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  1. #1
    Fred E Fenders fthomas's Avatar
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    Crash with Injury - PLEASE RIDE TO THE RIGHT!!!

    A beautiful Easter afternoon. So, I installed my new SKS fenders on my new Novara Randonee and took it for a spin. NOTE: Have to watch out for the fenders conflicting with the clips - 1/2" of overlap - not good. No big ride, just a ride of about 12 miles on a "two lane" bike path.

    There is one hard 90 degree turn down hill with a hard right at the bottom (BLIND TURN) with a lot of brush on the hill side so you can not see anyone coming from the other direction until they are into the turn (left coming from the other direction), which I have been known to take at 24 mph, but today no way.

    As I started down the steep hill I braked and slowed to 12 mph, which presents no need to swing wide and cut the apex of the turn. Today, however, along came lycra clad Dad on a US $ 4,000 + carbon bike with his son on a new Felt road bike with flat bars.

    YEP! the were taking up both lanes and appeared just as I started into the turn. Instead of "T Boning" the boy I straightened out and tried to shoot between them. The lad paniced, realizing he was on the wrong side and moved towards his right. I clipped his bar end and as he went down ran over his front wheel with my rear. Off into the gravel to the left I went.

    I went down with my bike sliding out from underneath me to the left. Ruined the bar tape, scratched the right hand STI brake lever up and got some nasty road rash on the right leg and arm. A broken (I think it is) right middle finger.

    The young man had a nick (no blood) in his right thigh and a really good scare. I ended up with the worst of it - bike and body. All Dad could do was keep apologizing, which was accepted. At first I was more concerned about the welfare of his son. All I could say to Dad was: "Keep to the right, especially on a blind curve like this."

    I guess it could have been a lot worse for both of us. If I had "T-Boned" Dad or LAD, I'm sure that the Carbon Bike or new FELT would have been toast and someone would have really ended up hurt. Guess I should count my blessings!

    I got a couple of chips in the paint and the new is now off the new bike. Fenders are still intact. So, do I try and salvage the STI shifter on the right and replace the tape and count it good. Or do I order a Nitto Bar from Rivendell (wish I could order an Atlantis, but that will have to wait), keep the STI shifters or go for some bar ends? Any thoughts?
    Last edited by fthomas; 04-19-06 at 11:47 PM.

  2. #2
    __________ seeker333's Avatar
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    Sorry for your mishap. That's a crummy way to christen a new bike. Your cautious approach to that curve probably saved those guys' bacon. First time i ever heard of fenders preventing a serious crash - i thought they just kept dog poo off your legs, shoes and downtube.

    Good thing no serious injuries (besides your middle finger). You're gonna need the full use of that right middle finger occasionally if you spend much time on the bike on public roadways.

    My thought is you should get the other cyclist to pay for replacement of your damaged property. STI shifters and tape alone will set you back $200 minimum. They should have no problem doing this since they evidently have the means to ride multi-thousand dollar cf bikes.

    They should be thankful you weren't the much more common type of vehicle on the road. The father was irresponsible for allowing his son to leave the right lane. Hopefully they both learned a valuable, lasting lesson today.

    You probably realize this now, but anytime you're involved in a collision, and there is property damage or personal injury, you should try to get law inforcement to the scene to file a report. A LE report is essential if you have to pursue compensation for the replacement of a $1-X,000 bike, or make a trip to the hospital (an ambulance ride and 3 simple x-rays cost my insurance co. $950US in 1998). Without the LE report you're probably SOL getting your due, and you could end up being the fall guy even when it wasn't your fault. Not trying to sound like a lawyer, but that is how the world works these days.

    STI shifters are well known for dying in crashes. Bar end shifters are a little more crashworthy. I think some folks switch to the bar end when they discover ultegra sti brifters are $200+ and bar ends are ~$60.

    This probably won't help you, but i ride mostly flat bar mtbs with sram grip shifters, and those things are nearly indestructible. They take crahes with nary a scratch. I recommend them wholeheartedly for flat bars. They shift very well, require no maint, are relatively inexpensive and unaffected by routine crashes. They're the perfect flatbar shifter.

