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Recumbents vs. Wedgies. Which is safer?

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Recumbents vs. Wedgies. Which is safer?

Old 09-04-05, 05:01 PM
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N_C
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The comment about wedgies being safer then recumbents in traffic got me thinking. While that is a myth let's review the safety aspects of each style of bicycle. When reviewing & discussing this do not take into consideration the ability of the human cyclist, there are to many variables. Only consider the mechanics of each style of bicycle.

You can discuss any part of the safety mechanics of each style of bike & compare them to one another. Discuss the differances & offer opinions of each. I do recommend however if you have never ridden a bicycle you are trying to discuss or offering an opinion on what you say may be challenged due to your lack of knowledge & experience on the matter.

I will start. On a wedgie it is much easier to do an endo & suffer a broken collar bone then on a recumbent. The reason is the differance in the center of gravity on each style of bike. I have had the displeasure of experiencing a endo when I rode a wedgie road bike, didn't suffer a broken collar bone but I was still injured. I have braked hard with the front brake on my 'bent & have yet to be thrown forward like I was on a wedgie.

But on the flip side of that if I apply the rear brake to hard on my 'bent it will fish tail like crazy. I learned this the hard way. I applied the rear brake to hard once, fish tailed, lost control, went down & suffered major road rash on my left side after sliding about 10' down the road. This was on a down hill section. On a wedgie it is possible to fish tail, though not as easily & it is easier to control. Why? The differance in wheel base lenght & I think the center of gravity has something to do with it too.

Bottom line is when applying the brakes on either type of bike use care & caution. On a wedgie to much brake pwer on the front can cause an endo. On a 'bent to much on the rear can cause a bad fish tail.

But this does not make either bike more dangerous then the other.

There are those that claim 'bents are not as safe as wedgies because they are lower to the ground and are not as easily seen by motorists. Well here is my question to those that believe this myth. Have you ever ridden a 'bent in traffic & spoken with motorists about this? Or is this some myth wedgie riders love to conjour up because they don't understand, don't like or simply don't know anything about riding a recumbent?

Actually to my second question I can answer that, the answer is yes.

Ok your turn. What safety issues between wedgies & 'bents would you like to discuss? Or you can continue the one I started.

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Old 09-04-05, 06:36 PM
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You claim things are myths, but provide no evidence to support your claim.
If a car squeezes you into the curb on your 'bent, can you bunny hop onto the sidewalk to get away?
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Old 09-04-05, 07:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Dchiefransom
If a car squeezes you into the curb on your 'bent, can you bunny hop onto the sidewalk to get away?
Casual upright riders and many experienced upright riders can't either.
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Old 09-04-05, 09:34 PM
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My opinion is that long-wheelbase recumbants are safer, even in traffic, than are upright diamond-frame bicycles. I'll lay it out in a number of ways:

Ergonomics

The seated position is a better position, overall, to be in for extended periods of time. On a diamond frame bicycle, there is a lot of pressure on the hands and wrists, on the soft parts of one's rear, and because of the position, you spend a lot of time looking down, not around.

On the recumbant, you can look around easily, and mirrors work very well. On many diamond frame bicycles, mirrors are hard to put in a place where they can be seen immediately, and used easily. Helmet mirrors are good, but not as good as mirror on my ASS (Abover Seat Steering) LWB recumbant.

From the seated position on my recumbant, I can look most drivers in the eye, and see what they are doing. I've prevented several accidents (involving me) by seeing the driver; one was as she or he (it was a "she") came around me and went to turn right, in front of me. On a diamond frame, because they are above the level of the car, you cannot see the driver as you are looking down onto the top of the car.

The ergonomics of the seated position, rather than the forward-leaning position of the upright bicycle, is much better on the body. I used to get headaches from neck strain on my upright bicycle, and since getting on my recumbant, these have disappeared. I know of one bicyclist who participated in the Race-Across-America, and by the end of the race (which he won), he had to have a structure supporting his head as his neck muscles couldn't do it anymore.

