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Old 06-28-12, 06:50 PM   #1
windhchaser 
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how unsafe is biking

I see a few post about people getting hit by car while biking. It is scaring me pretty bad is it realy this unsafe riding a bike on the street? if so which part the most dangerous? Are we most liely to get hit by a car passing us or from behind? or at intersections
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Old 06-28-12, 06:57 PM   #2
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If I feel unsure about a car, I take to the pavement. There aren't many pedestrians in subarbia, so no one has objected so far.
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Old 06-28-12, 07:00 PM   #3
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soon as i see a sidewalk i get on it . but even the sidewalks in this town suck they have telephone poles in the middle of them
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Old 06-28-12, 07:02 PM   #4
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It is all a risk but so is everything when you think about it.

You have to pay attention all the time, simply put. And take protective measures like wearing light clothes, using lights, etc but even with all that, you are still taking a risk. But remember, everything is a risk.

I feel more at ease riding in the street versus sidewalk but I also know my threshold and if the area is too busy or not safe I will find another way.
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Old 06-28-12, 07:06 PM   #5
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I see a few post about people getting hit by car while biking. It is scaring me pretty bad is it realy this unsafe riding a bike on the street? if so which part the most dangerous? Are we most liely to get hit by a car passing us or from behind? or at intersections
Mile for mile, you're a whole hell more likely to get killed in a car than you are on a bike.
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Old 06-28-12, 07:22 PM   #6
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I ride as safely as possible, on streets I have chosen for my commute that are wide in pavement and thin in traffic, and I wear yellow and use 4 lights. I personally feel that it is safer than driving a car. And that is even before I consider the weight loss, lower blood pressure, lower stress, better sleep and other health benefits.

We can't do much about the DUI's and texters (except vocally support our law enforcement), but they are as likely to hit you when driving as cycling. Watch for turning traffic and much of the risk is lessened.

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Old 06-28-12, 07:24 PM   #7
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Less likely to get hit riding with the flow of traffic. Odds go up some when dealing with cross traffic, more so at drive ways than intersections controlled by lights or stop signs, then higher when riding the sidewalk (with or against traffic), and higher still when 'salmoning'- which is when you ride the wrong way in traffic with the belief that you're safer if you see them coming. Being a 'ninja'- no lights at night- rates up with salmoning and the greatest is when you combine ninja with salmon.

It's natural to wonder about one's safety while riding, but if it worries you to the point where you'd consider giving up cycling, then you're just looking for an excuse to give up anyway.
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Old 06-28-12, 07:26 PM   #8
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I've been hit more times while driving a car than riding a bike.
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Old 06-28-12, 07:40 PM   #9
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which part the most dangerous? Are we most liely to get hit by a car passing us or from behind? or at intersections
There are many ways to reduce the risks involved with cycling such as becoming more visible with brightly colored clothing and lights. As far as the most dangerous situations this site has some good information:

http://bicyclesafe.com/
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Old 06-28-12, 07:59 PM   #10
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Other cyclists have proven much more dangerous than motorist. but the the right hook at an intersection is probably to one to look for the most. left crosses are rarer at intersections, look for those mid-block where motorist are going into driveways and parking lots. if someone does give you a left cross there's a good chance the traffic lane you're in is clear so go to your left as well if you don't stop. door openers and pull outs are a good reason to not hug the curb, you're easier to see if you're in the street.
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Old 06-28-12, 08:02 PM   #11
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There were 200,000 or so car accidents in the US last week. You didn't hear about it because that sort of thing isn't news.
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Old 06-28-12, 08:16 PM   #12
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How safe is riding a bike? How do you even begin to answer such a question? Does it really matter? How about: safe enough.
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Old 06-28-12, 08:20 PM   #13
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I do keep it as safe as possible, and take low traffic routes and bike paths whenever I can. But everything has some risk.

Riding the couch while watching tv about 4 hours a day like the average person, has that little heart attack risk.

