane" instead of hugging the right where the texting idiot is least likely to intrude
But no protection from Texting
other than "TAKING A SIDEWALK"- which isn't such a bad idea if YOU pay attention.

50 feet-a Buick?? If it hit you-you would still be flying!!

TAKE A SIDEWALK ! Screw those pedestrians-you pay taxes right?? Pedestrian cycling-a walker with a mechanical aid-like a wheelchair or a walker!
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Old 09-22-13, 08:04 AM   #3
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i ride very little around traffic. People in cars will make bad judgements, even though they are usually rational and intelligent people. i think this explains it best http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ZgiVicpZGk
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Old 09-22-13, 08:18 AM   #4
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Inattentive driving is becoming a concerning issue for cyclists. (I'm a little worried about relaxing drug laws, too, but maybe that's just me not being 'progressive'). I'm on the road all day, and it's epidemic (my favorite so far: young guy with a stick shift, phone in one hand, cigarette in the other). In suburban areas, sidewalks are usually deserted and sometimes are an intelligent option, the classic example being a long uphill with no shoulder - you go ahead and 'take the lane' at 9mph in 40mph traffic; I'll stay safe over here thank you.
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Old 09-22-13, 08:40 AM   #5
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My wife's concern for my safety had me doing a significant change for her piece of mind. I went from state highway routes to back streets, 25-35 mph park roads and mostly a local MUP. My training partner agreed as her S.O. was concerned as well. Not perfect but it works. My only other alternative is creating a club with group rides in the state highways.
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Old 09-22-13, 08:40 AM   #6
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Fortunately for me, I ride on back streets, many very lightly traveled. If I have a sub job that day and I'm out at 0430, there's just about no one on the roads until I'm near home.
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Old 09-22-13, 08:57 AM   #7
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Moved to A&S from 50+.
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Old 09-22-13, 08:57 AM   #8
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Fortunately for me, I ride on back streets, many very lightly traveled. If I have a sub job that day and I'm out at 0430, there's just about no one on the roads until I'm near home.
You've hit on my main issue.

So where do the texters feel most comfortable downloading ring tones or whatever and not paying attention to their driving? On the back streets, mainly very lightly traveled.
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Old 09-22-13, 08:58 AM   #9
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Consider that most collisions happen in or near intersections and even if you're on the sidewalk you still end up crossing intersections in the street - and usually in a less visible location than if you were already riding in the street. Furthermore, for the sidewalk rider every driveway becomes another intersection and car drivers pulling in or out may not notice an approaching bicycle, especially if there are bushes or trees blocking the view or if the cyclist is going at faster than walking speed.

Locally the last three bicyclist fatalities were the result of the car driver losing control and leaving the street entirely. Two of the riders were on the sidewalk but the car not only hit them but also a fire hydrant and a business building. The other rider was on the right side of the road but the car also hit a light pole and a street sign - so being all the way on the unpaved shoulder would not have helped (no sidewalk in that location).

Fortunately such fatal crashes are rare and overall I consider bicycling to be a relatively safe activity based both on published statistics and my personal experience. Although it is certainly not without risks, I don't think switching to sidewalk riding does anything to reduce those risks.
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Old 09-22-13, 09:00 AM   #10
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Moved to A&S from 50+.
Aw man. Please don't do that. I want to hear what the 50+ people think. That's why I posted it in 50+.
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Old 09-22-13, 09:07 AM   #11
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Aw man. Please don't do that. I want to hear what the 50+ people think. That's why I posted it in 50+.
Distracted drivers talking on cell phones isn't a topic specific to 50+. There is a redirect so that 50+ people will see the thread in here.
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Old 09-22-13, 09:13 AM   #12
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My neighbor's legally parked car was just rear ended and pushed about 50 feet forward. I can only assume the woman who hit it was paying more attention to her cell phone than she was to her driving. I've had 2 internet bicycling acquaintances who have been killed by similar un-attentive drivers.

My worst bicycling injuries have all happened on car-free trails. I understand that frequency vs. severity issue. But I'm thinking a lick that's hard enough to push a parked Buick 50 feet would definitely seriously injure or even kill a cyclist and there's really no defense or precaution for that.
Do you still drive on the road? There are countless fatalities and horrific injuries that occur regularly to car and truck drivers. I don't get why people aren't afraid to drive. I agree it can be disconcerting to be surrounded by all those fast moving steel missiles.

But it's just not that unsafe, especially if you ride smart.
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Old 09-22-13, 09:17 AM   #13
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Prathmann
I'm exaggerating of course.
But if sidewalks are so dangerous-relative to the street-why are pedestrians not "taking a lane" also?
Hey sidewalk is too dangerous-take lane

Just kidding-but if you think sidewalks are dangerous for bikes because cars seek them out-then same story for pedestrians

We really need a technological GOV enforced solution.Yeah Republicans will *****, but cell phones NEED to be disabled when the engine is running or car is "on" (Prius etc).
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Old 09-22-13, 09:32 AM   #14
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Just kidding-but if you think sidewalks are dangerous for bikes because cars seek them out-then same story for pedestrians
How fast do you ride on the sidewalks? If it's legal to do so where you live, you're still supposed to keep the speed reasonably low, which I interpret as no faster than 6-8 MPH. As long as you do that, then I believe the sidewalks will be as safe for the cyclists as it is for the pedestrians.
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Old 09-22-13, 09:32 AM   #15
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But it's just not that unsafe, especially if you ride smart.
Two possibilities:
1. You're smarter than my two acquaintances who were rear ended and killed by cell phone users.
2. You're in denial.
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Old 09-22-13, 10:16 AM   #16
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Distracted drivers talking on cell phones isn't a topic specific to 50+. There is a redirect so that 50+ people will see the thread in here.
???

