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Old 11-12-13, 10:09 PM   #1
jdriver
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Hit by a car today

Pedaling down the bike lane, a car pulled out and hit me. I saw her and was 100% sure she saw me. But she didn't. I've got some major muscle bruising but otherwise am fine.

I post this to remind you that you should never assume they see you. I was incredibly lucky today. I was under the bumper with the wheel coming at my head. The whole time I was telling myself she was going to stop anytime now.

What we do is incredibly dangerous, even if you're following all the laws. Look at this memorial of those in just one city who were not so lucky. And please don't take any chances.

https://medium.com/improving-our-cities/1456bbd017d9
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Old 11-12-13, 11:00 PM   #2
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Man! I'm glad you're okay. Thank you for sharing that link with us.

Safe riding everyone.
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Old 11-12-13, 11:03 PM   #3
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I know most cyclists prefer to ride on streets / roads but these stories just prove riding on streets are dangerous regardless of how much or how many safety accessories you are riding with. I bought my 1st road bike two months ago and I'm still hesitant to ride in my neighborhood streets, let alone city roads. Right now, I only ride on MUPs and lucky it's 21 miles long so I can still get some decent rides in.
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Old 11-12-13, 11:05 PM   #4
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OP, first let me point out one of the sticky threads in A & S- http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...MBERS-READ****.

That being said, is your bike toast?
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Old 11-12-13, 11:37 PM   #5
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Thanks for the link no1mad.

The bike isn't toast. Slightly crispy maybe Bent cranks, drivetrain. Wheel needs truing. Wald folding basket was out at the time and a water bottle holder was bent. Driver has agreed to cover the damage.
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Old 11-13-13, 06:12 AM   #6
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Glad you're okay man.
Also glad that the driver agreed to fix your ride.
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Old 11-13-13, 08:01 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NoviceJohn View Post
I know most cyclists prefer to ride on streets / roads but these stories just prove riding on streets are dangerous regardless of how much or how many safety accessories you are riding with. I bought my 1st road bike two months ago and I'm still hesitant to ride in my neighborhood streets, let alone city roads. Right now, I only ride on MUPs and lucky it's 21 miles long so I can still get some decent rides in.
Correction - riding in bike lanes is dangerous. Better to take the lane.......
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Old 11-13-13, 08:03 AM   #8
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Thanks for the link no1mad.

The bike isn't toast. Slightly crispy maybe Bent cranks, drivetrain. Wheel needs truing. Wald folding basket was out at the time and a water bottle holder was bent. Driver has agreed to cover the damage.
Sorry to hear about the accident, but man you must be a better bike macgyver than me, because that sounds like enough damage that I'd just buy a new one. (esp. when someone else's insurance is covering it. They way I heard it, you had a Picasso that got damaged in your bike basket)
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Old 11-13-13, 08:24 AM   #9
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Thankfully you weren't killed or seriously injured. A friend got hit by a semi-truck last year. Nothing broken, but he did suffer a shoulder injury.

the problem isn't that drivers don't see bikers - the problem is they aren't looking. The roads are overwhelmed with drivers texting or playing with their cell phones. Several years ago a semi truck driver killed a women whose car had broken down because he was watching porn on his laptop computer while driving 70 mph on the NYS thruway. http://gothamist.com/2010/09/02/porn..._sentenced.php

Flags, high visibility clothing, blinking lights etc ain't going to help when the driver isn't even looking at the road.
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Old 11-13-13, 08:33 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by jdriver View Post
Pedaling down the bike lane, a car pulled out and hit me. I saw her and was 100% sure she saw me. But she didn't. I've got some major muscle bruising but otherwise am fine.........
.......What we do is incredibly dangerous,.....
Odds are she did see you. People really don't remember everything they see and do [as people once believed they did... decades ago]. People don't store mundane events in even short term memory. They discard the events as if they are operating on autopilots. Motorist are acclimated to the speed of normal traffic... and she merely discarded the memory of seeing you too soon. This memory malfunction is the cause of MANY cyclist accidents involving cars.

I used to feel comforted when I could make "eye contact" with a motorist. But that isn't enough. A motorist will look you in the eye... turn their head for a second... and completely discard any memory of having ever seen you. Unfortunately... bicycle lanes, new laws, signs, education programs, and new taxes do NOT change the way the brain functions. A cyclists own situational awareness is his/her best protection.

Ride as if you're invisible.

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Flags, high visibility clothing, blinking lights etc ain't going to help when the driver isn't even looking at the road.
You are correct! Only it isn't the looking... or seeing. It is a human memory malfunction. This is a built-in function as how our human brains work.

Last edited by Dave Cutter; 11-13-13 at 08:37 AM.
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Old 11-13-13, 08:33 AM   #11
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Glad to hear you're ok! Hope your bike can be fully restored without cost to you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wanderer View Post
Correction - riding in bike lanes is dangerous. Better to take the lane.......
Depends on the conditions of the road and bike lanes in question, but yeah I agree in many cases.

e.g. I drove into work today (first time in many months), and passed a cyclist on the road hugging the right side of the road on a slight but longish uphill section that I know well. This was pre-7am (poor light conditions), one lane only with a tiny shoulder, and cars + trucks typically do 40mph+ (35mph official limit). He only had dark clothes on... nothing hi-viz or reflective. If he had a rear blinkie on, I didn't see it. He looked like an experienced cyclist judging from his bike and tights. I would have taken the lane, although I'll only ride this section of road at low traffic times (otherwise I cut through a hillier longer route).
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Old 11-13-13, 08:47 AM   #12
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This situation is exactly why I use a helmet light in addition to one on my handlebars. With a helmet light, you simply glance at cars that look like they might pull out or turn in front of you. When I give drivers a "laser stare" with my helmet light, they stop in their tracks, every time.

