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Some perspectives on safety in traffic

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Some perspectives on safety in traffic

Old 11-02-23, 12:49 PM
  #26  
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Actually, my take away from the earlier anecdote wasn't: 'never ride without being lit' (in the daytime), it was: "never descend at 30mph in traffic or on open access roadways". And I do not. There have been plenty of times I have wanted to, and my Stoker (blind) has no fear of totally insane descent speeds, but there have been literally only single digit occasions in like 15 years of riding tandem where I have been on a road where I would let the speed get above 30 mph. I'm not sure we have ever been above 40. I'm totally jealous of those who claim to have seen the far side of 55!! Anything below 30 is in play though. Motor traffic routinely paces us at the 25mph 'limit' in town, on the couple of roads where I risk it. Mostly we are in the mid-teens elsewhere. But single digit and zero as needed are in frequent use.

Maybe that is why motorcycles have such an awful fatality rate, even in Europe. Thrill isn't a purely American emotion. Single track vehicles just can't handle deceleration forces (or crashes) the way automobiles can though. Bicycle fatality rates are as 'good' as they are because, truth be told, there just aren't that many of us out there on any given day! They would be much higher otherwise, it's not that we are so good. I know a couple that totaled their $12,000 Santana tandem in very much the same way as the earlier poster. Ouch. It happens with some regularity to motorcycles, bicycles and, also cars and trucks. The key difference is, when you t-bone someone with your car or truck, you aren't nearly as vulnerable, nor is your vehicle.

I am in agreement with the poster(s) arguing that visibility of cyclists is not an issue, and thus there is no need to go beyond the minimum and/or legal requirements for 'visibility' that we all (should) know. Especially in the U.S. drivers are prone to lapses of judgement or are simply aggressive to a fault. I see people pull out into flowing traffic from drive-thru's and other access points, narrowly avoiding a crash. Absolutely, they saw the 18 wheeler bearing down but they pulled out anyway. A bicycle (or motorcycle) on a downhill run absolutely would not make any difference in many drivers calculation of whether or not to pull out into their path. You really have to ride as if they won't see you. Not 'can't' see you, 'won't' see you. See the difference? They see you. But they think that you also will see them! That you will take 100% of the necessary actions to avoid a crash. What if you can't? They don't know that. Their knowledge of physics is pretty much ze BOOM, SPLAT ...

Defensive riding really must be the order of the day for a long and healthy cycling career. Nothing else you can do pays as much back for so little invested. Cover those brakes and scan as far as you can right and left as you roll through 'green' intersections. Learn to read the road and expect the boneheaded overly aggressive maneuvers from nearby road users. Keep your speeds realistic at all times. See, now you have me doing it: prescribing rules. We don't need rules. Threads like this preach to the Choir. If you have been riding, crash free, your entire adult life, you have to be doing something right. That's good enough for me. Even if I wouldn't necessarily agree, or don't do some aspect myself, your results are what matter. Ride on ...
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Old 11-02-23, 04:54 PM
  #27  
TC1
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm
Maybe that is why motorcycles have such an awful fatality rate, even in Europe. Thrill isn't a purely American emotion. Single track vehicles just can't handle deceleration forces (or crashes) the way automobiles can though. Bicycle fatality rates are as 'good' as they are because, truth be told, there just aren't that many of us out there on any given day! They would be much higher otherwise, it's not that we are so good.
There are a couple of inaccuracies in this paragraph. First off, there is almost no difference between the braking capability of a car and a motorcycle -- both can manage around 1G deceleration. It is easier to brake a car at its maximum deceleration, but despite that, the enormous majority of drivers do not do so, nor do they know how to do so -- even though it is as simple as stomping on the correct pedal, in a modern car. Drivers who have not practiced emergency stops rarely make them properly, and wind up hitting many objects their vehicle had the capability to avoid -- which is why this is one of the first exercises we teach in safe-driving classes. Obviously the same is true for (motor)cyclists -- riders who have not practiced emergency maneuvers are highly unlikely to pull them off when necessary.

Also, bicycle fatality rates would absolutely not increase with more cyclists. I cannot believe someone actually wrote that, in this forum. The only thing that has ever reduced cyclist injury and fatality rates is more cyclists, and this has been proven time and again all over the world. Infrastructure does not work, helmets do not work, helmet laws are even worse -- largely because they reduce cycling rates, and that leads to increased danger. Safety in numbers is the only strategy that does work. When cyclists are common, other road users learn how to cooperate with them, and crash rates decline. I would've expected this to be common knowledge here, since it has been proven for decades.
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Old 11-02-23, 10:59 PM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by TC1
There are a couple of inaccuracies in this paragraph. First off, there is almost no difference between the braking capability of a car and a motorcycle -- both can manage around 1G deceleration. It is easier to brake a car at its maximum deceleration, but despite that, the enormous majority of drivers do not do so, nor do they know how to do so -- even though it is as simple as stomping on the correct pedal, in a modern car. Drivers who have not practiced emergency stops rarely make them properly, and wind up hitting many objects their vehicle had the capability to avoid -- which is why this is one of the first exercises we teach in safe-driving classes. Obviously the same is true for (motor)cyclists -- riders who have not practiced emergency maneuvers are highly unlikely to pull them off when necessary.

Also, bicycle fatality rates would absolutely not increase with more cyclists. I cannot believe someone actually wrote that, in this forum. The only thing that has ever reduced cyclist injury and fatality rates is more cyclists, and this has been proven time and again all over the world. Infrastructure does not work, helmets do not work, helmet laws are even worse -- largely because they reduce cycling rates, and that leads to increased danger. Safety in numbers is the only strategy that does work. When cyclists are common, other road users learn how to cooperate with them, and crash rates decline. I would've expected this to be common knowledge here, since it has been proven for decades.
You really should try harder to read what people actually write and be less argumentative. You say that drivers and bikers alike suck at hard braking. When did I say otherwise? Which would you rather be riding when a crash is inevitable: a Chevy Malibu or a Specialized Allez? SMH. And, as I understand it, 50% of overall bike accidents are single vehicle and caused by: infrastructure/impairment/inexperience/other. More cyclists on the road would not lead to more accidents? How not? We are so far from a critical mass of cyclists in America that the only thing a 10x increase in the number of cyclists would cause is a proportional increase in the number of cycling injuries and deaths.
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Old 11-14-23, 02:01 AM
  #29  
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I used to say 'ride like you're invisible and they can't see you'...but now I say 'ride like they
CAN see you and THEY'RE TRYING TO KILL YOU!


A bit harsh, but I like it!


Our town is one of the few in nation that has more bicycles than cars. So perhaps car drivers are more used to sharing roads with bicyclists…or not. But I certainly have not witnesses car drivers trying to kill bicyclists, despite the fact of my own accident. It was almost comical, a lady hit my bicycle when she decided to make a left turn on red light, while using her phone and looking to her right to beat the oncoming traffic. Fortunately, I realized in barely time how distracted she really was and took steps to minimize the impact. My front wheel was destroyed, my right shoulder was hurt but no bones were broken. Her excuse was the usual, “I didn’t see you!” I had a bright front light, that puts about as much light as an average car headlight.

May be you are right, and she was trying to kill me - pretending to be distracted. 😉
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