Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Fifty Plus (50+)
Reload this Page >

Do mechanical failures cause crashes?

Fifty Plus (50+) Share the victories, challenges, successes and special concerns of bicyclists 50 and older. Especially useful for those entering or reentering bicycling.

Do mechanical failures cause crashes?

Reply

Old 06-20-11, 02:24 PM
  #1  
BikeArkansas
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
BikeArkansas's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Maumelle, AR
Posts: 1,075

Bikes: 2012 Scorpion FX trike, 2016 Catrike 700

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 93 Post(s)
Do mechanical failures cause crashes?

I know that mechanical failures do cause some crashes. I would like to find out how much of a problem mechanical failures truly are.

Sometimes I think I worry too much about mechanical failures when most crashes are caused by operator error or events outside your control. But, I am not sure.

This means there are three general causes of crashes in my view. These are mechanical failure, operator error and events outside your control. Which of these reasons cause crashes and how do they rank:1. Seldom 2. Some 3. A common cause of bicycle crashes.
BikeArkansas is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-11, 02:32 PM
  #2  
Beach Comber
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Forked River, NJ
Posts: 715

Bikes: 1973 Peugeot UE-8, 1985 Schwinn Voyageur, 2010 Trek 1.2, 2012 Bianchi Siempre

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I've never crashed due to mechanical failure. But since I don't bounce too well any more, I generally to a quick inspection of the bike prior to any ride. And I ride without headphones, always listening to noises the bike makes.

Of course, that didn't stop me from going out once with new brake pads installed backwords on an old universal centerpull setup. No crash, but boy did I look silly trying to find those pads.
Beach Comber is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-11, 02:36 PM
  #3  
RonH
Life is good
 
RonH's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Not far from the Withlacoochee Trail. 🚴🏻
Posts: 18,199

Bikes: 2001 Litespeed Tuscany, 2018 Lynskey Helix Pro

Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 509 Post(s)
I can only remember having 2 "major" crashes.
One was caused by a car pulling out in front of me. Out of my control. Ranked as seldom for me.
The other crash was caused by my front wheel getting caught in a ~1" wide crack. Operator error. Ranked as seldom for me.
RonH is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-11, 02:39 PM
  #4  
Doohickie 
You gonna eat that?
 
Doohickie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Fort Worth, Texas Church of Hopeful Uncertainty
Posts: 14,677

Bikes: 1966 Raleigh DL-1 Tourist, 1973 Schwinn Varsity, 1983 Raleigh Marathon, 1994 Nishiki Sport XRS

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 139 Post(s)
One of the more common failures that I've heard of/seen is when the crank breaks. If you're really hammering away and not in the seat, that can get ugly real fast. A friend of mine picked up some interesting "tattoos" on his shins and calves from such an incident last month; he was lucky it wasn't worse.
__________________
I stop for people / whose right of way I honor / but not for no one.


Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
Doohickie is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-11, 02:40 PM
  #5  
CraigB
Starting over
 
CraigB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Indianapolis
Posts: 4,077

Bikes: 1990 Trek 1500; 2006 Gary Fisher Marlin; 2011 Cannondale Synapse Alloy 105; 2012 Catrike Trail

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
My only crash was when I tried to bunny-hop a short curb, after years of not riding, and late in an exhausting outing. Pretty stupid on my part, an entirely preventable operator error.
CraigB is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-11, 02:46 PM
  #6  
reverborama
Broom Wagon Fodder
 
reverborama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 1,288

Bikes: Fuji Supreme; Kona Wo; Nashbar road frame custom build; Schwinn Varsity; Nishiki International; Schwinn Premis, Falcon Merckx

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 22 Post(s)
My non-scientific experience

Some crashes I know of from mechanical failure and their results:
A guy rolled a tire off in a hard turn -- minor scrapes
A fork failed on an older bike -- broken nose and a couple of days in the hospital
Broken chain -- banged nuts on the top tube/face on bars
Failed pedal bearings -- nasty gash on ankle needing stitches (seen this a couple of times)

