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Fifty Plus (50+) Share the victories, challenges, successes and special concerns of bicyclists 50 and older. Especially useful for those entering or reentering bicycling.

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Old 07-25-05, 08:16 PM   #1
DnvrFox
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Okay, I am likely the most cautious and safe rider around. But, sometimes you can't prepare for everything.

I was riding on the bike path, leading a group of seven seniors on a 29 mile ride.

The bike path is just above the river level, and there is a raised roadway immediately above and to the side of the bike path, supported by square landscaped beams one on top of another, holding the berm.

So, I am happily riding along, and all of a sudden, 50 feet ahead of me, an entire wheel from a passing car on the roadway above comes flying off at about 40 mph, hits the berm and bounces across the bike path and catapults into the river.

One of the riders behind me saw it out of the corner of his eye, but I saw it clearly and closely.

Shortly up the roadway and bike path, we saw a stopped car missing a front wheel. There were people gathered around the car looking at the missing wheel. I and the rider behind me stopped. The driver asked if anyone was hurt, and we said "No."

I asked who had previously mounted the wheel on the car, and he said a shop had done it. Obviously, the lug nuts had come loose from inadequate tightening, whoever mounted the tire.

I am still just a bit shaky. This is one I could not have predicted, and no matter how much defensive bicycling I do, could not have missed if I had been just 50 feet ahead! A wheel at 40 mph would have neatly chopped my head off without a "by-your-leave."

Scary.

Last edited by DnvrFox; 07-25-05 at 08:22 PM.
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Old 07-25-05, 08:28 PM   #2
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I'm not 50+, but I do read your threads when I happen to see them... that's seriously scary stuff! Since no one got hurt, that's seriously cool stuff!
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Old 07-25-05, 08:29 PM   #3
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wow ! Glad you and the group are okay!
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Old 07-25-05, 09:09 PM   #4
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It wasn't your time to go yet ..... and that would scare the hell out of me!!!
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Old 07-25-05, 09:34 PM   #5
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last year a young lady cyclist was killed here while on a training ride by a runaway truck tire coming from behind her under similar circumstances.
dangers lurk from some of the most unsuspecting places and on the road there are plenty of dangers.
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Old 07-25-05, 09:45 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LordOpie
I'm not 50+, but I do read your threads when I happen to see them... that's seriously scary stuff! Since no one got hurt, that's seriously cool stuff!
It was on the PRT where it parallels the Platter River Drive, west side, near the Englewood/Denver boundary, just north of Hampden, I believe.
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Old 07-25-05, 11:27 PM   #7
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Dang, talk about unexpected. Really happy to hear that nobody was injured or worse.
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Old 07-26-05, 01:12 PM   #8
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This has actually happened to me. I had my SUV (back when I owned one and gas was cheap) in the shop and when they returned it to me, I was driving it and noticing a sort of "clunking" noise. I called the shop and they told me to bring the vehicle back in the but couldn't fit me in until 2 days later. Well, I found out that evening, going 40 MPH down a busy highway in rush hour traffic, that the "clunking" noise was the sound of my entire wheel/tire ensemble ready to come off. And it did. And my tire bounced across four lanes of traffic. And THANK GOODNESS no one was hurt. Not tightening lug nuts seems to be more of a problem than imagined. YIKES.
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Old 07-26-05, 03:54 PM   #9
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Heavens You Kept Your Angels Busy That Day. You Still Have Plenty To Do. That's Why You Were Spared. There Are No Accidents In Life. That Would Have Scared Me Also. I'm Almost 50 And Riding My Bike Makes Me Feel Like 16 Again Till I Kiss The Pavement On Those Rare Occasions.
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Old 07-26-05, 04:12 PM   #10
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What a reminder of tenuous life really is. We all had better keep living well while we have the chance.
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Old 07-26-05, 07:45 PM   #11
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Glad you're OK. Timing is everything. A few seconds one way or another and it would have been an amazingly senseless way to die.
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Old 07-27-05, 09:04 PM   #12
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I've seen this happen except I don't know where the tire/wheel came from as It was about 50 feet in the air when I first spotted it! Yes, at least 50 feet!

I was riding a m/c in the carpool lane at about 75 to 80 mph southbound near Anaheim when I saw this wheel falling from the sky. There were no overpasses around. To this day, me and my buddy have no idea where it came from (an airplane?) but it bounced a couple of times then rebounded way into the air each time. Within a few seconds it finally bounced over our heads. It never hit anything!

I never considered it a near-death experience, just another unexpected LA freeway hazard. Like the time when my friend rode his m/c at about 60 mph over all the rungs of a 15' ladder that had fallen off someone's truck. Just another LA driving experience! He had to put on clean shorts after that one.

