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Old 01-16-04, 01:37 PM   #1
H. Star
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I wonder when I will get hit?

I must of been about 10 minutes in front of the rider that got hit yesterday. I ride this streatch of road almost every day before work

Man killed on S.R. 84 was second cyclist in month hit along same area

By Nick Sortal
Staff Writer
Posted January 16 2004

WESTON -- The circumstances were identical in each accident: An eastbound driver, heading into the morning sun, hits a bicyclist on State Road 84 in Weston.

On Thursday, Leonard Fryburg's Honda Civic struck Jeffrey Yuskaitis, 43, at 7:35 a.m. Fryburg never saw Yuskaitis because of the sun's glare, police said. The cyclist died about noon at Broward General Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale.

On Jan. 6, Marilyn Stern drove her Honda Accord into Jose Nieto Carrillo, 40, at 7:40 a.m. on State Road 84, about 5 miles west of Markham Park -- and about 200 feet from Thursday's accident. It was sunny, and police said she veered into Carrillo as she reached to get her sunglasses. Carrillo remains in a coma at Broward General.

In both accidents, the drivers had been traveling below the posted 55 mph limit and the cyclists were properly hugging the white right-hand stripe, police said. There is no bike lane on that portion of S.R. 84, but there's a wide shoulder that is often used.

The drivers just couldn't see them, police said.
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Old 01-16-04, 05:51 PM   #2
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I find it interesting that after just two cyclists being hit by cars, and there is already a reaction of "I wonder when I will get hit". Seems a little strange that, with the thousands of motorists who die in "accidents" every year, nobody ever has a second thought about that particular activity, nor any of the many others that have a higher death rate than cycling.
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Old 01-16-04, 08:05 PM   #3
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if that is the case, you should try avioding riding at 7am~8am or so when the sun is in front of you. I think it will be safer for you to ride earlier, maybe @ 6am is a lot safer, or perhaps @ 10am when the sun is high up.
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Old 01-16-04, 08:12 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris L
I find it interesting that after just two cyclists being hit by cars, and there is already a reaction of "I wonder when I will get hit". Seems a little strange that, with the thousands of motorists who die in "accidents" every year, nobody ever has a second thought about that particular activity, nor any of the many others that have a higher death rate than cycling.
Chris, read the article again and think about this for a minute: In the month of January alone, two cyclists have been hit - one killed and one in a coma - along the same stretch of road (both accident scenes within 100 yards of each other) at almost exactly the same time of day. H. Star rides this same stretch of road at almost the same time of day. Statistically, this is a lot more significant than the typical "people die every day" type of argument and the originator of this thread is quite justified in feeling worried. If it were me, I would stay off this stretch of road in the mornings, or I would change my schedule so that I was on that road early or late so that the sun isn't right in the eyes of the approaching motorists, possibly obscuring me from their view.

Sorry, but there are situations where it's just not a good idea to be on a bike given the prevailing conditions and this might be one of those times and places. When the morning sun is blasting you right in the eyes, a motorist is at a disadvantage when it comes to seeing a cyclist. It's the responsibility of the motorist to be able to see the road and react to whatever is there, but it doesn't seem like a good idea as a cyclist to place yourself in such a compromised position knowing that some percentage of motorists can barely see where they're going, much less see you.
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Old 01-16-04, 08:24 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Grendel
Chris, read the article again and think about this for a minute: In the month of January alone, two cyclists have been hit - one killed and one in a coma - along the same stretch of road (both accident scenes within 100 yards of each other) at almost exactly the same time of day.
I've thought about the article, however, I still ask the question - how many were hit and killed last month? Last year? The "two hit in January alone" might be the only two hit in the last five years. By all means look for a safer route if one is available, or contact your local government authority about having the bad sections of that particular route improved.