Last edited by Closed Office; 06-28-12 at 08:27 PM.
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Old 06-28-12, 10:38 PM   #14
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I see a few post about people getting hit by car while biking. It is scaring me pretty bad is it realy this unsafe riding a bike on the street? if so which part the most dangerous? Are we most liely to get hit by a car passing us or from behind? or at intersections
Well, nothing is absolutely safe, but statistically riding a bike is more dangerous than flying, about as dangerous as driving, and actually a little safer than walking. The danger decreases with experience and sensible behavior. About half of all bicyclist fatalities are the fault of the bicyclist: they ran a ran light, didn't use lights at night, rode off the sidewalk into the street without looking, etc. If you ride predictably, signal your intentions, slow down in high-traffic areas with lots of intersections, and so on, you might die anyway, but the odds are very much in your favor; again, riding a bike is about as safe as driving.

One thing that I find really odd is that people keep bringing up this "bicycling is dangerous" nonsense. In most bike deaths, the bicyclist was killed by a car. Why isn't anybody seriously talking about how dangerous cars are? They're the things that are killing and maiming pretty much everyone that gets in their way out there, mostly people in other cars.
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Old 06-28-12, 11:01 PM   #15
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http://www.commutebybike.com/2008/03...why-its-safer/ I found this article compelling. CLAIM THE LANE! I do the same as this guy. I ride about 1/3 of the way into the lane. If you want to get around me, you're going in the next lane over like you would a car. No trying to sneak by me and clip me as you drive by. You have every right to the road as any car. period
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Old 06-29-12, 12:01 AM   #16
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Let's put it this way- there's risk in everything. Do you drive a car to work? You run the risk of being late due to dead battery, flat tire, can't find the keys, someone stole it and you didn't know...You like to dine out? You run the risk of food poisoning. You like to spend money? You run the risk of going broke. You like to have sex? Risk of pregnancy, STD's, a stroke, and/or heart attack.

You can take steps to increase your odds of surviving or level of comfort or desired pleasure, but in the end there will always be some level of risk to every facet of living.
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Old 06-29-12, 12:32 AM   #17
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The people who think about whether riding a bike on streets is safe or not are the same ones who think of bikes as toys and not as a form of transportation. Sadly a large majority of the population in the US are those people.
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Old 06-29-12, 12:43 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by windhchaser View Post
I see a few post about people getting hit by car while biking. It is scaring me pretty bad is it realy this unsafe riding a bike on the street? if so which part the most dangerous? Are we most liely to get hit by a car passing us or from behind? or at intersections
How often do you read about people getting hit by a car while walking, or while driving? If someone gets hit you'll hear about it, but you won't hear any specific mention of the untold thousands, if not millions, of times someone makes a journey and arrives at their destination without incident.

You're most likely to get hit by a car if the driver didn't see you, misjudged what you were going to do, or didn't care that you were in the way.

Not Being Seen is something you can go a long way to prevent. Assuming the driver is actually looking at the road (which I know some don't because they are too busy texting or whatever) you can make sure you are wearing bright colours that will stand out against the background, use lights as appropriate etc.

Misjudging what you are going to do could take a number of forms - maybe a driver expected you to be going much slower than you really are, or thought you'd take a different line or some such. Misjudging your speed may endanger you if someone pulls out in front of you expecting the space to be bigger than it is, so be aware of what's going on ahead. Riding predictably makes it easier for other road users to figure out what you're likely to do next so there are fewer nasty surprises all around.

If you do get the kind of maniac who can see you but still hits you there's not a lot you can do about it. Thankfully such people appear to be incredibly rare, and encountering one is pretty much like encountering the guy with the big knife in the park.
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Old 06-29-12, 01:04 AM   #19
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If you commute within the typical large American urban center, then cycling can be dangerous. You have bus drivers and cabbies that intentionally try to cut you off. Heck! A lot of drivers try to cut you off! Many drivers don't want you in front of them. Sometimes, they'll go out of their way to prevent it. Some drivers feel as though cyclists should not be riding in the streets or sharing the road with them and they'll openly demonstrate their opinion when driving by passing too close, cutting you off, or by driving in the bicycle lane. I've even seen drivers look at me while parking, and as I'm approaching, they then suddenly act like they're going to open their door as I attempt to pass. I guess this must be some kinda scare tactic or something.

