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Old 06-07-10, 09:08 PM   #1
Velo Dog
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Do you worry about the safety of cycling?

seems like there's been a number of posts lately about how safe cycling is, whether it's more or less safe than motorcycling, etc.
For some reason, it's something I very rarely think about except in obviously dangerous situations. I've been riding as an adult since college, almost 40 years, the first 10 in San Francisco, San Jose and Los Angeles.
I'm not in denial--I was an ambulance driver and volunteer firefighter for 12 years, so I've seen what can happen. In other areas, I'm very safety conscious, and I've never had a car crash in 45 years/at least 1.3 million miles of driving. I think about crashing every time I get in a car (I don't drive like Grandpa, either--I used to race and still enjoy turning up the wick when i get a chance). But on the bike, I never give it a thought. How much does it concern you?
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Old 06-07-10, 09:44 PM   #2
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I just posted in one of the other threads about this. I've ridden all kind of motorbikes, off road, motocross, street, touring, roadracing, etc. and still feel safer on a motorcycle than I do on a pedal bike.

The first time I rode on a busy 45mph suburban road without a bike lane this spring I actually started out on the sidewalk for the first bit until it ended, and I was terrified when I got onto the street. Same thing the first time I rode a MTB on single track in the woods. 10x scarier than the first time I did the same thing on a Motocross bike.

I'm guessing it's because it's new. When I started riding motor bikes I was just as terrified. You're just so... exposed. It's even more terrifying now, even to be in a car because people are so much more distracted these days. I figure on a pedal bike my biggest concern is getting hit from behind. I'm a pretty defensive rider, and am always looking for things ahead of me no matter what I'm riding/driving.

Anyway. As someone who has been much more active on public roads on a motorcycle than on a bicycle, I completely understand someone coming from motorbikes, where you're wearing full armor, leather or heavy textile, and a full faced helmet, and feeling unsafe and more exposed on a bicycle wearing spandex and a beer cooler for a hat. I mean, the whole reason I wear full gear all the time on a motorcycle is because early on it was explained to me - put on shorts, flip flops, and a tank top. Now run down your driveway as fast as you can, and then jump and slide. Now imagine doing that at 30+ mph. Um. Ok, isn't that what you're basically doing on a bicycle?! Not that I want to pedal for longer than 5 seconds while wearing most of a cow... I'll take my chances pedalling +/- 20 mph in spandex and styrofoam hat... but the safety gear on a pedal bike feels really ineffectual in comparison.
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Old 06-08-10, 01:00 AM   #3
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I worry about things I can do something about, like getting hit at intersections, by slowing down and watching for crossing and turning traffic. I dont have time to worry about things that are beyond my control.
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Old 06-08-10, 01:07 AM   #4
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I worry about things I can do something about, like getting hit at intersections, by slowing down and watching for crossing and turning traffic. I dont have time to worry about things that are beyond my control.
What he said. I've now cycled around 200,000km without ever breaking so much as a fingernail. I'm concerned about the safety aspect when I ride, but not worried about it. I do what I can to minimise the risk of being injured, but I don't worry beyond that -- what's the point?
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Old 06-08-10, 03:50 AM   #5
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I think about it on every ride. much more so than when I rode as a kid
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Old 06-08-10, 04:16 AM   #6
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Statistically cycling is one of if not the safest out door activity you can engage in (gonzo downhilling excepted). I cycle regularly and ride defensively. Last crash I had was back in the 70's when I was racing.

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Old 06-08-10, 07:58 AM   #7
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hahahahaha OMG ... I disagree cuz I can think of a billion other outdoor activities that don't include personal threats; bodily harm and death as regular side effects.
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Old 06-08-10, 08:10 AM   #8
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hahahahaha OMG ... I disagree cuz I can think of a billion other outdoor activities that don't include personal threats; bodily harm and death as regular side effects.
Like?

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Old 06-08-10, 08:16 AM   #9
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oh please ... flying a kite; hiking; walking; running; playing frisbee; picnics; visiting an arboretum; visiting a zoo ...
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Old 06-08-10, 08:30 AM   #10
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hahahahaha OMG ... I disagree cuz I can think of a billion other outdoor activities that don't include personal threats; bodily harm and death as regular side effects.
Cycling doesn't include those alleged side effects in all cases either...and even in the areas where they may be possible, they are not all that common.

