Author Topic: Biking is dangerous  (Read 16108 times)

RidetheRain

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Re: Biking is dangerous
« Reply #100 on: August 29, 2017, 03:22:40 PM »
I love my bike and I love riding it. But the scariest thing I've ever done is ride my bike to work.

I live in the suburbs of Los Angeles and about half my 7-mile route has bike lanes. I use a bike path for the first mile and ride through residential for another half mile. The rest is factory back roads and a handful of major roads to get over a (dry) river and some train tracks.

My worst day was the day I decided I would never ever ride my bike to work again. Maybe I'll get my heart attack, but I won't be 25 when it hits me at least...

I was run off the road with bike lanes because a car wanted to be in the turn lane. I was nearly struck when I used the crosswalk instead of wading in to make a left turn. I had a car clip the back tire of my bike at a stop sign. Something (I'm not sure what) flew off the back of a truck and struck my arm so hard I couldn't feel it for several minutes. By the time I got to work I was bruised, tired, and jumping at the slightest unexpected thing. Biking is NOT safe everywhere.

Maybe you live in a town where drivers are more used to bikes and are more accommodating even on busy roads. But some places are not like that. I have heard angry co-workers talking about how they hate bikers and would drive closer to them so they were too scared to do it again. People I considered friendly and okay become vindictive because of the car culture. I will not put myself in danger or encourage others to ride in a place they feel is unsafe. The only other coworker I had that road her bike to work spent eight months in a hospital after being hit while entering the parking lot. Frankly, I'm surprised she's alive at all.
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jmecklenborg

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Re: Biking is dangerous
« Reply #101 on: August 29, 2017, 03:43:26 PM »
I think it depends a lot on where you live

Yes the general character of every city is different and the postwar suburbs are generally less safe than the prewar city areas.  Flat cities with a significant prewar area are the easiest to bike.  I took my bike up to Detroit about 10 years ago and couldn't believe how easy it was.  Super-wide streets, no traffic, and it's totally flat.  Chicago was pretty similar, but with a lot more traffic.  I remember the street widths there being less than ideal and felt pushed up against parked cars more than most other places. 

Cities that are really unpleasant to bike in like Nashville and Knoxville suck because the major arterials suck.  You can still bike from point A to B but you will have to cut through residential neighborhoods, which is slower than simply staying on the main roads since you need to resist the temptation to roll through intersections.  Those are the two Southern cities that I have biked, and I expect that Atlanta, et al., are similarly unpleasant.  But if you live there I'd expect that you can find routes that work. 

I have not biked in Los Angeles but I am always struck by the lack of bikes when I am there.  Come on, the weather is perfect every single day! 




RidetheRain

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Re: Biking is dangerous
« Reply #102 on: August 29, 2017, 04:08:45 PM »
Super-wide streets, no traffic, and it's totally flat.  Chicago was pretty similar, but with a lot more traffic.  I remember the street widths there being less than ideal and felt pushed up against parked cars more than most other places. 

I think you've hit on the problem with Los Angeles (minus the angry attitude). Real estate is hard to come by here. Parking lots are full of compact car only spaces and roads squeeze as many lanes as possible here. There was nearly a revolt when they made bike lanes on the west side of the city. A council member got ousted from office for having the lanes repainted to allow for more bike riding space.

I lived in small towns and suburbs in the midwest and the lanes were way bigger. A four lane road I spent a lot of time on in Chicago would be a six lane here. The speed limits don't bother me. I couldn't get up to speed either place, but LA is an angry and the drivers are territorial.
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meghan88

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Re: Biking is dangerous
« Reply #103 on: August 30, 2017, 12:18:38 PM »
Here in Kitchener-Waterloo, they talk about making the city a bike-friendly place:  http://www.waterloo.ca/en/gettingactive/cycling.asp and https://www.kitchener.ca/en/livinginkitchener/resources/TTR_kitchener_cmp-exec-sum_v6-2010-08-24.pdf , both of which are a real howl to read because they are just words.

They have just finished LRT construction on our main street (King) at a cost of over $1 billion for 19 kilometers of track, running from one shopping mall to another.  King used to be a normal, even wider-than-normal, 4-lane road. 