I know of many, many, many more injuries sustained in car/bike collisions, bike/bike collisions, or single bike accidents (hitting a speed bump in the dark/striking a pedal on the curb/hitting sand in a corner/finding the gap in the trolley tracks/ etc.)
reverborama is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-11, 02:47 PM
  #7  
sauerwald
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: San Jose, CA
Posts: 1,838

Bikes: Bianchi San Remo - set up as a utility bike, Peter Mooney Road bike, Peter Mooney commute bike,Dahon Folder,Schwinn Paramount Tandem

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
I had a crash which was a combination of mechanical failure and operator error (mechanical failure caused by my own poor mechanic work . I had done some work on my bike which involved moving the brake levers on the bars. Got everything wrapped up again, and it all worked well - for a few days. Then, one day, riding home in the rain, I come to a complicated intersection, I am riding with my hands on the hoods, and the front wheel drops into a pothole - my weight moves forward onto the hoods, and the brake levers slide 1/2 inch down the bars, which clamps on the brakes, and I go over he handlebars (very exciting). Picked myself up, and made my way to the side of the road, couldn't figure out why neither wheel on the bike would turn. Bruised Ribs, Road rash on my back, bruised ego.

Only other crash that I have had was a collision with a vehicle who turned left into my path.
sauerwald is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-11, 02:49 PM
  #8  
gear
Senior Member
 
gear's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: North shore of Mass.
Posts: 2,131
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
All mine have been operator error.
gear is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-11, 03:01 PM
  #9  
Wogster
Senior Member
 
Wogster's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Toronto (again) Ontario, Canada
Posts: 6,932

Bikes: Norco Bushpilot (out of commission), Raleigh Delta

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Originally Posted by BikeArkansas View Post
I know that mechanical failures do cause some crashes. I would like to find out how much of a problem mechanical failures truly are.

Sometimes I think I worry too much about mechanical failures when most crashes are caused by operator error or events outside your control. But, I am not sure.

This means there are three general causes of crashes in my view. These are mechanical failure, operator error and events outside your control. Which of these reasons cause crashes and how do they rank:1. Seldom 2. Some 3. A common cause of bicycle crashes.
The majority of crashes are actually caused by a communication failure between multiple vehicles, resulting in them trying to occupy the same physical space at the same time. Defensive driving courses teach you to always assume that if the operator of another vehicle is given the chance to do something stupid, they always will. You can prevent most of this type of collision. Next in line is operator error. Mechanical failure is seldom the cause, and the majority of the time it is that cause, the failure is because of poor maintenance not catching something about to fail.
Wogster is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-11, 03:05 PM
  #10  
NOS88
Senior Member
 
NOS88's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Montgomery County, Pennsylvania
Posts: 6,489
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Over the course of 30+ years: I've had a crash when a chain snapped. I had another crash when the drive side rear chain stay snapped on a CF bike. I crashed once when the rear wheel had a hairline stress fracture that failed all at once on the front wheel. Finally, I crashed once when a pedal spindle snapped while climbing.
__________________
A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright
Favorite rides in the stable: Indy Fab CJ Ti - Colnago MXL - S-Works Roubaix - Habanero Team Issue - Jamis Eclipse carbon/831
NOS88 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-11, 03:16 PM
  #11  
stapfam
Time for a change.
 
stapfam's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: 6 miles inland from the coast of Sussex, in the South East of England
Posts: 19,914

Bikes: Dale MT2000. Bianchi FS920 Kona Explosif. Giant TCR C. Boreas Ignis. Pinarello Fp Uno.

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Crashes??? Mountain biking and suddenly had trees jump out into the trail- Had a few football sized rocks get in the way-Had a Cow suddenly get up in front of me when I was on a Fast downhill and I don't know if I went round it- over it or under it but it sent me off the track and into a fence post.

Plenty of incidents in the 16years of mountain biking but (Crossed fingers- 10 hail Mary's and a lot of good luck) since going road- I have not had an incident on the road. A few very narrow escapes but I am aware that cars and trucks are bigger and heavier than me and can scratch the paintwork on the bike.

