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Are we "vulnerable users"?

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Are we "vulnerable users"?

Old 05-23-13, 09:27 PM
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Originally Posted by wahoonc
capable of or susceptible to being wounded or hurt, well that is a reasonable description of a bicycle rider versus a car or truck...

In many places separate infrastructure would be plus to separate bikes from heavy vehicle traffic. In many areas infrastructure hasn't been built because of the objections of vehicular cyclists claiming it wasn't necessary. Unfortunately not everybody wants to ride as a vehicular cyclist under all conditions at all times. When my children were younger and still learning the ropes of riding there was no way in hell I would take them on some of the roads that I was forced to use as a commuting cyclist due to lack of any other viable options.

I strongly believe that if mandatory re-certification of motor vehicle operators on a regular basis was required AND that there was vigorous enforcement of traffic laws, it would go a long ways towards making cycling and walking safer. Helmets are a crap shoot in my opinion. People want to mandate them as a means of controlling cyclists because they are pissed off at them. I have seen the results of several cyclist versus motor vehicle fatalities, in NONE of the cases did wearing the helmet make a damned bit of difference, the incompetency of the vehicle operators did. In a few cases the cyclist was clearly and fault and paid with their lives. In the others they were not at fault and in many cases the motorists walked away scot free with little more than a fine. And in one recent Boston case they didn't even press charges because it was an "accident".

I work in safety for a living and sometimes you have to make examples of people to get the point across. My company has a 4 strikes policy, if you get 4 write ups for the same safety violation in a year's time you are fired. We don't take it lightly, but had and issue with texting and driving. After firing two people in a week it has finally sunk in... you don't do it.

Aaron
That first part speaks to the point. The cyclist is the most vulnerable in any interaction between most other traffic. And as long as people insist that cycling can hold their own on streets designed for cars, trucks and buses then no one will be interested in any of the other suggestions you wrote about. I am a Vehicular Cyclist but then I no longer have kids at home. But I am a vehicular cyclist as much because there are not many separate cycling infrastructure in our area. Where there are separate bike lanes or better yet bike paths I use them because I can relax a bit and enjoy the ride. I believe the best thing an group can do to convince politicians to support cycling infrastructure is to stress the safety issue. You can pass laws about cell phone use all you want but I haven't seen a decrease in usage in my state since the law passed. I see cops on the cell phone plus they are typing on their computer while driving down the road. So I personally would feel safer if they built bike paths much like they have side walks even if it means changing the road surface. I don't believe pedestrians and cyclists should share the sidewalk.

I agree with you that I wouldn't send a kid on a big city street packed with cars in this country with the infrastructure we have. Nor would I suggest to anyone else that it was safe.
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Old 05-23-13, 09:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Roody
I empathize with your anger. But I think that you, like most North Americans, overestimate both the danger of riding a bike and the safety of riding in a car. I also believe that these bicycle advocacy groups play on these fears to some extent.

Ultimately, if bicycling in streets were an excessively dangerous activity, it would be logical to outlaw it. I think it's more truthful to say that both cycling and driving have similar risks. Appropriate road designs result in conditions that are safer for all users.

It's hard to be rational about risks, but well worth trying.
Not really "angry", more "assertive". But there's no 'estimation' involved -- I base my opinions/outlooks on my own EXPERIENCE. I deal with careless dumbasses regularly, and by-nature aggressive people who are ready to FIGHT if you call them out on ANY behavior. Getting decent space when being passed is becoming a bit more frequent, but still seems to be the exception. It was, IMO, a SMART move when my city passed new bike laws that allow sidewalk riding as well as street riding -- because almost NO ONE WALKS ANYWHERE! I can go MILES on sidewalks without encountering ONE person.

Appropriate road designs is a loaded phrase, since it requires accommodation of so many single-interest groups; but it IS the only way the present problems will abate. As far as rationality about risks, I've found, with these aforementioned aggressors, that assertion of my space on my part goes a long way. Others are more accommodating if I am less so...but there are limits to that. Ultimately, some 'gangsta' will decide to assert his position with a fender, and I either bail or wake up in ICU. (As long as they don't come out of the car, anyway -- I get personally confronted, blood will spill.)
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Old 05-23-13, 11:30 PM
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Originally Posted by DX-MAN
Not really "angry", more "assertive". But there's no 'estimation' involved -- I base my opinions/outlooks on my own EXPERIENCE. I deal with careless dumbasses regularly, and by-nature aggressive people who are ready to FIGHT if you call them out on ANY behavior. Getting decent space when being passed is becoming a bit more frequent, but still seems to be the exception. It was, IMO, a SMART move when my city passed new bike laws that allow sidewalk riding as well as street riding -- because almost NO ONE WALKS ANYWHERE! I can go MILES on sidewalks without encountering ONE person.

