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  1. #1
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    Growing a beak and feathers

    All these bike deaths have me nervous.Yesterday,i found myself a bit paranoid while riding and i should never let it come to that.Its amazing to me that every death lately is always a hit and run.I hit a squirrel and i get out of my car and check.I got to a point where i wonder if i should sell my road bike and go back to mountain biking only.I know mountain biking has its own set of issues but there are no cars.Anyone else feeling this lately or should i simply realize im over reacting?thanks all.

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    Dilligaf JimmyNH's Avatar
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    According to the League of American Bicyclists, there are about 20.9 milion people riding bicycles and there are about 700 bicyclists killed each year. See http://www.bikeleague.org/media/facts/ (#4 and #7). Thus, your chance to be killed on a bicycle is about 0.003% or 1 in 33,000. On another hand - there are about 200 million drivers and about 42,000 of them are killed each year, so your odds to be killed in your car are much better - 0.02% (or 1 in 5000). See http://www.car-accidents.com/pages/stats.html.
    For those who are mathematically challenged - you've got about 6 times better chance to be killed in your car than on your bike. Still, for some reason people feel safer in their cars and drive like fokken morrons - eating, texting, watching TV etc.
    With that said - when that guy upstairs calls your number, you have to go - be on a bicycle, in a car or sitting on your couch at home watching baseball. Decide for yourself.
    Old people are keen to give good advice because of their inability to give bad example.

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    Those are nation-wide statistics. The local statistics look much more sobering. Someone died descending Stunt Rd. yesterday. From BikingInLA:
    This marks the 39th cycling fatality in Southern California so far this year, and the 11th in Los Angeles County. This is also the ninth cyclist to die in a solo collision since the beginning of the year.
    And it’s the 10th cycling death in just the last nine days, as the horrible, tragic string of recent cycling fatalities continues for yet another day.

    http://bikinginla.wordpress.com/

    We are barely half way through 2012 and SoCal is on pace to have over ten percent of the national cycling deaths.

    Be careful out there...

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    Quote Originally Posted by cdp8 View Post
    Those are nation-wide statistics. The local statistics look much more sobering. Someone died descending Stunt Rd. yesterday. From BikingInLA:
    This marks the 39th cycling fatality in Southern California so far this year, and the 11th in Los Angeles County. This is also the ninth cyclist to die in a solo collision since the beginning of the year.
    And itís the 10th cycling death in just the last nine days, as the horrible, tragic string of recent cycling fatalities continues for yet another day.

    http://bikinginla.wordpress.com/

    We are barely half way through 2012 and SoCal is on pace to have over ten percent of the national cycling deaths.

    Be careful out there...
    Not to mention we are all clipped in.....I have no intention of starting a clip debate by saying that.

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    jmX
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimmyNH View Post
    According to the League of American Bicyclists, there are about 20.9 milion people riding bicycles and there are about 700 bicyclists killed each year. See http://www.bikeleague.org/media/facts/ (#4 and #7). Thus, your chance to be killed on a bicycle is about 0.003% or 1 in 33,000. On another hand - there are about 200 million drivers and about 42,000 of them are killed each year, so your odds to be killed in your car are much better - 0.02% (or 1 in 5000). See http://www.car-accidents.com/pages/stats.html.
    For those who are mathematically challenged - you've got about 6 times better chance to be killed in your car than on your bike. Still, for some reason people feel safer in their cars and drive like fokken morrons - eating, texting, watching TV etc.
    With that said - when that guy upstairs calls your number, you have to go - be on a bicycle, in a car or sitting on your couch at home watching baseball. Decide for yourself.
    That is one way to interpret the statistics, but another way might be that an hour on a bike on the road is more dangerous than an hour in a car on the road. Most of those 20million bicyclists probably ride 1-2 hours tops a month, and only when the weather is nice. Not everybody lives in SoCal (and a tiny percent are enthusiasts). On the flipside, americans spend 60hours a month in a car.

    If you want to read the stats this way (which, IMO, is the proper way), then it is justifyable to consider cycling a higher risk activity. Also, car hours are more often for essential trips such as going to work, picking kids up, buying groceries, whereas cycling is mostly recreation. So not only is driving safer per hour (and even more so - per mile), it's also more for things we'll have to do one way or another.

