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downwinded 11-04-14 08:51 PM

Nearly hit them
 
Just got back from a quick trip to the grocery in the car. Turning off of a 4-lane arterial (45 + mph) with a wide turn/lane median I had to slam on the brakes. Someone on a 29" mtn bike with no headlight, no reflectors on handlebars or pedals, dressed completely in dark clothing, streaked by the store entry in front of me. Just a slight downhill so they had a decent speed going on. Scared the bejeezus out of me. I would have really hated to hit them but, I don't know how much responsibility I would have felt.

I couldn't help but think that every driver that is "surprised" by this rider will come away with a bad feeling towards bicycles. That level of irresponsibility really ticks me off. I know this happens all the time but I just wanted to vent.

Northwestrider 11-04-14 09:02 PM

You've reason to vent, glad it turned out ok. I had my eye's opened the other day while reading that in the year 2012 , 28% of bicyclists killed were legally drunk.

TransitBiker 11-04-14 11:50 PM

Yea, i don't like unsafely behaving people - be it on or off the road.

- Andy

JBHoren 11-04-14 11:52 PM

"Almost only counts, in horseshoes and hand-grenades." (old US Army proverb)

Dave Cutter 11-05-14 01:02 AM


Originally Posted by downwinded (Post 17277519)
..... Someone on a 29" mtn bike with no headlight, no reflectors on handlebars or pedals, dressed completely in dark clothing,

And if you would have hit him.... what would you have said? You didn't see him in time? He came out of no where? He wasn't dressed appropriately (as in bright reflective clothing)?

Hey lets face it most people that buy a new bicycle take them home and rip off the reflectors and dork disc. Everyone knows/says that affordable lighting just isn't good enough to make you seen. And wearing a black hoodie... is just plain rapper-cool.

Cyclists make it difficult for motorists. People who chose to drive aren't murderers. They are merely motorists. The idea of running over a cyclist scares the crap out of almost everyone.

downwinded 11-05-14 05:55 AM


Originally Posted by Dave Cutter (Post 17277948)
And if you would have hit him.... what would you have said? You didn't see him in time? He came out of no where? He wasn't dressed appropriately (as in bright reflective clothing)?

Hey lets face it most people that buy a new bicycle take them home and rip off the reflectors and dork disc. Everyone knows/says that affordable lighting just isn't good enough to make you seen. And wearing a black hoodie... is just plain rapper-cool.

Cyclists make it difficult for motorists. People who chose to drive aren't murderers. They are merely motorists. The idea of running over a cyclist scares the crap out of almost everyone.

I would say all of the above apply. However, with tire tracks on your head, what difference would it make what the driver said? As far as the clothing goes, that's why they tell even peds to wear light colored clothing at night.

Any lighting would have been better, regardless of price. I mean I was basically sitting still on the median when I started my turn. I was only a few yards away from the bike and did not see them.

Some cyclists make it difficult for motorists. That's my gripe here.

Caliper 11-05-14 06:22 AM


Originally Posted by downwinded (Post 17277519)
Just got back from a quick trip to the grocery in the car. Turning off of a 4-lane arterial (45 + mph) with a wide turn/lane median I had to slam on the brakes. Someone on a 29" mtn bike with no headlight, no reflectors on handlebars or pedals, dressed completely in dark clothing, streaked by the store entry in front of me. Just a slight downhill so they had a decent speed going on. Scared the bejeezus out of me. I would have really hated to hit them but, I don't know how much responsibility I would have felt.

So, were they coming down the sidewalk it sounds like? Or going down the shoulder? Going the same direction as you had been on the arterial or opposite? I presume you had your turn signal on? Just trying to visualize the situation better. I've seen several of the no lights/dark clothing cyclists with a death wish in my area as well.

Dave Cutter 11-05-14 07:32 AM


Originally Posted by downwinded (Post 17278083)
...... Some cyclists make it difficult for motorists.

Yes of course we sometimes do. And that's my point. In the eyes of many cyclists you would have become one of those killer-motorist that ether just don't care... or actually HATE cyclist. And... of course that isn't true. But the use of bright clothing, lights, and reflectors is also highly over rated as well. You weren't at fault... and nether was the cyclist.

If there is a learnable lesson in your experience it should be that there are inherent dangers with cycling. Many traffic and weather conditions (darkness included) amplify the risks of cyclists. There is very little that can be done to minimize these risks.

Pointing fingers and casting blame won't stop... nor will it help in anyway ether. Car ouchies will always happen no matter what efforts are used to try to avoid them. And cyclists run-ins with cars can easily be fatal.

