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We Can Have More Control Over Road Safety

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We Can Have More Control Over Road Safety

Old 04-30-20, 12:02 PM
  #1  
flangehead
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We Can Have More Control Over Road Safety

Over in General, a few of us have been having fun with a photo scavenger hunt. The last posting was of a ghost bike, and in the course of the thread, I had posted (incidentally) a picture of a roadside memorial. I feel compelled to comment but that thread is not the place to do so. (A ghost bike is a roadside memorial to a cyclist who was killed at that place.)

Roadside memorials, like crosses and ghost bikes, are a reminder of the importance of road safety by all users.

In many things, there are limits to what we control. We can all lose family and friends at any time. Two days ago, a close friend passed away from cancer, and as I spread the word, another friend replied that he was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer a month ago. There is no vaccine for most cancers, and no "prevention" for many.

A vaccine for COVID-19 is in the future, but for now the only thing in my control is to limit my family's exposure to the extent we can.

Roadside memorials sadden me because we (all of us) could have so much more control over that cause of death, over 30,000 per year in the United States, with the much bigger tragedy being the seriously injured and permanently maimed.

Many will comment that "it's the other guy". That doesn't go far enough for me. Obviously, I shouldn't be "the other guy" (impaired, drowsy, too fast for conditions). There have been times when I have been and I was lucky and I know I will be tempted in the future. The roadside memorials help me resist temptation.

In the United States, we hand out driver's licenses at a young age. It isn't a very good vaccine to begin with, and very few people ever get a booster shot. I've taken some booster shots and I'm on the lookout for more. Some examples:

As a cyclist, I’ve taken the “Smart Cycling” class (organized by a local club) twice. And I’ll take it again in a few years because I’ll need a refresher. It keeps me thinking about how to be a safer cyclist.

For me, the Smith System is very helpful in improving my driving. https://www.drivedifferent.com/

A good series of motorcycle safety videos is at MCrider: Online Motorcycle Safety Course. I think about half his content applies to all road users, not just motorcyclists, as much of his emphasis is on road strategy. A great example video can be found at https://www.mcrider.com/mental-approa...cle-episode-7/ , which I think presents a compelling case for improving personal skills and strategies.

Look at that next roadside memorial with a bit of humility. It could be you, a family member or friend in the future. Seek out a "booster shot" to give you more control over your safety and that of the road users around you.

Last edited by flangehead; 04-30-20 at 12:47 PM. Reason: Add definition of ghost bike, fix link.
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Old 05-01-20, 12:29 AM
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Present time is not going well for disease and spread of Corona Virus.I I think it because of life style and people is chasing the wealth and they are total forget nature and health.
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Old 05-01-20, 01:52 AM
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We normally have little influence on what other's do. But we can do a lot to maximize our own safety when cycling, partly depending on where you are. For example, I sometimes ride on side walks, where there is a lot of traffic. I sometimes choose the safest route, when there is more than one option.
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Old 05-01-20, 10:59 AM
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Another way to have more control over our own safety would be to actually follow the rules of the road. I was riding on the road other other day and I was passed by another cyclist. no big deal. I let him get about 10 or 15 yards ahead of me and then I sped up to match his speed. However, I quickly fell behind when he blew through a red light and then through a stop sign. This is the type of cyclist whom, had he been hit and killed in the intersection, while blowing the red light, might have had an undeserved Ghost bike put up in his honor. In reality, had he been hit and killed, the memorial really should be for the poor person in the car who has to live with killing the cyclist, even though the cyclist would have been completely at fault and deserves no such consideration.
I, for one am so tired of all the cyclists (and I see them all the time) demanding respect on the road and then blatantly ignoring the rules everyone else has to follow just because they are too lazy to unclip...or they don't want to "hurt" their Strava averages by slowing down.
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Old 05-02-20, 11:43 AM
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Jim from Boston
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We Can Have More Control Over Road Safety
Originally Posted by flangehead View Post
...Roadside memorials, like crosses and ghost bikes, are a reminder of the importance of road safety by all users.

In many things, there are limits to what we control. We can all lose family and friends at any time...

Roadside memorials sadden me because we (all of us) could have so much more control over that cause of death, over 30,000 per year in the United States, with the much bigger tragedy being the seriously injured and permanently maimed.

Many will comment that "it's the other guy". That doesn't go far enough for me. Obviously, I shouldn't be "the other guy" (impaired, drowsy, too fast for conditions). There have been times when I have been and I was lucky and I know I will be tempted in the future. The roadside memorials help me resist temptation.