Appropriate road designs is a loaded phrase, since it requires accommodation of so many single-interest groups; but it IS the only way the present problems will abate. As far as rationality about risks, I've found, with these aforementioned aggressors, that assertion of my space on my part goes a long way. Others are more accommodating if I am less so...but there are limits to that. Ultimately, some 'gangsta' will decide to assert his position with a fender, and I either bail or wake up in ICU. (As long as they don't come out of the car, anyway -- I get personally confronted, blood will spill.)
Please keep things in perspective. You encounter hundreds if not thousands of cars per week of cycling in traffic. The vast majority of those drivers are decent, well-meaning human beings. If they weren't, none of us would survive our daily commute. If a couple of them are jerks, they're probably not singling you out for special mistreatment; they're just jerks towards everyone. And, speaking from long, hard-won experience, it's never a good idea to call out a misbehaving motorist. A dirty look usually gets the point across; if you do more, it becomes a p*ssing contest, they feel a need to save face, they have momentum on their side, you're usually not dealing with a rational person anyway, and it's just not worth the extra nonsense.

This doesn't mean you should adopt a helpless attitude in a situation involving a bully. But taking the high road will get you a lot farther than becoming a bully yourself.
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Old 05-24-13, 12:20 AM
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Originally Posted by bragi
Please keep things in perspective. You encounter hundreds if not thousands of cars per week of cycling in traffic. The vast majority of those drivers are decent, well-meaning human beings. If they weren't, none of us would survive our daily commute. If a couple of them are jerks, they're probably not singling you out for special mistreatment; they're just jerks towards everyone. And, speaking from long, hard-won experience, it's never a good idea to call out a misbehaving motorist. A dirty look usually gets the point across; if you do more, it becomes a p*ssing contest, they feel a need to save face, they have momentum on their side, you're usually not dealing with a rational person anyway, and it's just not worth the extra nonsense.

This doesn't mean you should adopt a helpless attitude in a situation involving a bully. But taking the high road will get you a lot farther than becoming a bully yourself.
This is a good lesson, although I'm not sure i will ever learn it.
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Old 05-24-13, 05:08 AM
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Originally Posted by 350htrr
I have a three strike policy, and sometimes I find that too lenient, when it comes to safety and company policy...
Our company rules allow for a single strike if the safety violation is egregious enough. I can only recall it being used in one incident.

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Last edited by wahoonc; 05-24-13 at 03:43 PM. Reason: auto correct screwed up...again
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Old 05-24-13, 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by wahoonc
Our company rules allow for a single strike if the safety violation is gregarious enough. I can only recall it being used in one incident.
I think you mean egregious, not gregarious.
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Old 05-24-13, 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by ro-monster
I think you mean egregious, not gregarious.
Yup... auto correct strikes again!

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Old 05-24-13, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by DX-MAN
When a motorist is hit by another, the main impact is borne by steel, shaped into "crumple zones", not flesh, bone, and cloth. (THAT is the "vulnerable" part.) As long as people think operating 3000lbs. of 150-200hp steel and rubber as if it's only worthy of 30% of their awareness, YOU'RE DAMNED RIGHT I WANT SOME PROTECTIVE MEASURES TAKEN.

So, call me vulnerable; call me GAY, if you like. But leave me and mine alone with your bumper & fender, or your life WILL change forever.
Agreed.

I think Roody wants society to ignore stating the danger of cycling for the sake of increasing ridership. I believe we have make that everyone has to be aware of the danger even if it means stating our vulnerabilities to achieve protected bike lanes and simlar infrastructure. There's nothing wrong in educating the public and I happen believe a good number of bicycle related accidents are due to the public not be trained on cycing in general. Maybe if they were told how incorrect riding can make you quite vulnerable, you might see cyclist riding at night with lights and not going the wrong way.

What's keeping cycling from going mainstream is not the fear of vulnerability but the lack of protected cycling infrastructure.

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Old 05-24-13, 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve
Agreed.

I think Roody wants society to ignore stating the danger of cycling for the sake of increasing ridership. I believe we have make that everyone has to be aware of the danger even if it means stating our vulnerabilities to achieve protected bike lanes and simlar infrastructure. There's nothing wrong in educating the public and I happen believe a good number of bicycle related accidents are due to the public not be trained on cycing in general. Maybe if they were told how incorrect riding can make you quite vulnerable, you might see cyclist riding at night with lights and not going the wrong way.

What's keeping cycling from going mainstream is not the fear of vulnerability but the lack of protected cycling infrastructure.
Roody doesn't actually have a well formed opinion on this topic. Sometimes I use you all to help me understand an issue better, and maybe I will form an opinion or change one as we go along. Right now I'm seeing two possibly conflicting assumptions:

1. Providing more safety (through facilities, education and/or laws) will lead to more transportation cyclists on the roads. You do this by telling politicians and planners that bicyclists are vulnerable road users whom they should protect. The possible downside is that by emphasizing the riskiness of cycling, you may be scaring people away from it.

