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Old 08-14-07, 06:37 AM   #1
Motorad
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Landmines and Other Things to Avoid

To generate discussion for learning purposes, on things to beware of while riding, how about us talking about accidents that we've had ... that could have been avoided with prior knowledge. Thanks to Rosie's previous thread, we can start with her accident.

1.
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Originally Posted by Rosie8 View Post
Was riding in a construction zone so no one was around to laugh or pick up the pieces, depending on how you look at it. Was trying to pop the top on my water bottle with one hand when I looked up to see a stop sign. I instinctively started to stop, the water bottle started to slip, I accidently squeezed too hard on the front brake and presto - unexpected dismount!

All I can say is I landed on my feet, whacked my shin on a pedal, and thanked myself for buying a women's model bike with the top tube parallel to the down tube. It happened so fast I barely had time to think - oh *$^&@#!

No pain, just embarrassment at my clumsiness/inattentiveness. All's well that ends well.

(Yes, I always wear a helmet and gloves.)
2. Motorad: No damage to me, but the handlebar wrap got bitten into by a concrete wall of a bridge underpass: I was in a downhill slope into an underpass while on the sidewalk, and I didn't want to brake and lose momentum. I saw the loose dirt completely covering the sidewalk, starting at about 25 feet from the bottom of the sidewalk-descent, and figured it was just a light coating of dirt. But as I got closer to the bottom of the sidewalk-descent, the dirt-depth increased to about two inches deep. Note to BFers, if you see the sidewalk completely covered by dirt while engaging an underpass ... slow down!

The tires that lost control were 650B, 33mm width, at about 12 MPH. A bike on 700C 25mm (or skinnier) tires might have had a more disastrous wipe out.
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Old 08-14-07, 07:06 AM   #2
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#. On some tours I've seen turns at the bottom of a hill with invisible loose stones that has wiped out several riders.

#. A buddy raised up on the seat no-handed and was reading a map when his bike hit a pothole and he went down hard.

#. Just last week I was in a tight group going pretty fast. My GPS advised me we had just missed a turn. I raised up and extended my left hand palm backwards and started shouting "slowing, slowing." I dropped back down and started braking lightly. The guy behind me was wearing headphones and was oblivious. At the last minute he hit the brakes hard and was immediately rear-ended by the next two bikes. They missed me by inches.
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Old 08-14-07, 07:31 AM   #3
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This hasn't happened to me but I observed falls when:

1) People try to cross RR crossings at any angle other than 90 degrees (That is to say you should cross it like you're crossing a T.)

2) People trying to ride across wet RR crossings. My opinion is get off and walk your bike. Those things are slicker than ice.

One other thing: Do what road workers do. Wear high-visibility colors (or colours if you're in the UK).
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Old 08-14-07, 08:31 AM   #4
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One day a few years ago on the trail I saw a small leaf cluster (one of those small groups of 8 to 10 leaves about 6" around) from a tree in the middle of the trail. I rode over it instead of avoiding it. It was thorns. I'm better about avoiding things now.
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Old 08-14-07, 08:47 AM   #5
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Drafting...if the bike's front wheel of the person who is drafting touches the rear wheel of the person leading the person in the back WILL crash. To that end, never draft with the front wheel perfectly aligned with the back wheel of the leader. Offset slightly and always have somewhere to go if the leader slows - give yourself a distance from the leader as a margin for error. This is another reason not to draft strangers whose bike handling ability is unknown or to sneak up on someone and not announce that you are drafting.
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Old 08-14-07, 08:55 AM   #6
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One thing to beware of is a Cop who yells at you "Hey you, stop!" Fortunatly it was only to get some help in pushing a disabled car out of the intersection.
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Old 08-14-07, 09:03 AM   #7
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People trying to ride across a bridge with the steel grate surface, especially when it's raining. I've probably seen over 20 people go down over the years on this one particular bridge in Columbia County, PA. I only did it once, and let me tell you I would have traded for some road rash to avoid what the steel deck did to me.
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Old 08-14-07, 09:04 AM   #8
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Limestone dust near a quarry collects on the road in dry weather. A decent rain washes if off the road to collect in three low spots in a row on a local MUP. A one inch layer of wet limestone dust on asphalt is about as slick as Mobil 1 on plate glass. I went down the first time I rode through it and was lucky enough to land in the grass.

