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Winter Cycling Don't let snow and ice discourage you this winter. The key element to year-round cycling is proper attire! Check out this winter cycling forum to chat with other ice bike fanatics.

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Old 02-11-08, 02:27 PM   #1
ghettocruiser
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Snow Plow Near-Miss of the Week

http://velonews.com/article/71866

Also check the blog...with the Rearward-facing video camera footage, no less.
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Old 02-11-08, 04:28 PM   #2
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Wow! I would be done riding for that week.
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Old 02-11-08, 06:27 PM   #3
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Dang! I am sooo glad I went through everything to see this. Kudos to him for this!

I wish I had the money for two cameras!!

I cannot believe the response from the city. Well... maybe I can, but it sucks!

Go Jeff!!!
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Old 02-14-08, 11:21 AM   #4
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There's supposed to be a follow-up article in the next day or two.
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Old 02-14-08, 11:26 AM   #5
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How often do you guys ride while the snow is still falling and the plows are out? I couldn't bring myself to do such a thing. There are always single and multi car accidents around here when it snows and it isn't really that safe to be out in a car, nevermind on a bike! I'd be worried about getting hit accidently by a car or a plow.
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Old 02-14-08, 11:40 AM   #6
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I ride in the snow whenever I can. It's usually at night, and I hadn't had any trouble before or since this incident.
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Old 02-14-08, 02:24 PM   #7
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I ride in the snow whenever I can. It's usually at night, and I hadn't had any trouble before or since this incident.
So that was you? Cool video! That blade was WAY too close. The driver was dead wrong, IMO. I do get off the road for plows whenever I can--both for my safety, and also to help the plows do a cleaner job.

However, when I can't get off right away, I expect the drivers to have at least a minimum concern for my safety. A couple weeks ago the ruts were so bad I couldn't steer to the side when a phalanx of three plows was overtaking me. To their credit, all three drivers pulled up their blades and went into the next lane to overtake me. And they didn't even spray me with salt--as has happened to me in the past.

Anyway, I admire you for reporting this to Bob Mionske and following through with the supervisor and the police. I also admire your bike handling skills in the snow. You do a lot better than I do!
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Old 02-14-08, 05:21 PM   #8
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How often do you guys ride while the snow is still falling and the plows are out? I couldn't bring myself to do such a thing. There are always single and multi car accidents around here when it snows and it isn't really that safe to be out in a car, nevermind on a bike! I'd be worried about getting hit accidently by a car or a plow.
Utter disregard for personal safety.
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Old 02-14-08, 11:18 PM   #9
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How often do you guys ride while the snow is still falling and the plows are out? [...]
If I have to/want to go somewhere and it happens to be snowing, so be it.


Also Clifbar, you were really hauling ass in that vid! What kinda tires are you riding on? I'm guessing it's something fairly narrow cause that snow looked heavy to me, or was it light fluffy stuff?

Edit: After reviewing the video there doesn't seem to be as much snow as I recalled.

Last edited by JeanCoutu; 02-15-08 at 01:51 PM.
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Old 02-15-08, 07:06 AM   #10
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If I have to/want to go somewhere and it happens to be snowing, so be it.
I'm not saying you don't have a right to. I'm just saying it seems remarkably dangerous. Not that that should stop you, if you understand and accept the risks that's cool. Some folks are really in to sky diving and base jumping, nothing wrong with that.

There's no excuse for this plow driver's behavior, the risks accepted by the cyclist are never an accuse for assault with a deadly weapon (plow).
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Old 02-15-08, 10:12 AM   #11
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I'm not saying you don't have a right to. I'm just saying it seems remarkably dangerous.
What seems dangerous and what is actually dangerous don't always line up.

Most fatal vehicle crashes occur on dry roads in good visibility.
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Old 02-15-08, 10:18 AM   #12
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How often do you guys ride while the snow is still falling and the plows are out?
Whenever I have to. It's a lot safer than taking my car under these conditions. The bike has much more traction, won't block the roads, and won't be stopped by gridlock. Plus, I keep my car out of corrosive salt.

