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After the Big Hit...safety and getting back on the bike

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After the Big Hit...safety and getting back on the bike

Old 12-23-23, 08:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm
Neither of you are making a great case for this taking the lane stuff. You both agree it can work, but, clearly neither of you do it? What's up with that? FWIW, from the p.o.v of someone that has never been hit, 'the lane' belongs to the motor vehicles. At best, cyclists are Resident Aliens in the traffic stream. Don't overstay your Visa, in other words. Use 'the lane' only when necessary.

I'm not understanding how being in the traffic lane protects you from a left turner. If you are over in the right gutter, you have additional microseconds of reaction time before contact, and so does the left turner. This is besides the fact that a cyclist is a traffic impediment on just about any road except a 'sharrow' marked for mixed use (car/bicycle) traffic. There would be no need for sharrows if it was legal for cyclists to hold the prevailing speed of traffic flow to what an average cyclist can muster (12mph).
When necessary, is just as ambiguous as, 'as close as practicable to the right-hand side of the road'. Both are up to the judgment of the cyclist. A cyclist is legally defined as a vehicle in many jurisdictions.
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Old 12-23-23, 11:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm
Neither of you are making a great case for this taking the lane stuff. You both agree it can work, but, clearly neither of you do it? What's up with that? FWIW, from the p.o.v of someone that has never been hit, 'the lane' belongs to the motor vehicles. At best, cyclists are Resident Aliens in the traffic stream. Don't overstay your Visa, in other words. Use 'the lane' only when necessary.

I'm not understanding how being in the traffic lane protects you from a left turner. If you are over in the right gutter, you have additional microseconds of reaction time before contact, and so does the left turner. This is besides the fact that a cyclist is a traffic impediment on just about any road except a 'sharrow' marked for mixed use (car/bicycle) traffic. There would be no need for sharrows if it was legal for cyclists to hold the prevailing speed of traffic flow to what an average cyclist can muster (12mph).
I’m not sure what rules exist in the area where the OP bicycles but in our area, your statement is incorrect. On all city roads bicycles are supposed to be treated no different than motor cycles or cars and bicyclists are required to follow the very same rules as drivers.
In fact, by scooting over to the edge of the lane, you make yourself less visible to others and far more prone to be nailed by someone who may be ready to open his car door. On state highways where speed is 55 MPH, I don’t think bicycles are allowed but I still see them periodically where they tend to use the small strip of paved area between the line and gravel to the right. I personally feel that these are the most dangerous roads for a bicyclist and never use them. They are single lane roads, have twists and turns, and rolling hills. There are always some careless drivers who go faster and go over the center line around a bend. As much fun as these roads might be to ride a bike on, I avoid them and find bike paths that are similarly enjoyable and far safer.
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Old 12-23-23, 11:38 PM
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Originally Posted by NVFlinch
Main road 45 mph, two car travel lanes plus center left turn lane, painted white lines bounded bike lane (next to travel lane) for me, plus parking lane on my side only. Right angle T intersection (small 2 lane road). My speed ~ 16 mph (I have my GPS data), his speed ???, I suspect fast.
If the posted speed is 45MPH, I suspect some people are driving 50 MPH or even faster.