Here are some of the most recent 50+ threads:

Tubless Tires vs. Clinchers
muscle cramps after the ride
Paraffin Chain Lubing in the Rainy Season
Have any of you used "Super Patches"?
Trade up to carbon or hold?

I presume the OPs for the non 50+ specific topics were after the 50+ perspective on them.
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Old 09-22-13, 10:18 AM   #17
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riding in traffic is not for everyone, I have been doing it about 50 years of my 60 year life, like they say if you cant take the heat get outta the kitchen.
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Old 09-22-13, 10:39 AM   #18
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While there are instances of being hit by inattentive/distracted/drunk drivers,the frequency of such event is low. Last thing I saw was about 650 cyclist death per year from all causes. Think of the hundreds of thousands of riders and the millions of miles ridden and you can see the true risk is low. The abundance of internet forums, blogs, and advocate watchdogs in the computer age means that we are all way more informed of the occurrences of cycling accidents than ever before. There are a couple of very good reads out there, If I recall one is "the Science of Fear" that describes how media reports shape our perceptions of risk, and another is "Freakonomics", which covers how unlikely events are and the some basic ways of actually looking at the true incidence of things.

That said, most peoples perceptions of reality are their realities, so if its too frightening for you to ride on the road, then by all means stick to MUPS, and cycling available mountain bike trails.

BTW I am 57 y/o, been riding on the streets since I was 8.
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Old 09-22-13, 10:47 AM   #19
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Here in the U.S, a cyclist riding in the street= unusual sight, garners more attention. Parked cars, cyclists riding on the sidewalk = usual, garners little attention. MUPs = free for all. In my locale, I'll stick to riding in the street.
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Old 09-22-13, 11:18 AM   #20
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even if you're on the sidewalk you still end up crossing intersections in the street - and usually in a less visible location than if you were already riding in the street.
See the video how the Texas police chief hit a pedestrian at crosswalk.
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Old 09-22-13, 11:44 AM   #21
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daihard

I only ride the sidewalk during afternoon "rush hour" when lots of folks are using the 2 lane street I ride on to get home.
It isn't crowded-but it has NO SHOULDER- just a 2-3" drop off to grass.
Lots of cars and pickups come thru-in bunches of 5-8-and they are in a hurry-some of the pickups have wide mounted tow mirrors
So if I see a group coming I cross the street cross the grass and ride the sidewalk for a couple hundred yards.
There might be 2-3 pedestrians on the 1/2 mile stretch-very few.
When coming to a walker-I just ride the grass-2" tires "MTB" so no big deal to ride on grass.
Guessing maybe I do 6-10 mph on the sidewalk- there are driveways(1 per block or so)- I bail to the grass-15' wide swath- when crossing a driveway-and make sure I KNOW exactly what is in driveway before crossing it.
Generally I prefer the street-smoother-but I use the sidewalk as needed.
Probably more bikes use the sidewalks than walkers-suburban area-lotta kids on bikes-sidewalks and streets.
No idea what the law is. I always use the grass when passing walkers-


JerseyJim- How can riding smart prevent you getting center punched from behind by a texting driver?? Yeah if you are smart enough to quit riding-otherwise..
Per unit of time-bike riding is the most dangerous thing you do-assuming you are an average sorta guy-no motor racing, cave diving sky diving etc
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Old 09-22-13, 12:40 PM   #22
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While there are instances of being hit by inattentive/distracted/drunk drivers,the frequency of such event is low.
I quite agree that both the risk of being hit is low and that the number of cyclists killed is low relative to the hours spent cycling on American roadways. It's even less of an issue for me when I consider how many of the folks riding today are relatively new to cycling and how few miles they have in the saddle.

However, there is risk and I believe it is not only much higher than necessary (due to scofflaw/ignorant motorists) but is higher than the number of deaths would lead one to believe. People are not stupid. As a result, cyclists aren't heading out onto random roads at random times. Many, or perhaps most, of us carefully choose our times and routes to minimize the risk. In my case, I do everything possible to avoid riding between 4:00 PM and 3:00 AM. Our local commuters and drunks (and drunk commuters) just add a bit too much flavor to our roads for my comfort level.

Of course, when one evaluates risk it is best to look at comparative risk. Sitting around being sedentary is pretty much guaranteed to kill you and to do it in a horrible (to my way of seeing things) way. Cycling and other activities at least give you the chance to come out unscathed while dramatically improving one's health.
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Old 09-22-13, 12:45 PM   #23
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TAKE A SIDEWALK ! Screw those pedestrians-you pay taxes right?? Pedestrian cycling-a walker with a mechanical aid-like a wheelchair or a walker!
If you bother reading enough of the dead-cyclist reports, you'll see that a disturbing number of them are on sidewalks, wide shoulders protected by aggressive rumble strips, and other places were they should have been safe. Sidewalks are only a deterrent, and at the cost of endangering the people who actually belong there.
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Old 09-22-13, 12:52 PM   #24
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actually, for pedestrians in New York City, "curb jumping" vehicles are a significant cause of death and injury. I imagine the rest of the country has similar instances, it's just that people are paying attention to them in NYC
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Old 09-22-13, 12:56 PM   #25
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Most of my cycling has been on the road and some if it in very busy traffic (commuting in large cities). I'm grateful to now live in a city (Des Moines) that has a superb system of bike paths. The problem on the road is not just cell phones (although that is bad enough) but also that cars have gotten larger over the years effectively shrinking the space available for bikes.
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