Not every one of life's problems has a solution.... let alone a simple easy solution.

tarwheel 11-05-14 08:03 AM

DC, you have an awfully fatalistic view of life. So, in other words, there's is nothing you can do to reduce the risk or dangers associated with cycling? Give me a break. I have been bike commuting for nearly 8 years now, over 30,000 miles, and I can count the number of close calls I have had with cars on about 3 fingers. I have no doubt that my clothing and gear choices have contributed to my safety record. My bike is equipped with 2 very bright headlights and 3 taillights. I always wear bright (usually neon) jerseys and/or jackets or vests.

Ninja cyclists who dress in black with no lights or reflective gear are asking for trouble. They are a danger to themselves and the entire cycling community.

2manybikes 11-05-14 08:27 AM

The problem with not following the rules of the road is you surprise others. That can be fatal. Lots of my rides end in the dark and the last section is sometimes an unlighted bike path, or a dark unlit road. The biggest danger on my rides, is idiots with no lights, no reflectors, black bikes, and dark clothing, going the opposite direction as fast as possible. They often rode somewhere during the day, and are now trying to get home, as fast as possible.
I have a light that will allow me to see them from a long way away. On high my light is about the same as my car on low beams. That solves the problem, for me, not for them. They typically show up on the road as salmon riders.

They look to be kids on bmx bikes almost all the time. Kids do dumb things sometimes.
Some of the adults I ride with cannot put themselves in the other rider, or other drivers position, and understand, or visualize what the other person sees. This creates lots of unsafe riding or driving.

Dave Cutter 11-05-14 09:26 AM


Originally Posted by tarwheel (Post 17278312)
DC, you have an awfully fatalistic view of life. .......
My bike is equipped with 2 very bright headlights and 3 taillights. I always wear bright (usually neon) jerseys and/or jackets or vests.

Well... THATS GREAT! And rabbits feet? Don't you ride with rabbits feet also? I am sure some people believe in the protection of lucky rabbits feet! I can't believe you've over-looked that bit of extra safety!!!! I hear... the neon orange rabbits feet bring the most safety-luck.

Call me "fatalistic" if you wish. Maybe... I've just seen enough people die that I've become accepting of something you haven't learned to accept yet.

Superstitious acts and/or symbols may make some people feel better about their odds and/or risks. I am honestly glad you've found the right combination of lucky charms that make YOU feel at ease when cycling. May you live forever... and never die.

tarwheel 11-05-14 09:33 AM

Sometimes you just have to rely on common sense. It's got nothing to do with rabbits feet. Are you seriously claiming that a cyclist wearing black clothes and no reflective gear or lights is no more at risk than someone with lights and bright clothing?

Why not just drive around in your car at night with no headlights?

Something tells me that you would also claim that helmets provide no protective benefit. Or seat belts. Or any preventative actions or gear.

keyven 11-05-14 09:41 AM

I'm surprised someone here has such a sad opinion on safety lighting/visibility aids.

Here in Singapore night-lighting is not mandatory and it's not an exaggeration to say roughly 50% of riders don't have any form of lighting on them at night. For many of the elderly and foreign workers - who arguably form a good chunk of riders - it is their only form of transport but there is literally zero effort with regard to safety.

Being surprised by a poorly-lit rider probably contributes to the negative impressions by drivers - it's not much different from angering other drivers when you drive poorly. It is probably because the country is relatively well-lit that it doesn't happen more often. Ironically the ones who do take precautions here are the younger generations and lycra-clad, imo.

cobrabyte 11-05-14 09:42 AM


Originally Posted by tarwheel (Post 17278312)
Ninja cyclists who dress in black with no lights or reflective gear are asking for trouble. They are a danger to themselves and the entire cycling community.

I'm not totally disagreeing with you but does simply riding a bike make you part of a 'cycling community' any more than walking makes you part of a 'pedestrian community'? Not everyone that rides a bike feels the weight of all other cyclists on their shoulders, nor do they concern themselves with representing a community. If someone feels strongly about this issue, maybe start an educational outreach or something? A lot of people just don't think about cycling as a responsibility. It's just a way of getting around.

Dave Cutter 11-05-14 09:44 AM


Originally Posted by tarwheel (Post 17278554)
..... Something tells me that you would also claim that helmets provide no protective benefit. Or seat belts. Or any preventative actions or gear.