If I were in your situation (to be candid, I’d never be), I would find a different path/road, even if it means adding a few extra miles to the trip.
[It absolutely doesn’t matter that the car driver was negligent, drunk or blind, and your lawyer will easily convince a judge/jury, a bicyclist is always going to pay heavily in an accident with a car.]
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Old 12-24-23, 01:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Alan K
I’m not sure what rules exist in the area where the OP bicycles but in our area, your statement is incorrect. On all city roads bicycles are supposed to be treated no different than motor cycles or cars and bicyclists are required to follow the very same rules as drivers.
In fact, by scooting over to the edge of the lane, you make yourself less visible to others and far more prone to be nailed by someone who may be ready to open his car door. On state highways where speed is 55 MPH, I don’t think bicycles are allowed [[b]in NV they very well might be] but I still see them periodically where they tend to use the small strip of paved area between the line and gravel to the right. I personally feel that these are the most dangerous roads for a bicyclist and never use them. They are single lane roads, have twists and turns, and rolling hills. There are always some careless drivers who go faster and go over the center line around a bend [[b]Over the centerline, or over the fog stripe? It matters which.]. As much fun as these roads might be to ride a bike on, I avoid them and find bike paths that are similarly enjoyable and far safer.
My statement is not incorrect. Understanding that is of great importance. Bicyclists are required to follow the very same rules as drivers is the only true part of your statement. That they can cruise in the vehicle lanes at half the speed limit posted is INCORRECT. There are bike lanes for that. No bike lane? Find one. OR ride to the right of the main lane. If you insist on playing motorcycle on a road without a bike lane you aren't going to die. But you are not going to have a good time. By the third traffic light you will have had enough harrasment and you will go find a different road if you know what is good for you. The o.p. had a bike lane on the road they were on. Were they in it? Unknown. The presence of a bike lane means that, the 45mph speed limit notwithstanding, bicycles are expected on that road. I'd ride it. But there is no way I would carry 16mph into an intersection where a vehicle was standing!

There have got to be better roads than that to put your head down and hammer on. When there are traffic signals and other vehicles going about their business is when I cover my brakes and coast through and resume pedaling on the other side. OP had parked cars to their right. There is only so far to the right they could go, so absolutely no danger of not being seen by overtaking traffic. Danger from 'dooring'. Yes, a possibility, one that in close to 50 years of hard riding has never been a real issue. I've always known how to pass by cars so even if their door should swing open I can avoid it. AND it is also very possible to ride IN the vehicle lane such that if traffic wants/needs to overtake you, they can. Safely. Ride in any city where there is are vehicular cyclists and you will see them riding to the right of the traffic stream. Never IN it, except to avoid hazards directly in their line of travel.
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Old 12-24-23, 01:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Chistophe516
When necessary, is just as ambiguous as, 'as close as practicable to the right-hand side of the road'. Both are up to the judgment of the cyclist. A cyclist is legally defined as a vehicle in many jurisdictions.
Cyclists believe this right up to the point at which they are hit one day by a driver that was supposed to take their opinion on what was 'practicable'. Most cyclists also drive. I wonder if I would lose much (any) money betting that the majority of cyclists that come out badly in interactions with cars are from that small minority of cyclists that never drive.
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Old 12-24-23, 01:11 AM
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Originally Posted by JW Fas
I should clarify that my statement about being hit twice and suggesting to take the lane were not causally related (at least for me). I mentioned being hit because I have experience in overcoming the apprehension to mingle in traffic again, which was advice on the mental aspect of OP's situation.
Your clarification needs clarification ...
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Old 12-24-23, 01:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm
My statement is not incorrect. Understanding that is of great importance. Bicyclists are required to follow the very same rules as drivers is the only true part of your statement. That they can cruise in the vehicle lanes at half the speed limit posted is INCORRECT. There are bike lanes for that. No bike lane? Find one. OR ride to the right of the main lane. If you insist on playing motorcycle on a road without a bike lane you aren't going to die. But you are not going to have a good time. By the third traffic light you will have had enough harrasment and you will go find a different road if you know what is good for you. The o.p. had a bike lane on the road they were on. Were they in it? Unknown. The presence of a bike lane means that, the 45mph speed limit notwithstanding, bicycles are expected on that road. I'd ride it. But there is no way I would carry 16mph into an intersection where a vehicle was standing!

