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Tell me why I shouldn't be scared of dying on the road ...

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Tell me why I shouldn't be scared of dying on the road ...

Old 08-02-19, 02:11 AM
  #26  
Dave Mayer
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Fear, like all human emotions, is a useful evolutionary adaptation to help us replicate as much DNA as possible.

Fear is good. When I go out on a ride I assume the mindset of hunted prey with zero road rights and no entitlement. 50 years on the road: never been hit by a car! Although I assume my number is going to come up on tomorrow's ride.

Been hit by other cyclists and pedestrians, which as a group are generally less responsible and predictable than motorists.
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Old 08-02-19, 02:47 AM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by einstruzende View Post
I was a pretty serious cyclist from 2003 through 2010, and ended up switching to running for years. Trying to go back to cycling, but I find I am now convinced I'm going to be hit by a car and killed.

I know, statistics probably say better chance of getting hit by lightning or something, but it's always there, and it is almost paralyzing my motivation.

Anyone go through this? I did have one cycling acquaintance die on the road back in 2009, I think that has something to do with it. He seemed invincible.
I think we all go through this at one time or another. Recall the member that gave up cycling due to his cycling accident paranoia. Fact is, you're much more likely to be hit and killed by a motorist as a pedestrian than while cycling. For the record, I've been hit 3 times including once in a head-on with an SUV. I got up dusted myself off none the worst for wear. Just wish my bikes were as fortunate.
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Old 08-02-19, 02:57 AM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by Fahrenheit531 View Post
Change your mindset. You're not "in traffic." You are traffic. Act accordingly, and the cars around you will tend to do the same.
this!

Use a mirror, practice defensive driving riding.
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Old 08-02-19, 04:08 AM
  #29  
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Are you not worried about getting killed when you get behind the wheel and go flying down the highway at 70 mph surrounded by people doing the same while drunk and/or distracted by things like phones?

Last edited by indyfabz; 08-02-19 at 05:37 AM.
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Old 08-02-19, 04:28 AM
  #30  
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If you're afraid of being killed riding a bike on the road:
A- Don't ride on the road.
B- Don't ride a bike.
C- Or heed the good info and advice given above, put on your big-boy pants, and get over it.
I think them's yer options.

Last edited by Brocephus; 08-02-19 at 05:40 AM.
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Old 08-02-19, 04:40 AM
  #31  
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Tell me why I shouldn't be scared of dying on the road ...
Originally Posted by einstruzende View Post
I was a pretty serious cyclist from 2003 through 2010, and ended up switching to running for years. Trying to go back to cycling, but I find I am now convinced I'm going to be hit by a car and killed.

I know, statistics probably say better chance of getting hit by lightning or something, but it's always there, and it is almost paralyzing my motivation.

Anyone go through this?...
Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
Here's something to consider about statistics. Motorcycles, statistics say, are very dangerous. You are (iirc) 7 times more likely to be killed in a crash if you are riding a motorcycle rather than driving a car.

But if you dig into the statistics on motorcycle crashes, you will find that a very large percentage involve alcohol and a very large percentage happen on Friday and Saturday night... and reckless driving is also usually a factor, and single vehicle crashes (ie riding off the road) are usually unreported unless an ambulance has to come.

If you set off into traffic on Tuesday morning on your Honda 250, you are still 7x more likely to get killed if you get into a crash, but your chances of that happening are really slim. If you are taking your liter crotch rocket from the second bar to the third, well...

So don't ride your bicycle on un-remodeled arteries at rush hour.