With a flag, and blinking diode lights, I'm very visible on my recumbant. This has been told to me by some of my co-workers who see me on the road.

Crashes and Fall-

I have now had two crashes on upright, diamond frame bicycles which landed me in the hospital. I then told myself that if I had a third that was caused by the design of the bicycle, I'd get a recumbant. I had that third; it was a slow-speed, over-the-handlebars crash which resulted from my front wheel being caught in cracks in a bike path wooden bridge over a wetland. If I hadn't tucked at the last moment (see the discussion on the right way to crash at: http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=132521), I could have been hurt pretty badly.

In a crash, recumbants have several advantages over upright bicycles:

--You're closer to the ground, so you don't hit as hard.
--You are traveling feet-first, and not head-first.
--You usually fall an your side, which distributes the force of the fall across more of the body.
--The bike takes more of the crash, instead of your body. This is especially important in situations where you are likely to be "doored."

There are other situations where a recumbant is much safer than on an upright bicycle. When I was going to buy a recumbant, I needed to cenvince my wife, so I started a thread here about that. Safety was one of the selling points. If you want to see all the answers, see this thread:

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=35238

On that thread, was this post from Larry quoting Edward Wong:

you seem to have done the homework, you know the saftey issues for 'bents, Go for it. you will not be sorry. The Stratus is a sweet bike! today on alt.rec.bicycles.recumbent news group Ed wong posted:
"Today my club the Florida Freewheelers hosted a membership drive on
one of our local multi use trails, the Seminole Wekaiva Trail.
Several miles up the trail, several members were setting up a tent,
tables, etc. with soft drinks, water, Gatorade, brochures to hand out
to the riders in the local area.

It was a perfect morning and the trail is absolutely beautiful. There
were a total of three bents; a Vision V50, a RANS Screamer and yours
truly on his humble Scooterbike amongst 60-70 or more uprights. We
had a mass start and over the miles we thinned out into smaller
groups. As my group approached the north end of the trail in Lake
Mary, one of our members who was riding his carbon Trek road bike had
a mishap. We passed in the opposite direction two gentlemen riding
their upright road bikes. They were riding two abreast but close
togather and as far right as practicable so they were OK.

It seems that my fellow club member who was probably 30-40 feet behind
me was not watching the bike traffic coming in the opposite direction.
He was hunched over his drop bars and had momentarily concentrated
his attention on his cyclometer when he collided head on with one of
the two gentlemen we passed a couple of seconds earlier. I heard a
sickening crunch sound and as I looked in my rear view mirror, they
were still falling to the ground. I yelled out to my fellow riders
that we had an accident. There were several more club members behind
us and stopped to help our friend. It didn't look good for our guy.
The other man was shaken up and upset more than anything else. He was
not injured but our friend was in very bad shape. He couldn't move or
feel his lower extremities. He also had a bad gash over one of his
eyebrows. Someone in the group called 911 to have an ambulance
dispatched. They got there in under 10 minutes and proceeded to
secure him to put him in the ambulance. I pray that he will be
alright and recover soon.

Now I know it's not proper at this time to preach the advantage of
being able to see better on a recumbent than hunched over a handlebar
on an upright but darn if this alone is one of the best reasons why I
ride a recumbent. We have had several accidents in the club from
people who've collided with others just because they were not holding
their heads up enough to avoid causing the accident. Last year, a
young racer met his death in South Florida when he collided with the
back end of a truck during a training ride. It is speculated he was
not looking ahead far enough to avoid the collision. Combine that
with fast speeds those guys were going and you have the makings of bad
things that can go wrong instantly.

Next time someone asks you questions about your bent and why you ride
one, be sure to highlight the safety advantages of a recumbent. You
could be doing someone and yourself a great service.

Be careful out there.

