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Stuck on a curb

Old 11-02-14, 05:37 PM
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Stuck on a curb

I was riding today at a good clip (18-20 mph) and got too close to to the curb. I was on a paved street with a bike lane along the curb. I couldn't steer off the curb and hit a light pole right on the road edge. I managed to bail out curbside and took a hard tumble to the grass. The sweet grass. I'm okay and the bike is good. I'm curious if this has happened to anyone else. I was clipped in and it was pretty scary.
My other question is should I replace my helmet even though there is no visible damage. My head hit the ground really hard.
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Old 11-02-14, 05:51 PM
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Ouch. No I have never done that. I try to stay clear of immovable posts since I hit one when I was 10.

But in all honesty I hope you are okay. I would get a new helmet, it sounds like you hit pretty hard.

I am a little unclear how this happened. Did your bars hit the post or your body? Or your bike on the curb? Pedal? Did you just drift over and not notice. Aren't most curbs in your hood the precast concrete with a eight inch foot?
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Old 11-02-14, 06:55 PM
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I drifted to the right and got hung up on the curb. Had the right side of the bars hit the pole, I would have got launched into the traffic. I was riding my Kona Jake the Snake and it came out with some green paint off the pole on the headset. My ankle took a chainring tattoo and I'm bruised all over so I would assume I did bounce off the pole.
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Old 11-02-14, 07:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Bledfor Days View Post
I drifted to the right and got hung up on the curb. Had the right side of the bars hit the pole, I would have got launched into the traffic. I was riding my Kona Jake the Snake and it came out with some green paint off the pole on the headset. My ankle took a chainring tattoo and I'm bruised all over so I would assume I did bounce off the pole.
Good to hear you're okay. At least you and your bike got away (mostly) unscathed. +1 for the helm RIP.
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Old 11-02-14, 07:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Bledfor Days View Post
I was riding today at a good clip (18-20 mph) and got too close to to the curb. I was on a paved street with a bike lane along the curb. I couldn't steer off the curb and hit a light pole right on the road edge. I managed to bail out curbside and took a hard tumble to the grass. The sweet grass. I'm okay and the bike is good. I'm curious if this has happened to anyone else. I was clipped in and it was pretty scary.
My other question is should I replace my helmet even though there is no visible damage. My head hit the ground really hard.
Yes a new helmet, but the reason you veered into the curb is unclear, possibly time for vision enhancement?
Definitely time to see a qualified specialist or the ER
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Old 11-02-14, 07:45 PM
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Glad you're OK.

Still not really clear on exactly what happened but, in general, if the front wheel gets hung up on something it's safer to attempt a controlled stop rather than try to correct course. Of course there are probably exceptions to this but, worst case scenario, it results in a slower collision rather than a faster one, which is usually the better outcome of the two.

Also, some helmet manufacturers offer a discount on a replacement helmet in the event of a collision. It can be difficult to see cracks in the foam and if you went down hard you probably did crack it somewhere.
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Old 11-02-14, 07:46 PM
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Originally Posted by ursle View Post
Yes a new helmet, but the reason you veered into the curb is unclear, possibly time for vision enhancement?
Definitely time to see a qualified specialist or the ER
I think the drift may have been caused by the curbs being at a camber away from the road toward the edge to help drainage.

Based on local knowledge and wild presumptions

Edit: typo due to autocorrect on phone.

Last edited by joeyduck; 11-02-14 at 08:28 PM.
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Old 11-02-14, 08:24 PM
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Originally Posted by joeyduck View Post
I think the drift may have been caused by the curbs bring at a camber away from the road toward the edge to help drainage.

Based on local knowledge and wild presumptions
Thinking rest and a consultation with a professional just to be certain, hits to the head are problematic, not to be anything but helpful.

Highlighting the word, either it's correct and improperly translated or it's problematic, err, a recent head impact.

Last edited by ursle; 11-02-14 at 08:29 PM.
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Old 11-02-14, 08:30 PM
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Originally Posted by ursle View Post
Thinking rest and a consultation with a professional just to be certain, hits to the head are problematic, not to be anything but helpful.
That was an autocorrect typo and failure to proof the final draft. It supposed to have been being not bring.