Now see what it looks like in the attached photos (not sure if the attachments will work).  What's with the concrete curbs at the left of the car lanes, not to mention the yellow lines and total lack of bike lanes?  And at the main intersection at King and Victoria, there are no bike lanes at all, but they somehow saw fit to include a buffer zone to the left of the car lanes ... definitely not for bikes.  And, further up, the car lanes and LRT tracks cross each other.  What fun!


jmecklenborg

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Re: Biking is dangerous
« Reply #104 on: August 30, 2017, 02:02:44 PM »
Super-wide streets, no traffic, and it's totally flat.  Chicago was pretty similar, but with a lot more traffic.  I remember the street widths there being less than ideal and felt pushed up against parked cars more than most other places. 

I think you've hit on the problem with Los Angeles (minus the angry attitude). A council member got ousted from office for having the lanes repainted to allow for more bike riding space.

Streets that appear very similar can actually have very different characteristics for a bicyclist.  Unfortunately a lot of bicycle planners hardly ever ride bikes but they win awards for minimally useful bike lanes.  Those people who are used to biking around unmodified areas know how to adapt their riding block-by-block or often several ways within a block to get where they are going.  This means sometimes "taking the lane", other times taking it easy over by the curb.  Sometimes you just stop and let things clear up.  Bike lanes often do not permit an adaptation of your riding to immediate circumstances.  I often feel pinned up against the curb or forced into the door zone. 

I have met several people who have worked on bicycle infrastructure plans and individual bike lane projects and none of them are avid bicyclists.  In fact one of them got really made at me because I reminded him of "hardcore" bicyclists who came to their meetings to complain about their lane designs.  These people think they're saving the world but they are come-lately's to bicycling and often don't really get it.  I went on a ride with one of the guys and he was literally the worst bicyclist I've ever been around.  Totally winded after about 3 miles...had no idea how to get through intersections. 

infogoon

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Re: Biking is dangerous
« Reply #105 on: August 30, 2017, 02:27:04 PM »
Yeah, please excuse me if I go all whiney pants, but I just had this exchange while biking home:

Car pulls up next to me as I am biking on the narrow, two lane road about a mile from my house. I look up in surprise to see an older lady peering out her window at me. "Don't you know what you are doing is dangerous?!" Me: "It's not. Being sedent--" Her: "Yes it is! Especially on this road!" And off she drives.

I had a woman pull up next to me at a stop light and threaten to call 911 and report me for riding my bike in the street.

In my state, bicycles are legally vehicles that are required to follow all the same traffic conventions as cars. And it's illegal for adults to ride bicycles on the sidewalk in my city.

Driver's Ed needs a continuing education component for these idiots.
And for this reason, I think the point someone made above about front/ back lights for bikes is a good one.  There are certain conditions where cars are REQUIRED to have lights on for safety (fog, twilight, darkness).  Bicycles are vehicles and should have the same requirements.

Bicycles in New York are required to have lights or reflectors, as well as a noisemaking device like a bell or horn. Not that it gets enforced, but the law is on the books.

martyconlonontherun

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Re: Biking is dangerous
« Reply #106 on: August 31, 2017, 03:31:12 PM »
..had no idea how to get through intersections.
Can you clarify? Did you mean you they didnt know how to signal to turn left or are you talking about doing rolling stops at Red lights? There are 2 types of bicyclist based on how you answer.

jmecklenborg

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Re: Biking is dangerous
« Reply #107 on: August 31, 2017, 05:23:17 PM »
..had no idea how to get through intersections.
Can you clarify? Did you mean you they didnt know how to signal to turn left or are you talking about doing rolling stops at Red lights? There are 2 types of bicyclist based on how you answer.


He just couldn't make a decision on what to do.  Just couldn't really anticipate what was going on with an intersection and how he fit into it.  I guess if you're coming up to an intersection and the light has been green for as long as you have been able to see it, and you don't have much experience, I suppose that you would be nervous entering the intersection. By contrast if you come up to an intersection that turns red before you reach it, there won't be many cars, and you'll have a second to think about where to wait out the light.  Then what to do when it turns green. 

I guess that I usually get in the correct lane at least 100 feet ahead, and if I need to turn left or right and there is too much going on I try to get over to the curb and just hang out.  I do this maybe once every 5 miles.  Sometimes I turn to look left and wave traffic through to illustrate that I have no intention of biking through the intersection until all of the cars have cleared. 