It's easy to draw too many conclusions from accidents like this. How many people say they are going to quit driving cars on the roads after getting in a car accident? There are thousands of car accidents every day, many that kill and seriously injure drivers, yet you don't hear people saying they should quit driving because it is too dangerous. The same goes with bike paths. You can get hurt on a bike path just as easily as on a road, and I would venture that it is perhaps more likely on a MUT. Runners wearing earbuds, kids riding bikes, moms pushing baby carriages, walkers with dogs on leashes are all accidents waiting to happen when cycling on MUTs.
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Old 11-13-13, 09:25 AM   #13
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Glad you are ok!! Thanks for posting this, best to b aware and remember how dangerous your average driver is. Be safe everyone.
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Old 11-13-13, 09:33 AM   #14
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defensive riding: keep your head on a swivel, always give cars the right of way, and assume there's an idiot driving
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Old 11-13-13, 09:33 AM   #15
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OP, that sounds like some serious force went into the bike to bend the cranks, so you should be sure to have a shop check out your frame thoroughly for deformations and misalignment before making any final settlement with the driver.
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Old 11-13-13, 09:42 AM   #16
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You're right, NEVER assume a driver sees you. I always yield to vehicles pulling out of driveways. I make sure I have complete eye contact with the driver, most of the time they're going the opposite direction so they wave me by but once in awhile I'll get a jerk that just flies out making me stop. Would they do that if I was driving? Most certainly, yes! It's not just bicycling when you need to be alert.

Anyway, I'm glad you're alright and sorry to hear about the bike. Hopefully you can get it fixed up and back riding quickly.
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Old 11-13-13, 09:47 AM   #17
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Glad you will be okay. So sorry for what happened. This is really scary!
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Old 11-13-13, 09:49 AM   #18
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What we do is incredibly dangerous
Compared with what?
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Old 11-13-13, 09:55 AM   #19
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Where the MUP I ride on crosses roads, I usually light up the face of drivers with my blinding helmet light, and although they look confused, half the time they don't stop anyway. Always assume you have to take evasive action. Act as if it's a rhinocerous coming down the road at you. Big, aggressive, dangerous and unpredictable. It could kill or maim you easily.
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Old 11-13-13, 10:05 AM   #20
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Agreed ^, glad you're ok.

The best we can do is to make ourselves visible, be aware of what's around us and hope that we avoid injury or worse.
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Old 11-13-13, 10:34 AM   #21
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I usually light up the face of drivers with my blinding helmet light,
if I was driving, you and I would "have words."
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Old 11-13-13, 10:41 AM   #22
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I think what happens in cases like this is not that cars don't see us, but that most drivers register bikes as pedestrians and assume they are moving very slowly. I have seen a lot of cases where drivers clearly saw a cyclist but then cut in front of him, or pulled out directly in his path, because they just can't comprehend that a bike is moving the same speed as a car. So, rather than a Doctrine of Presumed Invisibility, I ride under the Doctrine of Presumed Tortoise-ness. It has saved me from numerous stupid drivers.
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Old 11-13-13, 10:58 AM   #23
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I'm sorry to hear of the OPs accident. Even minor ones are no fun at all.

However, I take issue with the characterization of bicycling as "incredibly dangerous", in or out of bike lanes. The reality is that bicycling's perceived danger greatly exceed the actual danger, as evidenced by the millions of riders with long injury free cycling careers.

It would be more accurate to say that bicycling is incredibly safe. I don't claim that bicycling is as safe as staying at home watching TV (though if you factor heart disease, it might be), but if done with reasonable alertness and care it can be among the safest activities we engage in.

In fact, all things considered, including the risk of early death through accident, cyclists as a group enjoy life expectancies well above average. So regardless of the perceived dangers, it's safer to ride a bike than not to.
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Old 11-13-13, 11:15 AM   #24
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It's not the bicycling that's incredibly dangerous, but the car drivers we encounter. A moment's inattention, and you could be killed or injured.
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Old 11-13-13, 11:27 AM   #25
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It's not the bicycling that's incredibly dangerous, but the car drivers we encounter. A moment's inattention, and you could be killed or injured.
Yes, but this also applies to crossing the street as a pedestrian. Though we keep hearing about car/bike accidents on this forum, they really aren't super common. They do happen, and one has to have street smarts, good control of your bicycle, and situational awareness to ride safely, but with reasonable care we can do so for years even in congested areas.

I wouldn't bother posting about how safe cycling is, but fear, especially of cars, is a major reason people don't ride bikes. I'm constantly warned by non cyclists about how dangerous it is, not only because of traffic, but because it's too hot, cold, rainy and so on. My neighbor lets her 13 year old daughter ride a bike to school and after school activities, and is constantly berated by busybodies about the dangers her daughter is needlessly exposed to.

I'm used to this nonsense from non cyclists, but find it harder to accept from folks who should know better.
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