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  1. #1
    DocRay
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    Elderly on the road

    I was rear ended today in my car while stopped at a red light. I was hit so hard that my car was pushed well into the one in front. I had been stopped in traffic, just sitting there.

    The car that hit me at 50 km/h was a 84 year old lady. Her third at-fault accident in two months. She had no clue the traffic was stopped at the lights.

    I've been fearing this for years, and it now only makes me more paranoid when on my bike. With the ageing population and ageing drivers, I'm reading about a tragedy every day.

    If you have a elderly grand parent or parent that still drives, and drives poorly, think about telling them to stop, two or more lives may be saved.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DocRay
    If you have a elderly grand parent or parent that still drives, and drives poorly, think about telling them to stop, two or more lives may be saved.
    I've got some teenaged grandkids who drive too. What should I tell them? Actually, of the fatal auto accidents in our area that I'm aware of, the teenagers are way, way, way above the older folk.

  3. #3
    Senior Member 55/Rad's Avatar
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    It's not the elderly that are sharp and alert that you have to worry about. My great uncle drove until his death at 95 and I never once felt he wasn't capable. It's the folks that have started to decline - either physically or mentally - and aren't yet at the point where they feel they should give it up.

    My 65 year old father in-law was just one of these people. He was diagnosed with vascular dementia - which appears a lot like Alzheimers. He continued to drive. He'd forget where he was going but he still was able to handle the car.

    After awhile, I noticed some small dents in the car. He couldn't recall how they got there - god knows what he hit. It wasn't long before we took the keys away.

    55/Rad

  4. #4
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    I'm close to elderly(62) so watch out, I might rear end with my 96' Trek 2300...

  5. #5
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    I understand the rearend affliction. I ride mountain bike to stay in shape for riding a motorcycle, and have learned more about traffic from motorcycling. I was on my motorcycle in a left turn lane waiting for the light to change. I keep my motorcycle in first gear with the clutch pulled in for reasons like this: I was waiting for the next car to come up behind me and stop. While watching the car behind me getting closer I noticed a gray haired person, barely to see over the steering wheel. The car wasn't slowing down so I let out my clutch and went through the red light. The car that was coming up behind me slammed on it's brakes and skidded through the intersection. If I wasn't aware of what what was happening behind me, I would have been another statistic. It doesn't only pertain to old people. I was waiting for a light to change before I went through an intersection. The light changed and I just sat there wondering what difference a couple of seconds would make in reaction time, before you reacted to a green light (people in cars behind you will honk at you if you don't go right away) In that second or two, some guy who should've stopped for the red light, drove through the red light right in front of me going about 55 m.p.h. If I would've went the second the light turned green I would've probably been killed. Sometimes people learn from the obvious, but some people think they have the right of way. If you wanna stay alive when in motorized traffic, you must decide you never have the right of way, your only at the mercy of the person operating the motor vehicle thats in your view. Watch every vehicle moving! When i'm on a bicycle I'll do anything to avoid certain situations. Like intersections where people in cars wanna turn right on red but only look to the left, so they can get where they wanna go. It all comes down to experience and knowing that if a car hits you, your gonna get hurt, bad! I give all my reckless abandon to the trails.

  6. #6
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    I was driving down my normal bike route one day and I was behind and old lady in a Caprice Classic that assumed the bike lane was an extension of her lane. Kept veering in and out of it, and ended up driving in the bike lane for a good 3 miles, albeit going 35 mph in a 55 and backing up traffic for a mile. I feared for my life and went out and bought a helmet mirror that day.

  7. #7
    Riding a bitsa
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    Q tips (as they're called in FL) or just plain old furts, as they're better known, are surely a danger on the road. HOwever, in my personal experiences riding both bicycles and motorcycles, the worst danger is from cell phone talkers. Time after time after time again, when I have a close something or other, I note the damn cage runner is talking on the damn cell phone.

    I'll accept old furts, drunks and anything else in trade for getting the cell phone off the road.

  8. #8
    beginner budster's Avatar
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    This is one of those big societal problems without an easy solution.