As a cyclist, I’ve taken the “Smart Cycling” class (organized by a local club) twice. And I’ll take it again in a few years because I’ll need a refresher. It keeps me thinking about how to be a safer cyclist.

For me, the Smith System is very helpful in improving my driving. https://www.drivedifferent.com/

A good series of motorcycle safety videos is at MCrider: Online Motorcycle Safety Course. I think about half his content applies to all road users, not just motorcyclists, as much of his emphasis is on road strategy. A great example video can be found at It was his fault - Our mental approach to motorcycles » MCrider , which I think presents a compelling case for improving personal skills and strategies.


Look at that next roadside memorial with a bit of humility. It could be you, a family member or friend in the future. Seek out a "booster shot" to give you more control over your safety and that of the road users around you.
Originally Posted by alo View Post
We normally have little influence on what other's do. But we can do a lot to maximize our own safety when cycling, partly depending on where you are.

For example, I sometimes ride on side walks, where there is a lot of traffic. I sometimes choose the safest route, when there is more than one option.
Originally Posted by oldgeezerjeff View Post
Another way to have more control over our own safety would be to actually follow the rules of the road. ...This is the type of cyclist whom, had he been hit and killed in the intersection, while blowing the red light, might have had an undeserved Ghost bike put up in his honor.

In reality, had he been hit and killed, the memorial really should be for the poor person in the car who has to live with killing the cyclist, even though the cyclist would have been completely at fault and deserves no such consideration.

I, for one am so tired of all the cyclists (and I see them all the time) demanding respect on the road and then blatantly ignoring the rules everyone else has to follow just because they are too lazy to unclip...or they don't want to "hurt" their Strava averages by slowing down.
I'm a decades-long, lifestyle (year-round commuter and road) cyclist, and hence goal-oriented, be it destination or mileage; and I take what the Road presents.

I have previously posted to this thread:
Originally Posted by Digger Goreman View Post
"Safety gear for your commute"

As others mentioned: heightened vigilance and expect every possible person and thing to do "the stupid"....Clothing, lighting, reflectors, horn, and maintenance... all important. :
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
On these perennial threads about cycle-commuting safety, as well as cycling safety in general I have frequently posted as a decades-long lifestyle cyclist, including year round cycle commuting. This my approach to inculcate anticipation in my cycling:
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
So often on these threads about calamities or near misses, I post about my mindset that I believe gives me that extra edge.
Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
In all fairness, I don't think there's anyone who's been riding for a long time, who hasn't at some time (or many times) ridden in that zone where the only thing separating us from disaster is favorable alignment of the stars. (Note the "us" rather than "him")

We all take chances and make mistakes, but fortunately life is"organized" with plenty of forgiveness. In my experience the difference between disaster and "whew, that was close" is millimeters and microseconds, and not anything we can take credit for...
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
I try to keep safe with certain aphorisms in my head that come to mind to alert me when I encounter a situation where unseen dangers may lurk, such as “Like a weapon, assume every stopped car is loaded, with an occupant ready to exit from either side.” or“Don’t ride over an area (such as puddles or leaves) when you can’t see the road surface"

…I was hit from behind by a “distracted” (? inebriated) hit and run driver on an otherwise seemingly safe and peaceful route. By good fortune, I’m alive and relatively unimpaired.

Over the past few months I have come to realize that my safety aphorisms (link), collected over the years by personal or vicarious experience, are my way of actively aligning the stars in my favor, to anticipate those unseen and otherwise unanticipated dangers.

FWIW, for my own information at least, my other aphorisms beside those above [see the link: Total of nine (9)]

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 05-02-20 at 12:36 PM.
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Old 05-05-20, 01:51 AM
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Custom Motorcycle Leather Racing Suits

I am a motorbike tourist. I have a BMW g650 sports bike. My personal opinion is to say that a perfect bike riding is possible with a perfect leather safety suit. I mean when you are on the road you need physical protection. And protection comes from a perfect leather safety suit. I've also used a riding suit, gloves and boots. I have got these things from Moto Speeds. That would give me complete protection on the riding.
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Old 05-05-20, 06:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Farqaleet View Post
I am a motorbike tourist. I have a BMW g650 sports bike. My personal opinion is to say that a perfect bike riding is possible with a perfect leather safety suit. I mean when you are on the road you need physical protection. And protection comes from a perfect leather safety suit. I've also used a riding suit, gloves and boots. I have got these things from Moto Speeds. That would give me complete protection on the riding.