There have got to be better roads than that to put your head down and hammer on. When there are traffic signals and other vehicles going about their business is when I cover my brakes and coast through and resume pedaling on the other side. OP had parked cars to their right. There is only so far to the right they could go, so absolutely no danger of not being seen by overtaking traffic. Danger from 'dooring'. Yes, a possibility, one that in close to 50 years of hard riding has never been a real issue. I've always known how to pass by cars so even if their door should swing open I can avoid it. AND it is also very possible to ride IN the vehicle lane such that if traffic wants/needs to overtake you, they can. Safely. Ride in any city where there is are vehicular cyclists and you will see them riding to the right of the traffic stream. Never IN it, except to avoid hazards directly in their line of travel.
As I mentioned earlier, in our area, we can legally use a lane to ride our bicycle. The maximum posted limit does not mean that everyone on the road must go close to that speed. In fact, there is no minimum speed limit on our roads (except on interstate highways). I’m fairly certain that opinion will not change our laws.

As for getting nailed by a car door, you may want to search a thread about it on BF, someone recently posted about a bicyclist getting killed in such an incident.

[My simple solution: Rather than using a busy 45MPH road in heavy traffic, I would much rather find a different way where speed limit is lower and traffic is less (they often go together because car drivers aren’t interested in going very slow).]
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Old 12-24-23, 02:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Alan K
As I mentioned earlier, in our area, we can legally use a lane to ride our bicycle. The maximum posted limit does not mean that everyone on the road must go close to that speed. In fact, there is no minimum speed limit on our roads (except on interstate highways).
I heard you. It's no different here. But do you really want to be that guy (or gal) who decides, for the whole road, that "we're going to go 15mph today, because that's my top speed", when the posted limit is 35? For bonus points, wear your hair long (if male) or have tattoo's or facial piercings that mark you as a throwaway class resident. Mix, watch fur (flesh) fly. Absolutely, road selection is part of my route prep, but when the one way door to door is already 5 mi. for the most efficient route, there is a limit to how much I want to add to that on the outbound run.
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Old 12-24-23, 02:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm
I heard you. It's no different here. But do you really want to be that guy (or gal) who decides, for the whole road, that "we're going to go 15mph today, because that's my top speed", when the posted limit is 35? For bonus points, wear your hair long (if male) or have tattoo's or facial piercings that mark you as a throwaway class resident. Mix, watch fur (flesh) fly. Absolutely, road selection is part of my route prep, but when the one way door to door is already 5 mi. for the most efficient route, there is a limit to how much I want to add to that on the outbound run.
It’s a matter of personal choices, which have their predictable consequences. I value my safety and life far more than a few extra minutes/ miles.
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Old 12-24-23, 02:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm
Cyclists believe this right up to the point at which they are hit one day by a driver that was supposed to take their opinion on what was 'practicable'. Most cyclists also drive. I wonder if I would lose much (any) money betting that the majority of cyclists that come out badly in interactions with cars are from that small minority of cyclists that never drive.
If you want to ride on the road reactively, instead of proactively, that is up to you. But, That means', you will always' be in a driver's blind spot. Because, You basically are saying, every cyclist should get off the road.
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Old 12-24-23, 07:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Chistophe516
A cyclist is legally defined as a vehicle in many jurisdictions.
True enough but given that motor vehicles start around 2,500 pounds and go up from there while cyclists might average 200 pounds, the disparities between relative speed, mass, and the attentiveness of their 'pilots' put cyclists at an automatic disadvantage when they're in close proximity.

Bike lanes are a political compromise putting cyclists at a disadvantage when motor vehicle traffic and parked cars impinge upon the boundaries for safe transit. If that legal definition were universally recognized and enforced, there'd be no need for dedicated lanes for cyclists.

"Legal definition" might help your heirs in court post your demise. Motor vehicle drivers simply do not universally view cyclists as having the same rights to the right-of-way as they themselves take for granted.

