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Old 06-10-13, 10:21 PM   #1
Diegomayra
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Deeply troubled. Cycling death(s) on local roads. Quit? Travel to ride?

I know everyone hates these sort of posts, I loathe them.

I have felt threatened on some of the roadways around Oakdale/Riverbank,CA due to drivers high vehicular speed and neglecting to offer 3' of safe-space. Directly east of me are several long stretches of flat, highly visible, and minimal shoulder roadways which are used by agricultural semi-trucks and other drivers; there have been several fatalities on these roads between cyclist and vehicles. I was hit on Jan 9th in town and thankfully I am safe. I have recovered most of my comfort, however a recent fatality which was a hit-and-run has rattled me.

How do you go continue cycling in dangerous areas? Or don't you?
I know we all get old and pass away, but to die like a piece of road-kill groveling in your blood while some murderer drives off makes it difficult for me to continue.

FWIW, there are 4 cycling fatalities on local roads within less than 2 miles Eastbound of me, I don't wish to be the 5th.

I want to be proactive. I want to make it a big deal. I want Share the Road signs. Mostly, I just want to feel safe.
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Old 06-10-13, 10:49 PM   #2
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I know exactly how you feel. I love cycling. I think I'm healthier and happier for. Yet here I am reading about a killing on Foothill and another in Oakley. As much as my heart goes out to the victims families, I worry every time I ride with my wife, and more when she goes out alone.

What's worse is the crazy hate the comments in online stories get.

Mostly I just want to feel, and be, safe too.
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Old 06-10-13, 10:52 PM   #3
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But I plan to go out and ride my intervals Tuesday morning, Just because... well, just because.
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Old 06-10-13, 11:45 PM   #4
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But I plan to go out and ride my intervals Tuesday morning, Just because... well, just because.
Another today in Elk Grove as well.

I will continue because I feel alive when I do cycle. I love the endorphin rush, the fresh morning air, and everything else cycling offers. I am cleaning my bike tonight and I just can't shake it this time, I feel like spray painting a piece of gypsum board I have laying in my garage and depositing it near the site myself. I don't know whether to write "SHARE THE ROAD" or "MURDERER". Just so angry and sad right now.
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Old 06-11-13, 12:33 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Diegomayra View Post
I know everyone hates these sort of posts, I loathe them.
I don't at all. When you stop facing the reality of riding in traffic in the era of cellphones, and stop taking it seriously, you make yourself a passive target.

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How do you go continue cycling in dangerous areas? Or don't you?
I avoid the avoidable dangerous roads, and take special measures on those which are not avoidable:
~Blinking red light on helmet
~Blinking red light on bike frame
~Bright, clashing multi-colored clothing, or at least a hi-viz yellow vest
~FFS, don't take a lane, ride FRAP!

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I know we all get old and pass away, but to die like a piece of road-kill groveling in your blood while some murderer drives off makes it difficult for me to continue.
As long as we're looking at this from the perspective of worst-case scenario; would you rather spend your last two months of life smelling your diaper while struggling in agony against cancer in an hospice ward? Or spend your last two seconds of life shrieking, "Aw darn." ?

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FWIW, there are 4 cycling fatalities on local roads within less than 2 miles Eastbound of me, I don't wish to be the 5th.
Then make yourself very visible, get a helmet mirror, and quit trying to become one of these A&S martyrs who insist on their right to take-a-lane.

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I want to be proactive. I want to make it a big deal. I want Share the Road signs. Mostly, I just want to feel safe.
Pining for these signs is a desire to control the behavior of others (specifically, motorists). You'll never control their behavior, but you are the supreme dark overlord of your own. Ride smart, stay alive.
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Old 06-11-13, 05:16 AM   #6
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Get a roadid!
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Old 06-11-13, 08:09 AM   #7
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While an accident can happen anytime, anywhere, I choose the safest roads where the traffic is slow and few. Personally, I stay away from riding on high speed roads as much as possible, would rather take a path through residential streets instead of the highway. Of course some of the safety measures mentioned above too like the blinky. And, while it many not help in a accident situation, promote good will while riding, wave cars to go ahead at stops etc.
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Old 06-11-13, 11:11 AM   #8
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I know everyone hates these sort of posts, I loathe them.
I know we all get old and pass away, but to die like a piece of road-kill groveling in your blood while some murderer drives off makes it difficult for me to continue.
I had an experience about a year ago that gave me what's probaby a peculiar perspective on this. On February 12, 2012, while waiting for my riding partners in front of Pete's in Danville, I just flat out dropped dead. Yeah, you heard me... No warning, no sense of anything coming, I don't even remember falling down. Obviously, the resuscitative efforts of some very heroic people were successful. So here I am, riding still, without any significant residual limitations.