Edward Wong
Orlando, FL"
hope this helps
Larry in Leduc CbikeE CT AT
The Bunny-Hop Question

One cyclist above asked about bunny hopping a curb if a car began to put a "squeeze" on the bicyclist. My son has tried bunny hops, and been sucessful on many occasions. But on one, he misjudged, and that resulted in a crash. While you cannot bunny hop a recumbant, you can see things developing sooner, and potentially avoid the situation altogether. And bunny hops are not always the complete answer; they can cause a crash too.

I have chosen the LWB recumbant as a safer bicycle than the upright bicycles for my cummuting. I still ride uprights with my wife (who still doesn't like my recumbant, for esthetic reasons), and for exercise at noon. My Trek 1420 is seeing plenty of use at noon, and without all the "stuff" I put on it for commuting it rides much better. My ol' Schwinn LeToure is doing well, and I put 14 miles on it with my wife today. Both now sport elevated handlebars so that I can see the traffic better, and I ride them "in the hooks" a lot more than before.

But for safety, for the above reasons, the LWB recumbant as wonderful. It has been almost three years since I bought mine, and I have about 2700 miles on it, most of which was commuting in traffic.

John C. Ratliff, CSP*

*Certified Safety Professional, #7694; a CSP is the safety profession's equivalent of a PE for engineering.

Last edited by John C. Ratliff; 09-05-05 at 10:33 AM.
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Old 09-04-05, 09:50 PM
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DF bikes are clearly more stable than bents, even SWB bents though SWB bents are close. Having the front wheel under the handle bar means you can for a short period compensate for the front wheel sliding out by turning the wheel and having a chance of recovery. As bent wheel bases elongate and as the angle of the steering axis departs from the DF standard ~72D, the ability to compensate for front wheel slide diminishes rapidly. Disregarding curb hopups, a much more common situation is falling off the edge of asphalt pavement and having to climb the front wheel up over a 1-2" high step up, especially common after repaving jobs where the base layer of asphalt may be 3-6" wider than the final layer. Smaller wheels have a hard time making this climb and the ability of a DF rider to jump the wheel up onto the main grade with the rear usually reliably following is easy even for novice riders. My last crash on a DF occurred in just such a situation where the front wheel got trapped and I turned the bar and the bike didn't follow-BAM! OTOH riding my bent and falling is so much safer than the DF that the decreased stability of the bike makes little difference. Falling from a seat height of 15" compared with 37" seat height on the DF is a whole lot less traumatic. Most bents have seat heights of 20-24", not as much an advantage but significant even so. Further the bars and seat width are such that with the feet clipped in, the hip and side of the knee are likely the only part of the leg that will get road rash. The ankle, calf and lower thigh tend to be spared.
Steve
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Old 09-05-05, 12:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Dchiefransom
You claim things are myths, but provide no evidence to support your claim.
If a car squeezes you into the curb on your 'bent, can you bunny hop onto the sidewalk to get away?
Just putting on the brakes would do it. Jumping onto the footpath without time to check for pedestrians doesnt meet my safety criteria. And by the way, yes I can go up curbs when I need to.
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Old 09-05-05, 04:06 AM
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I've had the squeeze put on me by a bus, they saw me as they swung around me and then pulled into the curb with me level with the rear axle I was on a recumbent trike so I just slammed on both brakes an stopped pretty much on the spot the bus missed me by a few cm. I have had to emergency stop on my road bike/old mtb/chopper and there is no way I would have cleared the bus under the same conditions (the chopper suprisingly would be second best due to very rearward seat and massive rubber) oh and bunny hopping with zero warning parallel and 2' from a cub at least for me no hope in that kind of time span and yes I can bunny hop.
I ride in the city center a lot and regularly have to avoid getting doored, the trike again wins hands down for last second avoidance (usually involving getting up on 2 wheels).
The trike gets a lot more space in traffic than my df's and is fun not scary in the wet.
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Old 09-05-05, 10:47 AM
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I, too, don't think there are visibility problems with either a DF or a 'bent having ridden both. From a commuting perspective, I'm not sure what situation you're referring to, but the worst for me is either when drivers cut me off or when I have to ride between moving cars and parked cars creating my own bike lane.