Last edited by spclark; 12-24-23 at 07:54 AM.
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Old 12-24-23, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm
The o.p. had a bike lane on the road they were on. Were they in it? Unknown. The presence of a bike lane means that, the 45mph speed limit notwithstanding, bicycles are expected on that road. I'd ride it. But there is no way I would carry 16mph into an intersection where a vehicle was standing!.
To gently clarify
- The bike lane is clearly marked by thick white lines. Legally, at intersections the bike lane continues across as an "Implied bike lane", just as crosswalks do, marked or not. I was in it. I say, witnesses say, Police report says.
- The intersection was empty at the time I entered it.
- The suggestion to find another less busy route comes with the fact that those routes (mostly) are narrower, do not have bike lanes, but do have lots of parked cars. Relative danger? You decide.

I appreciate the comments though.
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Old 12-24-23, 10:57 AM
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The wife and I watched Utube vids of bike crashes last night. We would watch a crash and then determine who was at fault and how it could have been avoided. At least 90% in our opinion were the cyclist's fault. Only a few could not have been avoided at all despite the cyclists' actions or reactions. Note-these vids could have been put up by non-riders that don't like bikers and thus the percentage of cyclists at fault is skewed
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Old 12-24-23, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by spclark
True enough but given that motor vehicles start around 2,500 pounds and go up from there while cyclists might average 200 pounds, the disparities between relative speed, mass, and the attentiveness of their 'pilots' put cyclists at an automatic disadvantage when they're in close proximity.

Bike lanes are a political compromise putting cyclists at a disadvantage when motor vehicle traffic and parked cars impinge upon the boundaries for safe transit. If that legal definition were universally recognized and enforced, there'd be no need for dedicated lanes for cyclists.

"Legal definition" might help your heirs in court post your demise. Motor vehicle drivers simply do not universally view cyclists as having the same rights to the right-of-way as they themselves take for granted.
Correct, No they don't, but. ATST that they may regard cyclists' on the road, as an eyesore, an annoyance. By riding in the traffic lane(along with being well-lit and wearing hi-vis attire), visibility is increased. The only problem, after that. Is the attitude of law enforcement. Who ignore the traffic code and driver's manual. So, Does that mean I am going to ride in fear, no. Just that, as always, being aware of my surroundings.
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Old 12-24-23, 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Chistophe516
Correct, No they don't, but. ATST that they may regard cyclists' on the road, as an eyesore, an annoyance. By riding in the traffic lane(along with being well-lit and wearing hi-vis attire), visibility is increased. The only problem, after that. Is the attitude of law enforcement. Who ignore the traffic code and driver's manual. So, Does that mean I am going to ride in fear, no. Just that, as always, being aware of my surroundings.
This is new one- so far I’ve not encountered this problem in my area.

As for alway riding in fear, there is something called common sense. Not every potential danger in one’s life can be eliminated by laws. I ride on bike paths and less well travelled roads (when absolutely necessary) and gladly pay the price in terms of longer time and distance in the same vein when I avoid going through the “bad parts” of a city in my car by going around it.
In my opinion, it is foolish to expect that about 2% of population is going to succeed in “straightening” the majority to their will but then we live in an interesting times of wokeness so who knows, I may be quite wrong.
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Old 12-24-23, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Alan K
This is new one- so far I’ve not encountered this problem in my area.

As for always riding in fear, there is something called common sense. Not every potential danger in one’s life can be eliminated by laws. I ride on bike paths and less well travelled roads (when absolutely necessary) and gladly pay the price in terms of longer time and distance in the same vein when I avoid going through the “bad parts” of a city in my car by going around it.
In my opinion, it is foolish to expect that about 2% of population is going to succeed in “straightening” the majority to their will but then we live in an interesting times of wokeness so who knows, I may be quite wrong.
By riding in a driver's blind spot, it is an invitation for an accident. Riding on trails n' off-road path is something you are willing to do, I am not. Almost a decade ago. I participated in a bike ride, in city where the county government was located. The city police were involved for traffic control. I told the city police, I couldn't ride on the bike path. Not only because it was congested with other riders. I also have a balance problem that is easier to control on the road since I can be faster. They hesitated a bit, but finally agreed.
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Old 12-24-23, 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Chistophe516
By riding in a driver's blind spot, it is an invitation for an accident. Riding on trails n' off-road path is something you are willing to do, I am not. Almost a decade ago. I participated in a bike ride, in city where the county government was located. The city police were involved for traffic control. I told the city police, I couldn't ride on the bike path. Not only because it was congested with other riders. I also have a balance problem that is easier to control on the road since I can be faster. They hesitated a bit, but finally agreed.
I think you are addressing the wrong person about riding in blind spots of drivers; I do not recommend doing any such stupidity.

