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Old 01-18-09, 10:38 AM   #1
jppe
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Cycling Accident Photos

I was back out yesterday on the road where my cycling buddy was hit by a car the day after Thanksgiving. Below are some photos. The pictures were taken from my blackberry so the quality isn't very good.

A couple observations. There were no skid marks. There is PLENTY of visibility. Hopefully you can see how rural an area this is.

He's not going to be walking for at least a couple more months but at least he's now home. Just doesn't make sense.

This is the dirt driveway the car was turning into.



This the direction my buddy was headed with the dirt driveway on the right. The car that hit him was coming from the opposite direction-up the hill where the bus is:




Here's a view from the driver's seat-This shot is from in front of the bus you can see in the previous picture. It's not as if the driveway sneaks up on you........



Last edited by jppe; 01-18-09 at 11:43 AM.
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Old 01-18-09, 10:45 AM   #2
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Good quality pics for a blackberry. Terrible quality driving by the driver. Makes it that much more scary when you know how inattentive that guy was.
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Old 01-18-09, 10:50 AM   #3
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It reminds of when I was riding motorcycles, I didn't see him, that's all I ever heard, when there was an accident like this. Everybody is looking out for cars or trucks, but anything smaller and you better look out, good luck.
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Old 01-18-09, 12:04 PM   #4
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+1 Typical cage (car) driver response, I didn't see him. As if that is a free pass.

The old motorcycle rule is act like you are invisible.
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Old 01-18-09, 08:37 PM   #5
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What's really scary is when they say "I never saw it" about an 8' wide x 65' long x 10' high x 80,000lb tanker.
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Old 01-18-09, 08:39 PM   #6
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What's really scary is when they say "I never saw it" about an 8' wide x 65' long x 10' high x 80,000lb tanker.
There is usually no one left alive to say that.
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Old 01-18-09, 08:49 PM   #7
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My one-and-only encounter with a motor vehicle was a driveway left cross, as well. Motorists are so concerned about coming motor vehicle traffic that they overlook pedestrians and bicyclists.

This is one reason I so adamantly oppose "cluster" traffic signals, preferring protected left turns with red and green arrows. Of course, every now and then some bozo runs the red arrow.
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Old 01-18-09, 09:45 PM   #8
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I'm begining to suspect, that most of the drivers involved in these accidents really don't see the bicyclist. They should, but the information processor (brain) is busy dealing with threats and actions in a certain priority, such as "is there a car coming that can kill me"...."can I make the turn into the driveway". The bicycle and rider is lost in the background noise.

That is not to say that they shouldn't see the bicycle, it's just that they don't have enough time to deal with all of the information coming in. Perhaps they are moving too fast. Perhaps they are distracted by other information input. Awareness that we are invisable is a valuable aid to riding. There are drivers out there that are jerks, but the really dangerous ones don't even know your there.
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Old 01-19-09, 05:12 AM   #9
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I'm begining to suspect, that most of the drivers involved in these accidents really don't see the bicyclist.

My first guess for my Buddy's situation is that was the case-the fellow just never saw him.

Another idea......I also wonder if the driver thought maybe my Buddy was going to stop.....or was supposed to stop to let him turn in to the driveway......since after all my Buddy was just riding a bike and the driver was in a car. I think the driver's court case comes up within the next couple weeks for his vehicle citation. I might just take the day to venture down to the courts to hear what takes place.
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Old 01-19-09, 06:11 AM   #10
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My first guess for my Buddy's situation is that was the case-the fellow just never saw him.

Another idea......I also wonder if the driver thought maybe my Buddy was going to stop.....or was supposed to stop to let him turn in to the driveway......since after all my Buddy was just riding a bike and the driver was in a car. I think the driver's court case comes up within the next couple weeks for his vehicle citation. I might just take the day to venture down to the courts to hear what takes place.
If your looking for justice, you may well be disappointed. It's a very hard thing when a friend has something horrible like this happen to him or her. The only real justice in all of this is that your friend has a really good friend in you.
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Old 01-19-09, 09:30 AM   #11
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My first guess for my Buddy's situation is that was the case-the fellow just never saw him.

Another idea......I also wonder if the driver thought maybe my Buddy was going to stop.....
I agree with Max, drivers "see" bicyclists, but that isn't what they are looking for and they ignore what they see.

And even if they recognize your presence, many motorists don't have enough experience with bicycles to correctly assess speed. They assume a bicycle is moving so slowly that it can be treated like a pedestrian, essentially standing still. I see this a lot, including the lady that hit me - "I didn't realize how fast you were going".
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Old 01-19-09, 11:31 AM   #12
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http://www.wayfinding.net/vsionsys.htm

For those who are interested, this is one article on how human vision seems to operate. It is far from complete or definative, but it serves as a starting point to understand why we might not be "seen" even though it is obvious that we are "right there".

