Recent post at the NYT
Recent post at the NYT
When I ride my bike I feel free and happy and strong. I'm liberated from the usual nonsense of day to day life. Solid, dependable, silent, my bike is my horse, my fighter jet, my island, my friend. Together we will conquer that hill and thereafter the world.
"It's not if you crash but when"
Well, yeah, if you're dumb enough to do a 35 MPH descent with a sharp turn at the bottom.
Also this article seems to be geared towards cycling as a sport, which is a minority of bicycling and stats for sport cyclists are probably not applicable to all cyclists.
Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.
It's also not just under our control - everyone can have a bad day, including people we share oxygen with. I was stopped at a red when I got hit by a car - when it's not your day, it's not your day. Bottom line is...if you transverse miles by ANY form of transportation, there is a risk of accident, and when it's on a bike the results can be a lot worse. All any of us can do is improve the odds.
OK you've taken defensive cycling courses, you keep your head on a swivel, you are aware of those around you, you are predictable and follow the laws as best can be followed. You work to do everything right, and then along comes the black swan and plows right into you... what else could you have done.
On a bike a simple "fender bender" can be quite debilitating. The same collision in a car might leave you with a stiff neck, blown air bag and a dent. On a bike you might be in ER hanging on for life.
What could you have done to "improve the odds?"
You can't control other people. Your overall odds of being in an accident IMPROVE with YOU being responsible, but they don't eliminate the chance of being in an accident. Using lights at night IMPROVE your visibility, and they improve your chances of being seen and not hit, but they don't eliminate the chance...you can still get hit by a drunken idiot.
There is behavior that IMPROVES your odds, but that's all it is...an improvement that won't cover all behavior...much of which you can't control. All of us are rolling the dice every time we leave the house...and all we can do is leverage the odds. So while riding responsibly, and using lights, improves your chances, it's not immunity from other people's stupidity or acts of God.
If we can make drivers more aware of their responsibilities, then all other road users will be safer.
But as long as the "rolling couch with a phone and cup holder" attitude prevails, other drivers, cyclists and pedestrians are all at risk.
The best way I see to improve the odds for me and anyone else is better training for motorists... it should start at the elementary school level and there should be subsequent sessions to teach better, safer road sharing and use, with a strong emphasis on the ethics and responsibility of driving a motor vehicle.
About 35,000 citizens are killed annually due to poor driving practices... if the same number of people were killed by a foreign invader, this would be considered a major issue requiring a strong response... but since this happens at the hands of motor vehicle drivers... we find society tends to ignore the continuing harm brought upon us from poor motor vehicle operators.
So long as we keep viewing everyday drivers as the enemy, and as stereotypical fast food chomping sheep, we will have difficulty having dialogue.
Here's how it works - we're a flea speck of a minority even in areas that have lots of cyclists...less than 10% of road users in the most heavily cycle friendly areas. They are the majority...any conversation that doesn't recognize that simple reality...the reality that we are an inconsequential minority asking for consideration by a majority that we can inconvenience with different interests...is likely to go down a self righteous, unrealistic road.
It is the drivers and their distracted environment that make me scared, as said elsewhere. Even as the minority, and the vast one, their lack of attention is dangerous to cyclist, motorcyclists, pedestrians, and other drivers. How on earth you wake folks up is the real question
I think you're missing the point...there are a lot of traffic users, and a certain percentage may make a mistake at any given time (including you). There is a risk to moving from A to B by any conveyance, and the wake up wishes seem to me to be a form of self denial - people sometimes mess up.
What did you have in mind? A cycling-centric work camp?
Pedaling will set you free?
I disagree that the issue is training, the issue is that a lot of people use the roads and there will be a percentage of problems.
What about them? How can we prevent their deaths? Thus far the solution seems to be to make the cars more protecting for the occupants. Is that the ONLY solution?
You assume there is one, rather than an understood and acceptable risk for high speed transportation.
I think the new technology regarding warning systems and sensors provides a lot of promise...and I'd like to see legislation aimed at driving while using a cell.
The best way to reduce the number of deaths of road users -- motorists,cyclists, and pedestrians -- is to make the driving of a personal vehicle more inconvenient, expensive, and more severe in legal consequences if the driver maims or kills some other road user.
"Although many cyclists have strong opinions on the safety of their sport....."
The author of the article is fairly biased in their thoughts on how the majority of bicycles are used....almost like a news reporter using Formula One as an example on how motorists use their cars.
77% of those surveyed felt that gasoline prices would influence their vote (1). Pathetic.Voters in Super Tuesday contests say gas prices were the most critical factor in their vote.
Driving in Japan is very expensive. We need to do the same thing in the US. Licenses should cost $1500/year in every state, to be renewed every two years. Instead of subsidizing the price of gas, the US should tax it heavily like they do in Europe (2). Downtown city centers should be tolled. Every bridge should be tolled. Insurance rates should all go up 20%. None of these rate hikes should go up for commercial transportation, just for personal automobiles.
In a world how i envision it above, how many people will be driving? Watch driving rates plummet.
Sport does not mean competition necessarily. See rock climbing, skiing, paddling, etc. Like it or not, virtually everybody cycling in the US is doing it for physical fitness, recreation or to put it another way, sport.
As for virtually everyone in the US cycling as a "sport", not so in my locale, where virtually every cyclist I see on the road is using a bicycle as a means of transportation. Now if you wish to consider my skills and a athletic prowess in working urban traffic as a "sport", so be it, but I consider it good use of Urban Survival Skills™
This was brought home to me this past week. I visited my old stomping grounds in NorCal. There are quite a few more folks riding there than anywhere in OR. Even when I went for a morning 100 km ride mid-week, I would encounter three or four dozen cyclists out doing the same thing, so the motorists have become "trained" to our existence. Without fail, they all changed lanes to pass. Here in OR, over a third of all motorists who pass me on suburban/rural roadways (where the law states a legal pass involves giving the cyclist room to fall over in the passer's direction) pass within three feet of me.
I agree with others here who say we need to change the culture on our roadways and strip motorists of their sense of entitlement.