And if you are out at 1pm on a residential street on a Sunday and you can't stop thinking about getting killed, well...
Originally Posted by Brocephus View Post
If you're afraid of being killed riding a bike on the road:
A- Don't ride on the road.
B- Don't ride a bike.
C- Or heed the good info and advice given above, put on your big-boy pants, and get over it.
I think them's yer options.
FWIW, I frequently post about my safety mindset, especially after being hit by a car (six weeks in acute care and rehab hospitals, three months off work, five months off the bike).
Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
In all fairness, I don't think there's anyone who's been riding for a long time, who hasn't at some time (or many times) ridden in that zone where the only thing separating us from disaster is favorable alignment of the stars. (Note the "us" rather than "him")

We all take chances and make mistakes, but fortunately life is"organized" with plenty of forgiveness. In my experience the difference between disaster and "whew, that was close" is millimeters and microseconds, and not anything we can take credit for.
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
I try to keep safe with certain aphorisms in my head that come to mind to alert me when I encounter a situation where unseen dangers may lurk, such as ďLike a weapon, assume every stopped car is loaded, with an occupant ready to exit from either side.Ē orďDonít ride over an area (such as puddles or leaves) when you canít see the road surface"

ÖI was hit from behind by a ďdistractedĒ (? inebriated) hit and run driver on an otherwise seemingly safe and peaceful route. By good fortune, Iím alive and relatively unimpaired.

Over the past few months I have come to realize that my safety aphorisms (link), collected over the years by personal or vicarious experience, are my way of actively aligning the stars in my favor, to anticipate those unseen and otherwise unanticipated dangers.

FWIW, for my own information at least, my other aphorisms beside those above [see the link: Total of nine (9), to include:


  • #9 Jimís Law of the Road: ďNo matter how well-paved and lightly traveled the Road, a vehicle is likely to pass on the left as you encounter an obstacle on the right.ĒÖmy argument to wear a rearview mirror
    Originally Posted by Metieval View Post
    ...Use a mirror, practice defensive driving riding.

    Last edited by Jim from Boston; 08-02-19 at 06:12 AM. Reason: added quote by Metieval
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    Old 08-02-19, 05:08 AM
      #32  
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    I feel pretty comfortable riding in traffic. But, if I was fearful, I wouldn't do it. How does fear enhance your ride? At this point in life I have nothing left to prove.
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    Old 08-02-19, 06:00 AM
      #33  
    mrt2you
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    you have a valid point on the fear of being killed by a car.
    i myself have been clipped by a dumb ass in a landscaping truck towing a trailer. he thought it would be funny if he passed by me really close and get tossed around by air movement. the only problem was he forgot about the extended mirrors on the truck required to see around the trailer and i got hit by the mirror. worse yet he left the scene of the accident. thank god for several concerned motorists and a LEO that was on routine patrol almost right behind me. they helped catch the driver ASAP. i was only temporarily knocked out but held for observation overnight in the hospital. yes i had a helmet on and it might have saved my life, my head hit the curb when i went down.
    after everything got straightened out i got a fair amount of $$$ for a down payment on a house. it should have been a lot more but it was a really complicated insurance mess.
    because of this i try to make myself as visible as possible. i wear both florescent green and orange if i can. i have a bright headlight and tail lights. and try my best to ride on the roads when traffic is light.
    i do the best i can do to protect myself, after that if i get hit and die i get hit and die. at least i went out doing something i enjoy instead of dying of old age a invalid and bedridden.
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    Old 08-02-19, 06:08 AM
      #34  
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    'Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.' CREDIT: Nelson Mandela

    'be afraid. be very afraid' forget what movie that was an advertisement for

    I ride on the roads, but the last cpl years I've been exploring more alternatives
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    Old 08-02-19, 06:33 AM
      #35  
    eja_ bottecchia
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    Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
    'Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.' CREDIT: Nelson Mandela

    'be afraid. be very afraid' forget what movie that was an advertisement for

    I ride on the roads, but the last cpl years I've been exploring more alternatives
    The Fly, 1986 version with Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis.
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    Old 08-02-19, 06:38 AM
      #36  
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    You should be scared.

    It is dangerous.

    That fear keeps you alert and keeps you alive. It makes you hyper aware of your surroundings so you see danger developing before it happens.

    That fear is good.

