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Old 11-22-13, 12:16 AM   #1
thook
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Blind Curves: Folks....PLEASE be aware

Hwy 71 is a two lane mostly rural scenic highway that runs from the small town I live in all the way north (and south) to more metro areas. Hence it's quite a popular route for cyclists riding from Fayetteville all the way to my town and further. Problem is, it can be dangerous for cycling if you don't stick to the shoulder. There's a number of blind curves and though the speed limit is 55mph, most drivers exceed that. Pretty typical.

Now, I understand why cyclists with skinny tires may want to avoid the shoulder considering all the debris. So, all the time I see cyclists out in the highway lane. Fair enough....share the road, right? And, on long straight stretches, there's plenty of leeway to give one enough time to get out of upcoming traffic. Still there's a risk.

Well, over a week ago, my wife and I were driving north up Hwy 71 heading to the next town. As we were coming around one of the blind curves, we were suddenly surprised by a dude (ironically named Lance) spilled off his bike out in the middle of the road with his two buddies hurrying to his aid. I quickly pulled off the highway to get out and help. Lance could not get up. He was quivering like he was in definite shock and complaining about his legs and not being able to move them. We couldn't lift him. He was too big. To boot, none of us could get cell phone signals thinking maybe we should call for an ambulance or someone to come get him. Tricky, tricky! Sure enough, a car was heading up the road towards the scene with Lance still laying there. While the two buddies were attending to Lance, I flagged traffic and my wife continued trying to get a signal on the phone. Fortunately, this burly guy in his truck decided to pull over and help. With the two friends and this guy, they managed to help him up and out of the road to the grass while I managed any other vehicles.

Everything turned out well. Lance had merely hit a hip nerve when he fell (so he couldn't move his legs) and sustained some bloody scrapes. And, since we couldn't get signal on any phones, my wife and I made a space in our 4runner for him to lay down in the back seat and take him and his bike back to his vehicle in Fayetteville. We were going that way and his friends could continue their ride. Along the way, we all had some good conversation and he managed to recover enough to drive himself home. Yay! Happy ending. But, it really could've been worse.

Brothers and sisters.....be careful. Be safe and mindful of the environment/circumstances you're riding in. Stick to the shoulders if you really can. Many drivers talk on their cell phones, are prone to distraction, and/or are simply not paying attention to the fact they're driving......and even driving too fast. Conversely, circumstances may not allow even a good driver to respond adequately. Let's say you fall and, like Lance, can't get up. A driver may not see you until it's too late. The amount of road kill.....atleast on Hwy 71....is enough evidence. I know that's dramatic, but man....it's true.
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Old 11-22-13, 12:29 AM   #2
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My local motorists are so bad about overdriving their vision, also known as speeding under the basic speed law, that we recently had two ambulances totaled by morons, one while the ambulance was pulled over and the paramedics were rendering aid and another while it was moving slowly. (In the second incident, the moron died; never run into the people who can save your life.)

It's not so much that cyclists in particular need to watch out for poorly-skilled motorists. All road users are put at risk by these yoyos. Too bad we don't have some system of training and licensing motorists and removing those who cannot/will not obey the law from the drivers' seats.
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Old 11-22-13, 01:27 AM   #3
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From a 'Street View' on Google Maps, and using just 'Highway 71' in Winslow(AR), it shows a two-lane road with a 50mph sign and marginal shoulders. Seems risky with just that. Then the lack of a cell phone signal just to boot.

His laying in the road, was indirectly, eerily similar to, what happened to me. A couple years ago, I was stupidly riding on the sidewalk of a 40mph four-lane road coming back from an appointment. When I lost my balance as a result of having to go so slow, and fell off my bike into rush hour traffic. Luckily, The traffic saw me. But I thought for sure I was going to get run over.

I am glad he didn't get hit.

When I am out on a ride, I take into account the, time of day(AM/PM Rush, weekend), speed limit, how many lanes on the road, temperature(heat can slow a cyclist down).