2. Another approach is to encourage more cycling through a positive approach, by selling it as a safe, fun, and money saving activity. There have been studies that suggest that the more presence of more bikes on the streets makes cycling safer for everybody. One downside is that people won't ride more anyway because they think it's too dangerous.

i have seen a couple posts saying that both of these assumptions might be true, or that the two assumptions might work well together.
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Old 05-24-13, 07:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Roody
I think it's a pretty good group, but they might have more rapport with recreational riders than with transportation cyclists. My main concern is that their use of scare tactics to sway politicians and planners wont do much to make transportation cycling more popular. I don't know that I want to get too much more involved, but if they ask for comments on Facebook, I will provide them. I can't go on rides with them because I don't own a helmet.
I just had a look at their Facebook page. They look like they are all over the place, but have lot of traction. Lots of "likes" and lots of posts.

What they really need are some differing points of view. It may even be that they are still evolving a consistent message... so it'd probably be a good thing if you continued to make your point.

I'm pretty sure there are others in your area who share your views.
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Old 05-24-13, 08:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Roody
Roody doesn't actually have a well formed opinion on this topic. Sometimes I use you all to help me understand an issue better, and maybe I will form an opinion or change one as we go along. Right now I'm seeing two possibly conflicting assumptions:

1. Providing more safety (through facilities, education and/or laws) will lead to more transportation cyclists on the roads. You do this by telling politicians and planners that bicyclists are vulnerable road users whom they should protect. The possible downside is that by emphasizing the riskiness of cycling, you may be scaring people away from it.

2. Another approach is to encourage more cycling through a positive approach, by selling it as a safe, fun, and money saving activity. There have been studies that suggest that the more presence of more bikes on the streets makes cycling safer for everybody. One downside is that people won't ride more anyway because they think it's too dangerous.

i have seen a couple posts saying that both of these assumptions might be true, or that the two assumptions might work well together.
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Old 05-25-13, 04:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Roody
Roody doesn't actually have a well formed opinion on this topic. Sometimes I use you all to help me understand an issue better, and maybe I will form an opinion or change one as we go along. Right now I'm seeing two possibly conflicting assumptions:

1. Providing more safety (through facilities, education and/or laws) will lead to more transportation cyclists on the roads. You do this by telling politicians and planners that bicyclists are vulnerable road users whom they should protect. The possible downside is that by emphasizing the riskiness of cycling, you may be scaring people away from it.

2. Another approach is to encourage more cycling through a positive approach, by selling it as a safe, fun, and money saving activity. There have been studies that suggest that the more presence of more bikes on the streets makes cycling safer for everybody. One downside is that people won't ride more anyway because they think it's too dangerous.

i have seen a couple posts saying that both of these assumptions might be true, or that the two assumptions might work well together.
The two assumptions work together for the most part. Cycling should be available to the whole family. In places like the NL children cycle to school in many parts unsupervised at very young ages. People in their 80's still cycle regularly.

My dad just hit 80 this year he quit cycling about 10 years ago due to too many near misses. I think if better infrastructure existed he probably would still be riding.
I have been riding in the same area for past 12 years, the traffic and the attitudes have gotten worse, the infrastructure has gone down hill.

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Old 05-25-13, 05:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Roody
I empathize with your anger. But I think that you, like most North Americans, overestimate both the danger of riding a bike and the safety of riding in a car. I also believe that these bicycle advocacy groups play on these fears to some extent.

Ultimately, if bicycling in streets were an excessively dangerous activity, it would be logical to outlaw it. I think it's more truthful to say that both cycling and driving have similar risks. Appropriate road designs result in conditions that are safer for all users.

It's hard to be rational about risks, but well worth trying.
I am not a careless cyclist. But when living in the city I was hit by cars four times in four years. Nothing serious - two times I got doored, once was a right hook I mostly avoided and the last was a 5 mph collision at a stop sign. But I still walked away with bruises and scrapes each time, and could have had much worse. All four times I was obeying the law, using common sense, and paying attention to my surroundings. In contrast, I drive a car for my job. In the past three years of driving twenty hours a week I've been hit exactly zero times.

Sure it's only anecdotal, but I'd say I am definitely in more danger on my bicycle. It's not something dangerous enough to prevent me from doing it, nor do I consider the risk on a daily basis. But I DO think of myself as being vulnerable in comparison with a car driver. That holds doubly true when the roads are not designed with bicycle safety in mind. You're right that bicyclists deserve safe, good facilities because we pay taxes... but you need to convince the government that we don't already have such facilities if you want changes made. Pointing out the very real danger that many roads put us in, or that make it outright impossible for us to use, is the most effective way of getting the message across.
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