I know that if I'm out in the suburbs or country and approach a really big intersection and can see that the lights won't sync with what I want to do I'll bail and hang out before I even get up to it.  Like if you see that you might be able to make it through a left turn light but risk keeping a lot of cars from being able to get through the cycle then I'll bail out until the light cycle.  Otherwise you can underestimate how much time you need to completely clear the intersection and you don't want to be out there in it with a bunch of cars in the other directions itching to move.  You really need to be more alert and approach a section with a plan if you're clipped into a road bike.  If you need to clip out you need to be in a position on the crank where you can do that and not wipe out.  And plant your foot squarely so that you don't skid on the clip...and then wipe out.  It can be more difficult to do hand signals on a road bike, especially if you're approaching an intersection on a curve.  Slip ramps to and from highways suck a bit more to cross on a road bike because cars are traveling quickly and it's tougher to crank in such a way that you can be set up for a sudden clip out.  That situation is pretty rare but is definitely dangerous.  Cars get excited and start speeding up and getting in the "highway mindset" as they approach an on-ramp.  Similarly, they're not completely back to "city" mode when they exit.           



barbaz

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Re: Biking is dangerous
« Reply #108 on: September 01, 2017, 12:43:27 AM »
I never do left turns on large intersections, instead I cross the road twice. The bike lanes in Berlin are also set up this way.

vhalros

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Re: Biking is dangerous
« Reply #109 on: September 10, 2017, 08:28:25 PM »
I can see how some one might conclude it is too dangerous to bicycle even for short trips around town. What I don't understand is why someone, upon reaching this conclusion, is not marching in the streets to demand an end to such an absurd situation :)

GuitarStv

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Re: Biking is dangerous
« Reply #110 on: September 11, 2017, 07:44:07 AM »
I can see how some one might conclude it is too dangerous to bicycle even for short trips around town. What I don't understand is why someone, upon reaching this conclusion, is not marching in the streets to demand an end to such an absurd situation :)

You can't march in the street.  You would be run over by the drivers in this thread who would then blame you for not having enough blinking lights/fluorescent clothing/body armor to prevent the accident.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2017, 10:55:18 AM by GuitarStv »

RidetheRain

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Re: Biking is dangerous
« Reply #111 on: September 11, 2017, 09:29:13 AM »
I can see how some one might conclude it is too dangerous to bicycle even for short trips around town. What I don't understand is why someone, upon reaching this conclusion, is not marching in the streets to demand an end to such an absurd situation :)

You can't march in the street.  You would be run over by the drivers in this who would then blame you for not having enough blinking lights/fluorescent clothing/body armor to prevent the accident.

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-bike-lane-backlash-20170623-story.html

This news story is from where I live. We got bike lanes and streets painted for safer bike riding in west Los Angeles. Within two months, they took them back and reverted the lines on the road again. We can scream all we want, but there are more voices on the other side and they can yell louder.
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vhalros

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Re: Biking is dangerous
« Reply #112 on: September 11, 2017, 10:08:14 AM »
This news story is from where I live. We got bike lanes and streets painted for safer bike riding in west Los Angeles. Within two months, they took them back and reverted the lines on the road again. We can scream all we want, but there are more voices on the other side and they can yell louder.

Yeah, that is what I am saying. People are like "Bicycling is too dangerous". The correct response is *to fix it* so that it is not so dangerous, as other places in the world have already shown is possible. But instead we have responses like "Oh no! Where will I park my car? This will require minor changes to my life!", in some form of collective insanity.

Although I, here in Cambridge, MA, I've got to say that people are slowly waking up. We have protected bicycle lanes coming in in a lot of locations, and while there are some complaints, lots of people show up in support of them as well.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2017, 10:26:42 AM by vhalros »

robartsd

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Re: Biking is dangerous
« Reply #113 on: September 11, 2017, 12:58:40 PM »
I live and grew up in Sacramento and have been an avid cyclist since high school. I've always realized that Sacramento's flat terrain was great for cycling, but didn't really think about how Sacramento's pre-WWII areas generally are better for cycling than most later developments until reading this thread. My commute is about 4.5 miles each way (bike commutable to downtown was an important factor in choosing our location). I've pretty much always chosen a bike as a primary commute mode for warm (or hot), daylight hours. For the last 2 years I've also chosen bike even if it is dark or cold (still choose bus when wet - mostly because I don't have good wet weather equipment).