However, if not, we need to be realistic about the level of risk involved here, and I don't think we have sufficient information to judge that from the article presented. Just a couple of years ago there were two cyclists killed in a month within 5km of where I live. However, both before and since, the death rate here has been very low. Statements such as "I wonder when I'm going to be hit" aren't really productive. What we need to do is look at why the cyclists were it, how many (overall) have been hit, and decide how to solve any problem which may exist in the area.
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Old 01-16-04, 09:07 PM   #6
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I agree with Chris. Could just be really bad luck that led two accidents in a month. On the other hand, perhaps this is a bad time of year to ride at that time of day. In a few more weeks, the sun will be in the same position earlier.

Nonetheless, any accident should give a person reason to consider ways to improve his own safety. Sometimes there's little to be done. Like Dexmax said though, it might be wise to try a different time, or a different route. I know when I ride in poor visibilty I usually stick to routes that have a dedicated bike lane or at least a sidewalk, and I watch behind whenever I have to ride on the shoulder. Part of that is probably road paranoia from being an off-road rider, but then again, it's worked so far.
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Old 01-16-04, 09:25 PM   #7
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Odd reading this post, I saw a cyclist get hit today - NO he didn't get killed or even hurt. Van knocked him down and ran over his rear wheel. BUT- Cyclist was at fault. It happened about 100 yards in front of me, going down a one way street, van was pulling off a side (right hand turn) onto the road I was on. CYCLIST WAS TRAVELING WRONG WAY! Van was looking @ me, knew he had time to pull out and did so. Cyclist was very lucky he made it almost past van or else he would have been flattened. I stopped, Van driver was scared. Cyclist was hollering for van driver to pay for his bike (said he should have looked before he pulled out - even though it was going the wrong way on a one way street. I told Van Driver & cyclist I'd be a witness and cyclist backed off, he was a local college student (I didn;t think he was that smart!!!!!). I'm a cyclist but was really po'ed at that guys attitude. No names were exchanged, and all drove off (other witnesses stopped, including a few walkers whom I assume were college kids) excect the cyclist, he walked off carrying his bike as rear wheel had a 90 degree bend. Few of the walkers were calling him a dork.
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Old 01-16-04, 09:40 PM   #8
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I don't usually think about being hit or falling. But the coincidences of these two accidents tell me that sun glare is a factor and I might alter my route until the sun is higher and not a factor. There is a point during season change that the sun is coming up in my eyes during my commute during that short week in the spring and fall I change my direction just so I can see. Of course I have the option of which side of the lake I ride around so I can approach work from the east or the west.
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Old 01-16-04, 10:11 PM   #9
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Any time you are riding into a low sun, be it in the evening or morning, your risk of being hit are greatly increased. Most of my riding is done for recreation, and I always take the angle of the sun into account on a ride. I try to never get into a situation where I will be riding with a strong, low sun in my face. Good luck!
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Old 01-18-04, 12:56 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris L
I find it interesting that after just two cyclists being hit by cars, and there is already a reaction of "I wonder when I will get hit". Seems a little strange that, with the thousands of motorists who die in "accidents" every year, nobody ever has a second thought about that particular activity, nor any of the many others that have a higher death rate than cycling.
There are two other factors to consider here. First Florida consistently holds the honor of the state with the most bicycle fatalities based on population, and second, Ft. Lauderdale (Weston is a suburb of Ft. Lauderdale) has the highest rate in the state of Florida.

There is no better place to get hit in the US than Ft. Lauderdale, and this particular stretch of road possibly has the most cyclists per mile than any around (just a guess). Two people get killed this month (the guy in a comma just died). All of these things together make my mind wonder if I could become one of the statistics.

