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Old 05-29-14, 10:29 PM   #26
Duane Behrens
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
I don't know what assumptions this challenges.

Rear end collisions are the most likely fatal accidents because these are the ones with the highest speeds involved. Also, car passing from rear is far and away the most common bicycle encounter.

But while every death is a tragedy, the actual rate or risk of accident is still low when we consider the number of cyclists out on roads. But it's not a matter of being fatalistic, because rear end collisions aren't totally out of the rider's control. Various risk factors are involved, including things like riding in the dark unlit or inadequately lit.

So while even the most prudent cyclist is at risk from negligent drivers, the actual risk is lower than many of the risks we face and accept daily.

Please don't take this as minimizing the risk or saying it's acceptable and doesn't need to be addressed. It does, but the risk shouldn't discourage anyone from riding.
Excellent. Thank you.
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Old 05-29-14, 10:53 PM   #27
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""For years, friendly bike advocates have re-assured nervous newbies that — despite their fears — it's very rare for bikes to get hit from behind by cars or trucks. Turns out, maybe the newbies have reason to be nervous."""

Q&A: New League study challenges assumptions about fatal bike crashes | Bicycle Retailer and Industry News

The report the article is based on: http://bikeleague.org/sites/default/...port_final.pdf
The report has so many statistical flaws, it's hard to pretend it challenges any existing data.

The great majority of car/bicycle collisions are not fatal -- more than 95% are non-fatal. Fatal bicycle accidents are a relatively rare event.

Being hit from behind is a rare form of collision, but an exceptionally severe form, so they're over-represented when ignoring injuries. We've known that at least since Cross & Fisher in 1977, who documented that these crashes were rare (<5% of car/bike collisions) but severe (25% of all car/bike fatalities). Turns out, that's still true, based on national collision data.

LAB's report doesn't address the frequency of collisions or the severity of injuries, it looks only at fatal accidents. Amputees, quadriplegics and the comatose need not apply.

LAB notes that "High-speed urban and suburban arterial streets with no provisions for bicyclists are an over-represented location — representing 56 percent of all bicyclist fatalities." That, too, is essentially unchanged from existing data.

The new LAB report isn't really a "study" in the proper sense -- its data sources are post-hoc classification of a non-random subset of fatal accidents, with accident classifications based on media reports, which are notoriously inaccurate and incomplete, not to mention sensationalized. Yet, relying on media reports, the report pretends to be able to distinguish between hit-from-behind and side-swipe crash types, for example. That's a distinction that's hard to make even given complete police reports on many accidents.

The report was unable to classify crash types for 1/4 of the collisions it covers, another sign of poor data, yet it does not exclude those low-quality data points from its calculations.

Overall, LAB's report tends to confirm what we already knew -- severe urban accidents tend to be at intersections; severe suburban and rural accidents tend to be on narrow, high-speed roadways. That also comports well with last year's cycletrack studies that show cycletracks are among the safest facilities for long corridors with minimal intersection density (along side highways, rivers, waterfronts), but are an order of magnitude more hazardous when constructed with the intersection density of an urban street grid.

Unfortunately, overlooking all of those nuances, it appears the report is being used to argue in favor of urban cycletracks, reducing the already-low risk of rear-end accidents in urban areas while increasing the already-high risk of intersection accidents.
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Old 05-29-14, 11:29 PM   #28
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Frankly I don't believe a ban from "taking the lane" as indicated in the report, on high speed arterial roads, is such a bad thing.
Except that it would prevent cyclists from reaching many potential destinations. Lots of people would no longer be able to ride to work, to buy groceries, or perform many other utility trips by bicycle if they were to be banned from riding on the many high speed arterial roads that lack shoulders, bicycle lanes, or other infrastructure and have right-hand lanes too narrow to share.