Mechanicals are spotted in the bike shed or the test ride after any changes to the bike so do not occur with me. May do as I get older but none yet

And matters out of my control- If I can't control it- I don't go there.
__________________
How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


Spike Milligan
stapfam is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-11, 03:34 PM
  #12  
bemoore
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Harvest, AL
Posts: 208

Bikes: Trek 1000C, Raleigh M50

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
In about 15000 miles of cycling, I've had one mechanically induced crash. A slow tire leak that didn't reveal itself until I was making a turn to park beside my minivan.

I'd call that seldom.
bemoore is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-11, 03:36 PM
  #13  
jdon
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 4,243
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 192 Post(s)
4 crashes into mechanical objects (cars).

1 mechanical failure. At the bottom of a descent I reached down to grab a water bottle and hit a ripple in the pavement. That ripped the bar out of my other hand, turned the wheel and the side stress snapped the carbon fork. Prior to that, I always thought I could get my hands up to protect my head. That was proven incorrect.
jdon is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-21-11, 12:14 PM
  #14  
bmohan55
Senior Member
 
bmohan55's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Richmond VA
Posts: 53

Bikes: 2005 Bianchi L'una, 1996 Bianchi Eros Specilized Hard Rock 70' era Carnelli Graziella Folding commuter

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
If forgetting to unclip and falling over counts then mechanical is the #1 cause....

For me it's dogs, I've hit them twice and both times did endos...very unplesant.
bmohan55 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-21-11, 12:33 PM
  #15  
khutch
Sumerian Street Rider
 
khutch's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Suburban Chicago
Posts: 661

Bikes: Dahon Mu P8, Fuji Absolute 1.0

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 29 Post(s)
My worst crash ever was caused by ... sorry, can't remember, very bad concussion. It wasn't mechanical though, the only thing I had to fix on the bike was two rims that needed truing from going over a curb, I guess.

Ken
khutch is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-21-11, 12:38 PM
  #16  
cyclinfool
gone ride'n
 
cyclinfool's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 4,051

Bikes: Simoncini, Gary Fisher, Specialized Tarmac

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
4 crashes in 15 years - all cockpit errors.
cyclinfool is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-21-11, 12:45 PM
  #17  
Allegheny Jet 
Senior Member
 
Allegheny Jet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Medina, OH
Posts: 5,806

Bikes: confidential infromation that I don't even share with my wife

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 35 Post(s)
I have had 0 crashes due to mechanical failures. I don't count the "others".
__________________
oldschool areodynamic brick
Allegheny Jet is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-21-11, 12:59 PM
  #18  
DnvrFox
Banned.
 
DnvrFox's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 20,917
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Whenver I try to be a mechanic I am a failure. Do the resulting crashes count?

But, really, I have never had a crash from a mechanical failure. I have had some mechanical failures, but always caught them in time to prevent a crash, such as spokes getting loose and the wheel rim cracking, etc. I am very tuned in to my bicycles (as are all of you) and at the least aberration I have to find out the cause of the noise or the different feeling before I will go on.

The number one cause of crashes, IMHO, is operator error.

Last edited by DnvrFox; 06-21-11 at 01:05 PM.
DnvrFox is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-21-11, 02:05 PM
  #19  
BluesDawg
just keep riding
 
BluesDawg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Milledgeville, Georgia
Posts: 13,504

Bikes: 2018 Black Mountain Cycles MCD,2017 Advocate Cycles Seldom Seen Drop Bar, 2017 Niner Jet 9 Alloy, 2015 Zukas custom road, 2003 KHS Milano Tandem, 1986 Nishiki Cadence rigid MTB, 1980ish Fuji S-12S