Just a side note, today there is a big electronic sign on this road warning motorists of sun glare and to be aware of cyclists. I thought this was a nice move by the authorities to raise awareness.
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Old 01-18-04, 08:29 AM   #11
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Just a side note, today there is a big electronic sign on this road warning motorists of sun glare and to be aware of cyclists. I thought this was a nice move by the authorities to raise awareness.
Makes me wonder, if the drivers heading towards the sign are also heading towards the sun, is not the glare of the sun going to prevent them from reading it until they are right upon it? Then it may be to late.
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Old 01-18-04, 06:16 PM   #12
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IIt was sunny, and police said she veered into Carrillo as she reached to get her sunglasses. [/B]
Everyone seems to have missed this little snippet. My reading of the story leads me to believe that there is plenty of room on the road for cars and bikes to share, providing everyone holds their line. If you can't control your car while reaching for your sunglasses, then leave them where they are or pull off the road before retrieving them. It also leads me to question whether the driver was looking at the road, or looking in the glovebox at the time of collision.
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Old 01-19-04, 12:47 AM   #13
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Old 01-19-04, 01:12 AM   #14
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There are many automobile to automobile accidents that are caused by drivers being "blinded" by the sun. I drive a car and there are often times when fog, sun or whatever make it difficult to see. I do not stop driving. I don't know of anyone who does stop until the sun lowers or the fog clears. That being the case, as a cyclist, I will not ride in the fog, and will ride on the sidewalk, or have tail lights on, or change the time of my recreational ride to prolong my life. After reading something along these longs last Fall, I changed my riding behavior to become more defensive. The driver who was reaching for her sunglasses was only doing what the majority of us all do.....changing the radio station, grabbing a sip of coffee, turning the corner and realizing the sun is now in your eyes and grabbing for the glasses that were on the passenger seat. I would love to say I drive my car and cycle my bike in a safe manner all the time, but it's probably only about 90-95%. What's your rate?
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Old 01-19-04, 04:05 AM   #15
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I would love to say I drive my car and cycle my bike in a safe manner all the time, but it's probably only about 90-95%. What's your rate?
Another thing that amuses me is the way a lot of these "lapses" people make are tolerated only when they are driving an automobile. If anyone makes a mistake in their professional life that costs someone their life (or costs someone their money in my profession), they can expect at the very least to have to account for it, yet when people are driving it is just accepted all too easily, especially when one considers the number of deaths caused by these "accidents".

It's interesting that only this evening I was riding in one of those "blinded" situations (as it seems to occur on a section of my ride home from work each day), yet it's far from the most troublesome part of my daily ride.

How long will people continue to dance around the issue of driver accountability?
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Old 01-19-04, 04:35 AM   #16
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I agree with Chris that glare is no excuse for hitting a cyclist. The driver should drive for the conditions and if glare means he can't see, should slow down to make safe progress.

The girl reaching for the sunglasses is guilty of reckless or careless driving.

i also think it's valid for H. Star to raise the concern, if only to raise the problem of sun glare.

I must admit, i sometimes think the early morning ride into the rising sun and run home into the setting sun are more dangerous than riding well lit at night. My sphincter tightens when I'm on a shared road and know there is glare.
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Old 01-20-04, 11:10 AM   #17
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What we need to do is look at why the cyclists were it, how many (overall) have been hit, and decide how to solve any problem which may exist in the area.
The only thing I would add here is how many cycists have been hit in comparison to others in cars or walking.

I've been told by some that they wouldn't ride a bike on a street because they were fearful of something like this but what some don't get is that their risk of being hit is just as great when walking or driving.

Last year, in my area, there was 1 cycling fatality but many, many more pedestrians were killed by cars and dozens of drivers had been killed in cars as well.

Accidents happen, no matter if you're on a bike or not. Lets learn what the problems are in each instance and try not to have the problems repeated.
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Old 01-20-04, 11:23 AM   #18
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if that is the case, you should try avioding riding at 7am~8am or so when the sun is in front of you. I think it will be safer for you to ride earlier, maybe @ 6am is a lot safer, or perhaps @ 10am when the sun is high up.
Definitely change the time and/or route you are riding! I almost hit two cars that turned in front of me because they could not see me on the road. The sun was shining right at them. I was stupid because I was not thinking about the bright sun directly shining at the oncoming traffic.
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