I would certainly view that as a very "bad thing."
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Old 05-29-14, 11:35 PM   #29
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I was very surprised that the vast majority of responders would chose a 4 lane road over a 2 lane. Apparently, something changed in cyclist attitudes over the last 45 years.
It depends on the road. My city has a ton of "over designed" roads that have 4-6 lanes and not enough car traffic. So I don't mind riding those, as it is really east for cars to move over when I take the lane. This is a lot safer than the 2 lane roads with speedy traffic. I find the cars on the 2 lane roads pass a lot closer.
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Old 05-30-14, 08:28 AM   #30
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It's not clear where the texters and facebookers are going to end up on the roadway. I submit that they are all over the place, and lane placement doesn't determine the likelihood of being hit.
One just has to look at the texting NH motorist that crossed over the road center line, killing two cyclists on the side of the road, traveling in the opposite lane. Locally, one cyclist was killed though they were 11 feet to the right of the fog line, even then the cyclist was struck by the motorist's LEFT frontal area of their vehicle.
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Old 05-30-14, 08:35 AM   #31
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Tthis article lists that drinking and driving is the main cause of rear fatal accidents. Therefore... alcohol again.... silent killer.
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Old 05-30-14, 08:47 AM   #32
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One just has to look at the texting NH motorist that crossed over the road center line, killing two cyclists on the side of the road, traveling in the opposite lane. Locally, one cyclist was killed though they were 11 feet to the right of the fog line, even then the cyclist was struck by the motorist's LEFT frontal area of their vehicle.
I totally agree one should never assume they're safe from distracted drivers because they're not in a travel lane, but its not honest to use worst case scenarios to deny that the risk diminishes as separation increases. Most distracted drivers do manage to stay in their lane, most often its that they're distracted, not their line of travel that puts others at risk
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Old 05-30-14, 08:51 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by jputnam View Post
The report has so many statistical flaws, it's hard to pretend it challenges any existing data.

The great majority of car/bicycle collisions are not fatal -- more than 95% are non-fatal. Fatal bicycle accidents are a relatively rare event.

Being hit from behind is a rare form of collision, but an exceptionally severe form, so they're over-represented when ignoring injuries. We've known that at least since Cross & Fisher in 1977, who documented that these crashes were rare (<5% of car/bike collisions) but severe (25% of all car/bike fatalities). Turns out, that's still true, based on national collision data.

LAB's report doesn't address the frequency of collisions or the severity of injuries, it looks only at fatal accidents. Amputees, quadriplegics and the comatose need not apply.

LAB notes that "High-speed urban and suburban arterial streets with no provisions for bicyclists are an over-represented location — representing 56 percent of all bicyclist fatalities." That, too, is essentially unchanged from existing data.

The new LAB report isn't really a "study" in the proper sense -- its data sources are post-hoc classification of a non-random subset of fatal accidents, with accident classifications based on media reports, which are notoriously inaccurate and incomplete, not to mention sensationalized. Yet, relying on media reports, the report pretends to be able to distinguish between hit-from-behind and side-swipe crash types, for example. That's a distinction that's hard to make even given complete police reports on many accidents.

The report was unable to classify crash types for 1/4 of the collisions it covers, another sign of poor data, yet it does not exclude those low-quality data points from its calculations.

Overall, LAB's report tends to confirm what we already knew -- severe urban accidents tend to be at intersections; severe suburban and rural accidents tend to be on narrow, high-speed roadways. That also comports well with last year's cycletrack studies that show cycletracks are among the safest facilities for long corridors with minimal intersection density (along side highways, rivers, waterfronts), but are an order of magnitude more hazardous when constructed with the intersection density of an urban street grid.

Unfortunately, overlooking all of those nuances, it appears the report is being used to argue in favor of urban cycletracks, reducing the already-low risk of rear-end accidents in urban areas while increasing the already-high risk of intersection accidents.
Perfect evaluation of the study.
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Old 05-30-14, 08:54 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by dynodonn View Post
One just has to look at the texting NH motorist that crossed over the road center line, killing two cyclists on the side of the road, traveling in the opposite lane. Locally, one cyclist was killed though they were 11 feet to the right of the fog line, even then the cyclist was struck by the motorist's LEFT frontal area of their vehicle.
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...but its not honest to use worst case scenarios to deny that the risk diminishes as separation increases.
Honesty has nothing to do with an advocacy of fear baiting by some BF drama queens.
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Old 05-30-14, 09:35 AM   #35
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Except that it would prevent cyclists from reaching many potential destinations. Lots of people would no longer be able to ride to work, to buy groceries, or perform many other utility trips by bicycle if they were to be banned from riding on the many high speed arterial roads that lack shoulders, bicycle lanes, or other infrastructure and have right-hand lanes too narrow to share.