My experience is that DF's are more maneuverable because I can stand and accelerate much faster by getting out of the saddle or do quick in and outs to avoid car doors opening or street gutters. I'm not able to perform such maneuvers as fluently when on my 'bent but I strongly believe this is because of recumbent design in general and not my riding skills.

Also, when on a DF, the width of one's thighs determines how much space you need to ride between moving and parked cars; on a 'bent, the width of one's shoulders determines that space. This especially may be an issue when you're on streets with no bike lanes, ratty surfaces, or very little shoulder (by very little, I mean the width of the white line). I prefer my DF to my recumbent in those cases.

Yes it is easier to see while bent, but this doesn't mean my head is always down when I ride a DF (I think the "head always down" assumption is a pretty big myth 'bent riders spread too easily. About the only time you ever need to stick your head down for long is when you're sprinting). In traffic, an alert rider will always be better off no matter what he/she rides.

Last edited by spambait11; 09-06-05 at 03:18 AM.
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Old 09-05-05, 12:19 PM
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I've had a couple people say that I'm hard to see because my recumbent is so low to the ground.....My reply to them is: "stop gawking and start paying attention to your driving, I've got a tall, bright orange flag on the back of my trike, and if you can't see it, then you'd better quit driving".
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Old 09-05-05, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by N_C
The comment about wedgies being safer then recumbents in traffic got me thinking.
I think you misunderstood my comment about this: I said *fast city riding* isn't safe on a bent. By that I mean racing between lines of stopped cars, squeezing between cars to change lanes, hopping on a sidewalk to avoid a redlight or go up a one-way street, getting a pull from busses and taxis, track-standing at the redlight, etc... Any other type of city riding is fine with a bent, but to do what I describe, you need a level of awareness of your surroundings, and an agility on the bike that simply can't be had on a bent, no matter how hard you want believe otherwise. You might think the style of riding I describe is madness, but in many big cities, it's the only way to get from A to B in a reasonable amount of time, and I think in certain instances, it can be safer to ride aggressively than trying to follow the flow of traffic, as angry motorists stuck in traffic don't give much respect to cyclists anyway.
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Old 09-05-05, 03:40 PM
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Johntolhurst,

Sweet conversion!!!!!! What is the base bike?
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Old 09-05-05, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by ppc
I think you misunderstood my comment about this: I said *fast city riding* isn't safe on a bent. By that I mean racing between lines of stopped cars, squeezing between cars to change lanes, hopping on a sidewalk to avoid a redlight or go up a one-way street, getting a pull from busses and taxis, track-standing at the redlight, etc... Any other type of city riding is fine with a bent, but to do what I describe, you need a level of awareness of your surroundings, and an agility on the bike that simply can't be had on a bent, no matter how hard you want believe otherwise. You might think the style of riding I describe is madness, but in many big cities, it's the only way to get from A to B in a reasonable amount of time, and I think in certain instances, it can be safer to ride aggressively than trying to follow the flow of traffic, as angry motorists stuck in traffic don't give much respect to cyclists anyway.
What you describe as "fast city riding" is also mostly illegal! We had a bicycle carrier killed by a truck traveling about 5 mph this summer because of this type of riding style. This kind of riding is best done on a mountain bike in the hills and mountains, not in the city. You give us a bad name.

John
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Old 09-05-05, 07:48 PM
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Originally Posted by John C. Ratliff
What you describe as "fast city riding" is also mostly illegal!
Yes. That doesn't mean you can't do it responsibly. I don't go on sidewalks if they're full of pedestrians. I don't go up one-way streets if they're narrow and full of fast moving cars. I don't blow red lights unless the intersection is gridlocked. If you pretended you never take liberties with the code yourself once in a while, you'd be lying.