As for your personal choice of riding in fast in city streets with traffic and with your acknowledged balance problems, as I stated earlier, personal choices do have consequences, many of them are quite predictable.

You are correct, I’d ride with bicyclists on bike paths any day of the week (as I often do) as opposed to busy roads with cars where some drivers are in a hurry and distracted.
Good luck with your choices.
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Old 12-24-23, 05:41 PM
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Originally Posted by NVFlinch
To gently clarify
- The bike lane is clearly marked by thick white lines. Legally, at intersections the bike lane continues across as an "Implied bike lane", just as crosswalks do, marked or not. I was in it. I say, witnesses say, Police report says.
- The intersection was empty at the time I entered it.
- The suggestion to find another less busy route comes with the fact that those routes (mostly) are narrower, do not have bike lanes, but do have lots of parked cars. Relative danger? You decide.

I appreciate the comments though.
Your response sums up the way I look at this very well. We make choices. There are risks no matter what we do, whether cycling or just getting out of bed in the morning. Use a street with more traffic but a bike lane, vs little traffic with no bike lane. The best person to decide is you. And there certainly is no answer that fits all situations.

Where I live, Albuquerque New Mexico, there is a MUP that parallels a fast road (Tramway Blvd.) with two lanes in each direction and a bike lane/shoulder that is very wide on both sides. The more experienced cyclists seem to prefer to ride on the shoulder, the more causal riders prefer the MUP. I count myself as more experienced (not saying smarter), and I much prefer the shoulder of the road. Every intersection seems tricky using the MUP due to right on red or actual dedicated right turn lanes where stopping, even on a red, is not required.

More causal riders clearly feel safer being on the MUP further away from traffic. I'm not sure there is a right or wrong answer. I ride fast, and want to keep moving when I have a green light. I use a mirror to monitor traffic coming up behind, especially where the traffic crosses the bike lane to get into the right turn lane. More causal and slow riders might in fact be safer on the MUP due to their riding style. I think I am safer on the shoulder.

Fortunately, there are very few serious accidents involving cyclists that I'm aware of on this road. So, I don't think there is enough data to say which is better. Seems both approaches are working pretty well.
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Old 12-25-23, 04:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Chistophe516
If you want to ride on the road reactively, instead of proactively, that is up to you. But, That means', you will always' be in a driver's blind spot. Because, You basically are saying, every cyclist should get off the road.
Not sure why I would advocate for bicycle free roads since using a bicycle on city streets is essential to my mobility. Depending on the model of car/truck under consideration, the 'blind spot' is mainly an issue to the rear! I have heard of the A-Pillar issue with some vehicles, blocking a small amount of vision to the 30* forward sector, but a bicycle that is ahead of a trailing vehicle that is anywhere on the roadway up to several feet off the road surface (sidewalk) should be visible to an alert driver possessing the legally mandated 20/70 minimum visual acuity.
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Old 12-25-23, 05:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm
... bicycle that is ahead of a trailing vehicle that is anywhere on the roadway up to several feet off the road surface (sidewalk) should be visible to an alert driver possessing the legally mandated 20/70 minimum visual acuity.
but not all drivers are equally alert and trees, signage and shadows can obscure visibility on roads with curves and rollers