Oh... you do psychic mind readings huh. Well your psychic powers aren't too reliable. I haven't driven without a seatbelt for over 30 years. And I wouldn't think of cycling without a helmet. You see... the data proves that those are real, actual methods, of reducing injuries. Unlike... some of the popular ideas that just make people feel better.

And... I do wear bright clothing (as part of my kit) too. And I use reflectors and sometimes... even a blinky in DAYLIGHT. But I realize that they don't really reduce the risks any measureable amount. I have to accept that.... because its true.

corrado33 11-05-14 09:47 AM


Originally Posted by Dave Cutter (Post 17278246)
You weren't at fault... and nether was the cyclist.

Dave, I have to disagree with you here. The cyclist would have been clearly at fault if the car had made contact in the OP. What you're saying is essentially the same as saying that if a car with no lights on that ran a red light was hit by another car, it's not either of their faults. :rolleyes: That's wrong. You have to place SOME responsibility on bikers for their own SAFETY.

This has happened to me quite a few times. I've never come close to hitting them, but I OFTEN see people riding in the pitch black with NO reflectors, NO lights, NO bright clothing. I only see them because they're generally far away, and my lights catch them before they get close to me. A few times these bikers have pulled out in front of me and every time I see them do that I comment to myself, "If they had turned a second later, I would have hit them, and it would not have been my fault."

A really good example of this is on one of the roads in my town. I live in a college town (I'm a grad student.) There is one road that runs between the class buildings and the dorms. This road has crosswalks every 50 yards maybe. It's also at the bottom of a large hill coming from the class buildings.

College students LOVE to FLY down the hill on those bikes and cross the road without looking just because they're in a crosswalk and technically have the right of way.

How are drivers supposed to predict that? If a biker comes flying down the road at 15 MPH and the driver is traveling 25 MPH in the middle of the night, would you expect the driver to see the biker before hitting them? Not to mention there are trees on both sides of the road, further limiting the view of drivers. If a biker does get hit in that situation, is it the driver's fault or the bikers'? I, as well as most other people, would say it's the biker's fault for being an idiot. Just because you CAN do something does not make it intrinsically safe to do so.

corrado33 11-05-14 09:49 AM


Originally Posted by Dave Cutter (Post 17278592)
Oh... you do psychic mind readings huh. Well your psychic powers aren't too reliable. I haven't driven without a seatbelt for over 30 years. And I wouldn't think of cycling without a helmet. You see... the data proves that those are real, actual methods, of reducing injuries. Unlike... some of the popular ideas that just make people feel better.

And... I do wear bright clothing (as part of my kit) too. And I use reflectors and sometimes... even a blinky in DAYLIGHT. But I realize that they don't really reduce the risks any measureable amount. I have to accept that.... because its true.

I'd love to see data on all of those claims. I'm not doubting you, I honestly want to see that data.

rumrunn6 11-05-14 09:58 AM

I barely saw a guy the other night due to his pedal reflectors, and yep dressed in all black. crossed in front of me on a 2 lane 40mph rd

Dave Cutter 11-05-14 10:02 AM


Originally Posted by corrado33 (Post 17278611)
Dave, I have to disagree with you here.

That's OK. No one is required to agree with me... or even the factual information ether.


Originally Posted by corrado33 (Post 17278611)
What you're saying is essentially the same as saying that if a car with no lights on that ran a red light was hit by another car, it's not either of their faults. :rolleyes: That's wrong. You have to place SOME responsibility on bikers for their own SAFETY.

No... I didn't say (or post) anything like that... you did.


Originally Posted by corrado33 (Post 17278611)
This has happened to be quite a few times. I've never come close to hitting them, but I OFTEN see people riding in the pitch black with NO reflectors, NO lights, NO bright clothing.

And... often you don't see people riding their bicycles when wearing bright clothing and using lights and reflectors. You just don't know... what you don't know. We cyclist are all but invisible at times... with all motorist... even in bright daylight. I guess if this is a forum of lawyers fault can be assigned. But NOT being at fault does not bring back the dead.

I really can't relate to this idea that some people seem to have that THEY have control over life and death situations. I have never known that to be factually correct in any but very limited conditions. Certainly such control does NOT extend to cyclists in traffic conditions.

Dave Cutter 11-05-14 10:11 AM


Originally Posted by corrado33 (Post 17278618)
I'd love to see data on all of those claims. I'm not doubting you, I honestly want to see that data.