Chronically wet spots on trails grow algae on them that is also terribly slick and tricky to ride through. You're probably OK coasting, but if you're pedaling when crossing one of those slick spots, watch out.

Wet leaves are another good way to join club tombay in a hurry, especially on sharp curves.
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Old 08-14-07, 09:38 AM   #9
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How about a pole or long-handled tool in the back of a parked truck, sticking out the side toward the street?? It was hanging over the back corner at a perfect angle to hook the helmet of an unsuspecting cyclist (or impale the non-helmeted head...). I almost hit one while I was riding at dusk last night.
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Old 08-14-07, 10:02 AM   #10
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I have learned, NEVER try to look back, either stop or turn your bike around. I have gone off a paved path and gone down, and we have had several club accidents from folks not looking where they were going, looking back for somebody!
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Old 08-14-07, 12:23 PM   #11
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Once I rode over a half and half container from McDs. Single serving size. What a disaster. My brakes were disabled by the fat content of the half and half, and wiping it off seemed impossible. Fortunately I had a spare shirt that I used to wipe off as much as possible, and then I rode gingerly home giving lots and lots of extra braking time. Once at home I was able to get the rest off.
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Old 08-14-07, 12:23 PM   #12
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When around dogs get off the bike and walk. Today I see one of my daily dogs in the road. This dog has caused me to go down before so I unclick and get off the bike. I am walking by the dogs house with him barking at me and I decide that I am far enough by him that he will not come after me. I clip my right foot in and here he comes. I try to unclip but immediately fall scratching my knee and elbow. Then the owner comes out and accuses me of antagonizing his dog and that I should just ride on by. I asked him if he remembered what happened last time I tried to ride on by and he does. We have no leash laws here and there is not anything that I can do other than talk to the owners and this owner is not going to do anything. So like I said get off the bike when you see a dog and stay off longer than I did.
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Old 08-14-07, 12:29 PM   #13
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Never ride through a layer of leaves on the trail when the leaves are from a walnut tree Those walnuts can take you down in a second.
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Old 08-14-07, 01:15 PM   #14
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Walnuts are a double threat. In their shells, they can send you bouncing off of the trail. And out of their shells, their pointy ends can punch right through your tire.
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Old 08-14-07, 02:10 PM   #15
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During my recent vacation a rider drifted off of the road at the bottom of a hill. When he tried to pull back onto the road, he fell over. The following rider rode over him and endoed landing on his head. Despite wearing a helmet he fractured his skull and, last I heard, was still unconscious in the hospital. Very bad.

Three days later a fellow did exactly the same thing in front of me. Fortunately, my wife and I, on our tandem, were far enough back to come to a complete stop without hitting him. (He still blamed me for causing him to go off the road by following too close.)

The lesson from this whole thing is if you happen to drift off of the road - stay off. Ride onto the shoulder or wherever until you regain control. Find a safe place to ride back onto the road or even stop completely if necessary.

This wasn't a ride that was designed to attract inexperienced cyclists. Daily routes averaged 60 miles. I'm frequently surprised at the poor skill levels that are demonstrated by many fairly experienced riders.
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Old 08-14-07, 02:16 PM   #16
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I'm frequently surprised at the poor skill levels that are demonstrated by many fairly experienced riders.
Which reminds me--be wary of spontaneously created pacelines on group rides where the people don't have experience with each other. Speaking for myself, I avoid pacelines altogether.
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Old 08-14-07, 02:39 PM   #17
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I have to avoid pace lines- I only ever ride on my own- Or if I am with someone else- it is on the Tandem But I rarely seem to catch that rider that is just in front of me. And If I ever overtook him- I would be in trouble.