    But it should be a mild fear, not a paralyzing fear. The fear shouldn't overpower your enjoyment. But a little fear....it a very healthy thing.
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    Old 08-02-19, 06:52 AM
      #37  
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    It's really remarkable we're not all dead, but maybe just maybe, riding a bicycle along the road (in the same direction as traffic) is not quite as dangerous as it looks. I always try to keep my speed up (to minimize the speed differential if hit and give the driver more time to react) and also keep pedalling so that my visibility is increased, and use only the amount of road I need. My guardian angel takes care of the rest.

    For whatever reason, it's much safer to ride in traffic than it looks, just like driving a car at 70+ is much more dangerous than it looks. Use common sense and humility, follow the rules of the road, be aware of what's going on around you, ride defensively, and react swiftly (bikes can easily out-maneuver cars and trucks). You'll be fine.

    I forgot that I was once clipped by a car 35 years ago in the rain during rush hour traffic. Broke a 75 cent spoke on my rear wheel. The reason I bring this up (in addition to full disclosure) is that getting clipped is probably at least 10 times more likely than a direct hit, if that makes you feel any safer.
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    Old 08-02-19, 06:52 AM
      #38  
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    I ride with a couple of guys that have this fear, if they do happen to have to get on a street they are a danger to themselves and others with their unpredictability. I don’t see them ever getting over this as their only change in their attitude has been for the worse as they age.
    The thing I despise most about their fear is they are perfectly willing to try and foist it on anyone that will listen. Both of them are what I call late in life cyclists, as they haven’t cycled for a long time and don’t really know much about the cycling world, except you transport your bike to a trailhead then ride.
    Sorry about the rant but it’s a sore subject with me.
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    Old 08-02-19, 06:54 AM
      #39  
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    I keep this taped on my stem as a reminder to stay frosty, just so I start with the right state of mind.

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    Old 08-02-19, 07:09 AM
      #40  
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    Originally Posted by rseeker View Post
    I keep this taped on my stem as a reminder to stay frosty, just so I start with the right state of mind.

    Staying "frosty" is pretty close to useless, when some dip**** is coming up behind you at 20 mph over the speed limit, with their eyes glued to their cell phone screen. I have people tell me all the time to "be careful out there", and I always reply that I'm only about 10% of that equation (given that the threat is primarily behind me, largely unseen, and traveling at 50-60 mph.)
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    Old 08-02-19, 07:25 AM
      #41  
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    Originally Posted by eja_ bottecchia View Post
    We are all going to die, no one gets out alive.

    Iíd much rather die on the road, while doing what I love, than to die on my bed from feeble old age.

    Just go out and ride your bike and stop worrying about the rest.
    Ive thought about this and while the idea of going out doing what you love sounds great, Ive also thought it may be horribly traumatic for a lot of others. And though I wont be here to deal with that, I would want my passing to be as peaceful/'untraumatic' as possible for my loved ones.
    It would be pretty damn traumatic to deal with a family member dying on a bike ride as that means others around them are dealing with the event and possibly motorists are swerving to not crush my fallen body. Yeah...not exactly ideal for others to cope, especially if I am hit after dying.
    A buddy who does mountain climbing once said he wants to die while climbing(doing what he loves). I didnt point out that his wish would at best leave his dead body hanging from a rope for who knows how long and at worst mean his lifeless body slams into the ground. Not exactly a graceful exit either way and hella traumatic for family.

    Pretty sure there isnt a good way to go.
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    Old 08-02-19, 07:27 AM
      #42  
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    I still have people tell me, "Be careful out there, it's a zoo," or "I'd be afraid somebody on their cell phone would kill me." Now I have a perfect comeback. "According to my cardiologist, I'd be dead now if it wasn't for all the cycling I'd been doing before my heart attack. I've lived more than two years longer, and counting, because I'm out on the bike with the traffic than if I'd let my fears keep me in the car. If I get run over on the way home, I've still had that extra time."

