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Old 03-29-09, 12:47 PM   #1
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If a tree falls on a cyclist...

Would it make a sound?
Came too close to answering that question today. After 4 days of almost constant rain, the Sun came out and wind came up behind as the front causing all our bad weather passed. As my riding pal & I headed to our regular Sunday AM group ride, we were climbing up a short hill, with me about 50 yds. ahead. There are woods on either side of the road there, and I could hear the wind blowing hard through the trees. As I came near the crest of the hill, I began to hear a sound on the left side of the road, like branches as they fall from wind or ice, looked around quickly, but didn't see anything. Car approaching from the other direction, so I gave it some attention. Next thing I hear CRRRACCKKK!...glance back and see a tree falling across the road, barely missing the back of the Honda that's just passed, and perhaps 20 feet in front of my buddy. The tree was not huge, and upon examination had obviously been dead for some time, rotting, and very wet from all the rain we've had. Still, it would have put some serious hurt on any of us had we gotten hit! A few more cars came along, and collectively we moved the debris to the side of the road as best we could, and continued on our way.
Guess I should go out and buy a Powerball ticket...
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Old 03-29-09, 12:50 PM   #2
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Oh great.............another thing to worry about.
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Old 03-29-09, 01:05 PM   #3
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Definately your day to purchase a lottery ticket...

Glad nobody was injured.
May you live long, live strong, and live happy!
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Old 03-29-09, 01:08 PM   #4
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Did a ride in 2006 with high winds the night before and at 6 am- the ride was the first along the trails. Never realised how heavy a tree trunk could be- or how difficult it is to climb over one with all its branches still on.

Funny thing is that I don't get many trees on our normal MTB rides- but the wind does knock a few riders over.

And just about centre of the pic- You can see what happens to any bush that dares to get higher than 6ft.

Edit--I tried to get a blow up of the bush But it has gone too blurred. But just to let you know- It is growing at about a 45 degree angle away from the prevailing wind
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File Type: jpg Downs view.JPG (38.8 KB, 32 views)
File Type: jpg windswept.jpg (9.9 KB, 27 views)
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Old 03-29-09, 01:19 PM   #5
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That kind of tree/limb is called a "widow-maker" for a good reason.
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Old 03-29-09, 01:34 PM   #6
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A few years ago a young woman here in town went out for an early morning jog and didn't return. The weather was fine and the family began looking for her frantically. Nearby, with no warning and with no obvious cause, a huge oak tree had fallen over. While cutting up the tree, they found the jogger. It was the most obvious case of wrong place, wrong time I have ever hear of.
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Old 03-29-09, 01:38 PM   #7
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I spent two years at school in the Adirondaks, mostly out in the woods. Widow-makers were always a primary concern, even during a gentle breeze. To this day I still check any tree I pass for hung-up debris that could potentialy come down. On really windy days I just stay away from the woods as there will be dead trees and debris waiting to come down until the end of time.

We had a situation two years ago where a massive tree fell across the road during morning rush hour under similar weather conditions . It crushed a passing car killing a middle aged woman on her way to work.

The odds of getting hit by a tree or tree limb are infinatley minute, but caution and common sence should still be used...especially on windy days.
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Old 03-29-09, 02:27 PM   #8
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We just had an Aristocrat pear tree cut down in our front yard. Wasn't a hazard to cyclists but many varieties of ornamental pear trees are notorious for blowing over. This tree had previously had two main branches cabled together because of a splitting fork and the odds of its blowing onto our roof were a lot higher than acceptable if we had let it be.
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Old 03-29-09, 05:55 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by maddmaxx View Post

Oh great.............another thing to worry about.'s still the squirrels. They just changed their tactics.
Hey, I'm just this know?
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Old 03-29-09, 07:02 PM   #10
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That brings up a pet peeve of mine. A tree falling in the forest makes a sound whether anyone is listening or not. To a physicist or engineer, sound is a series of waves of compression and ratification of a media like air. Sound occurs at frequencies that can be heard by humans (audio) and other frequencies that can't be heard like ultrasound.

There, I feel better.

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Old 03-29-09, 09:08 PM   #11
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Strange but true category. Tree(really big) fell on a moving car in Green County, PA killing driver. So now you know the results of such a happening.
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Old 03-30-09, 09:46 AM   #12
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Probably not so uncommon, but who's keeping statistics?

A few years ago my wife and I were hiking in northern New Hampshire, and when we had just reached tree-line a HUGE storm with wind and rain came along out of nowhere. We scampered back down the trail to the tune of shrieking wind, cracking branches and roaring water, fording 4 foot deep cascades that had been gentle trickles on the way up. We made it back to the inn we were staying at and spent the rest of the day warming up and drying out. The next day we checked the newspaper for reports of accidents. (Undoubtedly there were thousands of hikers and campers in the region.) It turned out that, yes, two people had been killed by the storm we had escaped, in two different nearby towns. In both cases they were sitting out the storm in their cars in their driveways at home when they were crushed by falling trees.

Just last year a woman who lived down the street from us was killed in her back yard by a branch that fell when a sudden windstorm came along. (I remember the incident mainly because my wife had known the lady years before.) She was 84 years old and had been working in her garden.

Now, you can be sure that if a tree fell on a cyclist the media would make it a cycling-is-dangerous story. Whereas when a tree falls on a gardener nobody takes it as an object lesson in the hazards of gardening.
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