    So, the point that somebody is more likely to get killed in a car than on a bike is only because we - on average - are in cars MUCH more often. Not because they are more dangerous.
    Last edited by jmX; 07-16-12 at 03:05 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JimmyNH View Post
    According to the League of American Bicyclists, there are about 20.9 milion people riding bicycles.
    That's a gross overestimate that, most likely, includes every person who rides a bicycle in his/her driveway once a year, many people who don't ride bicycles, but say that they do, and possibly even my 5-year-old daughter.

    I live in a city of 150,000 people and, based on my personal observations, Strava records, organized event participation, etc, I'd estimate that there are maybe 20 adults in this city who regularly ride their bikes on city streets like I do. The largest bicycling event In Southern California I've seen so far had around 500 participants. Even allowing that I live in a bicycle-unfriendly place, we're talking about the community of, perhaps, 5000 active cyclists in all of Southern California. 39 fatalities out of 5000 in less than a year, that is huge.

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    Senior Member bitingduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cdp8 View Post
    We are barely half way through 2012 and SoCal is on pace to have over ten percent of the national cycling deaths.

    Be careful out there...
    SoCal has about 7% of the country's population, and a disproportionate amount of the country's best weather (as in bad days here are better than good days a lot of places), in addition to other things that make it more conducive to riding. That's not to say not to be careful, but the stats are probably not disproportionately high.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hamster View Post
    That's a gross overestimate that, most likely, includes every person who rides a bicycle in his/her driveway once a year, many people who don't ride bicycles, but say that they do, and possibly even my 5-year-old daughter.

    I live in a city of 150,000 people and, based on my personal observations, Strava records, organized event participation, etc, I'd estimate that there are maybe 20 adults in this city who regularly ride their bikes on city streets like I do. The largest bicycling event In Southern California I've seen so far had around 500 participants. Even allowing that I live in a bicycle-unfriendly place, we're talking about the community of, perhaps, 5000 active cyclists in all of Southern California. 39 fatalities out of 5000 in less than a year, that is huge.
    You are forgetting that there is a siginificant population of cyclists for which a bike is there only transport. Several of the cyclists killed in SoCal this year were commuting home late at night, like the woman from Venice that died on PCH last week. There are tens of thousands or working poor in SoCal that use a bicycle as their sole means of transportation. IIRC, Bicycling had a feature article on this aspect of cycling in SoCal, but I can't find it online.

    Next time your at the car wash, convenience store, market, restaurant or any other place that employs minimum wage workers, go around back and count the bikes. Now that's just one facility; multiply it out by the number of such facilities in SoCal. There are WAY more cyclists who rely on the bicycle as their sole mode of transit than there lycra clad recreational cyclists.

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    Senior Member GP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zenout View Post
    All these bike deaths have me nervous.Yesterday,i found myself a bit paranoid while riding and i should never let it come to that.Its amazing to me that every death lately is always a hit and run.I hit a squirrel and i get out of my car and check.I got to a point where i wonder if i should sell my road bike and go back to mountain biking only.I know mountain biking has its own set of issues but there are no cars.Anyone else feeling this lately or should i simply realize im over reacting?thanks all.
    You're over reacting.

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    Senior Member bconneraz's Avatar
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    I honestly thought about it on todays ride quite a bit. The death toll this year is tragic; that said, I'm with Jimmy. When it's your time, it's your time.

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    Me and the cat... Pamestique's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GP View Post
    You're over reacting.
    No I don't think its overreaction. I think its a realistic response to what is happening out on the roads. Now I for one will not blame drivers for all the accidents; many have been caused by the cyclists themslves, but even one car v. bike accident is too many and as we know, when its car v. cyclist, the car always wins.

    Times are changing... when I started riding (yes in the dark ages when dinosaurs roamed the earth) there just weren't that many cars on the road and definitely no teen drivers (when I was young, teens seldom got cars. Usually a household had one vehicle if even that), no cell phones and texting, not as many ethic minorities who get a license but aren't really good drivers, drunk drivers (remember when they got throw in jail and left there... now they either get out quickly or never go at all), well I could go on but the point I am trying to make... one really needs to be more aware these days especially if cycling on the road.

    Road riding is easier for me but I find myself taking chances out on the trail because its easier on my psyche... I am just not as stressed out being on trails because there are no cars to worry about. Even yesterday riding Maple Springs, which is open to car and motorcycle traffic, at least people are alittle more aware of other trail users (some but not all however) than motorist who needs to get from point A to B, pick up kids, are warried about their boyfriend/girlfriend, what to make for dinner, had a bad day at work whatever.