The point is, we're all on borrowed time, whether we realize it or not. So the best you can do is take any and all precautions you feel are apropriate, but don't live in fear. No, I'm not saying throw caution to the winds. What I am saying is, given the inevitabilities, a sudden and possibly ignomious death beats the s**t out of letting fear keep you from the things you love.
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Old 06-11-13, 11:23 AM   #9
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Glad to hear that you were revived and that Diego's gotten over getting hit.

I will avoid roads that I consider unsafe. Lights can help drivers see you, although if they are the sort that likes to buzz cyclists that's just going to give them more time to aim.

If you have family that depends on you, make sure you have a will, life insurance, etc. Check out www.getyour****together.org (where **** is a common four letter word starting with s). The site was built by a woman whose husband was killed while on a training ride.

Finally I would like to point out that we hear of people getting killed in car accidents all the time and we don't even think about not driving.
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Old 06-11-13, 03:56 PM   #10
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Glad to hear that you were revived and that Diego's gotten over getting hit.



Finally I would like to point out that we hear of people getting killed in car accidents all the time and we don't even think about not driving.
That's bang on right there. Every day way more drivers are killed, and the next time we all get in our cars, we could be next, it's much more likely than being hit on the road while riding. It obviously hits closer to home because we all ride, and we are constantly in a battle with terrible drivers. There is nothing you can do if you ride the road, doesn't even matter if you are just riding around the block in a gated subdivision, car vs bike is always a loser for the bike. Funny part about finding the much-less-traveled roads is that's where all the wannabe racers and motorcyclists go to drive fast. It's almost better being on a busier road where traffic is generally slower. I just try not to think about it, and whenever I hear some car flying up on me, I just wince and pray that it goes by me. They always have...so far.
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Old 06-11-13, 03:58 PM   #11
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BTW, to answer the original question, I think I'm going to try and get going earlier, on weekend rides. Usually I'm not rolling out until 930 or 10, so maybe I gotta just cowboy up and get going by 8. There's never a time when there are no cars around, but earlier there are FAR fewer, especially stupid teenagers, who usually don't even wake up until 10.
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Old 06-12-13, 01:12 PM   #12
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Finally I would like to point out that we hear of people getting killed in car accidents all the time and we don't even think about not driving.
Yes, a big +1 on this from me.
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I avoid the avoidable dangerous roads, and take special measures on those which are not avoidable:

~FFS, don't take a lane, ride FRAP!

I've got to disagree with this as a blanket piece of advice. When I was a kid growing up in London, I took a national sponsored course called the cycling proficiency test. I've looked back on those instructions handed out by trained instructurs and the police to a bunch of 11-13yr old kids as some of the best urban/city riding advice I ever got, and still practice much of it today. There are times when taking the lane is by far the best option as you are more visible, and you don't invite an unwise passing maneuver. I agree that riding out in the lane when you don't need to is antagonistic to motorists, but taking the lane can be an important defensive tactic. I've taken to riding home from the ferry terminal in Jack London Square some days, and there are several stretches of road where taking the land increases my chances of being seen and avoiding being doored.

Having said that, it's very hard to do anything against willfully negligent drivers other than try to stay alert to your surroundings.

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Get a roadid!
How would that have helped in this situation?
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Old 06-12-13, 02:37 PM   #13
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Yes, a big +1 on this from me.



I've got to disagree with this as a blanket piece of advice. When I was a kid growing up in London, I took a national sponsored course called the cycling proficiency test. I've looked back on those instructions handed out by trained instructurs and the police to a bunch of 11-13yr old kids as some of the best urban/city riding advice I ever got, and still practice much of it today. There are times when taking the lane is by far the best option as you are more visible, and you don't invite an unwise passing maneuver. I agree that riding out in the lane when you don't need to is antagonistic to motorists, but taking the lane can be an important defensive tactic. I've taken to riding home from the ferry terminal in Jack London Square some days, and there are several stretches of road where taking the land increases my chances of being seen and avoiding being doored.