Color, contrast, motion and expected visual patterns..........interesting stuff.
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Old 01-19-09, 12:36 PM   #13
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A few weeks ago I was nearly right-hooked by one of my wife's friends. I saw what was happening and braked and fumed and went on. This all happened two blocks from the house.

I was riding along when she pulled into the roadway, from out of a parking lot on the left hand side, coming up on my left side. She waited for me to go past her, waved hello, then pulled into the road, passed me on my left, drove one-half of a block and made a right turn without a signal. She was also talking on the cell phone as she made the turn.

Now I'm not going to ruin the friendship over an accident that was prevented. But it was obvious she had no idea how fast I was traveling, or else as soon as she pulled past me I was out of sight and out of mind.

I think this is typically how accidents happen. Bicycles just don't register with a lot of people and they sure don't know how fast they travel.

And some of you travel faster than some of us.
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Old 01-19-09, 12:48 PM   #14
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Good photos jppe. My son is a firefighter and says that a 20 ton fire truck with lights and sirens is often "not seen" by drivers who pull out in front of them. He said that driving is the most dangerous thing that firefighters and paramedics do....lots more dangerous than going into a burning structure fire. They are trained to assume that drivers will not see them...and if the drivers do see them, they assume that the drivers will not yield the right-of-way.
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Old 01-19-09, 12:56 PM   #15
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Another cause might be a complete misjudge of the speed of the bicycle by the driver. I have had that happen to me. Drivers just don't process that a bicycle can be coming down a hill at over 30 mph - they see bicycle and they think "It's a bicycle, so he's going slow, I have time to make the turn."
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Old 01-19-09, 01:13 PM   #16
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Good photos jppe. My son is a firefighter and says that a 20 ton fire truck with lights and sirens is often "not seen" by drivers who pull out in front of them. He said that driving is the most dangerous thing that firefighters and paramedics do....lots more dangerous than going into a burning structure fire. They are trained to assume that drivers will not see them...and if the drivers do see them, they assume that the drivers will not yield the right-of-way.
It does seem that there is a certain level of "not seeing" that's more general than bicycles. The OP's photos look a lot like the situation where I was left hooked when I was 15--and I was in a car (granted, it was a white VW beetle, but still). Maybe when your number is up there is always a driver available to not see you?
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Old 01-19-09, 10:40 PM   #17
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JPPE

The Harry Hurt motorcycle crash study conducted in the '70's and early '80's in the Los Angeles area by professor Hurt and a cadre of Univ. of Souther California college students is still the most comprehensive to date. They used a scanner and with the cooperation of LAPD and CHP, they went immediately to the every motorcycle accident reported in the L.A. basin area over a period of years.

After single vehicle motorcycle accidents caused by inexperience/stupidity/racing/drinking/whatever; the most frequent and far more fatal accident is the left-hand turn by on-coming traffic just like your friend's accident. I am an active motorcyclist with about 250,000+ motorcycle miles over 40 years of riding and to this day, the potential crash I fear the most is the left-hand turn by a person that never sees me and never gives an indication that they are turning. I'm not talking about signaling, but rather just the sudden turn without visible slowing or other indications of intent. There is really no protection against it.

Keep us updated on your friend.

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Old 01-21-09, 10:27 PM   #18
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You know JPPE, biking on roads does represent a risk. I have done plenty of it and have seen many accidents.
I do not vacation in the Carolina's because you guys have no long distance paved trails.
I simply can not afford a bike to car accident.

Let it be said that Ohio, Minnesota, Illinois, Wisconsin and Florida have very nice bike trails away from those darn cars.
I apologize for the other States with nice trails but I have not had the chance to be there. Please report.
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Old 01-22-09, 07:31 AM   #19
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It's a scary thought, but for some drivers it's more than a case of visual overload or 'cognitive dissonance" or whatever; they simply cannot process the visual info that they need to drive safely. The wife of one of my friends is like that. She totals cars regularly, so he only buys her junkers. The last one I heard of, she pulled out in front of a semi. Luckily, it was only going 25-30 mph. You guessed it: "I never saw it!"
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Old 01-22-09, 08:48 AM   #20
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I simply can not afford a bike to car accident.

Let it be said that Ohio, Minnesota, Illinois, Wisconsin and Florida have very nice bike trails away from those darn cars.
I apologize for the other States with nice trails but I have not had the chance to be there. Please report.
Ditto, and Colorado has great trails.
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