    The person who does not react and consider road distractions is uninformed and unaware. Also not to get into an argument... there are alot of riders out there who just don't know what they are doing and take unnecessary risks... In my car today I had a rider blow by me on the right going very fast and run a red light for a freeway offramp... obviously someone was watching over him.
    Last edited by Pamestique; 07-16-12 at 04:29 PM.
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  12. #12
    Me and the cat... Pamestique's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bconneraz View Post
    I honestly thought about it on todays ride quite a bit. The death toll this year is tragic; that said, I'm with Jimmy. When it's your time, it's your time.
    That works when you are just riding along, in the biclcye lane, obeying laws and someone drifts into the lane and hits you. That does not work when you are a rider going too fast and running red lights. If you get hit then it was because of stupidity, not because it was your time...
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    Quote Originally Posted by cdp8 View Post
    You are forgetting that there is a siginificant population of cyclists for which a bike is there only transport. Several of the cyclists killed in SoCal this year were commuting home late at night, like the woman from Venice that died on PCH last week. There are tens of thousands or working poor in SoCal that use a bicycle as their sole means of transportation. IIRC, Bicycling had a feature article on this aspect of cycling in SoCal, but I can't find it online.

    Next time your at the car wash, convenience store, market, restaurant or any other place that employs minimum wage workers, go around back and count the bikes. Now that's just one facility; multiply it out by the number of such facilities in SoCal. There are WAY more cyclists who rely on the bicycle as their sole mode of transit than there lycra clad recreational cyclists.
    Valid point, and a possible explanation for an observation that's been puzzling me for a while - how a city with essentially no visible cyclists could possibly support four brick-and-mortar bicycle stores (that's just the ones I know of!)

    Looking through the list of fatalities in Southern California since the beginning of July, only 2 out of 10 victims were clearly recreational cyclists, and one may have been riding a BMX bike, the rest look like commuters as you described. Among the commuters, three were killed late at night (after 11 pm), one was drunk, one was in a solo crash caused by a technical malfunction and wasn't wearing a helmet, and almost nothing is known about the remaining two.

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    Senior Member GP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hamster View Post
    That's a gross overestimate that, most likely, includes every person who rides a bicycle in his/her driveway once a year, many people who don't ride bicycles, but say that they do, and possibly even my 5-year-old daughter.

    I live in a city of 150,000 people and, based on my personal observations, Strava records, organized event participation, etc
    , I'd estimate that there are maybe 20 adults in this city who regularly ride their bikes on city streets like I do. The largest bicycling event In Southern California I've seen so far had around 500 participants. Even allowing that I live in a bicycle-unfriendly place, we're talking about the community of, perhaps, 5000 active cyclists in all of Southern California. 39 fatalities out of 5000 in less than a year, that is huge.
    I know more than 20 cyclists from Escondido. Heck, one of the largest clubs starts rides from NCF.

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    Senior Member bitingduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hamster View Post
    we're talking about the community of, perhaps, 5000 active cyclists in all of Southern California. 39 fatalities out of 5000 in less than a year, that is huge.
    There are about 4000 licensed road racers in SoCal, and racers are a very small fraction of the people who ride regularly.
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    jmX
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    Quote Originally Posted by hamster View Post
    That's a gross overestimate that, most likely, includes every person who rides a bicycle in his/her driveway once a year, many people who don't ride bicycles, but say that they do, and possibly even my 5-year-old daughter.

    I live in a city of 150,000 people and, based on my personal observations, Strava records, organized event participation, etc, I'd estimate that there are maybe 20 adults in this city who regularly ride their bikes on city streets like I do. The largest bicycling event In Southern California I've seen so far had around 500 participants. Even allowing that I live in a bicycle-unfriendly place, we're talking about the community of, perhaps, 5000 active cyclists in all of Southern California. 39 fatalities out of 5000 in less than a year, that is huge.
    I agree that 20million "cyclists" is overstating it, since most hardly ride, but 5000 active cyclists in socal? Really? Some sections of the SART have 1600 people listed just on strava alone...thats *one* trail, and only people that use some silly app. I bet the majority of the people I see on the SART are not on strava.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GP View Post
    I know more than 20 cyclists from Escondido. Heck, one of the largest clubs starts rides from NCF.
    Ranchos? As far as I can tell, even though they start from North County Fair, few if any Ranchos actually live in Escondido.

    There is a road outside my window, it is one of the two main routes from NCF to Valley Center / Lake Wohlford, and it is occasionally used by club rides. According to Strava, going north, it was ridden on two occasions since the beginning of the month: by a couple of guys from San Diego on July 1 and by "Descenders" on July 7. Going south, it was ridden once, by a guy from San Marcos.