We had a bicycle carrier killed by a truck traveling about 5 mph this summer because of this type of riding style. This kind of riding is best done on a mountain bike in the hills and mountains, not in the city. You give us a bad name.
You can't generalize from one example. The carrier you cite might well have been a newbie, or a reckless idiot. Maybe his riding style hid the fact that it might have been the truck driver who didn't see him, who knows. At any rate, I'm not aware of a spectacular difference in mortality amongst bike couriers, and God knows they ride pretty fast.

I've ridden in places where you better be more aggressive than the motorists to stay alive. Paris comes to mind. In some places, if you ride like a polite respectful cyclist, you get fishtailed by a car, squeezed against the row of parked cars by another, and doored in less time than it takes to say disestablishmentarianism. In areas like that, I ride like everybody rides, and in quieter settings, where I'm not stressed out by motorized madmen, I keep my right, stop at the red light and signal to turn.

Anyway, I was just exploring a technical point of uprights vs. bents in certain situations. Don't worry about me giving you a bad name, although I can do it (and have done it extensively when I was younger), I rarely ever ride like that, for the good reason that I hate big cities with a passion. I live and ride in a small town of 200,000 mostly quiet and civilized souls, so I don't have any reason to ride fast or aggressively.
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Old 09-05-05, 08:44 PM
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ppc,

If you are interested in the death of Kristine Ann Okins, a 25-year-old Portland, Oregon bike messenger, here's the thread:

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...Cyclist+killed

She was very experienced, and was about to go to a competition. That is why I said what I did. I'm glad you don't normally use those techniques.

Concerning the recumbant verses upright, these situations are better anticipated on the recumbant, as there is a clearer field of view for the cyclist. But most recumbants are not racing machines. It is a riding machine, and a very nice one at that. However, some recumbants can do better than uprights in racing circumstances. I believe the San Francisco to LA record is held by a recumbant, a Lightning, as I recall.

Beatle Bailey,

I've had a couple people say that I'm hard to see because my recumbent is so low to the ground...
You know, one obvious response is that they did see you...

John

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Old 09-05-05, 10:05 PM
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having your head level with a car's hubcap is not safe

please---a hammock on wheels is not the way to get around in traffic safely

bents are weak
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Old 09-05-05, 11:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat
having your head level with a car's hubcap is not safe

please---a hammock on wheels is not the way to get around in traffic safely

bents are weak
Actually, we are eye level with most drivers (cars, not trucks), and not hubcap level.

The one time I was at hubcap level was just after I pushed my Trek 1420 road bike into the side of an SUV that had right-turned in front of me at 20+ mph, bailed out, and was kicking at the wheel to keep from sliding under the vehicle. That's a hubcap level you really don't want to see!

And just in case you feel comfortable going head-first down the road (most bicyclists do), how about you try that swimming in a river through a rapids; guaranteed, you would want to go feet first in that wet environment (rocks are as hard as cars). Why not feet-first in traffic too?

So far as bents being weak, they have advantages and disadvantages. I may be weak, but that is not indicative of all bent riders. Of course, I'm nearly 60 too I believe that recumbants were banned from competitions a long time ago, not because they were "weak," but because they were too fast.

John
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Old 09-06-05, 12:37 AM
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I think maybe I should have stated that unless you have ever owned & ridden both then please do not respond in this thread. You may if you want to but your opinion will be regarded as nothing more then an assumptive myth or conclusion, with nothing to back it up.