But I guess we can put you down as one of the worriers. Me - not so much. I've been riding as long as the OP and I don't give it any more of a second thought than walking.
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Old 06-08-10, 08:35 AM   #11
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whatever chippy - I'd rather not be labeled as a "worrier" and name calling is kinda juvenile - I take appropriate safety precautions and use due diligence with my road conduct, as I'm sure you do as well. I believe I've read some of your posts where you describe how you address safety.
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Old 06-08-10, 08:48 AM   #12
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oh please ... flying a kite; hiking; walking; running; playing frisbee; picnics; visiting an arboretum; visiting a zoo ...
Urban/suburban pedestrians have a higher fatality rate than bicyclists. I presume that would include your walking and running above. Haven't seen statistics on the other activities.
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Old 06-08-10, 08:58 AM   #13
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I don't worry so much about getting killed as I do about getting a severe injury.....especially a head trauma....I can't afford to damage any more brain cells than I already have due to the sixties.
The thought of a compound fracture, or the loss of a limb is scary to me.
The most frightening aspect though is the effect of an accident on my wife. I've hurt myself a few times and the look she gets on her face.....it just tears my heart out. But, like an alcoholic, I don't stop. Some addictions are better than others they say....
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Old 06-08-10, 08:59 AM   #14
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No. I don't worry at all.

What I do worry about is my health if I didn't cycle. That one keeps me on the bike, all 52 weeks despite our winters.

Yes, I do take reasonable precautions--I wear hi-viz, I use lights day and night, I have a mirror, I use a modified-vehicular style. But I don't worry.

After I was hit by a car last year I was concerned about how I would feel back on the bike. Then I remembered I'd been hit before--while driving--in exactly the same circumstances. It wasn't that I was on a bike at all, just one of those things where the other guy made a mistake. It was two or three weeks before I had my full confidence back, mainly because it took a while to get my strength and wind back.
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Old 06-08-10, 09:06 AM   #15
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whatever chippy - I'd rather not be labeled as a "worrier" and name calling is kinda juvenile - I take appropriate safety precautions and use due diligence with my road conduct, as I'm sure you do as well. I believe I've read some of your posts where you describe how you address safety.
and I certainly don't address it by running around screaming "OMG THEY'RE ALL TRYING TO KILL US!"

The thread title asked about worrying and your initial reply seemed to indicate that you come down on the worrying side. I didn't write it, you did.
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Old 06-08-10, 09:27 AM   #16
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and I certainly don't address it by running around screaming "OMG THEY'RE ALL TRYING TO KILL US!"
They're not?
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Old 06-08-10, 09:42 AM   #17
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Do you worry about the safety of cycling?
Not so much worry as relish. A ride without danger is like a rated-G movie, and a man without scars is a sad, sorry animal. (I also ride crotch-rockets, but in a responsible and safe-ish manner.)
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Old 06-08-10, 09:42 AM   #18
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They're not?
Only if you are wearing purple and it's a Tuesday...and it's snowing...in Honolulu.
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Old 06-08-10, 09:44 AM   #19
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They're not?
Heh. Have any of you guys ever seen the show "Canada's Worst Driver?" In one series the first contestant they eliminated was basically normal, ability-wise, but was a dangerous, aggressive speeder because he believed all the other drivers were out to get him. He was considered "rehabilitated" after being on the show helped him realize that most of them were actually hopeless, clueless and skill-less.
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Old 06-08-10, 09:49 AM   #20
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Hardly occurs/fazes me ever, with occasional moments to remind.
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Old 06-08-10, 09:54 AM   #21
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I just realize that I'm invisible as far as many drivers are concerned, and ride defensively, and go about my business of having fun. If I have to die, it might as well be while doing something I love doing. I don't worry about it, but I don't make it any easier to take me out, either.
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Old 06-08-10, 12:30 PM   #22
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I worry about things I can do something about
Funny, but I worry more about the things I CAN"T do anything about. The things I CAN do something about, I don't worry about, I just do something.

I don't worry too much though. I find that if I'm worrying too much it's because I haven't clearly assessed the risk and figured out how to deal with it. If I rationally look at a risk, I can determine if there's anythign I can do to mitigate it, and if the level of risk is acceptable to me personally.

If I'm worrying to much I might ride poorly and make poor decisions.

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Old 06-08-10, 12:37 PM   #23
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Better to spend your last two seconds of life in a sunny, idyllic setting thinking OH $#IT!, than your last two months stewing in your own mess & agony with cancer in a dismal, hopeless hospice ward.
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Old 06-08-10, 01:47 PM   #24
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I rode the major highways of Florida as a child and dodged the drivers of urban St. Petersburg. And you expect me to be scared? Nah, just wary.
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Old 06-08-10, 01:53 PM   #25
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read Justleaning's reply: (#60)

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...3#post10931113

"Got hit by a car in April and shattered nearly every bone in my face between my jaw and eyebrows. Had my jaw wired shut for 3 weeks and have had 3 surgeries since and at least 2 more scheduled not counting the cosmetic stuff they will need to do. Just had a reconstruction surgery last week where they took a bone graft from my hip to fix the floor of my eye socket. Hopefully will be back to work and riding in about a month they said. Ive got some kick ass surgeons!"
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