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Highway riding days are over.

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Highway riding days are over.

Old 07-20-16, 09:11 AM
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Highway riding days are over.

My wife and I have been considering this for a while now, and yesterday another cyclist died in our area, hit on a rural road. He was apparently not doing anything wrong, just in the wrong place at the wrong time. It seems that all I see anymore are people driving with their cellphone in their face. So, from now forward we will be taking advantage of our many cycling trails in our area. I guess it doesn't matter your right to use the road if you are dead.
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Old 07-20-16, 09:16 AM
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I have 60,000 miles on highways and roads.

470 folks Die every year when They Fall out of bed.
So I guess you will start sleeping on the floor.

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Old 07-20-16, 09:58 AM
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Everybody's gotta make their own decisions about risks and rewards.

I wonder about the risks myself, and try to reduce them by riding on roads with decent shoulders, little traffic, and a way to bail out if necessary. I like to think the rear view mirror will give me a shot ... but who knows.
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Old 07-20-16, 09:59 AM
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I feel safer on the rural route I ride at least once a week for exercise. It's mostly a lightly used frontage road with a wide shoulder beside the main highway. There are only a couple of intersections where I need to be more cautious than usual.

I have more close calls, near misses and whoopsie moments on the MUP, and the city street bike lane route to and from the MUP.

On Tuesday alone I had three near misses to and from the MUP. All distracted and aggressive/hostile drivers. One, a lady in a van, actually rolled down her window and apologized. The two guys in pickup trucks looked right at me and gave me the impression that the only thing standing between them and my imminent trip to the morgue was their risk of some inconvenient traffic fines or jail time. But it wasn't a cycling thing. It would have been just as risky if I'd been a pedestrian, or even driving a tiny car.

I'll still ride those same areas. Most rides everything goes just fine. Seems like the drama incidents are compressed into multiple incidents on the same days, spread weeks or months apart.
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Old 07-20-16, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
I have 60,000 miles on highways and roads.

470 folks Die every year when They Fall out of bed.
So I guess you will start sleeping on the floor.



I feel the odds of me getting flattened by a texting teenager, a drunk, or a woman putting on lipstick are far greater than falling out of bed and dying.
Statistics on that?
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Old 07-20-16, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by crazyb View Post
I feel the odds of me getting flattened by a texting teenager, a drunk, or a woman putting on lipstick are far greater than falling out of bed and dying.
Statistics on that?
Across the board, cycling is about as dangerous as driving on a unit time (not unit distance) basis.

YMMV, of course, as you can control your risk by your riding and traffic skills, and not doing stupid stuff. Many of the cycling fatalities hereabouts involve people doing some pretty dangerous things (salmoning at night with no lights, for example).

But the decision is up to you. Highways constitute about half of my riding, the other half, bike paths, MUPs and the like. Frankly, I'm not sure which is more dangerous.
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Old 07-20-16, 10:36 AM
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The statistics: Pedestrian & Bicycle Information Center

Cycling on MUPs has a higher rate of injury crashes than does cycling on roads. However fatalities are lower on MUPs than on roads.

OTOH, ~30,000 people die in their cars every year in the US. ~610,000 people in the US die every year from heart disease.

I have a simple maxim: I will not live in fear.
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Old 07-20-16, 10:41 AM
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Yes, this is a tough subject but I'll continue to do as much as possible to reduce risks while riding out there on the roads and highways while knowing, in the back of my mind (usually), that it could end very badly . . . but most likely won't.


I ride for both my mental and physical health so it's very important for me to keep riding!


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Old 07-20-16, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Rick@OCRR View Post
Yes, this is a tough subject but I'll continue to do as much as possible to reduce risks while riding out there on the roads and highways while knowing, in the back of my mind (usually), that it could end very badly . . . but most likely won't.


I ride for both my mental and physical health so it's very important for me to keep riding!


Rick / OCRR


I have no intention of stopping riding my bikes, I just look at the changing dynamics of our society, and I don't see peoples cell phone usage in particular getting any better. I have logged over 30,000 highway miles over the last ten years, and have always accepted the risk. And as you do, have always tried to reduce the risk by riding smart. But when our police aren't allowed to enforce laws that are designed to help protect us, the toll will continue to go up. The state of Iowa already has double the deaths from bicycle accidents this year as all of last year. We are fortunate to have a lot of lightly used rail trails and paved bike trails, so that is where I feel we can best relax and enjoy the ride
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Old 07-20-16, 12:16 PM
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Never been an urban cyclist. In the many locations I have lived (mostly the rural side of suburbia) the secret to good cycling is low traffic roads. Here, outside Seattle, the roads that were low traffic 8 years ago now have the best non-freeway (40mph) shortcuts between the several business/commuter centers. Early Saturday and Sundays are not stressful.


