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Old 06-08-06, 04:49 PM   #1
Carusoswi
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A really close call - really close

Monday evening I was out riding - around 9:30 PM here in PA. I had my solid red taillight burning - most every auto that passed me did so in a clearly predictable manner. Then, out of nowhere came this engine-racing nut - by the time I recognized that he was really coming, he was past me - but, as he passed, something (I believe it might have been his passenger side rear view mirror) struck me on the outside of my leg at hip level. No other part of the car touched me or my bike, but the thing passed so close it made me want to implode. The contact of whatever it was that hit me made a loud sound - a cross between a smack and a bang.

As the driver passed me, he almost ran off the road into the ditch.

My emotions ran somewhere between being stunned and super angry. I would like to have phoned the police on that driver, but, until I could have managed to regain my composure, stop, open my rear trunk, pull out the phone, dial something (what? 911, the local police?? information??), it would have been too late. The guy was driving like the proverbial bat - it was dark - I had no idea of the make or model of car - what exactly was I going to report?

I had about 10 miles left until home, and, except for the stinging on my leg, I was in one piece. There was only a bruise, no bleeding. So, I just took that moment to whisper a little prayer of thanks and kept on pedaling.

BTW, I think I was doing everything correctly - had my lights on, was wearing my helmet (big deal), was riding in a very straight line, just to the right of the white line that marks the right side of the road - moving along at about 20 mph.

I have to believe the guy did that on purpose.

Anyhow, it was close - but I'm still in one piece, and I am still riding.

Caruso
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Old 06-08-06, 05:36 PM   #2
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A colleague, a 30-something serious roadie, was riding one of our country roads last year in late afternoon. No shoulders on the road. A dualie pickup hauling a lowboy trailer passed him at high speed, clipped his left shoulder with the rearview mirror...knocked the guy off his bike, sailing through the air, landed unconscious in the ditch. Broke his helmet but saved his brain. Did serious breakage to his shoulder & collarbone. He survived but went through extended rehab and has been very sobered by the whole experience. He now has a young daughter & has only recently, cautiously, begun to ride again.

You're lucky to be alive. The driver probably didn't see you while talking on their cellphone.
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Old 06-08-06, 05:38 PM   #3
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Well, he may have been drunk.

If not, join the club. One weekend I had one car passenger shoot me with a pellet gun, and another car passenger grab my elbow with great force while the car was moving (I could still feel it the next morning). Oddly, both attacks happened within 20 feet of each other, but on two separate days.

It's scary. I'm glad you are still riding. I'm still riding too.
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Old 06-08-06, 05:56 PM   #4
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The Great Caruso!! Wow! Lucky you weren't killed, either accidently or homicidally! Up here we rarely get people who resent bikers, but lately I've noticed a rare middle finger up and one guy actually yelled at me "you are gonna get killed!!!" I don't know if the price of gas is getting people mad at bikers more or maybe jealosy or what?
We are going to have a referendum on a 1% park board tax here with a lot of the money going toward more bike paths, etc. Today I drove into town with the pickup with my dual recumbent bike rack in the 2 inch receiver hitch of the pickup. Sometime in town some idiot came along and stole the 1/2 inch pin that hold it in the hitch. Lucky it didn't come off - it could have been a lethal weapon for another car or pedestrian, not even considering a very expensive unguided missle! Happened to notice it back home when things didn't look quite right, and when I discovbered it the rack was half way out! Now I have a locking hitch pin.
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Old 06-08-06, 06:37 PM   #5
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I think many drivers should pray every night that someone doesn't start building a bike with a small rocket launcher on it.
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Old 06-08-06, 06:45 PM   #6
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Guy from work got killed yesterday morning. 6 a.m, a commuter, 61 years old, 18 year old came across road and hit him head on. I didn't see TV but was told officer indicated cyclist had taken every safety precaution, helmet, lights, visability, etc. Kid most likely fell asleep. They said he felt really bad regarding the incident.
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Old 06-08-06, 07:33 PM   #7
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Caruso-sorry to hear of the close call but we're all happy it wasn't your last ride. That's just too, too close. My money would be on the driver having too much to drink.
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Old 06-08-06, 07:44 PM   #8
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Yesterday my son's soccer coach got picked off by an auto on a morning ride.
Multiple trauma, "Life Flighted" to the trauma center.
He is in critical but stable condition, thank goodness.
He was riding on a stretch of rural road with minimal traffic and riding in the AM.
No drugs, alcohol, our old farts involved as far as I can tell.
Wish Ed a speed recovery.
Be extra lucky and careful out there!!!!!!!!!!!
Cheers
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Old 06-08-06, 08:39 PM   #9
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If your taillight has a flashing mode, especially a sweeping or random flash, you may want to use that. I think that a solid red tail on a slow moving object appears as little or nothing to a distracted driver, but a 'light show' tends to attract better attention and recognition....