I would certainly view that as a very "bad thing."
I would think such a ban would HAVE to come with "alternative routes" much as we are discussing here... some form of path or bike lane. Thus a cyclist would be able to reach the same destinations.

Of course I am making an assumption... and we know where that leads.

BTW I do believe Massachusetts bans cyclists from high speed roads... (correct me if I am wrong). How do things work there?
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Old 05-30-14, 09:47 AM   #36
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....

BTW I do believe Massachusetts bans cyclists from high speed roads... (correct me if I am wrong). How do things work there?
Sigh. You're wrong. Again. Maryland.

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Old 05-30-14, 09:57 AM   #37
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From my non-scientific memory of local and news-reported fatalities, there seem to be two major categories. One is cyclists crushed by turning large trucks, the other is cyclists getting rear-ended by distracted drivers who have drifted off the road while texting or trying to retrieve that french fry from the floor.

this pretty much sums up most of my near death experiences.
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Old 05-30-14, 12:43 PM   #38
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Around here "2 lane" also means "heavily travelled" and "no shoulder."

4 lanes have usually about the same amount of traffic but on more lanes, and they usually have generous shoulders.

The 2 lane roads are usually ones that were built decades ago before we had much growth around here, 4+ lanes are when they started actually designing for more traffic.

Even a 2+center turn is much better than a 2 lane road.
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Old 05-30-14, 01:22 PM   #39
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I would think such a ban would HAVE to come with "alternative routes" much as we are discussing here... some form of path or bike lane. Thus a cyclist would be able to reach the same destinations.

Of course I am making an assumption... and we know where that leads.

BTW I do believe Massachusetts bans cyclists from high speed roads... (correct me if I am wrong). How do things work there?
Maryland (not Mass.) has a ban on cyclists using the roadway when the speed limit is greater than 50 mph:
"In general - Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, a person may not ride a bicycle or motor scooter; (1) On any roadway where the posted maximum speed limit is more than 50 miles per hour [Cyclists may operate on the shoulder of a roadway where the posted speed limit exceeds 50 mph unless otherwise prohibited.]"

I don't know how restrictive this rule is in practice. Maryland has a rather dense road network so there may almost always be reasonable alternate routes, but even there I wonder if there aren't some businesses located directly on a 55+ mph road which cannot legally be reached by cycling.

I'd be more concerned about such a ban in western states where it might effectively make substantial areas off-limits to cyclists.
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Old 05-30-14, 01:31 PM   #40
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Maryland (not Mass.) has a ban on cyclists using the roadway when the speed limit is greater than 50 mph:
"In general - Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, a person may not ride a bicycle or motor scooter; (1) On any roadway where the posted maximum speed limit is more than 50 miles per hour [Cyclists may operate on the shoulder of a roadway where the posted speed limit exceeds 50 mph unless otherwise prohibited.]"

I don't know how restrictive this rule is in practice. Maryland has a rather dense road network so there may almost always be reasonable alternate routes, but even there I wonder if there aren't some businesses located directly on a 55+ mph road which cannot legally be reached by cycling.

I'd be more concerned about such a ban in western states where it might effectively make substantial areas off-limits to cyclists.
This would be a real problem in New York since the state speed limit is 55mph on open roads unless posted otherwise. (there are exceptions).

If the unposted limit in MD is only 50mph, this may be OK, since the language "greater than 50" would include only roads with higher posted speeds. How OK it is or isn't depends on the number and nature of the roads that exclude bicycles.