  3. #3
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    All the more reason to stay off bike paths. IMO they are more dangerous than the road. They are designed by people who figure no one is going to top about 10 km/h (6 mph ... as in a running speed) ... in fact, some of the bike paths where I used to live used to have that speed limit posted on the paths. 24 mph is WAY too fast for a bicycle path.

    I'm glad no one was badly hurt.

  4. #4
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    My vote to stay off the paths also. I can't stand them- I only use them because it's the ONLY way you can get into DC by bike. If they'd let me get on the 495, I'd prefer to ride the freeway with cars than take my chances on a bike path.

    Good to hear you're ok, though. I'd make them pay for bike repairs, though.

    Koffee

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    It wouldn't be a good idea for me to ride on the right. But I come from a left hand drive country hehe.

  6. #6
    Senior Member stokell's Avatar
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    It's not the paths that are bad, it's the users. I bike on paths on my way to work when there is just the occassional jerk on roller blades flailing around taking up the entire path like some Olympic speedskater, but I stay off them on nice spring days and holidays when everyone who just dropped a bundle on a new bike and lycra (biking is so healthy!) is out there making fools of themselves.

    I also bike on rail trails and tow paths. The same goes there too. Ride early or during the week. Rain days are my favourite. Only me and other crazies are out then.

  7. #7
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    I'm with koffee and stokell... I only ride the W&OD if I'm going into DC, to the brewpub, or if the weather is bad enough to keep the average user under a roof.

    It's a good way to run into a lady with a stroller.

  8. #8
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    Years ago, in driving school, I learned that if you are faced with an impending head-on collision you ALWAYS steer to the right. Reason being that the other driver is almost 100% likely to steer to his right to avoid the collision. If you go left, you will almost certainly collide with the other guy. And anything you might hit off the road on the right is better than a head on collision.

    The same logic applies to cycling.

    If you live in the UK or Australia, you go to the left, of course.

  9. #9
    __________ seeker333's Avatar
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    I earlier thought this had occurred on a road, not a bike path, sorry for my poor reading skills.

    I agree with above posters, bike paths are no place for anyone serious about bike riding.

    In addition to their design flaws they are generally too short to be worth the trouble, and you can't safely make it more of a ride by cranking up the speed, since most riders are just puttin along. Also most of the users are very inexperienced and not highly safety concious.

    The only major bike path in my area is also open to walkers, who always walk 2-4 abreast and usually ignore bike bells, polite calls of "to your left", etc. Once on a ~20 foot wide section of this path (its actually on old roadbed), i was forced to stop and wait briefly by a single woman who was walking in the middle of the path, with two dogs on leashes. Each dog was standing on opposite shoulders of the path, with an extendable leash blocking the two ~10 foot sections of road to the right and left of the woman. IMO dog leashes should be limited by federal law to maximum length of ~ 4 feet to protect dogs from their oblivious owners.

    Find a nice rural area to ride.

  10. #10
    Papa Wheelie Sigurdd50's Avatar
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    STI shifters are well known for dying in crashes. Bar end shifters are a little more crashworthy. I think some folks switch to the bar end when they discover ultegra sti brifters are $200+ and bar ends are ~$60.
    don't I know this. I crashed a Felt last year and took out the fork and one Brifter. I think the Brifter cost me 150+ to replace (ouch)

    I now have a more tour worthy Jamis Aurora w/Bar Ends. Much less to worry about

    I use the commuter paths to get out of the city

  11. #11
    Slowpoach
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    All the more reason to stay off bike paths. IMO they are more dangerous than the road. They are designed by people who figure no one is going to top about 10 km/h (6 mph ... as in a running speed) ... in fact, some of the bike paths where I used to live used to have that speed limit posted on the paths. 24 mph is WAY too fast for a bicycle path.

    I'm glad no one was badly hurt.

    I recently bought a new touring bike (Cannondale T800, love the ride, hate the toe overlap). First few days were spent getting used to the bike, then onto the 25km commute with it. No problems on the way to work, but on the way back I thought to myself, "New bike, not yet insured, rush hour in Melbourne, world's best metro bike path network**..."

    Within TWO KILOMETERS of taking the bike path an unhelmeted, iPod-enabled and otherwise fond-in-my-memory individual zipped out onto the track directly in front of me. T-bone (fortunately not too fast), scratched (and maybe a little bent) STIs, my first grazed knee in years and my first fall from the bike in years (I can now do a good Superman impression).