That is how I regard ziggurat's response. I am under the impression he has never owned or ridden a 'bent. Unless he says otherwise that is.
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Old 09-06-05, 03:13 AM
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Originally Posted by John C. Ratliff
ppc, If you are interested in the death of Kristine Ann Okins, a 25-year-old Portland, Oregon bike messenger, here's the thread:
Okay, I read the thread, two things jumped at me:

- Nobody really knows what happened, and everybody conjectures about how the accident might have happened

- The gal wasn't wearing a helmet and was listening to a CD player

It's funny because this thread was partly started because I said somewhere that people who ride fast in the city should be acutely aware of their environment, and the example you pull is of a gal who died riding courier-style with a CD player? :-) 'nuff said...
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Old 09-06-05, 07:31 AM
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Originally Posted by ppc
I think you misunderstood my comment about this: I said *fast city riding* isn't safe on a bent. By that I mean racing between lines of stopped cars, squeezing between cars to change lanes, hopping on a sidewalk to avoid a redlight or go up a one-way street,
That stuff isn't safe on any bike. NYC couriers ride that way because the value of their lives is essentially null. Riding that way is illegal in most places, whether or not you can get away with it. I was never able to bunny hop my DF sideways 6-8 inches up a curb while at speed, never mind doing it while avoiding sign posts, light posts, pedestrians, trash cans, etc. Then again, although I've been cut off I've never been squeezed off a road. If it happens to you regularly, maybe you need to work on your vehicular cycling skills instead of your bmx skills?

... Any other type of city riding is fine with a bent, but to do what I describe, you need a level of awareness of your surroundings, and an agility on the bike that simply can't be had on a bent, no matter how hard you want believe otherwise. You might think the style of riding I describe is madness, but in many big cities, it's the only way to get from A to B in a reasonable amount of time, and I think in certain instances, it can be safer to ride aggressively than trying to follow the flow of traffic, as angry motorists stuck in traffic don't give much respect to cyclists anyway.
I rode uprights for over 20 years, and I think you're blowing smoke. But whatever you think is going to be true for you. One good thing about riding that way on an upright - if I got my frame smashed under a car, I wouldn't feel so bad - a DF frame is cheap and easy to replace.
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Old 09-06-05, 07:42 AM
  #20  
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Originally Posted by ppc
Okay, I read the thread, two things jumped at me:

- Nobody really knows what happened, and everybody conjectures about how the accident might have happened

- The gal wasn't wearing a helmet and was listening to a CD player

It's funny because this thread was partly started because I said somewhere that people who ride fast in the city should be acutely aware of their environment, and the example you pull is of a gal who died riding courier-style with a CD player? :-) 'nuff said...
You need to re-read the thread. Kristine was not the one without a helmet and wearing a CD player. That was a different accident.

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Old 09-06-05, 03:26 PM
  #21  
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On Fridays on my homeward commute, if I ride my DF the traffic treats me with derision and disrespect a whole lot more than if I ride my recumbent. Generally people in cars are curious and want to see me go by to get a good look.

My head on the recumbent is level with the tall, orange plastic things that Cal Trans puts on the road during construction (not the cones but the tall skinny ones). If someone in a car can't see to the level of one of these, then they have a problem.

I do notice that SUV drivers can't see me out their back windows. That is a flaw of the SUV, not of me being short. How can they avoid running over their own children backing out of the driveway if they can't see short objects behind them?

I can't track stand or bunny hop at all. I ride both types of bikes in the same VC manner. There is more maneuverability on a DF bike for sure, but does that translate automatically into greater safety?
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Old 09-06-05, 08:21 PM
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Originally Posted by sbhikes
I do notice that SUV drivers can't see me out their back windows. That is a flaw of the SUV, not of me being short. How can they avoid running over their own children backing out of the driveway if they can't see short objects behind them?
Actually, SUV's backing over their owner's children is such a common occurrance, especially among short SUV drivers, there is talk (I heard an NPR report) of requiring all SUV's to have systems that let their drivers see all of the blind spots behind them. It's a shame they can't make common sense a required option sold with SUV's.