    I think most of us would agree that some older drivers don't know when it's time to hang it up. These few pose significant danger to the rest of us, and give the safe-driving majority of seniors a bad image.

    But, I'd be strongly against any mandatory age limit for drivers, and I think AARP are against proposals like yearly road testing for seniors (which means, politically, such proposals ain't gonna happen anytime soon).

    Perhaps some kind of fairly simple alertness/reaction time test can be developed (I'm blue skying here)?

    The more I read on here, the more inclined I am to become "that guy" -- the one who reports dangerous driving anytime I see it. Maybe we should all become "that guy."
    Path of Abundance: Be Kind, be Generous, be Content, be Honest and be Aware.

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  9. #9
    hill hater nova's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by budster
    This is one of those big societal problems without an easy solution.

    I think most of us would agree that some older drivers don't know when it's time to hang it up. These few pose significant danger to the rest of us, and give the safe-driving majority of seniors a bad image.

    But, I'd be strongly against any mandatory age limit for drivers, and I think AARP are against proposals like yearly road testing for seniors (which means, politically, such proposals ain't gonna happen anytime soon).

    Perhaps some kind of fairly simple alertness/reaction time test can be developed (I'm blue skying here)?

    The more I read on here, the more inclined I am to become "that guy" -- the one who reports dangerous driving anytime I see it. Maybe we should all become "that guy."

    To bad for aarp. I think mandatory testing is needed. Ive seen to many elderly caused accidents. How about barberton kmart being turned in to a drive through 3 times in 6 years?
    Or the wadsworth mcdonolds havign a new drive through added to the front when a old lady in her 70s plowed through the front hitting 2 customers who were seated there?

    AARP are a bunch of psudo political idiots. They do some great things for the elderly granted but they also do things that not only endanger bystanders but the elderly they so vigorously try to help.

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    I don't see how one can argue against yearly road tests for elderly. The benefits far outweigh the costs. If one life is saved it is worth it, no question.

    As for the comment about teenage drivers, as a teenager, I can agree that most of us are reckless and some cause accidents. Most elderly people probably don't remember their road test but I can say that they are way too easy. The tests should be longer(I only had to drive like five blocks) and more stricked.

  11. #11
    Senior Member garysol1's Avatar
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    I sure agree with mandatory testing. Last week my mother, who is 74 was driving on a 4 lane in Baltimore County. She apparantly blacked out behind the wheel, crossed over oncoming traffic hitting one other vehicle before hitting a brick wall. My sister and I have been trying to get her off the road for over a year now due to her age and her blood sugar issues but she would not budge on the subject and the state was no help. It took this accident to finaly get it done. Thank god no one else was seriously injured besides my mom.

  12. #12
    Member seres's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by acathi_cyclist
    I don't see how one can argue against yearly road tests for elderly. The benefits far outweigh the costs....
    Exactly, and not just for the elderly, but for everybody. The annual tests need to be both practical/road tests, and medical tests. Not just vision tests, but real "sit with your doctor" visits to judge physical and mental abilities. I'm a professional pilot, and we must undergo annual physical and practical tests. Just imagine how much safer driving would be.
    Eric

  13. #13
    hill hater nova's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seres
    Exactly, and not just for the elderly, but for everybody. The annual tests need to be both practical/road tests, and medical tests. Not just vision tests, but real "sit with your doctor" visits to judge physical and mental abilities. I'm a professional pilot, and we must undergo annual physical and practical tests. Just imagine how much safer driving would be.
    Well with the job market as bad is it is you cant aford to take time off for a driving test (you know they woul donly do it m-5 9 am to 5pm) So essentially you ither need to take time off from work or loose your licence. Retestts for those over 65 no retest for those under.

  14. #14
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    This will sound pretty radical and probably piss someone off, but I'll say it anyway.

    Driving is a privelage not a right. If you want to drive, you may have to use one of your sick/vaction days to take the test. If that is truly not an option then maybe they could have occasional saturday testing(I know this probably wont fly at the DMV, it's hard enough getting them do work as it is).

