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Old 01-25-09, 02:56 PM   #1
Litespeed
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Guess I just have to think positive instead

Decided to do a short 25 mile ride today even though there was a threat of rain. Put on my screaming yellow jersey and even put on a red blinking light on the back of the bike (which I never do). Being Sunday the traffic is always lighter (yeah!). Even with all this I still got buzzed (closer then I would like) three times.

One woman was going to make a left out of a complex, saw me coming (looked me straight in the eye) and then pulled out in front of me. As she pulls out in front of me I scream "HELLO!!!!".

On another street there is a right hand turn lane (very long) and another lane that goes straight. I wanted to go straight but looked in my mirror and saw two cars coming in that lane. I decided to wait until they passed to move to my left. One driver decides he wants to pass the guy in front of him so he pulls out in front of me and then passes the other driver on the right.

Do I have to light myself on fire to be noticed? Ok, let's think positive, 99% of the people did NOT try to kill me today.
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Old 01-25-09, 03:08 PM   #2
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I think that a lot of drivers significantly underestimate how fast bike riders are. They expect you to be riding about 5 MPH (seriously). Consequently they think they have plenty of room to turn left in front of you or to pass you shortly before turning right.
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Old 01-25-09, 03:33 PM   #3
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I think that a lot of drivers significantly underestimate how fast bike riders are. They expect you to be riding about 5 MPH (seriously). Consequently they think they have plenty of room to turn left in front of you or to pass you shortly before turning right.
I beleive it is difficult to judge the speed of a relatively small approaching object such as a bicycle or motorcycle, which is one reason why it is recommended for motorcyclists to run with a headlight on. Not a bad idea for bicyclists.
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Old 01-25-09, 04:24 PM   #4
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On christmas eve I rode through Brighton. A trip I have only done a couple of times and it is dangerous if you are in a car- let alone a bike. Difference was this time I had a powerful Lamp on the bike set to blink. Cleanest safest run I have had through that town. What I could not put up with though were the number of pedestrians that did not see me and just stepped off the pavement. Good job I can swear quite loud to get attention.
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Old 01-25-09, 05:30 PM   #5
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I beleive it is difficult to judge the speed of a relatively small approaching object such as a bicycle or motorcycle, which is one reason why it is recommended for motorcyclists to run with a headlight on. Not a bad idea for bicyclists.
Interestingly, a single light makes it harder to judge distance and speed ... which is why compulsory headlights on never became law in this country.

Excuses aside, most drivers just don't care, it's as simple and as brutal as that. I've never had so much room on the road as when I owned a white BMW motorbike ... at a time when the cops rode white BMW motorbikes - true story.

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Old 01-25-09, 05:38 PM   #6
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Interestingly, a single light makes it harder to judge distance and speed ... which is why compulsory headlights on never became law in this country.

Excuses aside, most drivers just don't care, it's as simple and as brutal as that. I've never had so much room on the road as when I owned a white BMW motorbike ... at a time when the cops rode white BMW motorbikes - true story.

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Could you cite a reference, please?

Here is a reference I found, contradicted entirely by the following reference I found. Take your choice, I guess.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motorcycle_safety

Another central conclusion of the Hurt Report was this:
The failure of motorists to detect and recognize motorcycles in traffic is the predominating cause of motorcycle accidents. The driver of the other vehicle involved in collision with the motorcycle did not see the motorcycle before the collision, or did not see the motorcycle until too late to avoid the collision.

Wearing white helmets, compared to black, reduces the chance of collision by 24%


Riders must be prepared for the unexpected



Furthermore:
Conspicuity of the motorcycle is a critical factor in the multiple vehicle accidents, and accident involvement is significantly reduced by the use of motorcycle headlamps (on in daylight) and the wearing of high visibility yellow, orange or bright red jackets.
A recent New Zealand study also agreed:
Fluorescent clothing, white or light colored helmets, and daytime headlights may reduce motorcycle injuries and death. Wells and colleagues (p 857) analyzed 463 motorcycle drivers admitted to hospital following a road traffic incident and 1233 other drivers (control group) to evaluate how wearing conspicuous attire affected the risk of having an accident. They found that with reflective or fluorescent clothing the risk of a crash injury was reduced by 37%, with a white helmet by 24%, and with headlights by 27%.<SUP class=reference id=cite_ref-13>[14]

Last edited by DnvrFox; 01-25-09 at 05:57 PM.
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Old 01-25-09, 05:51 PM   #7
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Interesting - here are opposite conclusions

http://www.dadrl.org.uk/motorcycleinstructor.html

Daytime Headlights for Motorcycles


The majority of studies have shown there is no statistically significant safety improvement of motorcycles using headlights during daylight, and in fact many indicate that daytime headlight use may reduce safety. The original studies, when almost no vehicles used daytime headlights, showed that a motorcycle was more likely to be seen due to the “novelty effect”. Now that the use of headlights on many vehicles is commonplace, there is no longer such an effect.



The use of headlights reduces safety in a number of areas:

Observers tend to under-estimate the speed of a vehicle approaching them with headlights on, compared with over-estimating the speed of a motorcycle without lights.