Here in New York, I can name a great number of roads that it's legal to ride on, but that I wouldn't unless there were absolutely no other option.
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Old 05-30-14, 01:45 PM   #41
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This would be a real problem in New York since the state speed limit is 55mph on open roads unless posted otherwise. (there are exceptions).

If the unposted limit in MD is only 50mph, this may be OK, since the language "greater than 50" would include only roads with higher posted speeds. How OK it is or isn't depends on the number and nature of the roads that exclude bicycles.
Agreed. Another concern with establishing bans such as Maryland's is that even if they are not overly restrictive when adopted they might later become more of a problem. E.g. if speed limits are raised the ban could suddenly affect far more roads and potential destinations for cyclists.
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Old 05-30-14, 01:56 PM   #42
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Sigh. You're wrong. Again. Maryland.

-mr. bill
Damn... Well I knew east coast, and started with an M. The point of course is that there IS a state that bans cyclists from high speed roads... (is that close enough for you mr bill?)

And of course from that point comes the question... are there alternative routes in the areas where cyclists are banned that allow cyclists to get to the things they need to get to?
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Old 05-30-14, 06:00 PM   #43
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Damn... Well I knew east coast, and started with an M. The point of course is that there IS a state that bans cyclists from high speed roads... (is that close enough for you mr bill?)

And of course from that point comes the question... are there alternative routes in the areas where cyclists are banned that allow cyclists to get to the things they need to get to?
My understanding when I lived in Maryland 20 years ago is that bicyclists were not allowed to ride in the lane on roads with speed limits over 50mph (i.e. 55mph or higher), while if the speed limit was 50mph or lower the bicyclist could legally ride in the lane. I never saw any roads with 55mph speed limits without shoulders, so practically bicyclists could still use these roads, and a large portion of the 50mph roads also had shoulders.

This is no way meant to imply that the state respected bicyclists; I remember a highway project that would sever a road legal for bicyclists, and the state legislature said that the SHA (State Highway Authority) had to maintain accessibility on routes with signficant bicycle traffic. When the SHA removed bicyclists' access, it turned out that they did not measure bicycle traffic because their view "bicycle traffic" was by definition "Not significant" and they would not even measure it. I think this was around Route 29.

Interstates and bridge were also generally completely prohibited. According to state brochures, bicyclists could ask the SHA for rides over certain bridges with 48-72 hour notice; I never heard of anyone actually doing this.

I can assure you the point the policeman that pulled me over was trying to make is that locations on these roads are inaccessible to bicyclists for our own safety, no matter how empty the lanes may be.
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Old 05-30-14, 09:58 PM   #44
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...The great majority of car/bicycle collisions are not fatal -- more than 95% are non-fatal. Fatal bicycle accidents are a relatively rare event.

Being hit from behind is a rare form of collision, but an exceptionally severe form, so they're over-represented when ignoring injuries. We've known that at least since Cross & Fisher in 1977, who documented that these crashes were rare (<5% of car/bike collisions) but severe (25% of all car/bike fatalities). Turns out, that's still true, based on national collision data.

LAB's report doesn't address the frequency of collisions or the severity of injuries, it looks only at fatal accidents.
Thanks, I was trying to figure out how best to say the same thing! Based on this study, you can say that when a hit-from-behind collision occurs, it's pretty likely to be fatal. But you cannot draw the conclusion that hit-from-behind collisions are a common type of collision. The study doesn't address that at all.
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Old 05-30-14, 10:34 PM   #45
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Man, man, man. Tell me something I don't already know.

I have been defending my motivations for how I ride here on BF since 2007 and FINALLY someone did a study. I don't need no stinkin' study. I have powers of observation and fairly well tuned brand of common sense..............

1. I ride as fast as I can. This one thing minimizes the number of cars overtaking me, sometimes on a good day down to ZERO cars passing me.

2. I ride in the middle of the street/lane whenever possible.
The study may only confirm your observations.... but I think [hope] most of us would agree with your advice/solutions. I ride the bicycle paths most days when the weather is half decent. But I have [at least] eight miles of urban cycling to get to the MUP's. So I log a lot of city cycling. I avoid high traffic areas when possible. And I ride though residential areas when I can.

