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Old 05-30-02, 11:11 AM   #1
John C. Ratliff
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Are Fridays Bad for Commuting?

I just read from LittleBigMan that he had an accident on a Friday. My two accidents have been on a Friday too. Last Friday, I was driving a car and came upon a bicycle/car accident in which the car had stopped in front of a bicycle in the bicycle lane. The cyclist could not stop in time, and did a face-plant into the back of the car (a station wagon, I believe), and in the process not only harmed his body, but broke the front fork (composite) and bent the wheel of a titanium bicycle. My own experience, and now these incidental accidents, indicate to me that perhaps Friday is not a good time to be cycling during the commuter's rush home. What's your experience with this? Is Friday a "bad day" to be on a bicycle in the commuter rush home?

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Old 05-30-02, 11:40 AM   #2
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My experience is that it gets worse later on Fridays. I dread having to work late on a Friday, because then my commute is through "date night" traffic. Lots of young drivers, and drivers focused on getting their weekend started.

Friday mornings and Friday rush hours don't seem that different to me from any other day.

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Old 05-30-02, 12:02 PM   #3
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Well, I got in my first accident with a car 2 days ago (Tuesday). I came out fine but my bike didn't. I am still waiting for the damage estimate and if the bike is totalled.

I definately agree that Fridays seem to be worse. People are in such a hurry to get home, pack the car and go out for the weekend or whatnot that they really don't even notice cyclists.

The only way to make them more aware is to stay on the road, though. Not commuting by bike on Fridays means fewer cyclists on the road and awareness of us on the road comes with more of us on the road.
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Old 05-30-02, 12:05 PM   #4
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Years ago when I was in Collage in Las Cruces N.M. I thought Fridays were funny because the drivers got so bad. I didn't think of it as dangerious - I didn't think the drivers we good enough to hit something on purpose so all you had to do was keep an eye on them. You know young a super confident.

But Fridays was notably insane in that town in those years.

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Old 05-30-02, 01:18 PM   #5
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I don't get out of work until 6 pm so maybe this information doesn't help.

Here in Atlanta the traffic seems to "clear up" a little faster on Friday. People are in a hurry to start the weekend and get to their destinations (home, mall, whatever) ASAP. So by the time I get on the road (6:15 by the time I change clothes) the trafic is lighter than Monday through Thursday.

I hope I'm not jinxing myself but I have never seen a car-bike accident while riding or driving to or from work.
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Old 05-30-02, 03:10 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by Rich Clark
My experience is that it gets worse later on Fridays. I dread having to work late on a Friday, because then my commute is through "date night" traffic. Lots of young drivers, and drivers focused on getting their weekend started.

Friday mornings and Friday rush hours don't seem that different to me from any other day.

RichC
Or perhaps more focused on a certain female in the car.....
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Old 05-30-02, 05:40 PM   #7
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I vaguely remember reading a news article which claimed that Friday afternoon commutes are the most dangerous of the work week. Fridays are actually the best mornings, however.
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Old 05-30-02, 08:23 PM   #8
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I usually find traffic to be lighter on Fridays. I figure a lot of people take the day off.
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Old 05-30-02, 08:52 PM   #9
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Even though I don't drive, I find that there are fewer cars Friday morning. I've always thought that it must be because everyone is sleeping in

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Old 05-30-02, 09:05 PM   #10
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Gee, I don't know, John. Sounds like I should think about this.

If traffic gets too nasty, I can take the long road home. (All I encounter there are a few kids in the street.)

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Old 05-31-02, 02:10 AM   #11
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I find Friday and Monday mornings slightly worse in terms of drivers who seem half asleep, certainly half focused. Friday afternoons aren't too bad if I leave early, but when I've worked later I've found you get the teenagers showing off in their souped up hatchbacks.