I prefer a short drive to a paved trail, if I can't pick the best hours for road rides. Or a longer drive for the rural & forest roads of wonderful western WA.
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Old 07-20-16, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
The statistics: Pedestrian & Bicycle Information Center

Cycling on MUPs has a higher rate of injury crashes than does cycling on roads. However fatalities are lower on MUPs than on roads. .
Thanks! That's about what I would have expected.
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Old 07-20-16, 12:31 PM
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Some of the most memorable rides I've ever had were commuting home from work in heavy traffic.

Saturday afternoon is the worst time of the week to be on suburban roads.

Lately I've been riding at night with about 1100 lumens.

Not about to stop riding on the road. God willing I'll continue.
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Old 07-20-16, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by crazyb View Post
My wife and I have been considering this for a while now, and yesterday another cyclist died in our area, hit on a rural road. He was apparently not doing anything wrong, just in the wrong place at the wrong time. It seems that all I see anymore are people driving with their cellphone in their face. So, from now forward we will be taking advantage of our many cycling trails in our area. I guess it doesn't matter your right to use the road if you are dead.
MUPs aren't much different! My daily rides involve part MUP and part streets. I can hear the cars coming from behind me and I can see them in my mirror as well so that I can react accordingly. On a MUP, you have skateboarders, rollerbladers, kids and other people not paying attention because they have earbuds in their ear and can't hear you when you try passing them. They ride two and three abreast and don't move over and then you have the pro wannabe paceline riders who haul butt at 20+ mph and refuse to slow down for anything or anyone because it will screw up their Strava segment or KOM time. You may not get hit by a motor vehicle on a MUP but, unless you're the only one there, they are just as dangerous as a road can be.
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Old 07-20-16, 01:02 PM
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I have almost completely eliminated typical suburban and urban roads from my cycling. I'm using bike paths and quiet rural roads for 95% of my riding now. I'm fortunate that my area provides safe alternatives to crowded roads and highways.

Having said that, I would continue to ride on congested roads in absence of an alternative.
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Old 07-20-16, 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Biker395 View Post
Across the board, cycling is about as dangerous as driving on a unit time (not unit distance) basis. . . .
That is mostly my go-to argument to those who fear for my safety (or their own safety) when riding.

There isn't great consistency in statistics, there does seem to be different methodology in arriving at numbers. But I feel pretty good that it is correct that on a unit time basis, cycling and driving are pretty similar in terms of danger of death.

If, however, you eliminate cars/bikes driven/ridden by persons 14 and under, you eliminate cars/bikes driven/ridden at night, you eliminate cars/bikes driving the wrong way on a street (I don't mean eliminating bikes/cars that are hit by wrong way drivers, I mean the deaths of those in the car/on the bike going the wrong way), cars/bikes riding on sidewalks (not MUP's, but sidewalks) or in crosswalks (again, not talking about those killed by a car on a sidewalk, but those riding on a sidewalk or in a crosswalk who are killed), then I think it is pretty clear that cycling is less deadly on a unit time basis, and it is unclear which is more deadly on a unit distance basis.

The only one of those activities that I eliminated that I EVER do is ride at night, and I almost never do that. I used to be on a bike ridden by a person 14 and under, but it has been well over 40 years since I did that.

Of course, plenty of other types of driving/riding behavior has a great effect on the likelihood of death -- how likely am I do die driving versus riding if, for instance, I obey all the rules of the road, not just avoiding riding the wrong way or in sidewalks or crosswalks? I have to admit, when I hear stories about people killed where they couldn't have avoided it, where I can honestly say, "Yeah, that could have been me," it bugs me more than, say, the guy who blows the stop sign and gets squashed by the vehicle he didn't see coming, but would have seen if he had just slowed enough to make darned sure he could see what was coming and was ready to put a foot down. But there are also plenty of stories about people killed in cars where they couldn't have avoided it, where I can honestly say, "Yeah, that could have been me."

I'll never be able to have data to prove the things I really care about, so I'll just delude myself into thinking that, at least on a time basis if not a distance basis, I'm safer on the bike than I am driving the car. So far, I haven't died either way, crossing my fingers it stays that way.