Lights: California requires them, but does not set any standards - find the dimmest headlight you can, figure out a way to attach it to your bike pointing forward, congratulations you meet the headlight requirement! For me these are only a "be seen" item, because street lighting is adequate for me to see my path.

Sidewalks: City lifted the general sidewalk riding ban last year. I'm in favor of a sidewalk speed limit (apply to all sidewalk users with wheels; but not to joggers, runners) of about 5 MPH. I'll choose to ride slowly on a sidewalk for short stints (often to go a block or so against traffic on a one-way street). I see riding at speed as the danger on a sidewalk. I generally ride in the street at 10-15 mph.

Clothing: I generally wear light colored tee shirts while riding.

Take the lane: Part of my commute can include a 4-lane business district street with sharrows. In the morning, I'm usually early enough that traffic is light and few cars are parked. In the afternoon, I've had people in cars clearly express that they think I do not belong in this space; but the sharrows clearly indcate that the traffic planner thinks it is OK. I understand many people not wanting to bike here. I'd love to see a "complete streets" renoavation remove either a traffic lane in each direction or the on-street parking to make room for a bike lane.

GuitarStv

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Re: Biking is dangerous
« Reply #114 on: September 11, 2017, 01:20:13 PM »
If there's one thing that most road users can agree upon . . . it's that sharrows suck.  Motorists don't know what the hell they are because they're far less intuitive.  I'd rank using a road with sharrows as about equivalent to using a road with no cycling infrastructure.

vhalros

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Re: Biking is dangerous
« Reply #115 on: September 11, 2017, 01:23:33 PM »
If there's one thing that most road users can agree upon . . . it's that sharrows suck.  Motorists don't know what the hell they are because they're far less intuitive.  I'd rank using a road with sharrows as about equivalent to using a road with no cycling infrastructure.

They can be ok under some circumstances. They can remind cyclists to stay out of the door zone and maintain a good lane position, and maybe keep motorists from out of town freaking out and going "Oh my god there is a bicycle!". But you definitely can't just put them down on an otherwise unsafe road and declare the job done.

moof

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Re: Biking is dangerous
« Reply #116 on: September 11, 2017, 02:18:35 PM »
If there's one thing that most road users can agree upon . . . it's that sharrows suck.  Motorists don't know what the hell they are because they're far less intuitive.  I'd rank using a road with sharrows as about equivalent to using a road with no cycling infrastructure.
+1.  Window dressing at its finest.

My other favorite is the orange signs construction crews put up that say "Bicycles in Roadway" when they have ripped up the sidewalk and bike lane and added orange cones to block 25% of the remaining single lane.  WTF are cars or bikes supposed to do with that useless information?!

robartsd

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Re: Biking is dangerous
« Reply #117 on: September 11, 2017, 02:51:41 PM »
If there's one thing that most road users can agree upon . . . it's that sharrows suck.  Motorists don't know what the hell they are because they're far less intuitive.  I'd rank using a road with sharrows as about equivalent to using a road with no cycling infrastructure.
Slightly better that a sharrow is a green-backed sharrow. Worse than a sharrow is a bike lane that leads you to dangerous possition at the intersection, then leaves you hanging. I doubt the motorists on that particular street even notice the sharrows (the paint is rather old). If I was not a competent urban cyclist, I would not be on that street - one reason I choose to be there is so that motorists will see cyclists there. Neighbors have seen me and indicated that they don't think cycling is safe there. As far as safety goes, I have not experienced signficant problems on this street. I choose other (slightly longer) routes when I don't want to deal traffic (or just want more shade).

Most hazardous situations for urban cyclists are caused by motorists who are turning or pulling to the curb failing to look for cyclists. For me, the two most significant encounters with cars nearly injuring me to date happened on the same afternoon commute a month or so ago. First was a car that was not signaling pulling into a parking spot. I was approahing a red light on the right side of cars stopped waiting for the signal. I was near the rear corner of the car when the light turned green. The car started drifting toward the right into an empty parking space that had been just ahead of it, forcing me toward the curb in that parking space until I slapped the side of the car. Later on the same trip I was approahing a green light with no nearby cars in my direction. An oncoming sedan turning left (left turn yeild on green) seem to hurry to turn in front of me, but the distracted driver in the SUV that follwed assumed it was safe to turn because the car in front had turned (driver should have been able to scan the road ahead over the previous vehicle). Too late to stop before entering the intersection by the time I noticed the SUV was failing to yeild, I swerved right to avoid being hit. Fortunately the driver noticed me in time.