Richard
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Old 05-31-02, 06:11 AM   #12
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Yes, specially if it is Friday the 13th , I am a very supertituos person and I would usually stay at home If I can help it, I'll just stay at home on a Friday the 13th and just drink my Beer
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Old 05-31-02, 02:04 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by orguasch
Friday the 13th
Or, if you are ever near Silicon Valley on Halowe'en or on a Friday the 13th, be sure to pop by San Jose's Winchester Mystery House for a special flashlight tour.
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Old 06-02-02, 04:46 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by John E


Or, if you are ever near Silicon Valley on Halowe'en or on a Friday the 13th, be sure to pop by San Jose's Winchester Mystery House for a special flashlight tour.
John, Yes, that can be scary john
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Old 06-05-02, 10:37 AM   #15
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I just got this information from the Bicycle Helmet web site, concerning statistics on bicycling:

The following facts are based on analysis of data from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Fatality Analysis Reporting System:

--687 bicyclists were killed in crashes with motor vehicles in 2000. This is 8 percent fewer than in 1999 and down 32 percent since 1975.
--Bicycle deaths are most likely to occur in summer. Deaths are most likely to occur on Fridays. The peak time is 3-9 pm.
--Ninety percent of bicyclists killed in 2000 reportedly weren't wearing helmets.

I'll post the web site later, when I can again access it without messing up my work.

John
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Old 06-05-02, 01:09 PM   #16
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Here is the web site I quoted above:

http://www.bhsi.org/stats.htm

One other quote from that page caught my eye:

"Bicyclist death rates per trip or per person mile of travel greatly exceed the rates for car occupants."

Something to contemplate!

John
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Old 06-05-02, 01:52 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by John C. Ratliff
"Bicyclist death rates per trip or per person mile of travel greatly exceed the rates for car occupants."

I've also read statistics that indicate that for every million hours spent motoring, one is almost twice as likely to die as compared with one million hours of cycling.

The most important statistics, I think, are the ones that indicate that inexperienced or untrained cyclists are several times more likely to be involved in an accident. For children, the numbers are much higher. Overall, there are many things we can do individually to greatly increase our safety.

Yet, it is important to remember that we are mortals when we are out riding. Perhaps it is this awareness that makes the odds even more in our favor.

(Don't forget the high risks of premature death from heart disease and stroke many motorists undertake due to lack of exercise and high-stress.)
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Old 06-05-02, 02:13 PM   #18
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I would rather risk it than drive.
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Old 06-05-02, 02:35 PM   #19
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Note also that living is more dangerous than cycling, so keep that helmet on even when not riding. And dont while away the hours skydiving.

Activity # Fatalities per 1,000,000
exposure hours
------------------------------------------------
Skydiving 128.71
General Aviation 15.58
On-road Motorcycling 8.80
Scuba Diving 1.98
Living (all causes of death) 1.53
Swimming 1.07
Snowmobiling .88
Passenger cars .47
Water skiing .28
Bicycling .26
Flying (scheduled domestic airlines) .15
Hunting .08
Cosmic Radiation from
transcontinental flights .035
Home Living (active) .027
Traveling in a School Bus .022
Passenger Car Post-collision fire .017
Home Living, active & passive (sleeping) .014
Residential Fire .003
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Old 06-06-02, 05:30 AM   #20
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Au come on the cause of death is birth. No one ever dies that was not born first. So quit worrying and enjoy while you can
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Old 06-06-02, 05:50 AM   #21
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Just ride, 150 years from now, noone will even knew you were here. do what you want when you want as long as it's cycling.
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Old 06-11-02, 02:43 PM   #22
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A week or so ago, I wrote the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ) about my bicycle accident. I did this because, at my company, I'm the transportation coordinator, and under the EPA's rules the greater Portland Metro area is trying to get commuters to change from driving a single car. I have been commuting for a number of years now, but after my accident, I wanted to describe my feelings on bicycle commuting. The following is my e-mail to DEQ, followed by their response:

"I will be re-doing the commute options survey...in the next few weeks. My first results were in last week, but the turnout was not good.