I accept that all plows will be driven at the edge of control by someone who may not have slept for a day. If there is a plow gaining on me, I bail as soon as I can, whether in a car or on a bike. Bailing is easier on a bike - that's a key reason for riding under these conditions. It's not just safety and common courtesy - if the snow is deep enough so that I can't go quite as fast as the plow, it's a good bet that I can match the speed of the plow once it passes and I am riding/driving on the cleared road. There it is - help other road users by allowing the plow top go faster, maintain safety, and have a faster and easir trip to my destination. It is inconcievable to me that someone would not do this.

Based upon the video, the plow driver was operating relatively safely. He turned out of the way and appeared to give a normal passing margin. There is always a wall of flying snow when a plow passes - that's why you always should bail. The cyclist was selfish and, in the end, likely delayed himself by failing to immediately pull over. I feel the resulting exchange of complaints was destructive to the cause of winter cycling and could encourage people to drive, rather than cycle, during a storm -- a result that would complicate snow removal and increase congestion.


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Old 02-15-08, 11:07 AM   #13
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What seems dangerous and what is actually dangerous don't always line up.

Most fatal vehicle crashes occur on dry roads in good visibility.
More miles are driven on dry roads in good visibility. Speeds are higher. Etc. The crash that won't kill a driver (slow speed slide off the road in snow, for example) could easily be fatal to a cyclist, and those crashes are MUCH more common in the snow (per mile driven, per hour, whatever) than they are in the dry.
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Old 02-15-08, 05:58 PM   #14
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How often do you guys ride while the snow is still falling and the plows are out? I couldn't bring myself to do such a thing.
Perhaps you should try it before dismissing it as being remarkably dangerous.
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Old 02-16-08, 02:18 PM   #15
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Everyone has their own safety limits, but I generally avoid moderate to high traffic roads during and directly after a snow fall because I know I can't trust drivers.

Many of them feel it's your fault if they kill you. The peep hole drivers are the scariest. You've seen the ones peeking through a soft ball size hole in the snow because obviously clearing the entire windshield would be too time consuming.

In spite of all of that though, you absolutely have a right to use the road, and it's even more unforgivable for a city employee and professional driver to threaten your life.
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Old 02-16-08, 05:50 PM   #16
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Utter disregard for personal safety.
Just like biking in general. We're all fools for riding out there. It's too dangerous. Boo! Boo!
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Old 02-18-08, 02:26 PM   #17
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I don't see it as being inordinately dangerous as long as you can keep the bike upright. If I can't keep it upright, I'll walk--but that doesn't happen very often or very long. (In my five winters of bike commuting I walked to work twice.)

My feeling is always "I'd sure hate to be driving when the weather's this bad!"
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Old 02-18-08, 10:47 PM   #18
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The crash that won't kill a driver (slow speed slide off the road in snow, for example) could easily be fatal to a cyclist
I guess I'll have to beg to differ on the likleyhood of this scenario.

Toronto has a substantial year-round cycling population and I have never heard of anything like this happening. Most cars travel pretty slow in the snow, to the point that they are generally going slower than I ride.

Perhaps things are different where you ride.
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Old 02-19-08, 07:25 AM   #19
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I guess I'll have to beg to differ on the likleyhood of this scenario.

Toronto has a substantial year-round cycling population and I have never heard of anything like this happening. Most cars travel pretty slow in the snow, to the point that they are generally going slower than I ride.

Perhaps things are different where you ride.
I'm out in a suburb/rural area. Traffic moves fairly briskly in the snow (faster than 20mph easily, faster than I can ride a bike). People end up sliding off the road on the corners, etc. I'd assume in the more urban areas it isn't so much of a problem since the traffic probably keeps speeds down.
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Old 02-19-08, 07:39 AM   #20
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Wow .... just wow.

What is it about riding a bicycle that makes even our sworn police officers ignore the law? To make matters worse, the other officials ALL feel the same. Their obvious answer = get the hell of the road with that bike!

Our answer ............ we're going to fight for our rights until you pry our collective cold, dead fingers from around our handle bars!

... Brad
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