there are times I prefer to ride where I will be seen rather than where I should be seen
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Old 12-25-23, 05:50 PM
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Originally Posted by SpedFast
The wife and I watched Utube vids of bike crashes last night. We would watch a crash and then determine who was at fault and how it could have been avoided. At least 90% in our opinion were the cyclist's fault. Only a few could not have been avoided at all despite the cyclists' actions or reactions. Note-these vids could have been put up by non-riders that don't like bikers and thus the percentage of cyclists at fault is skewed
You'd be surprised at how many cyclists proudly upload crash videos from their helmet cams showing how they caused their accidents. In one memorable one, a British cyclist blithely hammered into a traffic circle at ~20mph with traffic inside the circle moving at ~25mph and when they are clobbered were clearly shocked and appalled and clearly also expect the world to agree. I'm like wtf didja's expect? I don't know about 90% but I agree that cyclists put a lot of the responsibility for their safety in traffic on passive and active high visibility enhancements rather on their actions when among the heathen.

Me and mine (tandem) have to navigate an American traffic circle in the pre-dawn dark every weekday morning. To have a fighting chance I do NOT stop at the vehicle hold that is right at the entrance to the outer lane, but blast right in at a speed that can match what is circulating in the inner ring. Occasionally some mouth-breather will give it gas to block our entry into the circle and if that happens we bail! There is no contest with even a Mini on the opposing side. We have had to abort the circle and try again only a few times in the couple of years we've been doing this route. In my state cyclists come out very badly in court judgements because blame is shared in most adjudications.

Even 10% blame in a several ten thousands dollar judgement can hurt (fatally) financially. There are very few accidents that are TOTALLY the fault of one side or the other. Understanding that and trying absolutely to make certain that an accident is not in the slightest your fault pretty much results in your never being involved in an accident at all.

Last edited by Leisesturm; 12-25-23 at 06:15 PM.
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Old 12-25-23, 06:13 PM
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Originally Posted by jon c.
but not all drivers are equally alert and trees, signage and shadows can obscure visibility on roads with curves and rollers

there are times I prefer to ride where I will be seen rather than where I should be seen
Doesn't matter. The cagers DON'T want to smack into curbside containers or parked cars, etc. so they stay in 'the lane'. Don't make a driver have to avoid you! Make yourself fit on the road so that a driver doesn't need to be alert. They may not be. But most are. Don't overthink it. It's not legal in most places to take the lane full time. You must ride out of the main flow of traffic except for object avoidance. I don't know how so many cyclists claim to be 'taking the lane'. I personally rarely see it.
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Old 12-25-23, 08:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm
Doesn't matter. The cagers DON'T want to smack into curbside containers or parked cars, etc. so they stay in 'the lane'. Don't make a driver have to avoid you! Make yourself fit on the road so that a driver doesn't need to be alert. They may not be.
That only makes sense on roads with lane wide enough to fit both a car and a cyclist. I don't ride roads like that. There are no curbside containers or parked cars. There is only the travel lane and that is not wide enough to accommodate a car and a cyclist. The driver must avoid a cyclist by going into the opposing lane.
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Old 12-26-23, 12:16 PM
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Old 12-27-23, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by JW Fas
I've been hit twice. It's normal to have flashbacks of the incident, and if they persist you might want to talk to a professional to find ways of diminishing them. As far as getting back on the bike, it's much like ripping off a bandage. Once you simply do it the bulk of the fear goes away. However, that doesn't mean you should immediately resume your normal distances, so don't fret if you need to build up incrementally. You'll likely find yourself checking your surroundings a lot more often, which is natural.

The only thing that can minimize the chances of a left/right hook is to take the lane. The fact that this van driver didn't plow into your rear means he saw you, but he completely misjudged his ability to safely overtake you and/or was too impatient to wait. No amount of lights, reflective gear, or radar devices would have changed that.
For me, I only have memories of what happened, and where. But I don't have flashbacks to the particular incident, like it causing sleepless nights. When 'taking the lane', the only time I was rear-ended. Was at a red light, in the dual-turn lane. While I was not injured from being knocked off my bike. The driver profusely apologized for turning my rear wheel into the shape of a taco. By paying for a new rear wheel.
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