Note that this discussion also ignores the health benefits of riding a bike, and so long as I don't get killed on one, riding the bike increases my odds of living longer. I have to factor that into my decision making. So I will ride on.
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Old 07-20-16, 04:00 PM
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Up until about a year ago 80% of my riding was single-track or MUP. But after a couple of accidents, which at 69 take a longer time to recover from, I got a road bike and more recently my riding is 80% on roads.

Is it more dangerous? I don't know but I certainly don't feel less safe, except when a bus nearly pushed me off the road. But that was less painful than my mtb accidents.

Accidents happen, my most serious recently required an operation to reattach my quadricep tendon after falling down stairs at home.

I am not about to stop walking down stairs, but I will take appropriate care, just like riding a bike on the road.
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Old 07-23-16, 09:17 AM
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Living in small town rural america, I have blacktop roads that are not heavy traffic... however I did get chased by a dog this morning...
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Old 07-23-16, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Floyd View Post
Living in small town rural america, I have blacktop roads that are not heavy traffic... however I did get chased by a dog this morning...
This, except east central Il. Occasionally the cars drive a little fast, but are courteous for the most part. I'm almost always acknowledged and waved to. Still have to avoid the road kill though. Lol.
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Old 07-23-16, 11:41 AM
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OP says they were "just in wrong place at the wrong time" ....for those of us destined to die an accidental death that will pretty much always be the case
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Old 07-23-16, 02:35 PM
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We are very vulnerable on the road that is for sure but a rough statistic is about 700 death a year cycling but what is tragic is half of those are children--most likely without a helmet and another third are at night or just before darkness!
After all life is dangerous but it has to be enjoyed!
Safe riding.
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Old 07-23-16, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Floyd View Post
Living in small town rural america, I have blacktop roads that are not heavy traffic... however I did get chased by a dog this morning...
Pretty much where I live. It's a slower pace, people are less frustrated and distracted. I'm blessed to live in a cycling oriented little town in a very popular resort area.
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Old 07-23-16, 08:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Floyd View Post
Living in small town rural america, I have blacktop roads that are not heavy traffic... however I did get chased by a dog this morning...
Yeah, tell that to my fractured shoulder...now titanium plated shoulder. Got knock off my bike by a "rescue" dog 3 years ago. " Rescue" means the first owners were smart enough to realize they had an uncontrollable aggressive dog.
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Old 07-23-16, 08:53 PM
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It is interesting how many people have identified that riding where/when traffic densities are low makes riding safer. (If there's no car, then there's no car that can hit you.) At the same time, we have some people posting about not riding at night as a way to enhance safety.

If you divide the day into three hour segments, the time with the fewest cycling fatalities is 3:00 AM to 6:00 AM, a time that is mostly dark. The second lowest fatality time is midnight to 3:00 AM. Obviously there are fewer people riding at these hours, so that is clearly part of what is happening. However, as a person who typically leaves for my joyrides at 3:00 AM, I can tell you that there are definitely far fewer motorists on the roadways in the dark early hours. I routinely ride 100 km before the first motorist passes me and have gone as far as 260 km before being passed. I have more issues with deer, elk, turkeys (feathered variety), bear, peafowl, bobcats and cougars (feline variety) than I do with motorists on most rides.

To be fair, the most dangerous times are 3:00 PM to midnight, which includes that other part of the darkness, the time with lots of cars and, later, lots of drunk drivers (and cyclists).

Stay sober, ride well and legally, buy good lights (I find I get passed better when I use my Dinotte 400R aimed right at an overtaking motorist's face) and the odds of being hit are so low as to be safely ignored.

Fatality Facts
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Old 07-24-16, 04:53 AM
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Cycling is far from dangerous. Cyclists have a 3-7 year longer lifespan than non-cyclists. That doesn't happen with dangerous activities.
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Old 07-24-16, 06:55 AM
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Originally Posted by crazyb View Post
1) another cyclist died in our area, hit on a rural road.
2) It seems that all I see anymore are people driving with their cellphone in their face.
3) Taking advantage of our many cycling trails in our area.
4) I guess it doesn't matter your right to use the road if you are dead.

I must add,, you won't go deaf in the quiet woods,
You won't be gulping down exhaust poisons,
You won'e even need mirrors, or a kick stand, or those spoke reflectors that throw your wheels out of balance.

But be warned,, nature can be funny,, I tell you now that I have had tree's,, Big ones,, Jump right out In front of me and then when I'm picking myself up of the forest floor I swear I hear them laughing at me
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