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Old 06-08-06, 08:50 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BubbaDog
If your taillight has a flashing mode, especially a sweeping or random flash, you may want to use that. I think that a solid red tail on a slow moving object appears as little or nothing to a distracted driver, but a 'light show' tends to attract better attention and recognition....

B'Dog
+1 I actually ride at night with three flashing tail lights. One on the bike, one on my jersey pocket and one strapped to the back of my helmet. I don't want to visible, I want to be conspicuous.
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Old 06-08-06, 10:10 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NOS88
+1 I actually ride at night with three flashing tail lights. One on the bike, one on my jersey pocket and one strapped to the back of my helmet. I don't want to visible, I want to be conspicuous.
Glad you're ok Caruso. You are fortunate.

Relatively speaking to most of you folks there is very little traffic on the roads I ride. I try to ride in the mornings. My Cyglo will do 1.5 hours on both beams, so I try to get out at least an hour before sunup. I have two flashing lights on the back and somtimes a reflector on the seatstay. All my jerseys are hi-viz, yellow, gold, or red. I wear reflective straps on both ankles, have put reflective tape in patterns on the back of my helmet, and also wear a reflective vest. For daytime riding, I'm content with hi-viz clothing and sometimes a flasher. If someone hits me, they are going to be aiming for me.

I try to avoid roads with no shoulders unless they are really out in the middle of nowhere, and there are some of those arond here. On weekends I avoid the roads that lead to the big lake south of town.

I don't like riding in the evenings after dark. I won't ride at all on Friday after work or Saturday after about 4PM.

The drunks come out at night.

My work and livelihood has been based on probabilities. I figure every little flashing light or reflective strip lowers my chances of getting hit during the dark hours.

Again, the drunks come out at night.

]"..........Hey, let's be careful out there" Sgt. Phil Esterhaus, Hill Street Blues

Last edited by Monoborracho; 06-08-06 at 10:25 PM.
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Old 06-09-06, 05:39 AM   #12
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Thanks for the replies. I tend to agree that the driver was probably DUI. My tail light, although it was on steady mode, is large - very visible.

These things happen so quickly, unexpectedly, that you really have no time to react. Immediately after the accident, I was appreciative and thankful that the situation wasn't worse. I am very aware of my good fortune.

. . . and very aware of my mortality. If you are going to ride a bike (at night or at any time of day), you are truly at the mercy of any auto overtaking you. If the driver is impaired or just subject to an ornery streak, then you will be, without prior notice, at serious risk. I can think of no measure of caution that can mitigate this vulnerability.

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Old 06-09-06, 05:59 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Carusoswi
. . . and very aware of my mortality. If you are going to ride a bike (at night or at any time of day), you are truly at the mercy of any auto overtaking you. If the driver is impaired or just subject to an ornery streak, then you will be, without prior notice, at serious risk. I can think of no measure of caution that can mitigate this vulnerability.

Caruso
My assessment of this potential danger is why I have elected to do almost all of my riding on our local excellent trail system (in the total metro area, about 400 miles - locally about 40 miles, but the local trails interconnect with the metro trails). Occasionally I will go on a road, as I did the other day. Yet, despite a very wide, marked shoulder, a truck with a "Wide Load" came zooming by, intruding into this area without a "by your leave."

Many will disagaree, but, fortunately, our trails are excellent, our walkers are trained to stay to the right, our dogs are well controlled, and yesterday, on my 21 mile ride at 6:30 am, I saw 11 bicycle commuters, 4 bicycle riders, 8 peds and 4 dogs on a leash.

