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Have you had collisions with cars? What did you learn from them?

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Have you had collisions with cars? What did you learn from them?

Old 12-14-13, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Walter S View Post
But wouldn't you agree that you can substantially protect yourself by paying close attention and practicing safe riding habbits? If you ride a bicycle you'd better not resign yourself to thinking accidents are inevitable and you might as well not try.
One also shouldn't delude themselves that they have total control...it takes two, and you only control one party. Do you really need an internet forum to affirm safety practices?
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Old 12-14-13, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by KonAaron Snake View Post
Do you really need an internet forum to affirm safety practices?
i think the best safety comes from a frequent focus of attention on the subject and constant learning to apply general lessons in specific scenarios. I also learn by listening to other people's actual experiences. I may learn to find risk in something I didn't appreciate before.

I usually ignore forums whose subject matter doesn't seem worthwhile to me.
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Old 12-14-13, 10:13 AM
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My only collision with a car was a right hook, shortly after starting my car-free stretch. I was carrying a load of groceries, late evening on a through street in residential areas. At the time I knew only what I'd taught myself through experience so there were quite a few lessons.

First and foremost, I didn't realize that drivers could be that incompetent (even in the Atlanta area). I mean, to just zoom past someone and cut across them, already in the intersection. But they are that bad, and it's not even that uncommon, so first lesson: don't trust them to drive legally, let alone safely.

I was doing everything right, in the legal sense, yet I still got clipped so obviously there were more lessons to be gleaned. If I wanted to keep riding. I was FRAP, holding my line, I had lights, I was aware of traffic and knew he was behind me, I reacted quickly on the inside turn and almost made it, so what gives? If you were in a car and someone did this, you'd think it was a forced stop or deliberate attack, or at least an extremely aggressive move by a drunk or someone fleeing etc. But this guy thought it was funny, until the cops set him straight. So I realized that we need to recognize a completely new set of cues for driver intentions. That's the second lesson. As soon as the front bumper is beside me after an acceleration, approaching an intersection, I recognize now that he may be trying to beat me there intending a right turn. That would have been enough to avoid the whole incident.

Since the passing itself was too close, crowding me with less than a foot, I twigged to the third most important lesson: FRAP means move LEFT in a narrow lane.

I also needed to know why I couldn't avoid the clip. I almost made it clear turning inside, just clipping his front wheel or bumper at the end of the turn and flipping over the front, diagonal across the cross street. I am under no illusions that I'm a great bike handler, then or now, but I have very fast reactions and felt that the maneuver should have been possible. I was going about 16 or 17, loaded down with maybe 60-70 pounds, maybe more with a big turkey. Two pannier type bags, plus big duffles double-loaded on the rack, plus a backpack. What happened was the weight swung inside at the turn and with pendulum action back after the apex, and it was enough to throw me off track. So my lesson was, don't overload the trip no matter how tempted you are.

Finally, I had some injuries in the fall and something has to be learned about that. Avoiding an accident is important but at the end of the day not getting hurt is the highest priority. Those skills are individual and cannot be generalized to fit all. In my case, with only average coordination and balance, and average musculature, I have some skills at tumbling. Not gymnastic, but lets say experienced at high-speed. I banged my left shoulder hard, mistiming the impact badly. Why ... it was the stuffed backpack! From then on I strived to keep the backpack light, and I'm at least very aware of it otherwise. So to generalize the last lesson, the only unusual one, is do not unnecessarily encumber your body.
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Old 12-14-13, 01:57 PM
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Four years ago, I rear ended a parked car at speed.

I learned:

1) It's entirely possible for a bicycle to total a 10 year old car.
2) Homeowners insurance will cover property damage you do on your bike with only a minimal increase in premiums.
3) The Surly Crosscheck fork is bombproof. The frame is not.
4) ER nurses do not get paid enough for what they do.
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Old 12-15-13, 09:38 PM
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I have had lots of close calls, only one minor collision. I was at an intersection, right behind a car, waiting for the light to change.She popped the clutch and stopped dead and I rear-ended her. I wasn't going too fast of course, but my hand got smashed between by shifter and her trunk and split a finger open. Man did that bleed and hurt on the 45 minutes left on my commute. I learned not to follow too close.

That was nothing compared to my near misses, which were potentially fatal (cars running stop signs etc).
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Old 12-16-13, 12:01 PM
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Lesson learned: Do not be trying to beat a yellow light when there's a taxi looking to cross your path, waiting for the red to turn green, with the driver watching the lights like the tree at a drag race...
I know next to nothing. I am frequently wrong.
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Old 12-16-13, 11:55 PM
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I learned that the SF police are automatically going to be biased against me.
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Old 12-17-13, 01:38 AM
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I almost rear ended a car today because he was seemingly going slow on purpose because I was behind him (I don't know?). When I first encountered him he accelerated from the stoplight normally, but at the next stoplight (after he noticed me?) he creeped to a stop with about 1-2 car lengths between himself and the car in front of him. When the light turned green, he accelerated very slowly and stopped abruptly in the middle of the road after we made a protected left turn and cleared the intersection because the car in front of him got into the center turn lane to take another left. At this point he had plenty of room to get behind the driver in the center turn lane or continue in his own lane, but instead he just stopped in the road. Luckily I maneuvered around him with maybe 1-3 inches to spare and just kept cruising like nothing happened. What did I learn? Upgrade my brakes or ride closer to the side of cars (versus the center) that have seemed to of lost their way. And maybe to not get so close