Having said that, it's very hard to do anything against willfully negligent drivers other than try to stay alert to your surroundings.



How would that have helped in this situation?

Taking the lane is great and make sense but unfortunately sometimes this move will antagonize the driver behind and will take very dangerous risks because they have a short fuse. I wish I could recognize those dangerous drivers!

It is still a lot more dangerous to be in one's bathroom taking a bath or shower!
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Old 06-12-13, 09:59 PM   #14
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I know exactly how you feel. I love cycling. I think I'm healthier and happier for. Yet here I am reading about a killing on Foothill and another in Oakley. As much as my heart goes out to the victims families, I worry every time I ride with my wife, and more when she goes out alone.

What's worse is the crazy hate the comments in online stories get.

Mostly I just want to feel, and be, safe too.
Tru dat. Last night my wife had a nightmare, dreamed about the Foothill accident as if she was there. Great, nothing like screams at 2am. You think were likely to saunter out this weekend for a ride and forget what happened? I really don't think so, I think I'm going to go running down the peninsula with my son. After you read the 50ith story of someone getting creamed, in the RAAM or on a local road, I think it has a cumulative effect...eff it, yo - I'm going for a hike. I'll still commute and ride for fun, but all this tragedy does takes the fun out of it.

We actually had friends and family calling Sunday night, they thought that might have been us on Foothill.

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Old 06-12-13, 10:45 PM   #15
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I tend to avoid dangerous/well traveled roads in favor of more quieter and bike friendly roads or communities since I ride alone; hence my commutes to other cities such as lafayette or moraga to ride popular hilly routes nearby.

Not too much to ride out here in Oakley/Brentwood area except neighboring farmlands and short bumbs, but even then the thought of getting hit by a car and left alone on the side of some farmland always lingers in the back of my mind when I ride. The only thing i try to do is venture as right as possible when i hear an oncoming car approaching me just in case.
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Old 06-13-13, 07:59 AM   #16
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A mirror will at least show you what's coming up behind you at all times rather than frequently turning your head to take quick glances back. It adds a measure of safety.
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Old 06-13-13, 10:43 AM   #17
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...I want to be proactive. I want to make it a big deal. I want Share the Road signs. Mostly, I just want to feel safe.
Make it happen! Become a cycling activist. We all have it in us to become one. Does your County have an cycling advocacy group? No? Start one. Enlist the support of the local cycling clubs.
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Old 06-13-13, 11:33 AM   #18
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That's bang on right there. Every day way more drivers are killed, and the next time we all get in our cars, we could be next, it's much more likely than being hit on the road while riding. It obviously hits closer to home because we all ride, and we are constantly in a battle with terrible drivers. There is nothing you can do if you ride the road, doesn't even matter if you are just riding around the block in a gated subdivision, car vs bike is always a loser for the bike. Funny part about finding the much-less-traveled roads is that's where all the wannabe racers and motorcyclists go to drive fast. It's almost better being on a busier road where traffic is generally slower. I just try not to think about it, and whenever I hear some car flying up on me, I just wince and pray that it goes by me. They always have...so far.
I don't disagree with this sentiment at all, but I think cyclists can feel more vulnerable because if you ride in well-populated areas, it's hard not to know at least a few people that have been hit by cars, in some cases pretty badly injured. I know lots of folks who've had car accidents, but very few who have been injured, none seriously and no fatalities.
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Old 06-13-13, 11:51 AM   #19
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Pretty much how I look at it. I try to be a safe rider and control what I can control. If I thought biking was really that dangerous I'd hang up my cleats.

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Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
Finally I would like to point out that we hear of people getting killed in car accidents all the time and we don't even think about not driving.
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It is still a lot more dangerous to be in one's bathroom taking a bath or shower!
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Old 06-13-13, 12:15 PM   #20
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Wait what happened on foothill?
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Old 06-13-13, 12:31 PM   #21
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While feeling sorrow for those involved in things like the Foothill tragedy, I also have a tendency to make it about me. Mostly thinking about whether it could have happened to me, thinking about what the cyclist could have done to prevent it and what I should be more careful about.