Personally I 'take the lane'. I will not ride on a shoulder. I have been hit several times on shoulder-less roads 'hugging the curb'. But I also have lights far brighter than anything Planet Bike has, along with wearing a bright-yellow reflective windbreaker.
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Old 11-22-13, 03:08 AM   #4
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Conversely, circumstances may not allow even a good driver to respond adequately. Let's say you fall and, like Lance, can't get up. A driver may not see you until it's too late.
This statement is so wrong. Good drivers do not drive faster than their sight line distance allows them to stop in.

Time for the cops to start putting up cardboard cut outs and any driver that slams into them gets a $1,000 fine.
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Old 11-22-13, 05:26 AM   #5
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This statement is so wrong. Good drivers do not drive faster than their sight line distance allows them to stop in.
Well, I guess that makes me a good driver, then. I was going slow enough I was able to stop and help out. I mean he'd spilled just before I came around. My point was that he was out in the lane on the blind curve and then couldn't get up. Not wise on his part being on a highway where even though the limit is 55 people, again, typically go faster than that.

The shoulder from Winslow due north all the way to Fayetteville is atleast 5ft wide. Plenty wide for a vehicle in distress. I'd speculate he was out in the lane trying to avoid the rocks as many of the cyclists do. Yeah, flats suck. But, man ,if it were me, I'd suck it up and risk the flat on the shoulder before taking the risk he did.

So, all I was just trying to say was be careful. There's not much you can do about bad drivers.....even with steep fines and jail time. But, if there is a way to avoid risk, do so. That's all.
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Old 11-22-13, 11:12 AM   #6
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CB HI is correct. If there is ANY situation where some fixed object in the road - disabled vehicle, person standing there, whatever, and you can't stop in time, then BY DEFINITION you are driving too fast. The basic speed law says that all drivers must be able to stop before hitting any obstacle in the road. The fact that almost everyone ignores this law, follows too closely, drives way the heck to fast in almost any condition does not mean that they are not wrong. Inconvenience is not an excuse for recklessness.
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Old 11-22-13, 12:09 PM   #7
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This statement is so wrong. Good drivers do not drive faster than their sight line distance allows them to stop in.

Time for the cops to start putting up cardboard cut outs and any driver that slams into them gets a $1,000 fine.
That's a perfect point regarding sight lines. But does that cardboard cut out thing happen anywhere? I love the idea.
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Old 11-22-13, 12:18 PM   #8
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[QUOTE=CB HI;16267952

Time for the cops to start putting up cardboard cut outs and any driver that slams into them gets a $1,000 fine.[/QUOTE]

And the survivors first driver who swerves to miss the cardboard and is killed will sue the city/county/state into the stone age. Deliberately place a road hazard to see if drivers are driving too fast seems ill advised.
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Old 11-22-13, 12:41 PM   #9
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BY DEFINITION you are driving too fast. The basic speed law says that all drivers must be able to stop before hitting any obstacle in the road. The fact that almost everyone ignores this law...
What is this "basic speed law" you speak of, where do I find this DEFINITION?
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Old 11-22-13, 01:00 PM   #10
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There are far more cyclists killed and injured by motorists than there are motorists killed or injured by cyclists, yet there is no shortage of posts like this where a motorist tells cyclists to 'be careful'.

PLEASE MOTORISTS - Be aware that you are moving several thousand pounds of steel around and if not overly careful, you will kill pedestrians and cyclists. Here in the US are about 20 pedestrians or cyclists killed each day in motor vehicle accidents. Shoes and Bikes aren't killing these people - the motorists are.

PLEASE POLICE - If you see motorists who are not obeying the basic speed law - remind them that they are endangering others. We are far too accepting of reckless driving which is killing tens of thousands of people per year.