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Old 12-17-13, 02:53 AM
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I've had 2 collisions. The first time, a BMW driver decided to make an illegal lane changing maneuver in a traffic jam, I was going quite slowly, but not slow enough to brake before the BMW was in front of me with it's side. Dented my front wheel, but otherwise I was more or less intact with no bones broken. The BMW driver was pretty scared as he understood, that it was his fault and if I were a motorcycle going a bit faster, it wouldn't have ended so well. Conclusion: BMW drivers.
The second time, I suffered a classic case of a car coming out of a drive way. I thought the lady was about to brake just before she comes out on the street. Little did I know, she decided to accelerate. Hit her front end, flew over the handlebars, rolled over her hood. Bent my front wheel pretty bad, wrecked my helmet on her windshield. Again, the driver was scared ****less, because it was completely her fault. She paid me for the front wheel. It was pretty ironic that a bike shop was a block away from where I was whacked. Conclusion: If you think they see you, they don't. If you think cars have to stop at the end of a driveway before they get out on the street, you think right, but it doesn't mean they will.
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Old 12-17-13, 01:34 PM
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I once entered a small roundabout and got behind a slow-moving car leaving the roundabout.

We both took the same exit.

The driver, apparently confused and looking for a way to move into a gas station, stopped.

I rode right into the car's rear bumper.

I bounced a bit over the handlebars and stopped myself from rolling onto the trunk — the benefit of moving slowly.

No harm done, to car or rider, or rider's bike. Rider's pride did take a hit.

I glared at the driver and yelled "You stopped!" But I knew I was really to blame. Shouldn't tailgate, even on a bicycle.

I clearly recall looking down and seeing the front wheel flatten, then bounce right back into shape.

I had no idea a wheel could do that.

I checked later, and the wheel was still true, too. Amazing.

That's been my only bike-car or car-bike collision.

One thing I've gathered from talking to other riders (and reading these posts) is that speed and downhill riding, especially in suburban or urban environments, invite trouble.

So I keep my speed well under control on downhill stretches where there are cars or incoming streets or driveways.
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Old 12-18-13, 12:26 AM
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Was in a parking lot and a ford f 150 came through the alley way as I was crossing it , they weren't paying attention , they hit me the bike and my legs went up under the front end and it drug me a couple of feet , I got up threw my bike in the dumpster and walked away .... Just road rash and bruises. I was lucky.
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Old 12-18-13, 10:50 AM
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Sucks reading all these stories.

One Saturday night earlier this year I got t-boned by a driver blatantly running a red light. To this day I'm not sure what he was thinking. I went up onto the car, broke the car's windshield with my head then got flung off the car onto the street. Total fluke, there happened to be an ambulance driving by at the time of the crash so before I could pick myself up off the pavement there were EMTs on the scene. Went to the ER and got 10 staples in my head (no helmet). Lots of road rash, fully recovered 3 weeks later.

What I learned:

1) It costs the NYPD $$ to request traffic camera footage. So while there was footage of the incident, unless I was willing to take the leap and press charges against the driver there was no way I would be able to prove anything. There were witnesses, but I wasn't in the right mindset to get their info.

2) EMTs don't get paid enough *but* hospital bills are horribly inflated opening offers. The actual cost of my ambulance ride and the staples was less than a third of what they initially claimed.

4) Renter's insurance is totally worth it. Allstate covered the damages to my bike and were pleasant to deal with. All I had to do was drop the wreckage off at my LBS the day after and to get the damage appraised. Had a check in two weeks.

5) I now wear my helmet all the time, instead of 80% of the time. In the grand scheme of safety equipment, I feel like gloves are still more likely to come into play than a helmet but you never know when someone else is going to do something stupid.
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Old 12-18-13, 05:53 PM
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I got a bee in my bonnet, literally. I ripped it off in a panic. I guess I wasn't looking ahead, and I rammed into the bumper of a parked car. I didn't hit too hard, and I wasn't hurt. The lesson: keep your cool, and look ahead. I laughed.
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Old 12-18-13, 09:12 PM
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My only car-bike crash was when I was in college, so a long time ago, probably 1973 or '74. Probably Spring, wearing shorts and a T-Shirt, hit by an old man in a Ford Country Squire (remember those?). Hit me broadside (didn't stop at the stop sign though probably did slow down). He looked to be 70 or 80 so he just didn't see me; well, until I was on his hood.

Took me right off the pavement and rolled me (and my bike!) onto the hood of the Ford, I scraped my back horribly going across the windshield wipers, but otherwise just minor road rash and no broken bones.

I've had close calls including one a couple days ago. I was riding up the road on my way home from work, coasting between cars parked along the side and cars stopped at a traffic signal. Three teenage girls were walking towards me on the sidewalk. I noticed Scion FRS starting to move out (i.e. into the right-hand turn lane, out of the traffic line), the girls screamed, probably sure I was going to get hit, but I braked hard and missed the Scion, no harm done. The girls just looked kind of stunned as I rode by. Funny stuff!

Well, it could have been tragic but since it wasn't, and because of the screaming girls, it was funny .

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Old 12-18-13, 09:31 PM
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I drive for a living, so I'm pretty up on bad moves by drivers. Never expected to get run over from behind in a bike lane. I do sit up and look back at drivers when I take the lane. I think it changes their attitude of me from obstacle to fellow commuter.
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