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Old 05-22-02, 04:23 PM   #1
mike
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Danger in gettin' hit from behind

I spoke with a guy who just retired after nearly 40 years as a paramedic.

He told me that he couldn't count the people he had to shovel off the street who were hit from behind by drunk drivers.

According to the national stats, getting hit from behind is not as big a concern for cyclists as getting hit by a car turning into them.

According to this seasoned paramedic IN THIS AREA, however, the biggest and most deadly risk is getting hit from behind by a drunk driver.

Of course, we have people driving here with 14 DWI offenses (yes, we do! And they keep raking them up). Even the worst drunken driving killing offenses never result in more than a year in jail. Maybe that explains the imbalance of getting hit from the rear.
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Old 05-22-02, 06:44 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally posted by mike
According to the national stats, getting hit from behind is not as big a concern for cyclists as getting hit by a car turning into them.

According to this seasoned paramedic IN THIS AREA, however, the biggest and most deadly risk is getting hit from behind by a drunk driver.
I respect anyone who serves as a paramedic. But that does not mean this paramedic's impressions are scientific.

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Old 05-22-02, 07:16 PM   #3
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In my "non-scientific" opinion, the majority is the right hook. Intersections are the worst for cycling accidents.
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Old 05-22-02, 11:08 PM   #4
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Sounds like Iowa needs stronger DWI laws and/or enforcement. I am very much in favor of permanent revocation of driving privledges for anyone caught driving drunk the FIRST time they get caught. No second chances.
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Old 05-23-02, 06:06 AM   #5
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hm.... that's a tough one. obviously, as has been already stated, tougher DWI laws and enforcement are what's needed... as well as changing people's attitude.

although i haven't lived there for a while now, in Texas, the combination of laws, enforcement, education and advertising like MAD have made quite a change in the attitude towards drunk driving... where 20 years ago it was 'Oh yeah, i'm a good driver and i drive fine after 4 beers' now the people that still do that mostly don't talk about it b/c the general attitude has changed and almost everyone has a friend or relative who has been killed so you will be personally attacked if you say something like that now... (not everywhere, but it's more the norm) and most bars take the law very seriously since most owners have been sued or closed down at least once...

i think the death stats for drunk driving are high concerning 'innocent' auto users and pedestrians as well as cyclists...

as far as a protection for cyclists against those drunk drivers out there... there's not much you can do. i've actually heard that a blinking red light at night can actually *attract* a drunk driver who is unable to focus/concentrate on the road...

but it's much the same as in a caror on foot, like if a drunk driver runs a red light at 40mph...

i think the only protection is either not to be out on the road whether in a car, bike or on foot OR to get the drunk drivers off the road.
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Old 05-23-02, 06:56 AM   #6
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Back In the Old Country you accidentally kill a person while driving under the influence(DUI) you go to jail for 12 years, or if your lucky you won't served that because the street people will lynch you and you won't have to served the 12 year sentence because you're dead meat after they are thru with you , which is sometime good street justice
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Old 05-23-02, 08:16 AM   #7
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Here's the Feldman Plan for drunk driver control:
Many police departments have a few sickos, officers who are on the job because of a violent streak or an unhealthy enjoyment of power. Instead of waiting for them to beat up on random victims, let them have drunk drivers as unlimited sporting targets; tell 'em that if they have a Breathalyzer reading over .10, they can do what they want to the suspect as long as there are no messy remains left around. Remember, DRUNK DRIVERS ARE NOT PEOPLE.
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Old 05-23-02, 10:05 AM   #8
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mike -

It is rather incredible isn't it that a person with numerous DUI's and DWI's can CONTINUE to drive. It is utterly rediculous. I mean, how many rehab's does a person need to go to in order to begin to grasp that 1) they have a problem with alcohol, and 2)that someday, they are either going to kill someone or kill themselves.

I for one think that the drunk driving laws MUST be tougher - but that doesn't mean that on a first offense we throw the person in jail - early on Rehab, counciling and AA or NA may do the trick. But there is a guy here in Ohio who has 16 - yep, count 'em - 16 drunk driving convictions - and he is STILL DRIVING. There is no excuse for this. And I speak as someone who has been sober for almost 9 years now.

Those are my 2cents worth!
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Old 05-23-02, 10:20 AM   #9
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The traffic law here says that you have to have a rear reflector, side reflectors, and a front light to ride at night. If you only do this, of course drivers coming from behind are going to be your biggest concern. I usually use a flashing red light on the back as well, even though I look like a dork doing it.

You also have a lot more control in avoiding the turners. They're pretty easy to spot. When drivers come up behind you, you're counting on them seeing you, which is not a good assumption to make.

I hate riding at night. Last night I had to ride by the frat house section of town, which I loathe. I'm just extra careful over there. It still makes me mad, even though I know they're going to turn as if I'm not there and I slow down to avoid the collision.
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Old 05-23-02, 01:41 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by mike
He told me that he couldn't count the people he had to shovel off the street who were hit from behind by drunk drivers.

According to the national stats, getting hit from behind is not as big a concern for cyclists as getting hit by a car turning into them.

According to this seasoned paramedic IN THIS AREA, however, the biggest and most deadly risk is getting hit from behind by a drunk driver.
Statistically, there may be more accidents involving turning cars, but as far as actual mess to clean up with a shovel, I would have to say getting creamed from behind at 55mph would definitely be more memorable to a paramedic.

I once heard that at midnight on a Saturday night 80% of drivers are drunk. I don't now if that's true, but it's what I'm thinking about as I hear cars come up behind me. I always ride back streets at night because once everyone is in bed, no one is on them.

I've mentioned it before, but I have large reflective triangles on both the back and front of my pannier basket. You may be too drunk to avoid me, but you're sure as hell going to see me as you run me over.

Clay
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Old 05-23-02, 03:00 PM   #11
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After you read the following you can all thank your lucky stars I am here to participate in this discussion.

When I was a kid my Dad and I would go fishing on the weekend. He always loaded up the cooler with beer. I remember that on several occasions he wanted to show me how fast he could drive when we were on our way home. He would be driving down a narrow two-lane country road at 70 or 80 mph. Other times we might be on a freeway and he thought it would be amusing to try for 110 mph. He didn't care if the road was wet or dry. All this took place after a couple of six packs. Needless to say I was scared sh*tless.

I told him I didn't like him driving so fast but he just laughed. When we got home I told my Mother and she talked to him but he just laughed it off. I am happy to say that he never hit anyone though.

I agree with everyone's comments about the lenient sentences drunk drivers get. My Dad never lost his license and never spent more than one or two nights in jail when he was stopped. I guess because he was able to "beat the system" he never learned any lessons about the dangers of drunk driving. He figured if he didn't have an accident he was a safe driver and drinking didn't affect his judgement or driving ability.

As a teenager I tried talking to him about his drinking and driving but like all parents he didn't want to have a "punk kid" telling him what to do. I tried having the same conversation when I was in my late 20s. Same response.

Too bad so many people can't see things for what they are and never learn important lessons.
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