As many two vehicle accidents involving a motorcycle are caused by a car under-estimating the speed of the motorcycle and pulling out in front of the motorcycle, daytime headlights are likely to increase the likelihood of this type of accident.

The position of a motorcycle with lights is more difficult to determine. The confusing effect of white lights was well know and used by fighter pilots during the 1939-45 war. If another road user is confused about the position of a motorcycle, the chances of an accident are increased.

A light vehicle such as a small motorcycle coupled with the sharp cut of point of the dipped beam on modern lights means that an uneven road surface can cause the illusion that the motorcycle is flashing its headlight. As many road users understand the flashing of headlights as “I am giving way”, the potential for a collision is high. We have experienced one instance of this happening before the motorcycle had even completed 500 miles.

The many motorcyclists that ride with headlights on “because cars keep pulling out in front of them” are deluding themselves that they need their headlight to stop even more pulling out – it is their headlight that is causing the cars to pull out and they would increase their safety by turning off the headlight and using more defensive riding techniques instead.

There is no legal requirement in the UK to ride with headlights on, neither is there a legal requirement to supply motorcycles with hard-wired headlights. Therefore by supplying a motorcycle with a hard-wired headlight, the freedom to choose has been taken away from the motorcycle rider and, considering the safety implications, is an infringement of his or her human rights.



The European Union has recognised the many disadvantages of hard-wired headlights, including the environmental effects and the safety of more vulnerable road user, such as pedestrians and cyclists, who are disadvantaged by motor vehicles using daytime lights, and have mandated that all cars sold in the EU are fitted with a means to turn the headlight off.

It seems that the motorcycle manufacturers have decided to do the opposite, masquerading globalisation as a (highly dubious) safety improvement. This is totally unacceptable to the victims of such practices such as the motorcyclists being denied choice and the cyclists and pedestrians who will end up being killed or seriously injured as a result.



There is a legal obligation on manufacturers and retailers of motor vehicles to ensure that they are selling a product that does not have defects that may endanger the purchaser or rider. The above points clearly indicate that a hard-wired headlight can, under certain circumstances, put the rider in danger, and the manufacturer would therefore be forced to accept responsibility for an accident caused or partly caused by riding with a headlight on in conditions where dipped headlights are not required by law.



Hence, for example, if an accident occurs in clear conditions where another road user failing to correctly estimate the speed or position of the motorcycle is a contributory factor, both civil and legal proceedings could be started against the retailer and manufacturers.
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Old 01-25-09, 05:53 PM   #8
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I agree with what europa said about motorcycles, only I rode a full dress Harley, looked just like what the cops rode around here.
I wish the bicycle cops would get out on the streets here, in Salt Lake County. They do in Salt lake City, and people seem to watch for them. I only see them on the trails around here.
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Old 01-25-09, 06:29 PM   #9
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Do I have to light myself on fire to be noticed?
If you try that tactic, please post video. (And wear Nomex)
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Old 01-25-09, 06:57 PM   #10
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Backing up Denvr on this one - the stuff he's quoting matches what we were told. I spent ten years as a motorcycle instructor teaching both learners and advanced students (high speed race track courses) and have a natural leaning towards advocacy so took a lot of notice of this sort of stuff.

I could be wrong here but if remember rightly, the Hurt report had a lot of problems.

When they were considering lights on here, it was noted that in studies in America, the statistics in some states claimed improved safety with headlight use while others found the opposite while others just couldn't make up their mind. Careful selection of data could (and did in some reports) skew the conclusions dramatically.

Headlights do help in some circumstances but not in all. The ambient light conditions affect it all markedly. Australia is a bright country and this reduces the effectiveness of lights on, though how much was always a matter of conjecture. However, Sweden, which is a rather dark country and required hardwired headlights rather early on, showed an initial decrease in accidents ... but over time, found it hard to prove any benefit.

Here in Australia, some car and motorcycle riders ride with their lights on high beam imagining that this makes them safer - it doesn't, in bright sunlight, the headlight can appear to be a stationary point at a great distance.

And that's the great danger of headlights, high or low beam. They tend not to make the vehicle appear faster or closer, they tend to make the vehicle appear further away and slower.

With a bright sun low on the horizon, a motorcycle with its headlight on can disappear in the glare completely where a bike without it's headlight on will still show silhouette.

On a positive side, having a headlight on will usually make you be seen earlier ... but the driver may not know how fast you're going or where you are.

That's the big danger of the headlight argument - the effects vary and sometimes the effects are positive and at others, they are negative. This is why compulsory use of headlights is a bad idea. A smart motorcylist/cyclist/car driver understands these effects and makes his decisions to use or not use accordingly.

The single headlight effect though, is proven and real. I don't have any links to studies because it's been years since I did anything in that area. Nor do I give any credence to anything you find on Wikipedia (it's a place to start your research, not a source of credible information, especially with something as subjective as this where information is often posted by people pushing a particular mindset).