CYCLISTS - be aware that you are sharing the road with people who are not paying attention, and for the most part, the system will not do anything to deter someone from maiming you if they are behind the wheel of a motor vehicle when they do it.
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Old 11-22-13, 01:01 PM   #11
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What is this "basic speed law" you speak of, where do I find this DEFINITION?
For California:
V C Section 22350 Basic Speed Law
Basic Speed Law
22350. No person shall drive a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard for weather, visibility, the traffic on, and the surface and width of, the highway, and in no event at a speed which endangers the safety of persons or property.
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Old 11-22-13, 01:37 PM   #12
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What is this "basic speed law" you speak of, where do I find this DEFINITION?
Since you're in Iowa:
Iowa Code, Section 321.285
“Any person driving a motor vehicle on a highway shall drive the same at a careful and
prudent speed not greater than nor less than
is reasonable and proper, having due regard
to the traffic, surface, and width of the highway
and of any other conditions then existing,

and no person shall drive any vehicle upon a
highway at a speed greater than will permit the
person to bring it to a stop within the assured
clear distance ahead, such driver having the
right to assume, however, that all persons using
said highway will observe the law.”
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Old 11-22-13, 01:44 PM   #13
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Since you're in Iowa:
Thanks, never heard this provision described as a "basic speed law" before as if it was written on a stone tablet.
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Old 11-22-13, 02:07 PM   #14
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Thanks, never heard this provision described as a "basic speed law" before as if it was written on a stone tablet.
Search BF some several years back and you will find some short term members using the "basic speed law" to defend their practice of very high speed driving out in wide open desert locations. The law actually works to their favor in such cases.

Do a quick google for "basic speed law" and you will find the definition there easily.
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Old 11-22-13, 02:47 PM   #15
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Yes, the curves around here are a rather insane situation for riding, add all the hill tops and lack of shoulders and its sometimes hard to deal with, no matter how defensively you ride.
71 is a pretty decent road in my opinion, compared to others. I ride to rogers/Fayettville every once in a while from Eureka. Some of those roads have blind curves so bad that when I hear a car coming its a matter of snap judgment whether its safer to take the lane or get off pavement. I always try to be aware of where I would want to go. Getting off the road has saved me a few times, as a bunch of motorcycles or a car tend to cross the white lines a lot while hugging the curves.(use the motor sound to judge the way they are driving, someday someone in a Tesla will take me out) If you were out in the lane on a few of them, there is no way they could stop in time when they see you given the speeds some take the curves at. 127 and highway 12 are the routes I usually take, and they can be ball clenching at times.

As to good drivers not going faster than the conditions allow, there are plenty of times that I have had multiple cars stacked behind me in my van while I pretty much stick with the yellow warning signs for speed limits. Ironically, when I let them by, they all go like bats out of hell, and I don't see them till we come up on a chicken truck where everyone is stuck again. So while they drive well over the limit, 9 out 10 times we all get to town at the same time...

By the way, its interesting to see a fellow C&Ver lives that close! typically ride either my 87 Fuji Team or 81 Centurion Elite over there.
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Old 11-22-13, 03:57 PM   #16
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And the survivors first driver who swerves to miss the cardboard and is killed will sue the city/county/state into the stone age. Deliberately place a road hazard to see if drivers are driving too fast seems ill advised.
How is cardboard a road hazard, the driver was the road hazard.

Of course this kind of demonstration is only used in driving test or videos.

As to the law suit thing, police have a pretty good defense as the driver crashing is proof the driver was breaking the law by driving recklessly, violating the basic speed law.

By the way, some police departments have put cardboard copies of police cars or of police officer holding a speed gun on the side of the road to get drivers to slow down. I challenge you to find a single law suit.
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Old 11-22-13, 05:26 PM   #17
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There are far more cyclists killed and injured by motorists than there are motorists killed or injured by cyclists, yet there is no shortage of posts like this where a motorist tells cyclists to 'be careful'.
Well, man, I'm a cyclist, too. I just happen to also drive a vehicle.
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Old 11-22-13, 05:45 PM   #18
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How is cardboard a road hazard, the driver was the road hazard.