    She was fine.

    I couldn't bring myself to take names and send an invoice, I settled for giving her a lecture about not wearing her helmet to an accident.

    So, commiserations about your accident, and whole-hearted agreement about the relative *frequency* (vs. potential severity) of accidents on bike paths.

    -----

    ** With apologies to all the readers in the Netherlands - but really, Melbourne is great for bikes too.

  12. #12
    Fred E Fenders fthomas's Avatar
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    The final facts

    Last night it was tough to go to sleep. My left thumb at the bottom was throbbing.
    So, off to the doctor today. Diagnosis:

    Broken Left Hand thumb.
    Broken Right Hand middle finger at the top knuckle.

    It will heal quick and no pins required. Bike is in the shop getting inspected, fixed and well. Next the racks go on and the panniers loaded. I'm going somewhere!

    Damn Lycra Clad Dad with Little Lad

    Ride to the right!

  13. #13
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    That bike path in DC is horrendous - I ended my cross country tour along it and nearly got knocked off several times by idiots tearing along on road bikes (it would have been fairly ironic though coming off on a bike path 5 miles from the end after surviving 4000 miles without incident!)

    Here in melbourne we have a plethora of bike paths, however no serious cyclists ride on them as there are just as many people pushing prams and walking on them (unlike DC)....

  14. #14
    Formerly Known as Newbie Juha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seeker333
    I agree with above posters, bike paths are no place for anyone serious about bike riding.
    That TOTALLY depends. I use paths around here all the time, and bike is my primary means of transport. I guess that makes me pretty serious about it. Our bike paths are nowhere perfect, but they have gotten better over the years. And at least they're now an integral part of city planning - not something that gets added on later if some lobby group manages to create enough bad publicity.

    Granted, if your average speed is +40 kmh, you will do better on the road. More power to you. But for commuting and running errands a reasonably planned and maintained bike path is a good choice.

    --J
    To err is human. To moo is bovine.

    Who is this General Failure anyway, and why is he reading my drive?


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  15. #15
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Tonight I rode part of the local bike paths ..... and was reminded again why I hate those things. On the ones here, you'd have a tough time reaching 24 mph. It started by running beside the road, much like a sidewalk. At every intersection there is a "gate", on both sides of the road, which you have to carefully maneuver around. Then it headed away from the road, but contained several blind corners, and sharp turns, one at the bottom of a descent ... and that one would take some skill to make at any speed because it wasn't even as gradual as a 90 degree turn, it was like a 130 degree turn, almost back the way I had just come. It crossed roads several times, and I had the stop sign at each road, so I had to come to a complete stop and look for traffic (who weren't expecting me to suddenly pop out of nowhere onto the road). Then it became the sidewalk .... and at that point I felt really uncomfortable with the whole situation (I HATE riding on the sidewalk) and so I got onto the road and continued my ride in comfort among the traffic.

    Meanwhile, along the way I encountered a man with a very young boy (like maybe 4 yrs old) - both on bicycles. The boy insisted on "racing" me when I tried to pass them, and in the process was weaving all over the whole path so I couldn't pass him. I ended up riding really slowly and letting them go ahead of me. Then there was the woman with the dog, who when I called out "On your left" ran toward me (the dog did, not the woman). Then there was the girl on rollerblades ... she was pretty good and kept to her side of the path, but I've encountered some in the past who have been all over the path. Then there were the families wandering all over the place, and kids running here and there, as I passed through a portion of a small park. And the guy walking on the sidewalk part near the end who moved over about 2 inches when I called out "On your left".

    I don't know what the trails are like in all parts of the world, but I've ridden bits of them in various places in Canada and in Australia and they are the same in both places ... full of people walking, jogging, rollerblading, and cycling at a snail's pace. They've got children and dogs running all over them. Elderly people stand in groups in the middle of the path (often right behind blind corners) to discuss the kind of vegetation prevelent in the area. The fact that they are "two-lane" (even divided by a bright yellow line) means absolutely nothing.