I also am not the OP.
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Old 11-02-14, 09:17 PM
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It's easy to forget that we don't "balance" bicycles, we steer to keep the bicycle under us as we begin a fall to either side. As such we need room to maneuver. Most reasonably skilled riders can ride a bike within a 1" wide lane as long as they don't get distracted.

But lie isn't that simple. For example, people tend to steer where they look, so a bit of sight seeing can move you over to one side or an other, as can a reaction to a cross-wind gust, in instinctive move away from a passing car.

In the event that our body swings across the line of the curb, we will not be able to bring the bike back under and will do a sprawl. It's 100% unavoidable if we let the CoG move too far over, so it's important to stay aware of curbs, trolley tracks, or uneven sections of concrete road decks.

One sad irony is that when people find themselves too close to the curb or a similar hazard they focus on the issue instead of the way out, and end up hitting it.

I try to leave 2-3 feet between me and the curb, but can and will ride within a few inches when I have to, but maintain a loose relationship between the minimum distance and my speed. Also don't forget that when you bring the wheel within 5" or so of the curb, you're at risk of a pedal strike, which can throw you back out into traffic instead of away.

Some years ago my wife (who has depth perception issues) and I were riding at night when she mistook a painted curb for a white line painted on the road. This was at 20+ mph and fortunately she landed and rolled on well tended rock free lawn, escaping with no damage to herself or the bike.
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Old 11-02-14, 11:17 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
It's easy to forget that we don't "balance" bicycles, we steer to keep the bicycle under us as we begin a fall to either side. As such we need room to maneuver. Most reasonably skilled riders can ride a bike within a 1" wide lane as long as they don't get distracted.
My thoughts exactly. It is SUCH a helpless feeling when you get stuck in a rut (or in this case, on a curb) and you can't steer away. I learned a long time ago (when riding dirtbikes) not to look at ruts or rocks, because you tend to steer toward them.
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Old 11-03-14, 09:26 AM
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Yes to the new helmet. They're good for one hard hit. Keep an eye out for concussion symptoms.

I always ride at least 2' from the curb so this doesn't happen. I caught my pedal on the curb once about 10 years ago. Easy lesson to learn.
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Old 11-03-14, 09:58 AM
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Glad you are OK.

Look at it this way...you will NEVER do that again. One less way to eat $h!t and it didn't cost you anything but a new helmet. Cool.
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Old 11-03-14, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
It's easy to forget that we don't "balance" bicycles, we steer to keep the bicycle under us as we begin a fall to either side.
So you're saying the OP needs to put the training wheels back on?
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Old 11-04-14, 02:36 PM
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I saw it happen to a guy in bike race before and he crashed hard taking a few out with him. I'm wondering if steering into the curb would help in that situation. I know when you are in that situation it's not easy to think straight. If you don't see cracks in the helmet then it should be good.
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Old 11-04-14, 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by jfmckenna View Post
I saw it happen to a guy in bike race before and he crashed hard taking a few out with him. I'm wondering if steering into the curb would help in that situation. I know when you are in that situation it's not easy to think straight. If you don't see cracks in the helmet then it should be good.
I don't think so, unless you can climb it. If you barely brush it you maybe could recover with enough body english but steering into it I think you'll go down instantly.
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Old 11-04-14, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by jfmckenna View Post
I saw it happen to a guy in bike race before and he crashed hard taking a few out with him. I'm wondering if steering into the curb would help in that situation. ...
The physics of bicycle handling is the body (center of gravity) goes first and the bicycle must follow. Once the CoG is out beyond the curb line, the ONLY possible solution is to bunny hop the bike up onto the curb. This is possible, though difficult, if planned and impossible as a reaction once the front wheel is already up against the curb.