Of course this kind of demonstration is only used in driving test or videos.

As to the law suit thing, police have a pretty good defense as the driver crashing is proof the driver was breaking the law by driving recklessly, violating the basic speed law.

By the way, some police departments have put cardboard copies of police cars or of police officer holding a speed gun on the side of the road to get drivers to slow down. I challenge you to find a single law suit.
An object on the side of the road is not the same thing, though.
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Old 11-22-13, 06:34 PM   #19
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An object on the side of the road is not the same thing, though.
When it looks like a cop, it can cause just as many collisions between motorist.
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Old 11-22-13, 06:36 PM   #20
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Well, man, I'm a cyclist, too. I just happen to also drive a vehicle.
His point is that you sound more motorist than cyclist, and sometimes it just gets tiring in a bicycling forum.
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Old 11-22-13, 07:40 PM   #21
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Yeah, I guess it would.
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Old 11-22-13, 07:44 PM   #22
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Yes, the curves around here are a rather insane situation for riding, add all the hill tops and lack of shoulders and its sometimes hard to deal with, no matter how defensively you ride.
71 is a pretty decent road in my opinion, compared to others. I ride to rogers/Fayettville every once in a while from Eureka. Some of those roads have blind curves so bad that when I hear a car coming its a matter of snap judgment whether its safer to take the lane or get off pavement. I always try to be aware of where I would want to go. Getting off the road has saved me a few times, as a bunch of motorcycles or a car tend to cross the white lines a lot while hugging the curves.(use the motor sound to judge the way they are driving, someday someone in a Tesla will take me out) If you were out in the lane on a few of them, there is no way they could stop in time when they see you given the speeds some take the curves at. 127 and highway 12 are the routes I usually take, and they can be ball clenching at times.

As to good drivers not going faster than the conditions allow, there are plenty of times that I have had multiple cars stacked behind me in my van while I pretty much stick with the yellow warning signs for speed limits. Ironically, when I let them by, they all go like bats out of hell, and I don't see them till we come up on a chicken truck where everyone is stuck again. So while they drive well over the limit, 9 out 10 times we all get to town at the same time...

By the way, its interesting to see a fellow C&Ver lives that close! typically ride either my 87 Fuji Team or 81 Centurion Elite over there.
Dude, you are brave taking that route. All the time I've wondered if there was a safe way to cycle up to Eureka. I love hanging out up there. My dentist is in Holiday Island, so driving on the way up there I've studied the routes. It's not looked promising.

Have you ever made as far south as West Fork or Winslow?
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Old 11-22-13, 08:10 PM   #23
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Do you also suggest I "get on the shoulder and out of the way" "for my own safety" on this road and its blind, narrow, very sharp, and clearly marked as 15-mph required for safety switch-back U-turn corner? Also, please explain to me where to find such a shoulder edge, I routinely ride on roads like this because they are the roads that we have up here, this is actually pretty decent:





Blind Corners are the responsibility of the driver to slow down sufficiently so as to be able to stop in time to avoid hitting anything in the road ahead.

Yes, I do understand that there are a lot of idiots out there and sometimes you have to take actions you shouldn't have to in order to save your own skin. There are some places where a woman wearing a short skirt and tight top with a deep cut V statistically has a greater chance of a criminal aggressor raping her. There are some places where if you there without wearing a bullet proof vest statistically you have less of a chance of coming back out any other way but in a body bag.

But even then YOU DO NOT BLAME THE VICTIM YOU BLAME THE CRIMINAL THAT IS DOING THE RAPING AND/OR MURDERING.