  16. #16
    OnTheRoad or AtTheBeach stonecrd's Avatar
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    Paths are always a problem. I use to ride them a bit in CA and they are the favorite place for people walking their dogs. I had a bell and use to ring the heck out of it but 50% of the time people just ignored it. When you come up on people they have no idea what to do some move right some move left some split to each side of the trail. I don't know how many people have told me that I shouldn't be riding on the path even though it is clearly marked as a BIKE PATH. The worst accident I saw was a dad with a small child in one those bike seats attachments on the back coming down a hill way to fast to negotiate the turn at the bottom, he went flying off the path into a creek with his child. Luckily there was no serious injury other than the Dad being scared to death that he may have killed his daughter. I definetly prefer roads to paths.

  17. #17
    Senior Member thomson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fthomas
    <snip>
    Instead of "T Boning" the boy I straightened out and tried to shoot between them. The lad paniced, realizing he was on the wrong side and moved towards his right. I clipped his bar end and as he went down ran over his front wheel with my rear. Off into the gravel to the left I went.
    </snip>
    Sorry for your mishap but I can't help thinking shooting between two riders is rarely a successful strategy.

  18. #18
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    When approaching a blind corner on a bike path always give a shout.

  19. #19
    ROM 6:23 flipped4bikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewP
    When approaching a blind corner on a bike path always give a shout.
    I have a bell, so I start dinging away when I approach a blind corner. One day, I'm gonna have bunch of kids appear in the path screaming, "Ice Cream Man!"

  20. #20
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    To the bike-trail / W&OD haters ...

    I do a lot of road riding (randonneuring, so mostly country roads), but also a lot of bike-trail riding for fun and on daily commute. Probably about 30,000 miles of bike path riding (mostly commuting) in the last 15 years, with about 7,500 miles bike-trail commuting since the end of 2004 (daily bike commutes add up ...). During those years, I've crashed about four times, all solo crashes (e.g., too-high-speed-corner on slick wooden bridge; winter boot+fender = toe overlap; Nokian Hakkapelitta's with insufficient traction to climb out of icy ruts; sharp corner with sand the same color as sidewalk sitting on top of mud). That's not to say there haven't been some close calls, but there have been some of those on the road, too.

    I don't think the trail users around DC are quite as bad as in Machka's neck of the wood -- there are seldom clumps of people standing around blind corners discussing vegetation. But there's the usual glut of joggers who turn in front of you, children who wobble from side to side, groups of pedestrians straddling the centerline, wannabe-racers who make dangerous passes, etc. I think the key is to assume that all of that's gonna happen, ring your bell like crazy, if you can't tell that people heard you then assume they didn't and ride as though they're about to turn in front of you, say thank you to the people who indicate they heard you or move over, give kids even more space than anyone else, ring even more like crazy on any blind corner. Slow down so that we're not the wannabe-racers riding recklessly. Remember this is a hell of a lot more fun than being in a car.

    You still gotta hope to stay lucky. But mixing it up with angry, impatient DC morning drivers who are protected by two tons of steel, you only get to make one stupid mistake in front of them, or have one unlucky break when one of them doesn't notice you. The ditzy lady with her dogs on the bike path just means you have to slow down a bit, but if you do you're not likely to crash into her. And even a full, head-on crash into a fast cyclist coming the other way has got to be less damaging than two tons of steel suddenly making a turn right into you.

  21. #21
    Fred E Fenders fthomas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thomson
    Sorry for your mishap but I can't help thinking shooting between two riders is rarely a successful strategy.
    The other choice(s)

    1. Dirt Wall on Right - 3-4 feet high right next to path
    2. Brush on left - next to gravel with 10 - 15 foot drop into creek


    Split second decision:

    Shoot between them. Had the young man stayed on the wrong side instead of making the panic move to his right and me clipping his front tire - I would have slipped by.

    As it was - I didn't and ended up in the gravel in panic braking to avoid the drop into the creek. Don't mind getting wet, but the fall on to the rocks would have been a real bummer!!!

  22. #22
    Senior Member bbwolfy's Avatar
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    MY local bike trail is great and a safe way to get to town without riding traffic. The pedestrian traffic on it is terrible (they dont have to pay to use the trail and ruin the hell out of it when it is wet) they walk side by side and take up the whole trail. I see families, and other idiots, that think the trail can be ridden three abreast, two one wayand me going the other way.

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