The Foothill fatality is a scary one because it is very easy to think, "That could have been me." I rarely ride Foothill, it is too scary for me, but in that stretch, there is a bike lane and road plenty wide enough for two cars to be passing each other next to the bike with no safety problems. Driver decides to make an idiotic pass, car coming the opposite way forces sudden swerve back, he loses control and kills the cyclist on the side of the road. Just unlucky to be in exactly the wrong place at the wrong time. I may not ride Foothill a lot, but I am on stretches of road like that a lot.

I think about this when there are incidents on my bike routes that don't result in anyone getting hurt. Sometime within the last couple of months, a driver had a medical event on Concannon in Livermore, went off the road, and crashed through a fence of someone's home. If a cyclist happened to be on Concannon at the time in the wrong place, wiped out, toast. A couple of years ago, I was riding up Mines road and while I was 17-18 miles from Tesla, a Highway Patrol car passed me. It came back a little while later, and then passed me again. I thought, "Oh crap, is he looking for a lost cyclist?" However, between mile 19 and the Santa Clara County line, I saw the CHP officer stopped, above where a motorcycle was down towards the Arroyo. I chatted briefly with the officer, and found that motorcyclist had a little solo accident a few days earlier, running off the road because he was going too fast, and now it was time for trash clean up, the officer was waiting for a tow truck with a winch. I could only think, if he couldn't keep himself on the road, he certainly could have wiped out a cyclist. Wouldn't have wanted to be in the wrong place at the wrong time with that guy on the road, no way to prevent getting hit.

Unfortunately, sometimes when drivers are simply out of control, people do end up in the wrong place at the wrong time. The people on the sidewalk on Concord, it was irrelevant that they had bikes. Bikes, peds, whatever, the idiot driver lost control and got them. August 2010, the brother of then Giants outfielder Nate Schierholtz is driving drunk on Danville Blvd. at 10 something a.m. and hits at least one cyclist and a few other things. Fortunately, no one killed (and I don't think anyone seriously injured). I had ridden that stretch of Danville Blvd. the previous afternoon. Not particularly dangerous, but if some is drunk and you are in the wrong place at the wrong time, just nothing you can do.

On the whole, I find drivers in the East Bay to be very bike friendly, very often yielding their right of way to me so that I don't have to slow down or stop. When I'm riding narrower roads, cars are generally courteous about passing.

Maybe I'm foolish, but I don't feel like the greatest danger is from people who unwilling to properly share the road with cyclists. I feel like the greatest danger is from drivers who aren't even careful enough with their own safety, people driving drunk, people making unsafe passes, inattentive drivers (many on their cell phones or texting), teenagers or motorcyclists out for speed without regard to safety. I am more vulnerable to being seriously hurt or killed by them when I am on a bicycle or I am a pedestrian as opposed to being in a car, although I remain in danger from such drivers even when I am in a car.

I'd like to think I ride carefully and defensively and with intelligence, I think I make myself pretty visible, but I know that if I am in the wrong place at the wrong time, it won't be enough to keep me from getting wiped out. If I want to ride, I have to live with the risks, so I live with the risks, even if things like the Foothill tragedy bring home the reality of that risk.
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Old 06-13-13, 12:38 PM   #22
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follow your intuition ...
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Old 06-13-13, 01:40 PM   #23
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I'm pretty sure the 55 pounds of fat I used to cart around was more dangerous to me than the cars. Sure, the cars are more of an acute danger, but that fat was gonna get me for sure! Arguably, I could not bike and not get the fat back, but since I really only get to exercise on my commute to work and my ability to resist donuts is low, it seems unlikely.

3 years ago : Doc was on me about weight, pre-diabetes signs, mildly high blood pressure (borderline, not actually high) and borderline cholesterol issues.

This year : Doc said any more weight loss was for vanity, and not to get too skinny as fat performs useful jobs. Blood pressure low enough they measured twice to make sure it was right, resting pulse rate in the high 40s, good cholesterol up, bad cholesterol down.

Those crazy car drivers would have gotten me on my motorcycle, too. I figure I'm way ahead in the mortality/illness/injury balance.
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Old 06-13-13, 01:42 PM   #24
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New sign on Mount Diablo:

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Old 06-13-13, 02:23 PM   #25
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LOL was waiting for someone to post this . Just saw it a few weeks ago...wonder why the random "headphones" warning? Is that a problem up there? It's already illegal to drive with headphones, why this random warning had to be on this sign is odd.
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