Though some days are riddled with idiots all over the place (including other cyclists). Most days are fairly uneventful and routine. Just follow the state rules for vehicles and wear protective gear and clothing. Never ride at night without the proper reflective gear and lights. Always ride with the traffic and be cautious whenever "taking the lane". That's cautious NOT tentative!...Whenever you take the lane, take it!

Don't ride on sidewalks!

As a general rule, the further away you get from the urban center, the safer cycling gets.

Order of Danger:

Large Urban Centers > Small Urban Centers > Suburban Roads Paved > Suburban Roads Unpaved

* Danger meaning increased stress level due to traffic. In each case above, usually you'll have less traffic as you go from left to right.

Last edited by SlimRider; 06-29-12 at 02:39 AM.
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Old 06-29-12, 01:30 AM   #20
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Don't ride on sidewalks!
Interesting. I read up a bit about riding on sidewalks - will try and figure out an alternate route for the last stretch home. I'll also try and make it a point to stay in the lane and not stick to the side, that is good advice. Luckily, most of my riding is on the bay trail (I take that route instead of streets even though its longer - its more fun!)
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Old 06-29-12, 02:07 AM   #21
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Don't forget to learn driver's behavior, so you will know how to ride and share the road safely with them.

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Old 06-29-12, 02:36 AM   #22
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Interesting. I read up a bit about riding on sidewalks - will try and figure out an alternate route for the last stretch home. I'll also try and make it a point to stay in the lane and not stick to the side, that is good advice. Luckily, most of my riding is on the bay trail (I take that route instead of streets even though its longer - its more fun!)
It's not advisable to always take the lane. In many cases, you just manage to piss drivers off. Only take the lane when you're about to make a left turn and you've got to move to the left to make the turn, or when there's not enough room for both you and the cars. Otherwise, stay to your right and allow cars to pass.
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Old 06-29-12, 05:37 AM   #23
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It's not advisable to always take the lane. In many cases, you just manage to piss drivers off. Only take the lane when you're about to make a left turn and you've got to move to the left to make the turn, or when there's not enough room for both you and the cars. Otherwise, stay to your right and allow cars to pass.
Ultimately it's about sharing the lane. If there's space for cars to pass safely then by all means let them. But hugging the gutter just means anyone who does pass a little too close leaves you with nowhere to go. (I know you're not telling people to hug the gutter but some people read "keep right" and see "hug the gutter")

So by all means keep to the side to let people pass, but if it's not safe to pass then take the lane to make it clear to drivers they are going to have to do it properly.
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Old 06-29-12, 07:04 AM   #24
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I was reminded about this topic when I read of a couple (at least) of deaths while shopping at the mall.

How safe is shopping at the mall?

There have been plenty of other deaths at malls, by gunfire, medical emergencies, etc.
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Old 06-29-12, 07:12 AM   #25
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Quote:
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If you commute within the typical large American urban center, then cycling can be dangerous.

As a general rule, the further away you get from the urban center, the safer cycling gets.

Order of Danger:

Large Urban Centers > Small Urban Centers > Suburban Roads Paved > Suburban Roads Unpaved

* Danger meaning increased stress level due to traffic. In each case above, usually you'll have less traffic as you go from left to right.

Sorry Slim, but I have to completely disagree with you here. It's been my experience that the city is one of the safest places to ride. Speed limits are lower, traffic flow control is better regulated, and people (cars/bikes/pedestrians) are typically in a heightened state of awareness.

In the suburbs, you have higher speeds, which cyclist can't manage, more curb cuts, less flow control, high speed turns and poor road design. Factor in with that the suburban entitlement factor and you have some dangerous roads.

No disrespect, but I would rank my most dangerous as;

Most- Exurbs/suburbs/rural/city center. -least

Just aside; where exactly do you find un-paved suburban roads?
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