And our trails do go places. To my church, to the grocery store, to Lowes, to downtown Denver, etc., etc.

The very last thing our family needs is a 66yo dad/husband out of commission from a vehicle/bike accident.

Last edited by DnvrFox; 06-09-06 at 06:07 AM.
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Old 06-09-06, 06:02 AM   #14
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Preemptive strikes with a radar triggered rocket launcher. If they get within 100 meters and are going over 25 mph.... POW!
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Old 06-09-06, 06:35 AM   #15
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A friend and I were road riding regularly at night during the winter. His observation was that cars tended to remain close to me when the single rear light was steady, and move away from me when the light was flashing. This prompted me to ride with two flashing lights. One light is red, the other blue. I much prefer dirt and squirrels to pavement and autos. I've never been yelled at by a passing squirrel.
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Old 06-09-06, 11:27 AM   #16
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I very much agree with tandemonium's hypothisis. I feel the blinking light to be more visable than to have the light in the "full on" position. No documentation to share, just my feeling.
I also don't think it would have made any difference at all in your situation. I think the guy was a DUI or asleep.
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Old 06-09-06, 05:38 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DnvrFox
And our trails do go places. To my church, to the grocery store, to Lowes, to downtown Denver, etc., etc..
No kidding, Dnvr? To Lowes? I wonder how many bags of mulch of feet of pvc pipe I could haul home on my tourer? Lucky guy, you are.

(prime Lowes customer here)
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Old 06-09-06, 05:59 PM   #18
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No kidding, Dnvr? To Lowes? I wonder how many bags of mulch of feet of pvc pipe I could haul home on my tourer? Lucky guy, you are.

(prime Lowes customer here)
One spur dumps me off right in their parking lot.

With my two rear panniers and one backpack, I can manage about 6 bags of groceries.

Never tried mulch or pvc pipe, though!
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Old 06-10-06, 12:13 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Baron
Guy from work got killed yesterday morning. 6 a.m, a commuter, 61 years old, 18 year old came across road and hit him head on. I didn't see TV but was told officer indicated cyclist had taken every safety precaution, helmet, lights, visability, etc. Kid most likely fell asleep. They said he felt really bad regarding the incident.
Helmet Head will probably tell you your friend was riding too close to the RIGHT edge of the road, making him less visible to oncoming traffic.

I'll bet the kid gets off with a wrist slap or no penalty whatsoever, probably not even a much-needed driver's license suspension. That is one reason we have such a major problem with traffic deaths in the U.S. Several years ago in San Diego, a 43-year-old deputy D.A., wife and mother, was killed while jogging because a teenage driver fell asleep and drifted all the way across the road. I was hoping that the victim's position and popularity would secure at least some penalty for the perpetrator, but he got off essentially free.
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Old 06-10-06, 05:21 PM   #20
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I just wish that once, a police officer would witness an incident like this, and nail the driver. Also, how horrible for the 61-year-old guy who got hit head-on by the "machine of death".
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Old 06-11-06, 08:51 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tandemonium
I much prefer dirt and squirrels to pavement and autos. I've never been yelled at by a passing squirrel.
I like to interupt a normal (non-cycling) conversation with this.
-out of the clear blue - - - -
"When I ride my bike Dogs don't scare me."
pause
" Squirrels do"
pause
" Cause their Spastic!"

I usually get some very odd stares.
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Old 06-11-06, 02:17 PM   #22
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Flashing tail-lights are actually illegal here in the UK - altho' no cop has ever bothered me about it.

I agree (both as a biker and a night driver) that the 'light show' is much more conspicuous.
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Old 06-11-06, 02:41 PM   #23
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You chaps that ride at night are brave guys! I'm an adrenalin junky, but I have safer ways to achieve that - like jumping out of airplanes!
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Old 06-11-06, 03:05 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carusoswi
Thanks for the replies. I tend to agree that the driver was probably DUI. My tail light, although it was on steady mode, is large - very visible.

Caruso
You're right.... don't go with the flashing, it probably wouldn't make a difference....
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