It's basically the same accident we see in races where riders are overlapped an the forward rider moves across and makes contact with th front wheel of the rear bike.
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Old 11-04-14, 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
The physics of bicycle handling is the body (center of gravity) goes first and the bicycle must follow. Once the CoG is out beyond the curb line, the ONLY possible solution is to bunny hop the bike up onto the curb. This is possible, though difficult, if planned and impossible as a reaction once the front wheel is already up against the curb.

It's basically the same accident we see in races where riders are overlapped an the forward rider moves across and makes contact with th front wheel of the rear bike.
Yeah that's why I suggested that actually. If you do crash drills, which we do every year on grass, you reenact the front wheel over lap and the only way out of it is to counter steer into the wheel in front of you. It's not intuitive at all but it works. Curbs are probably different IDK. Hopping would most certainly be the best option.
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Old 11-04-14, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by jfmckenna View Post
Yeah that's why I suggested that actually. If you do crash drills, which we do every year on grass, you reenact the front wheel over lap and the only way out of it is to counter steer into the wheel in front of you. It's not intuitive at all but it works. Curbs are probably different IDK. Hopping would most certainly be the best option.
I'm a big believer in crash practice along with various other bike handling skill building. This was SOP with clubs years ago, but rarely discussed these days. (Maybe crash drills aren't done anymore for fear of lawsuit).

Anyway, you can escape the wheel trap by steering into the rider, because it's possible to push him over a bit to get the necessary room to correct the fall. Unfortunately curbs won't move, no matter how hard you try.
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Old 11-04-14, 08:01 PM
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I was cycling up what looked like a smooth transition onto a driveway to get past a garbage truck that was blocking the street up ahead. The dip in the street was full of dry leaves and completely hid the dip. I rolled up on a steep angle and got tossed onto the driveway pretty hard. Perhaps the worst elbow owie I ever had. Took a month for the skin to fill in.

I took these photos months later when the leaves were cleared away so you can plainly see the trap I fell into. I was down so fast I don't even remember the fall. In the saddle one second, rolling on the ground the next. Bike was fine.

YUP...been there, done that.




I'm a big believer in crash practice...
Wouldn't have helped one bit. And I get plenty enough practice without looking for extra crashes, controlled or otherwise.
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Old 11-05-14, 07:04 AM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
I'm a big believer in crash practice along with various other bike handling skill building. This was SOP with clubs years ago, but rarely discussed these days. (Maybe crash drills aren't done anymore for fear of lawsuit).

Anyway, you can escape the wheel trap by steering into the rider, because it's possible to push him over a bit to get the necessary room to correct the fall. Unfortunately curbs won't move, no matter how hard you try.
My team and the local University team do it every year. Probably should be done a few times a year but aat least once is good. I agree it's a real good thing to do. It's also fun too.
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Old 11-07-14, 07:21 AM
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Don't hug the curb and you'll decrease your odds of crashes and replacing helmets.
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Old 11-07-14, 11:00 AM
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I was on a narrow bike lane and went off the drop from the paved surface into the concrete gutter section. I was up against the curb in an instant. I was on the way home from a 30 mile trail ride and think my being fatigued might have contributed to a lack of attention. I was stiff for a couple of days and have a new chainring tattoo. I'm going to be in Portland this weekend and will get a new helmet. No sales tax!
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Old 11-07-14, 09:21 PM
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replace the helmet. if you have any possibility of concussion, get medical evaluation NOW. Even that won't eliminate the possibility but examination should catch more significant levels of concussion.
Bike lanes are for cars, not cyclists. They instill a false confidence and move you over to where you can be forced easily OFF the road. You ride amidst the debris, the stormdrains, the broken glass. If FORCED to ride bike lanes by local law, ride the stripe. Or immediately to its side. You are safer there and will force drivers to adjust to you, rather than the reverse.
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Old 11-08-14, 10:50 AM
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There is a reason why all new (within the past 25 or so years) curbs along bikeways in northern Europe are 'mountable' which usually means a flat 30 degree angle instead of the vertical or near vertical used in the U.S. Much safer.

From years racing bicycles, motocross, and enduro's I can attest to the value of learning to look where you want to go and avoid looking where you don't want to go. As said above, you will go where you look.
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