Mentioned: 14 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 145 Post(s)
My worst crash was caused by a distracted driver who veered out of the lane to hit me where I was riding on the shoulder of the road. The others have been minor and caused by operator error except a couple of times I swear those trees jumped out onto the trail and attacked me!
BluesDawg is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-21-11, 02:17 PM
  #20  
freedomrider1
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: N.W.Ohio
Posts: 1,203
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 15 Post(s)
Never crashed , but on a tour last year going up a very steep hill going all of 8 mph. the guy in front of me rear tire is wobbling like crazy,iam going around him and say dude theres something wrong with your rear tire, he looks at me like what the heck are you talking about.Then i hear him yell iam falling.
freedomrider1 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-21-11, 02:30 PM
  #21  
Paul01
Senior Member
 
Paul01's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Tampa Bay, Fl
Posts: 531

Bikes: Vitus 979, KHS Montana Comp

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I've seen a an overshifted chain, jammed between the big cog and the spokes, cause a nasty fall.
Paul01 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-21-11, 02:44 PM
  #22  
gcottay
Senior Member
 
gcottay's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Green Valley AZ
Posts: 3,770

Bikes: Trice Q; Volae Century; TT 3.4

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Aside from a years-ago hit and run while I was waiting to complete a left turn, all of my crashes have been operator error and seldom.

My impression is that very few crashes have mechanics as their proximate cause and that many equipment problems are either overcome or exacerbated by an experienced ride.

This morning, running with one set of brakes in less than ideal condition (potential operator error but bleeding hydraulics is a pain) I was hauling along at 30+ MPH (another potential operator error given condition of brakes) when a car abruptly slowed ahead of my and commenced some squirrelly behavior, flailing around from right to left in the lane. I easily stopped without fuss because I hooded my brakes when seeing the car and began to stop before the brake lights even appearing. The car after a final right dart turn left to begin a U turn. If I had chosen to pass rather than stop I think the driver would have been legally responsible but I certainly would have been part of the problem.

My ranking is

1. Bike operator - seldom
2. Outside out of control - even more unusual
3. Mechanical - least seldom

That said, put me on a mountain downhill at high speed and I will be worrying about EVERYTHING until I get to the bottom of the grade where my wife who worries about NOTHING on downhills is there waiting.
gcottay is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-21-11, 07:24 PM
  #23  
BikeArkansas
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
BikeArkansas's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Maumelle, AR
Posts: 1,075

Bikes: 2012 Scorpion FX trike, 2016 Catrike 700

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 93 Post(s)
As the OP on this thread, I have had very few mechanical failures that have caused a problem. A couple times I have had a chain break, on a climb, which resulted in some shin damage, a little bleeding, but nothing serious. However, on most downhill runs I start thinking of mechanical failures. It seems a mechanical failure is actually quite uncommon. Maybe I need to get over it and enjoy the downhill runs?
BikeArkansas is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-21-11, 07:41 PM
  #24  
John_V 
Senior Member
 
John_V's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Tampa, Florida
Posts: 5,230

Bikes: 2017 Colnago C-RS, 2012 Colnago Ace, 2010 Giant Cypress hybrid

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 289 Post(s)
If forgetting to unclip and falling over counts then mechanical is the #1 cause....
That's the big one for me! Four times in one day when first using clipless pedals and learning to unclip. I finally realized that unclipping was like driving with a standard transmission, you have to clutch (unclip) before you stop. Haven't had any other issues with unclipping since. Other than that, I had one crash where I was riding with my wife and a dog was about to jump a fence and run out after us. I turned around to see where the dog was and bumped my front tire into the rear tire of my wife's recumbent trike. Split lip and chipped tooth = no fun.
__________________
HCFR Cycling Team
Ride Safe ... Ride Hard ... Ride Daily

2017 Colnago C-RS
2012 Colnago Ace
2010 Giant Cypress
John_V is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-21-11, 07:43 PM
  #25  
BHOFM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: NW Arkansas
Posts: 757

Bikes: Too many to count

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
My only thing, was a wheel that separated at the seam when most of the spokes failed at the
same time, twelve of the twenty four where broken after the fall. The rim came apart and the
tire blew out, RD was torn off. Picked up all the parts of the tail light, it still works.
BHOFM is offline  
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us Archive Advertising Cookie Policy Privacy Statement Terms of Service