    In 2012 L'Etape du California, there was one finisher (other than myself) hailing from Escondido. In 2012 Breathless Agony, two. In 2012 Mount Laguna Bicycle Classic, one. In 2012 Death Valley Spring Century, none.

    I agree that 20million "cyclists" is overstating it, since most hardly ride, but 5000 active cyclists in socal? Really? Some sections of the SART have 1600 people listed just on strava alone...thats *one* trail, and only people that use some silly app. I bet the majority of the people I see on the SART are not on strava.
    SART is a natural magnet for cyclists, I think that almost every active cyclist who lives in OC or the southern part of LA County, and many cyclists from IE, rode some part of it at some point. If you exclude the ones who rode the segment in 2010 or 2011 and aren't active any more, the ones who moved out of SoCal, the ones whose total lifetime mileage logged on Strava is under 200 miles, you might have 800 left.

    But fine, let's call it 15,000 instead of 5,000.
    Last edited by hamster; 07-16-12 at 07:45 PM.

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    Senior Member bitingduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hamster View Post
    But fine, let's call it 15,000 instead of 5,000.
    You're still way underestimating. I know a lot of racers. I spend a lot of time around racers. As I was looking through the list of 4000 racers in SoCal I recognized a remarkable number of names that I can attach faces to (I used to promote races). And I still know *way* more non racers than racers. I was at a wedding recently of some friends who I had gotten started cycling. About 30 of the 100 people there were cyclists who don't race or do any of the big organized rides, but ride quite a lot. I only know a few people who use Strava, and many racers who don't.
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    Dilligaf JimmyNH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hamster View Post
    That's a gross overestimate that, most likely, includes every person who rides a bicycle in his/her driveway once a year, many people who don't ride bicycles, but say that they do, and possibly even my 5-year-old daughter.

    I live in a city of 150,000 people and, based on my personal observations, Strava records, organized event participation, etc, I'd estimate that there are maybe 20 adults in this city who regularly ride their bikes on city streets like I do. The largest bicycling event In Southern California I've seen so far had around 500 participants. Even allowing that I live in a bicycle-unfriendly place, we're talking about the community of, perhaps, 5000 active cyclists in all of Southern California. 39 fatalities out of 5000 in less than a year, that is huge.
    Based on my personal observations, the Earth is flat (or hilly at best) and these railroad tracks definitely join on the horizon. Also, see what Bitingduck said.
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    Dilligaf JimmyNH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pamestique View Post
    ... not as many ethic minorities who get a license but aren't really good drivers...
    As opposed to what? "Ethnic majorities" whose biggest challenge in life is to drive manual transmission? Just kidding! One of the reasons I feel safe on the roads in SoCal is because the vast majority of drivers here are law-abiding and fairly safe. I've been around quite a bit and I've got a good base for comparison. Yes, there are millions of arseholes on the road too, but I reckon for every arsehole that tries to "mirror" you, there are 10 guys that will step on the yellow line to make sure they pass you safely.
    Anyway, some of the guys made good points. Maybe cycling is not 6 times safer than driving, if you take into account the mileage or the number of cyclists that actually do ride their bikes. Maybe it is just a couple of times safer. But is it suicidal to ride a bike on the road? Hell, I would have sold my bike long ago if I thought so.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bitingduck View Post
    You're still way underestimating. I know a lot of racers. I spend a lot of time around racers. As I was looking through the list of 4000 racers in SoCal I recognized a remarkable number of names that I can attach faces to (I used to promote races). And I still know *way* more non racers than racers. I was at a wedding recently of some friends who I had gotten started cycling. About 30 of the 100 people there were cyclists who don't race or do any of the big organized rides, but ride quite a lot. I only know a few people who use Strava, and many racers who don't.
    What's your estimate?

    I suspect that there are a few outlier hotspots which account for most licensed racers and most recreational riders, while the rest of the state is relatively barren. There are apparently 10,000 students at UCSB who commute to class by bicycle.

    Some curious factoids that I could dig up. Manual bicycle counts on Bike to Work Day in San Diego: http://ipua.sdsu.edu/docs/ryanb2wdposter.pdf

    Total estimated participation in the 2012 San Diego Bike to Work Day: 7,000. http://sandiegocountybicyclecoalitio...sful-bike.html Which makes the number of daily commuters closer to 3,000.