Back in the eighties, the world suddenly discovered saftey jackets. I was working in the NSW bush at the time and my department embraced this new saftey innovation, only to discover that the yellow used at that time, a horrid colour recommended by the experts, blended nicely with the yellows in the Australian bush. Net result, these new 'safety' jackets acted as camouflage. We very quickly moved to a bright orange. The point of the story is that what works in one situation doesn't always work in another.

And as for the 'I couldn't see him' argument - car drivers pull out in front of fire engines going to a fire with the claim that "I didn't see him". If you can't see a ten ton, bright red fire engine with all lights flashing and blazing, the problem lies with the driver's attitudes, not visibility.

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Old 01-25-09, 07:58 PM   #11
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I think its a combination of two factors. Those drivers who do care for your safety don't see you and those who do see you don't care. Beyond that relatively major proportion of drivers you will find a small minority who neither see you nor care.

Those who can see you and care are predominately passengers in other moving vehicles.

In an effort to be fair, I may have been too positeve.
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Old 01-25-09, 10:10 PM   #12
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Another factor is that people automatically factor out what they do not consider important. They are focused on cars, and sometimes trucks. So pedestrians, motorcyclists, and bicyclists all come up short.

I was rear ended on my bright orange Goldwing motorcycle, wearing a high viz yellow riding suit and a bright red helmet. The car driver said she didn't see me. Duh.....

Just assume you are invisible, and drivers don't see you, even if they are looking directly at you.
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Old 01-26-09, 12:23 AM   #13
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wrk101 is right, they look right through you. For sure when pulling out from a side street, they'd drive right into a 50 ft banana.
95% see; we get along just fine as long as I don't act like a peleton putz, ignore a warning toot and block the road for 5 minutes.
2% don't "see" and smell like banana.
2% have anger management issues and intentionally take it out on bicyclists lower down the totem pole (at least in terms of mass).
1% are misjudgers who rush to get 2 meters in front of me to make a right turn. They figure I can stop on a dime or levitate.
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Old 01-26-09, 01:13 AM   #14
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Another factor is that people automatically factor out what they do not consider important. They are focused on cars, and sometimes trucks. So pedestrians, motorcyclists, and bicyclists all come up short.
That's the theory us instructors always proposed among ourselves - drivers look for cars and threats. Consequently, they don't see bikes or big red fire engines going to fires but can see a bloke on the same type of motorcycle the coppers ride. The sad part is that most people are safe, consciensious drivers ... then there's the occasional homicidal maniac - having dodged one of them, I can assure you they exist (he was a genuine nutter, my life was in danger for about ten minutes, good thing I was on a motorcycle rather than me pushbike).

Cor, this is starting to sound like the Advocacy and Safety forum, or the Commuting forum. Ayone want to have a fight? That's the way these discussions are held isn't it?

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Old 01-26-09, 04:35 AM   #15
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That's the theory us instructors always proposed among ourselves - drivers look for cars and threats. Consequently, they don't see bikes or big red fire engines going to fires but can see a bloke on the same type of motorcycle the coppers ride. The sad part is that most people are safe, consciensious drivers ... then there's the occasional homicidal maniac - having dodged one of them, I can assure you they exist (he was a genuine nutter, my life was in danger for about ten minutes, good thing I was on a motorcycle rather than me pushbike).

Cor, this is starting to sound like the Advocacy and Safety forum, or the Commuting forum. Ayone want to have a fight? That's the way these discussions are held isn't it?

Richard
That's just plain stoopid Richard....
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Old 01-26-09, 07:00 AM   #16
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I beleive it is difficult to judge the speed of a relatively small approaching object such as a bicycle or motorcycle, which is one reason why it is recommended for motorcyclists to run with a headlight on. Not a bad idea for bicyclists.

Agreed, I think it's because of the narrowness of a bicycle or motorcycle compared to a car. I think the looming effect (subjective growth of an image as its object becomes closer) is reduced for a narrower object at the same distance and speed.
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Old 01-26-09, 07:48 AM   #17
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I think that a lot of drivers significantly underestimate how fast bike riders are. They expect you to be riding about 5 MPH (seriously). Consequently they think they have plenty of room to turn left in front of you or to pass you shortly before turning right.
+1

I had a lady in a minivan back out in front of me a week or two ago and almost hit her; ended up flying by just in front of her (as she was moving back). If I'd have thought about it, I would have slapped her fender (it was that close). Instead I just gave her the finger. Kind of poor taste and I regretted it. At a stop light a mile or two down the road, she rolled down her window and said, "I didn't see you!" trying to be apologetic. I pointed out that before she pulled out she made eye contact with me; how could she not see me?

I think it was more of a case of misjudging my speed.
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Old 01-26-09, 01:01 PM   #18
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We had a nightmare ride on the Tandem a few years ago and hit two cars that pulled out in front of us and were hit by another car. Two rear lamps- one set on blink and two front lamps that can be seen anywhere. All 3 cars were damaged in severe ways but none of them saw us.

And myself driving in town on a dismall day a couple of days ago and cyclists with bright clothing or good lights were spotted- I did not see the one dressed in black riding tight into the Kerb. He just blended into the background.
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