    It's too difficult to difficult to draw a line for an age requirement (i.e. testing after 65) and will probably be labeled as discrimination. Until someone publishes a comprehensive study showing evidence substantial enough to convince everyone of it's neccessity, it wont happen.

  15. #15
    Riding a bitsa
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    Quote Originally Posted by garysol1
    I sure agree with mandatory testing. Last week my mother, who is 74 was driving on a 4 lane in Baltimore County. She apparantly blacked out behind the wheel, crossed over oncoming traffic hitting one other vehicle before hitting a brick wall. My sister and I have been trying to get her off the road for over a year now due to her age and her blood sugar issues but she would not budge on the subject and the state was no help. It took this accident to finaly get it done. Thank god no one else was seriously injured besides my mom.
    How about yearly testing for diabetics? Epileptics? You don't start blacking out at 74. Something was afoot besides her age.

  16. #16
    Sprockette wabbit's Avatar
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    I remember there was this terrible accident a couple of years ago... some of you may remember. It was in Tampa, i think. This guy plowed right through a group on a ride- about 20 people. Apparently he was diabetic and had blacked out- he wasn't that old, in his 60s. But some of the riders were badly injured, although luckily no one was killed or crippled. The guy eventually pleaded guilty in court, paid a big fine and voluntarily surrendered his license.

    I think for certain people with medical conditions like that, testing is probably better than waiting for a disaster. This time no one was killed- next time, who knows. I'm sorry that the AARP feels that they are in danger of losing their freedom to get around, but it's not just about them. Its public safety. And if there were better public transportation available in some cities, then they would have other ways to get around besides cars. The problem is that in some cities and burbs there is simply no other way to get around and nothing in walking distance.
    You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. That's great...if you want to attract vermin.

  17. #17
    Riding a bitsa
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    The time an old fart crashed into a group of bikes near Tampa that I remember, the judge said it was the bikes' fault. His reasoning was that the bicyclists went through a red light a few block before (true). The judge said if they'd not have gone through the light, they'd not have been where the old fart lost control so the crash was their fault.

    I wish I was making a joke here, but I'm not. Old farts driving while old farts judge.

  18. #18
    DocRay
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    Quote Originally Posted by slide
    How about yearly testing for diabetics? Epileptics? You don't start blacking out at 74. Something was afoot besides her age.
    Any person susceptable to blackouts, and epileptics without drug control already cannot drive. A doctor has to report this by law.

    According to the police inveestigator, the 84 year old who hit me will continue to be allowed to drive indefinitely until: 1. she kills someone or 2. her insurance company raises her premiums until she can't afford it , but they cannot deny her. Sorry, but knowing this scares the crap out of me now when I'm riding -I assume that the driver passing me on the left at least can see me, this woman did not see a whole line of cars with brake lights on -she would have killed people in a group ride. But we cannot deny her freedom? Since when is driving a right? Loud stereos, cell phones, coffee, eating, DVD players, etc. these are heavy, fast moving dangerous vehicles, not living room sofas.

    As for more testing or laws-won't happen when the majority of people are now heading into their 60s -they will not believe they are incapable of driving safely. I'll bet that every person>60 in this forum would oppose it.

    In Ontario, any driver above 75 is tested every year. But it's a joke, because my grandfather passed every year , but he was not fit to drive. At 82, we insisted and took away his car for his safety, an accident was a matter of short time. He's still kicking fine at 88.

    A 92 year old that can drive well is great, but clearly, this is not the average, and only a few exceptional people are in this position.

    My car was crushed-big deal, but in a cycling context, these accidents would be fatal.

  19. #19
    DocRay
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch
    I've got some teenaged grandkids who drive too. What should I tell them? Actually, of the fatal auto accidents in our area that I'm aware of, the teenagers are way, way, way above the older folk.
    Sorry Grouch, but that is wrong. I don't know where this myth started, but this is from NSC.org:

    http://www.nsc.org/library/report_injury_usa.htm

    On Roads and Highways

    * A death caused by a motor vehicle crash occurs every 12 minutes; a disabling injury occurs every 13 seconds.
    * Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for people ages 6 to 33.
    * Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers.
    * The age groups most affected by motor vehicle crashes are 15-24 and 75+.
    * There were an estimated 5,600 pedestrian deaths and 80,000 injuries.
    * There is an alcohol-related traffic death every 30 minutes and a nonfatal injury every 2 minutes.
    * Bicycling resulted in about 700 deaths in collisions with motor vehicles.