"However, that's not what I'm writing about. DEQ wants us to use alternatives to get to work if at all possible. I've been trying bicycle commuting, and until last Friday it was working. Friday I bicycled to work all week. My commute is about 3.5 milse one way, which is great. But, the outcome was not great on Friday. This week, on the Bicycle Forum in the internet, I had to make some entries. You can find the whole story at:

Mirrors

"At this point, I'm not too sure that I can advocate bicycling as an alternative way to get to work. In the last four years, I've personnally been involved in two potentially fatal crashes, neither of which are my fault! Besides being Transportation Coordinator, I'm also the Environmental Health and Safety Engineer for this site. I cannot advocate bicycling when it is proving to me to be more hazardous than parachute jumping (which I did for ten years in the US Air Force), and much more hazardous than scuba diving (which I've participated in for over 40 years).

"I know people are killed in car crashes frequently, but the perception is that driving is safer than bicycle riding. My question to you is, "What can we do to make bicycling a safer, more attractive alternative?"

"Last Friday, I was one of the first on scene of another bicycle/car accident. This bicyclist was going down the south side of Murrey Hill, and a car stopped right in front of him in the bicycle lane. He tried to stop, but ended up with a bleeding face and a broken front fork/front wheel of his titanium bicycle.

"John

"John C. Ratliff, CSP
"Sr. Environmental Health & Safety Engineer

Here's the response From Susan Drake of the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality:


"Hi John -

"I'm so sorry to hear about your terrifying experiences. I can understand how this would discourage you from encouraging others to cycle. As a bicycle commuter myself (I ride from Portland's westside to downtown 3-4 days per week), I can relate to your fears and concerns. I ride very cautiously and try to stay on routes that present the least amount of danger.

"Here are some additional things to ponder.

"Bicycle fatalities have been on the decrease in Portland for the past several years (see article:
http://www.bta4bikes.org/info/archiv.../cltr0697.html

"I pieced together some rough statistics - I'm looking for something more official. These stats say that Oregon's bicycle fatality rate is 3.4 per million per year while our automobile crash fatality rate is over 61 per million per year. I realize that with so many more people driving, maybe this isn't as meaningful as it seems. I'll look into this further.

"It's easy to overlook to hazards that car travel presents because much of it doesn't kill us outright, but does so slowly and insidiously:

*Over-reliance on cars has lead to inactivity and obesity - a leading cause of disease and death in the US.

*EPA just released a study (National Air Toxics Assessment) that indicates that Oregon has a serious problem with air toxics - pollutants known or suspected to cause cancer, birth defects and reproductive damage. These are chemical like benzene and acrolien. Many, if not most of them, come from car exhaust. Multnomah County exceeded health benchmarks for 14 out of 33 pollutants studied. Let me know if you want more information on this. All Oregon counties exceeded at least 6 chemical health benchmarks.

*8% of Oregonians suffer from asthma (we are in the top 8 states in incidence of asthma) - it was long thought that smog (the pollutant ECO addresses) was only a trigger, now it's being shown to be a cause.

*50% of urban land is used for cars. Impermiable surfaces lead to pollution runoff into streams and rivers and affect the rate at which aquifers recharge.

"Cycling inarguably promotes healthier lifestyles, reduces stress and road rage, keeps pollution out of the air, and reconnects us with the environment around us. Doubtless you know these things - that's why you ride!


"You pose a good question about what we can do to make bicycling a better alternative. Land use planning is a big part of it. Investing in bike lanes, cyclist and driver eduction and awareness. The Bicycle Transportation Alliance does workplace workshops to teach folks how to bicycle-commute more safely, comfortable and efficiently. I think they even address helmet hair (an issue for some of us). They have lots of information about safer bicycling and can be reached at (503) 226-0676.

"ECO does not require you to promote cycling. If you cannot in good conscience, then don't. Certain parts of town are better for cycling than others. My feeling is that the benefits outweigh the risks.

"I appreciate you taking the time to write and express your concerns. Please continue to do so in the future.

"Best wishes -

"Susan Drake"
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Old 06-11-02, 02:51 PM   #23
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I don't really know if that is a positive answer or not. She didn't really address any of your converns or thoughs, she just mumbled for about a couple hundred words saying mostly stuff that you already knew.
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