Back to the topic at hand: There are many arguments to be made for and against DF's and bents in traffic, but the main thing is for the operator of each to know and respect his or her particular bike's nuances and limits.
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Old 09-06-05, 09:15 PM
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can someone explain to me how a 'bent is easier to see your surroundings from? to me, it would seem like sitting in the chair would restrict your ability to twist and see around you, behind you specifically.

someone made the comment, "recumbent riders can see situations developing faster", explain that too please.
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Old 09-06-05, 09:49 PM
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Originally Posted by N_C
...

That is how I regard ziggurat's response. I am under the impression he has never owned or ridden a 'bent. Unless he says otherwise that is.
I've laid down in a hammock before, so my experience is relevant.
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Old 09-06-05, 10:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Eatadonut
can someone explain to me how a 'bent is easier to see your surroundings from? to me, it would seem like sitting in the chair would restrict your ability to twist and see around you, behind you specifically.

someone made the comment, "recumbent riders can see situations developing faster", explain that too please.
This is easy to explain. In an upright bicycle, you have this little, dinky mirror usually on your left side, that allows a very limited, though vital view of the rear. Yes, you can turn around, but in doing so, you loose sight of what's in front of you. With no mirror on an upright bicycle, you do not see anything you aren't looking at or is in your periferal vision. So you constantly need to keep looking in different places, and removing your eyes from what is in front of you.

In addition, you are leaned over on an upright bicycle, so that the natural position to see is looking downward. You have to forcefully look up, crink your neck up, to see ahead of you. You need to develop the skill of bicycle handling to release one hand to turn around to see anything behind you without a mirror; some people cannot do that on both sides of their body.

I'm sitting at my computer, typing these words, and looking naturally at the screen in front of me. I am in the same position I'm normally in when riding my Rans Stratus LWB recumbant. I can turn my head to the right or left, and see approximately 100 degrees in that direction, with my periferal vision extending to the 180 degree mark. But this is without a mirror. My Stratus is equipped (I put them on) with two mirrors, one on each side of the handlebar. I can see everything in the mirror without hurning my head at all, to 180 degrees behind me. I use the same mirror system that motorcycles use. I do this because there are routes I take where the bike lane is between the right lane of the highway, and the turn lane going onto a freeway. Cars can and do come from both my rear-left and rear-right, and I can monitor them as they approach. I don't ever have to look down at the handlebar to see my odometer or mirrors, as they are in my normal field of view. I don't drop my head when my neck muscles get sore, as they don't get sore in the recumbant position.

There are two scenarios which have left me in the hospital:

--Going through an intersection at a good clip (~20 mph), and not being stopped by the light (it was green for the first time in a long time), I looked down at my odometer to check my speed. When I looked up, all I saw was the red side of a SUV cutting in front of me.

--Not using mirrors and looking behind me, I was not being able to monitor to my front and right when looking behind and left. Apparently a car pulled out from a cross street to a parking lot in front of me, and I did not see it until the last moment. I woke up in the hospital this time.

Both of these scenarios would have been prevented by being in my current recumbant, with its mirror system and positioning.

The recumbant body position is superior to the upright's position for monitoring the environment around you. When you think about it, if the upright bicycle's position was superior to the recumbant position, it would already have been incorporated into automobiles, but it hasn't been. Take a look at the post above, with the story by Edward Wong, and you will see actual events that show the problems of the upright bicycle (other than mine above).

There is a way to get upright bicycles to have a good, all-around view of the environment around the cyclist, but not many people will do it. The handlebars need to be at least the height of the seat to make it work. In the "comfort" position (as advertised in the Trek catelog), cyclists can see around them. If you'll look at Trek's catalog for 2005, the commuter bicycles and comfort bicycles have the handlebars at or above seat height. But for those bicycles in the "racing" position, the cyclists (yes, even Lance) have to look almost through their helmet to see ahead. Most, except in the lead position, don't even try. Their heads are down, and they cannot see around them easily. In traffic, this can cause surprises.

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