    Not that I'm recommending anyone else have a heart attack!
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    Old 08-02-19, 07:28 AM
      #43  
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    Originally Posted by Brocephus View Post
    Staying "frosty" is pretty close to useless, when some dip**** is coming up behind you at 20 mph over the speed limit, with their eyes glued to their cell phone screen. I have people tell me all the time to "be careful out there", and I always reply that I'm only about 10% of that equation (given that the threat is primarily behind me, largely unseen, and traveling at 50-60 mph.)
    I agree. But my part is to wake the heck up.

    Frosty is an Aliens movie quote.

    Last edited by rseeker; 08-02-19 at 09:47 AM.
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    Old 08-02-19, 07:30 AM
      #44  
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    Originally Posted by Jax Rhapsody View Post
    I've hit cars, cars have hit me. I once clipped a transit bus. I once had a car hit me while leaving a vigil for a girl who got killed on a bike, by a car. I say eff it. If I die, I die.
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    Old 08-02-19, 07:35 AM
      #45  
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    A few more pages, and this thread might begin to resemble an Alan Ginsberg poem:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howl
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    Old 08-02-19, 07:35 AM
      #46  
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    Originally Posted by Baboo View Post
    I ride with a couple of guys that have this fear, if they do happen to have to get on a street they are a danger to themselves and others with their unpredictability. I donít see them ever getting over this as their only change in their attitude has been for the worse as they age.
    The thing I despise most about their fear is they are perfectly willing to try and foist it on anyone that will listen. Both of them are what I call late in life cyclists, as they havenít cycled for a long time and donít really know much about the cycling world, except you transport your bike to a trailhead then ride.
    Sorry about the rant but itís a sore subject with me.
    Everyone from my work that I periodically ride with has this fear/concern. They all started riding a lot as adults too. Not sure if that has anything to do with the fear/concern.
    At the same time, my relatively small metro has hundreds of miles of paved trail and so there isnt much incentive for those who are afraid of riding in the road to get over the fear by riding in the road. The trails are well maintained and quiet(traffic)- there just isnt a reason to start road riding now for most.
    One guy who is obsessed with cycling and really got into it in the last year has asked me to road ride with him next week. Ill show him some fun rural paved roads with hills so he can see how challenging and open road cycling can be.
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    Old 08-02-19, 07:50 AM
      #47  
    bakerjw
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    You ought to see my afternoon commute. 1/2 mile downhill to a stop light one of the busier intersections in the area. The best scenario is if it is red and I am 3 or 4 cars behind the lead car. Once it turns red, I can maintain speed with the traffic for a couple of other lights until the road widens and there is a bike lane. FWIW the bike lane is covered with road debris.
    It is a little unnerving to be in the mix of traffic like that but unless I get some rammy driver behind me who just can't stand being behind a cyclist, all is well.

    I would say that fear is as dangerous as complacency.
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    Old 08-02-19, 08:24 AM
      #48  
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    Originally Posted by Brocephus View Post
    Staying "frosty" is pretty close to useless, when some dip**** is coming up behind you at 20 mph over the speed limit, with their eyes glued to their cell phone screen. I have people tell me all the time to "be careful out there", and I always reply that I'm only about 10% of that equation given that the threat is primarily behind me, largely unseen, and traveling at 50-60 mph.)
    Are we talking about the First World nations or Afghanistan? 🤔
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    Old 08-02-19, 08:31 AM
      #49  
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    This sounds like an anxiety disorder in which case therapy is recommended. Cycling is likely the most benign activity ever invented.
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    Old 08-02-19, 08:37 AM
      #50  
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    Originally Posted by KraneXL View Post
    Are we talking about the First World nations or Afghanistan? ��
    You're obviously being sarcastic here, but you still kinda lost me. When we're cycling on the road, the on-coming traffic, that's at least a full lane away from us, isn't the threat that the traffic behind us is. The traffic we're riding with, that is of most risk to us, is coming up from behind us, and is moving very quickly and is basically unseen, and that's what I was referring to. (and even the relatively few riders that use those tiny helmet mirrors, generally aren't going to have enough warning time to veer off into the ditch, to avoid a vehicle that swerves into their rear wheel).
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