Got level with him once but that was on a steep downhill and he took the brakes off just at the right time.
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Old 08-14-07, 03:05 PM   #18
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Which reminds me--be wary of spontaneously created pacelines on group rides where the people don't have experience with each other. Speaking for myself, I avoid pacelines altogether.
The older I've gotten the more picky I've become about who I'll pace with. Old bones break more easily and heal more slowly.
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Old 08-14-07, 03:49 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Halfast View Post
I have learned, NEVER try to look back, either stop or turn your bike around. I have gone off a paved path and gone down, and we have had several club accidents from folks not looking where they were going, looking back for somebody!

Don't you have* to look back? Or do you mean for an extended period of time?
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Old 08-14-07, 04:04 PM   #20
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Since the title is "landmines" I have to tell of the time I was mountain bike riding and saw a catsup packet on the trail...I had to hit it just to see what would happen, like watching it squirt to the side... ...it didn't, it came up and got me...not real bad but bad enough to get embarassed, even though no one really saw it happen. needless to say I watch what i run over OR what I don't want to run over.
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Old 08-14-07, 05:13 PM   #21
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I hate to even say this (bad karma), but so far I have made it through almost 10 years with no significant falls besides a few scrapes and one time when I tried to play mtn biker on my mtn bike and hadn't a clue what I was doing. That one caused a disjointed finger. That's about it.
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Old 08-14-07, 05:37 PM   #22
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I often ride the Local MUP that follows the river, one section has several footbridges and a couple of path sections of planks. This last winter a couple of times I came onto the footbridge and instantly slid the front end right into the siderails, the turns are a bit tight and I was moving pretty slow so it wasn't like I was begging the dratted things to bite at me...but they did anyway. Talk about looking innocent and eating up a rider!

The city just opened another section of the MUP on the west side of the river this month, nicely asphalted, landscaped etc. Before they did I used to cut down another towns MUP to get to ours. The north end of that the trail is right against a 4 lane arterial, so of course they used the concrete barriers to seal the ends from cars, and they were really not very charitable about the openings for bike access (HEY! its my story and I claim its a tight squeeze so of course I missed by a pedals width, shattered my pedal, stopped instantly, and flipped clean over the front, luckily I had on a backpack with several bits of clothing, rain jacket/pants etc. and it performed as the perfect air bag!! And yes I wish some one had been taping, cause you know it had to look incredible!
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Old 08-15-07, 05:41 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post
I hate to even say this (bad karma), but so far I have made it through almost 10 years with no significant falls besides a few scrapes and one time when I tried to play mtn biker on my mtn bike and hadn't a clue what I was doing. That one caused a disjointed finger. That's about it.
Oh no, what have you done DnvrFox?
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Old 08-15-07, 06:29 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post
I hate to even say this (bad karma), but so far I have made it through almost 10 years with no significant falls besides a few scrapes and one time when I tried to play mtn biker on my mtn bike and hadn't a clue what I was doing. That one caused a disjointed finger. That's about it.

Don't drift off the bike path in Denver in November. I caught a dozen goatheads per tire one Thanksgiving! expensive

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Old 08-16-07, 09:47 PM   #25
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Found out tonight, that riding on sidewalks is not necessarily safer than riding on the road. Granted it was night-time ... but I had my headlights and taillights on. I was ending one sidewalked-block and crossing a side road to get onto another sidewalked-block, and a kid turns his car right in front of me. I think the lesson to be learned is that car drivers assume that cyclists are just putzing along at 3 MPH when riding on a sidewalk ... and don't anticipate your gaining on their car if they turn in front of you.

So, that increases my average MPA to 70. That is to say, I'm averaging 70 miles per accident. Nurse, more coffee, STAT!
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