Glad you were safe!
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Old 08-02-05, 09:54 AM   #13
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A few years ago, run-away truck wheels on multi-lane freeways around Toronto, Ontario killed a number of people, 6 maybe, in a spate of shocking accidents that received intense media coverage. The wheels typically bounced across the median barrier into the windshield of an oncoming car - and the driver or passenger was killed before an opportunity for an avoidance manouver. The wheel separations were all do to cracked wheel components, bearings, lug nut failure, etc. do to inadequate maintenance and repair. Truckers complained they were assigned trailers by dispatchers and while responsible for their own trucks, they had little knowledge of the state of the trailer's repair. Legislation was quickly passed that mandated better wheel maintenance, inspection and highway enforcement with stiff penalties for violations. Runaway wheels on commercial vehicles are indeed avoidable.

I can't recall any runaway truck wheels since. I shudder to imagine the result of a cyclist being hit by a spinning vehicle wheel. The Fox has good reason to feel shaky....
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Old 08-02-05, 10:30 AM   #14
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When I drove tractor trailers out of Dallas in the 70's, I had a scary experience. I had just pulled out of the garage after getting my trailer PM'd. I got up to about 40mph and the light up ahead went orange. I slowed down quickly but not in a panic. Just as I slowed, in the corner of my eye a set of dual tires from my trailer went by me like they were shot out of a cannon. Thankfully, they went into the pucker and no damage or injury resulted. The fellow who performed the PM was fired and his supervisor also.
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Old 08-02-05, 10:33 AM   #15
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Neato. Wish one could get a video of that Glad nobody was hurt.
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Old 08-02-05, 11:12 AM   #16
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Wow! There's an old bumper sticker that says "Stuff Happens" (sort of) but I'd put flying wheels in the same category as meteorites or junk falling from an airplane.
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Old 08-03-05, 12:25 PM   #17
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Wow! There's an old bumper sticker that says "Stuff Happens" (sort of) but I'd put flying wheels in the same category as meteorites or junk falling from an airplane.
I don't know if "stuff happens", but sh it sure does. Of course fate being what it is, you realize what's going to happen to you by doubting the threat of flying wheels....!

Last edited by TrailRider; 08-04-05 at 06:53 AM.
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Old 08-03-05, 12:57 PM   #18
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Years ago I saw a car lose a wheel on I95 in Maryland. I was just pulling away from the major toll plaza and a car ahead of me doing about 50 and increasing, suddenly had the rear right wheel fly off. The wheel flew off, bounced high missed several cars, hit the back of one and finally came to rest near the median barrier. The car minus one wheel dropped on that end and spun around a few times before coming to a rest I felt very lucky and I was in a car. I wouldn't want to experience it coming at me on a bike!
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Old 08-03-05, 01:29 PM   #19
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My kids & I saw it happen to a truck coming our direction last year while in our car. We were at least a hundred yards away from it, so we had time to slow down & make sure it didn't hit us. I can't fathom being on a bike when that happens. Glad you weren't hurt.
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Old 08-06-05, 12:07 PM   #20
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Did you ever notice how time slows down when stuff like that happens? I'll bet that scene, which you described, unfolded very slowly in your brain while it actually took just a few seconds.
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Old 08-06-05, 03:11 PM   #21
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Oh, My God, I did not need to read what happened to you. I am a "worst case scenario" person and I am super careful while biking always keeping alert and watching ahead of me, to both sides and listening for something behind whether on a bike path or in the neighborhood and always, but always following all the rules. I was beginning to think I'd never had a mishap because I was soooo aware of my surroundings. Now you give me something else to worry about. Jeeze Loueeze!! What a stroke of great luck that nobody got hurt.
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Old 08-06-05, 06:31 PM   #22
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This happened to me on I-95 in Maryland just last Sunday. (I was in a car, not on a bike...bikes were on top of the car if that counts!) Had been on the road about 11 hours, returning home from Maine. 10 PM, lots of traffic, but still going fast on the interstate. Was tired, but thank god I was paying attention. Suddenly this rolling wheel appears in my headlighs, rolling more or less down the middle of the center lane. I had to swerve hard to miss it. Scared the bejesus out of me.
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Old 08-06-05, 06:54 PM   #23
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To attest to the sh** happens part of this thread...I ws riding peacefully down a bike path maybe at 17mph when my riding partner yelled "Ball" !! Out of the corner of my eye I saw a golf ball..BANG..I'm down, broken collar bone. Five weeks off the bike and now I have this strange malady called "frozen shoulder". I was aware enough apparently to cushion my 3 month new Trek Medone 5.2 in us Postal colors, with my body ! To this day I dont remember the ball hitting me. It must have hit my helmet but rung my bell enough for me to go down. Anyway other than wearing a helmet and being aware of whats going on and not riding to fast for the conditions sometimes sh** just happens.
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Old 08-06-05, 06:56 PM   #24
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Glad no one was hurt.

A friend of mine's aunt was killed many years ago when hit by a runaway truck wheel-tire while she was walking on the sidewalk.

Safe riding,
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Old 08-06-05, 09:50 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prosody
What a reminder of tenuous life really is. We all had better keep living well while we have the chance.
Exact same thought came to my mind. Each and every day is a gift
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