  20. #20
    beginner budster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seres
    Quote Originally Posted by acathi_cyclist
    I don't see how one can argue against yearly road tests for elderly. The benefits far outweigh the costs....
    Exactly, and not just for the elderly, but for everybody. The annual tests need to be both practical/road tests, and medical tests. Not just vision tests, but real "sit with your doctor" visits to judge physical and mental abilities. I'm a professional pilot, and we must undergo annual physical and practical tests. Just imagine how much safer driving would be.
    I would vote for this. If we had a comprehensive public health care system, it would be a lot more practical, but that's a whole other issue.


    Retro Grouch
    I've got some teenaged grandkids who drive too. What should I tell them? Actually, of the fatal auto accidents in our area that I'm aware of, the teenagers are way, way, way above the older folk.
    I'd imagine the stats would show that driving is as hazardous for folks 75+ as it is for under-25s -- but when a kid dies, it's news, so driving seems more dangerous for kids. Teach your grandkids to pay attention to everything on the road at all times (including cyclists, of course).

    BTW, I hope nobody thinks I'm a huge fan of AARP! I do admire their skill in working together successfully. There are things you can change, and others you can't -- AARP, like the weather, is one of those things you can't do too much about.

    Imagine if we had a national bike lobby that was as effective as they are....
    Path of Abundance: Be Kind, be Generous, be Content, be Honest and be Aware.

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  21. #21
    DocRay
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    Bicyclists United for Rights in Public.

    BURP vs. AARP

  22. #22
    Senior Member garysol1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slide
    How about yearly testing for diabetics? Epileptics? You don't start blacking out at 74. Something was afoot besides her age.
    Agreed........so far with multiple MRI's, EKG's,EEG's and blood screenings the doctors have no theorys. I do know age in some way was a factor as her driving, walking and general day to life has been going downhill for a couple of years now.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slide
    The time an old fart crashed into a group of bikes near Tampa that I remember, the judge said it was the bikes' fault. His reasoning was that the bicyclists went through a red light a few block before (true). The judge said if they'd not have gone through the light, they'd not have been where the old fart lost control so the crash was their fault.

    I wish I was making a joke here, but I'm not. Old farts driving while old farts judge.
    They "tried" to say it was the cyclists fault. The old guy went over a double yellow center line to pass another vehicle, and swung wide head on into a pace line. I think two cyclists died from it. The issue of "intent" was what kept the guy from being charged in Florida criminally. He paid a fine and lost his license.

  24. #24
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    20 years ago the only cars that experienced sudden acceleration were Audi 5000s. It was a problem with the car. Now whenever I hear or read about a car doing this it's always a senior driver. Still, I'm against making any mandatory testing laws. Unfortunately, if you give law enforcement an inch, they take a mile. For example, law enforcement uses seizure mandates under drug confiscation laws to take bicycles away from riders riding on sidewalks. Or the police using drunk driving checkpoints to raise revenue by ticketing drivers for not wearing seat belts etc. Mandatory driver testing would be a slippery slope. Who's next and how would the law be misapplied?
    I'm just trying to be the person my dog thinks I am.

  25. #25
    Riding a bitsa
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dchiefransom
    They "tried" to say it was the cyclists fault. The old guy went over a double yellow center line to pass another vehicle, and swung wide head on into a pace line. I think two cyclists died from it. The issue of "intent" was what kept the guy from being charged in Florida criminally. He paid a fine and lost his license.
    Maybe we are talking about different crashes. IIRC (it was a few years ago and I was just off my boat after a long time singlehanding) the JUDGE was the one who found against the cyclists. I may be remembering it all wrong. Even though I didn't ride then, I was outraged at that claim / decision.

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