Anyone who takes a multi-ton mass high velocity kinetic energy weapon which when at speed packs the energy of heavy military ordinance and packs more lethal kinetic energy then any gun which is capable of being fired from the shoulder and unless you use explosive projectiles you have to have a big mounted artillery piece to match the energy levels involved which requires a special license from the government to operate in a public place around other people and takes it flying down a public road speeding around blind corners and running into innocent people or even wildlife animals killing them has absolutely no call to tell people to "get out of my way for your own safety".

As to riding on the shoulder edge. I do agree that when there is a ride-able shoulder edge on the side of a high speed highway I'm more than happy to use it and do consider it usually (but not always) the option that provides the best minimization balance of statistical risk of being hit.

Which is one of the reasons why I personally strongly support most high speed roads having paved shoulder edges which are of sufficient width and surface condition to be considered "ride-able" by both me and other cyclists.

As with all cycle friendly infrastructure if you provide good enough infrastructure you don't have to tell cyclists to use it. They are more then capable of figuring that out for themselves and if cyclists beyond the occasional sole malcontent are refusing to use it that tells you that the infrastructure is not adequate in which case you have no right to tell them to use it.
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Old 11-22-13, 08:27 PM   #24
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I don't just bike on such roads, I also drive 2-5 ton 6-10 wheel short-truck on them and drive passenger automobiles as well occasionally for some trips where the weather is so bad it makes it an extreme statistical risk to ride a bike or on trips where I can't make the distance in the time allotted on a bike. Situations which do happen in my life sometimes.

And I have never hit a deer and have avoided hitting literally 10s of thousands of them. On a recent trip I took where I drove a truck up and down the length of MT-83 at night both ways a highway where most speed demon idiot motorists joke about there being a 50/50 chance of hitting a deer on that road at night and I saw well over a hundred deer on the road both directions both nights and saw multiple idiots who had hit deer on the side of the road usually around blind corners or over hill crests while never hitting one myself even driving a truck which doesn't swerve well and takes longer time and distance to stop. In fact four of the idiots who passed me because they didn't like me slowing down to the posted yellow caution sign speeds for the corners (you know those yellow signs with the curve diagram and then a posted speed in yellow below) and passed me hit deer after doing so and I caught back up with them a while later with them on the side of the road with their cars all busted up with a dead deer. One of those on the first night and three on the second night on the return trip.

Deer on not stupid - at least compared to most 4-wheel speed demon drivers and the vast, vast, vast majority of the time it is the drivers fault they hit a deer not the other way around.

And its not just my good luck, several other people that I have taught how to drive correctly also have never hit a deer, or hit a cyclist.

Have the proper respect for the awesome and frightful power of the kinetic energy weapon you are piloting and drive accordingly.
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Old 11-22-13, 08:53 PM   #25
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... In fact four of the idiots who passed me because they didn't like me slowing down to the posted yellow caution sign speeds for the corners (you know those yellow signs with the curve diagram and then a posted speed in yellow below) and passed me hit deer after doing so and I caught back up with them a while later with them on the side of the road with their cars all busted up with a dead deer. One of those on the first night and three on the second night on the return trip.

Deer on not stupid - at least compared to most 4-wheel speed demon drivers and the vast, vast, vast majority of the time it is the drivers fault they hit a deer not the other way around.

And its not just my good luck, several other people that I have taught how to drive correctly also have never hit a deer, or hit a cyclist.

Have the proper respect for the awesome and frightful power of the kinetic energy weapon you are piloting and drive accordingly.
On a similar roadway hereabouts, I was driving a pick-up at the appropriate speed under the basic speed law. Two folks who had different notions of what was a safe speed flew by me at about thirty more mph than I was going. Two miles later, I came upon rather long skid marks and could smell the brakes and tires. There was an old guy with a marginally functioning pick-up full of firewood who was having trouble keeping his vehicle moving going about ten mph. The folks who passed me had apparently been able to stop just short of running into his rear end, but only because he was indeed moving. I hate to think what would have happened to an ambulance stopped on that highway. I didn't have any difficulty slowing to his speed until it was safe to pass; neither did the vehicle behind me.
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