    Morning commuter counts: http://www.altaprojects.net/sandag/D...1208_small.pdf (page 94) The busiest counting site in 2007 was in Coronado, at the north end of Silver Strand, and it counted 108 bicycles during the A.M. commute. By comparison, there are multiple intersections in San Francisco that see over 1000 cyclists during rush hour.
    Last edited by hamster; 07-17-12 at 01:45 AM.

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    Senior Member bitingduck's Avatar
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    More likely somewhere between 1 and 2 million.

    About 200 people at my 5000 person worksite commute by bike regularly-- that's 4%, which would give a bit under a million. But I also know many people there who ride who don't commute by bike, so the commuter count is clearly an underestimate.

    I also know a *lot* of cyclists. I ride with nearly every sort of group except the guys who ride huffy's to the car wash (and I'd ride with them, too, and have occasionally helped them fix flats). I can't go for a ride without someone else on a bike saying hi (and they all use different nicknames because I know them from different groups)-- my girlfriend makes fun of me for it. And I think I can only name 1 cyclist in 15 years who I knew at all who was killed by a driver (and another who was killed by a deer), and nobody who I know very well has been killed by riding. If the numbers were as low as you say, I'd know quite a lot more.

    edit: LACBC estimates that there are about 98,000 bike commuters in LA County alone, or about 2% of LA County (LACBC). And that's just commuters. Many (most?) people who cycle don't commute by bike, so estimating that over 5% of SoCal rides bikes isn't unreasonable.
    Last edited by bitingduck; 07-17-12 at 11:57 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bitingduck View Post
    More likely somewhere between 1 and 2 million.

    About 200 people at my 5000 person worksite commute by bike regularly-- that's 4%, which would give a bit under a million. But I also know many people there who ride who don't commute by bike, so the commuter count is clearly an underestimate.

    I also know a *lot* of cyclists. I ride with nearly every sort of group except the guys who ride huffy's to the car wash (and I'd ride with them, too, and have occasionally helped them fix flats). I can't go for a ride without someone else on a bike saying hi (and they all use different nicknames because I know them from different groups)-- my girlfriend makes fun of me for it. And I think I can only name 1 cyclist in 15 years who I knew at all who was killed by a driver (and another who was killed by a deer), and nobody who I know very well has been killed by riding. If the numbers were as low as you say, I'd know quite a lot more.

    edit: LACBC estimates that there are about 98,000 bike commuters in LA County alone, or about 2% of LA County (LACBC). And that's just commuters. Many (most?) people who cycle don't commute by bike, so estimating that over 5% of SoCal rides bikes isn't unreasonable.
    No way. If there were this many bike commuters, you'd see them everywhere. You'd see one bike for every 50 cars during rush hour, and one bike for every 20 cars on weekends. There aren't nearly so many. Maybe San Francisco comes close to those ratios, but no city in SoCal that I know of.

    The "official" Census Bureau estimate is that 0.7% of workers in Los Angeles County and 0.6% of workers in San Diego County commute to work by bicycle. That's 30,000 and 8,500 respectively. That still seems high to me, but it's closer to reality than 1-2 million.

    Riding through North County San Diego, except on select few bike paths, I'd say that I see one (adult) cyclist every 10 to 20 miles, or one cyclist per hour, and maybe 10 cars per minute. That's 1 cyclist for every 600 cars, which, again, gives me an estimate of 3,000 active cyclists in San Diego County and 15,000 in all of SoCal.

    200 people out of 5000 at your work site commuting by bicycle, that's impressive, but I think it's very unusual, unless it's something like a university where lots of people commute from student housing across the street. At my last job, the percentage of people coming to work by bicycle on any given day was around 1%, even though most people had relatively flexible schedules and, unlike most offices, we had on-site showers.
    Last edited by hamster; 07-17-12 at 04:38 PM.

  24. #24
    Senior Member bitingduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hamster View Post
    200 people out of 5000 at your work site commuting by bicycle, that's impressive, but I think it's very unusual, unless it's something like a university where lots of people commute from student housing across the street. At my last job, the percentage of people coming to work by bicycle on any given day was around 1%, even though most people had relatively flexible schedules and, unlike most offices, we had on-site showers.
    It's a large laboratory facility mostly full of old people.

    You need to get out more- there are a lot of cyclists on the roads.
    Track - the other off-road
    http://www.lavelodrome.org

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    Quote Originally Posted by bitingduck View Post
    You need to get out more- there are a lot of cyclists on the roads.
    Not around here there aren't.

    I've logged 17 hours in the last two weeks. Have to work now, but I'll get out again tomorrow.

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