But when riding with traffic.... I live by: Take the lane, ride hard and ride fast.
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Old 05-31-14, 08:17 AM   #46
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...when riding with traffic.... I live by: Take the lane, ride hard and ride fast.
Another advantage to your (our) technique for handling traffic in the city is this: For many motorists, if they see us hustling and dressed in regular "work" clothes, we become one of them in their minds - another human trying to get to work or SOMEWHERE important. If we were riding a Townie leisurely at 8 mph wearing a wife-beater or a road bike all kitted up, the we are perceived as leisure riders out for fun and holding up motorists trying to get somewhere important.

I find the magic threshold to be 20 mph where I become "one of them". Also I find when I am pacing in a line of traffic at 25-30 mph I get treated just like a motorcyclist. It may be a subconscious thing for motorists but I most definitely get treated differently when i LOOK LIKE i am in a hurry to get to work too.

One good trick I picked up long ago is to wear long sleeve white dress shirts while commuting. Even unbuttoned with the sleeves rolled up they signify a working man going to a job. I buy the shirts at thrift shops and try to find the lightest weight most thread bare ones for hot weather riding. They also block the sun saving me money on sunscreen.

As Willie Shakespeare said: "All the world's a stage". I try to dress and act the part to get the respect I deserve in an urban cycling setting.

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Old 05-31-14, 04:31 PM   #47
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Unfortunately, overlooking all of those nuances, it appears the report is being used to argue in favor of urban cycletracks, reducing the already-low risk of rear-end accidents in urban areas while increasing the already-high risk of intersection accidents.
this makes complete sense if you value subjective safety more than *reality* based safety.
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Old 05-31-14, 04:34 PM   #48
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Another advantage to your (our) technique for handling traffic in the city is this: For many motorists, if they see us hustling and dressed in regular "work" clothes, we become one of them in their minds - another human trying to get to work or SOMEWHERE important. If we were riding a Townie leisurely at 8 mph wearing a wife-beater or a road bike all kitted up, the we are perceived as leisure riders out for fun and holding up motorists trying to get somewhere important.

I find the magic threshold to be 20 mph where I become "one of them". Also I find when I am pacing in a line of traffic at 25-30 mph I get treated just like a motorcyclist. It may be a subconscious thing for motorists but I most definitely get treated differently when i LOOK LIKE i am in a hurry to get to work too.

One good trick I picked up long ago is to wear long sleeve white dress shirts while commuting. Even unbuttoned with the sleeves rolled up they signify a working man going to a job. I buy the shirts at thrift shops and try to find the lightest weight most thread bare ones for hot weather riding. They also block the sun saving me money on sunscreen.

As Willie Shakespeare said: "All the world's a stage". I try to dress and act the part to get the respect I deserve in an urban cycling setting.
i just wear stretchy black synthetics and scowl alot. i find i get the most respect when i am wearing my winter balaclava.

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Old 05-31-14, 04:43 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by Dave Cutter View Post
I avoid high traffic areas when possible. And I ride though residential areas when I can.

Speaking for myself...yuck.

The challenge of riding fast in the river of urban traffic is the freaking highlight of my day. It's a an effing meditative experience for me. And I personally am far more worried about the effects of vehicle pollution on my health than the effect of a vehicle impact.
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Old 05-31-14, 07:44 PM   #50
Dave Cutter
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Originally Posted by spare_wheel View Post
Speaking for myself...yuck.

The challenge of riding fast in the river of urban traffic is the freaking highlight of my day. It's a an effing meditative experience for me.......
I share your enthusiasm for cycling. But I have obligations that force me to consider a risk calculation... that favors others. I do practice mediation..... and I do enjoy the emotional state I feel when fully in-the-zone when cycling. I would never have thought of that as a "meditative experience".

Also due to age and my fitness level..... I tend limit the periods of extreme effort. I can only go so hard... for so long.
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