Leather suit while riding a bicycle? Are you familiar with the phenomenon of heat exhaustion?

Also, not sure what you think leather is going to do to protect a bicyclist when he/she gets hit by a car. Stuff that makes sense on a motorcycle is often basically useless or worse on a bicycle.
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Old 05-05-20, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Farqaleet View Post
I am a motorbike tourist. I have a BMW g650 sports bike. My personal opinion is to say that a perfect bike riding is possible with a perfect leather safety suit. I mean when you are on the road you need physical protection. And protection comes from a perfect leather safety suit. I've also used a riding suit, gloves and boots. I have got these things from Moto Speeds. That would give me complete protection on the riding.
I am a knight in the 12th Century. I wear my armor when I'm riding my steed. My personal opinion is that riding a bicycle is difficult with 70lbs of armor on my body. When I'm on the road, I need protection. And protection comes in the fitting of a suit of armor. Unfortunately, I've experienced numerous pinch flats (about every 12') and therefore are unable to continue my quest. Just ask the man clicking the coconut shells behind me....
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Old 05-05-20, 09:27 AM
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Jim from Boston
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Originally Posted by pcook489 View Post
I am a knight in the 12th Century. I wear my armor when I'm riding my steed. My personal opinion is that riding a bicycle is difficult with 70lbs of armor on my body.

When I'm on the road, I need protection. And protection comes in the fitting of a suit of armor. Unfortunately, I've experienced numerous pinch flats (about every 12') and therefore are unable to continue my quest. Just ask the man clicking the coconut shells behind me....
I have previously posted:
Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
Timely commuter bicycling related contest (#670) in the current New Yorker Magazine, vote on the best caption at https://www.newyorker.com/cartoons/contest#finalists



Originally Posted by alan s View Post
On thy left doesn’t make any sense. If the armored ride said it, she already passed and it’s too late. If the other rider said it, she’s on the right.
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
This reply too, is not a submission, but an observation. It looks like the knight on the right is on a cell phone.

As a caption, how about, "If I get hit, they'll need a can opener to pry the cell phone from my cold dead fingers."
Originally Posted by Charlton Heston
You can have my gun when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers.
Originally Posted by woodcraft View Post
You're going too far with this "steel is real " thing.
Originally Posted by thumpism View Post
Not a cell phone, but holding his visor open.

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 05-05-20 at 09:36 AM.
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Old 05-06-20, 01:34 PM
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Our roads are designed for high Level Of Service (LOS) for drivers - low delay and high speeds. So long as that is the case it will remain exceptionally dangerous to ride in the U.S. The danger isn't so much the average driver but the 1-2% who pay the least attention to what they are doing because there is no reason for them to pay attention - our roads are designed and engineered to be safe for people not paying attention. Our roads are designed with wide driving lanes, wide shoulders (or in traffic engineering speak 'curb reaction distance' - for the attention impaired), wide continuous pavement, wide radius turns and many other elements that US traffic engineers believe make our roads safer for drivers who do not pay full attention.

Dutch and an increasing number of engineers across the EU believe that you cannot control drivers attention and decisions so the roads must be designed to enforce safer driving by creating imminent risk for drivers. Narrow lanes, narrow or no shoulder, hard cement curbs, tight radius turns that cause drivers to slow, no right-on-red, no left on flashing yellow arrow, pedestrian refuges at crossings with driving lanes narrowed to 8.2' curb to curb which causes drivers to slow and pay close attention lest they damage their wheels. They don't expect people riding bicycles to share the road with inattentive drivers going 50mph in 5,000lb protective steel cages so they build safe bikeways.

The result:



Practice safe cycling all you want but until US Traffic Engineers begin designing safer road systems I don't see any change in our roads being 9x as dangerous as Dutch and other EU roads.
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Old 05-08-20, 04:18 AM
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I don't like to use the word control when it comes to my interactions with motorists. Sure, I have control over a dooring situation by not riding in a door zone. I can avoid an impairment related collision by not riding impaired. Further, if I ride at night I can use lights and by day I can wear bright clothes to enhance my visibility. I can choose alternate roads to avoid a particularly bad one. But control where it comes to other moving vehicles? Nope. Influence? That's what I hope for.

I love this write up. It is short, to the point and mostly right on the money.

https://bicyclesafe.com/
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