On seat belts and bicycle helmets? What? You don't know how to do a search? I am not going to be dragged down to posting stupid links... then read peoples posts berating the links. It's silly. If you have no math skills... you're stuck with your "feelings" (and psychic powers) about what is safe or not. If you feel better with lucky rabbits feet... or what ever symbol of luck and safety you chose... good for you.

billyymc 11-05-14 10:14 AM


Originally Posted by Dave Cutter (Post 17278246)
But the use of bright clothing, lights, and reflectors is also highly over rated as well. [B]You weren't at fault... and nether was the cyclist.

Two wrong statements in a row does not make either one of them right.

Lights, reflectors and reflective clothing, and brightly colored clothing are all things that allow others to be able to see us in the dark. Can't really over rate that. If I make myself very difficult or impossible to see, I can't blame someone else for not seeing me. Just like if I ride in a stupid unpredictable manner I can't blame someone else for not knowing what I'm going to do.

In New York state the law requires a headlight, tail light, and reflectors on wheels (or reflective tires) to ride after dark.

spare_wheel 11-05-14 10:20 AM


Originally Posted by downwinded (Post 17277519)
Turning off of a 4-lane arterial (45 + mph)

High speed arterials beget human road kill. When I drive on urban roads with this type of sociopathic design I make a point of driving *slowly*.

pdlamb 11-05-14 10:22 AM


Originally Posted by Dave Cutter (Post 17278659)
And... often you don't see people riding their bicycles when wearing bright clothing and using lights and reflectors. You just don't know... what you don't know. We cyclist are all but invisible at times... with all motorist... even in bright daylight. I guess if this is a forum of lawyers fault can be assigned. But NOT being at fault does not bring back the dead.

I really can't relate to this idea that some people seem to have that THEY have control over life and death situations. I have never known that to be factually correct in any but very limited conditions. Certainly such control does NOT extend to cyclists in traffic conditions.

My experience is that people can see my lights, reflectors, and bright clothes and most drive appropriately. That means that most of those potential life and death situations turn out to be, well, not life and death situations. Not all of them, of course; there's a few idiots texting, looking at baby in the back seat, or whatever. But appropriate equipment on the part of this bicyclist reduces the potentially fatal interactions by 95-99%. The rest I have to be ready to dodge.

unterhausen 11-05-14 10:24 AM

as a motorist, I have to say that good reflective gear is amazingly effective. I saw a guy last night on the main drag (where I would never ride myself, bless him) with a blinky that wasn't visible from the rear -- only its reflection was visible. Nothing reflective on the bike at all. I was surprised to say the least. I was in the left lane and trying to figure out if there was anything I could do to help him not be hit, but then I realized it all came down to the other drivers.

corrado33 11-05-14 10:24 AM


Originally Posted by Dave Cutter (Post 17278686)
On seat belts and bicycle helmets? What? You don't know how to do a search? I am not going to be dragged down to posting stupid links... then read peoples posts berating the links. It's silly. If you have no math skills... you're stuck with your "feelings" (and psychic powers) about what is safe or not. If you feel better with lucky rabbits feet... or what ever symbol of luck and safety you chose... good for you.

I politely asked you to post facts instead of simple websites that can easily lie about anything. You're argument tactics include bullying people by making them feel dumb for "not knowing" what "should be known."

I have a degree in math, and another in science, please, feel free to doubt my math skills.


I really can't relate to this idea that some people seem to have that THEY have control over life and death situations.
You are absolutely wrong. I have control over my life and death situations, but NOT PUTTING MYSELF IN ONE. Avoiding a life and death situation is controlling it!


No... I didn't say (or post) anything like that... you did.
Let me see if I can spell this out for you.

Original post.

Turning off of a 4-lane arterial (45 + mph) with a wide turn/lane median I had to slam on the brakes. Someone on a 29" mtn bike with no headlight, no reflectors on handlebars or pedals, dressed completely in dark clothing, streaked by the store entry in front of me. Just a slight downhill so they had a decent speed going on.
What I said:

if a car with no lights on that ran a red light was hit by another car, it's not either of their faults. :rolleyes:
Car with no lights = bike with no lights or reflectors.

Running red light = riding across parking lot in the wrong direction of traffic.

I don't know how anyone couldn't see the resemblance. What I was trying to convey is that if it was a car, it'd clearly be the dark car's fault, but if it's a biker, you're saying it's not the biker's fault.

Your quote:

But the use of bright clothing, lights, and reflectors is also highly over rated as well. You weren't at fault... and nether was the cyclist.
You are also saying that lights and reflectors don't do much, or in your exact words are "also highly over rated." I bet I could find TONS of data online (the same data you're trying but refusing to quote) that say exactly opposite that.


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