My other favorite is the orange signs construction crews put up that say "Bicycles in Roadway" when they have ripped up the sidewalk and bike lane and added orange cones to block 25% of the remaining single lane.  WTF are cars or bikes supposed to do with that useless information?!
At least that caution sign has a clear meaing. In my area the wording is "Share the Road" beneath a bike icon. I always assumed motorists read this as: "Hey bikes, get out of the way even though your sorry excuse for infrastructure has been temporarily taken away." Where possible, I ride on the wrong side of the cone line in construction zones - I've never had anyone question me on this.

facepalm

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Re: Biking is dangerous
« Reply #118 on: September 12, 2017, 12:04:09 AM »
The real problem here is the attitude of those who put a negative connotation on cycling due to its "dangerous" nature. Many things in life are "dangerous" yet people still choose to partake, usually because they enjoy the activity. You must learn to assume a certain level of risk with anything you do, regardless of the available safety measures. For example, I cycle, fly airplanes, and used to race dirt track cars. Are there dangers involved in all of these? Certainly, I could die doing any of these. And yes, I choose to wear the level of protective equipment that I deem appropriate, but this doesn't guarantee I won't be injured or killed. The real reason myself and most others do these things is because we enjoy them. I absolutely love biking to work 19 miles round trip everyday. I love flying any chance I get. And racing will always be my greatest passion. I would much rather die participating in something that brings me pure joy and improves quality of life than spending 100 years stressing about all the "dangers" of the world.

I ride a motorcycle and lane split regularly. Riding a bike on the shoulder is a safety paradise in comparison.

I also never ride without full gear and a full face helmet, and brush up on my riding skills every two years. hell, I won't ride on a day my gut tells me otherwise. I minimize the risks as much as I can. In spite of all that, I could be killed due to no fault of my own.

Someone in an earlier post mentioned hi-viz gear: It may keep bicyclists safe, but the data on motorcyclists is inconclusive.

Carless

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Re: Biking is dangerous
« Reply #119 on: September 13, 2017, 06:35:11 AM »
Our city likes to put construction signage in the bike lane.  My favourite was when the only thing obstructing the bike lane was a sign telling drivers to share the road. 

JLee

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Re: Biking is dangerous
« Reply #120 on: September 24, 2017, 06:23:06 PM »
That said, cars require highly regulated safety and visibility features. I don't think it is too much to ask bikers to have similar features that increases visibility. If you are riding a rode in cloudy weather or dusk, you should have bright lights on the front and back.

Cars require the safety features because they kill tens of thousands of people every year.

While I'm not opposed to requiring safety features on bicycles, given that more pedestrians are killed by cars every year than cyclists surely the rules should also apply to people walking?  A bright light front and rear and the requirement that fluorescent clothing be worn every time you walk at night or when it's overcast will make you safer from cars.  (Let's not even touch on the dangers of walking without a helmet!)

I assume that this sounds reasonable to you?  If not, why not?

If you make a habit of walking a city road at twilight, you probably should be told to wear something more visible or get off the road. Bikers want them to have the rules of the road when it benefits them, so I think they should follow all the rules of the road....Not riding through red lights, visibilty, etc.

I'm not talking about riding in a neighborhood or on a bike trail, I'm concern with busy city streets where it is legitimately hard for a driver to see a biker at night.

Nobody has advocated for cyclists to break any laws in this whole thread.  I've consistently said that cyclists should follow the rules of the road.  You want to change the rules of the road to require that cyclists have bright front and rear lights if it's cloudy outsider for safety from cars.  You haven't explained why an activity that has more deaths every year caused by automobile (walking) should be exempt from the very rules you're pushing for cyclists to adopt.  That's not very consistent.  You simply percieve cycling on the road as inherently dangerous and thus are pushing for special rules for cyclists.  It's a common response.

There is a difference between percieved danger and real danger.  Pedestrians don't walk down the road typically . . . Yet more of them are hit by cars every year than cyclists. The case for lights on pedestrians is stronger than the one for cyclists.  Percieved danger of walking is low though - even though mile for mile it's actually pretty dangerous.  When percieved danger of an activity goes up, fewer people do it.  Study after study has shown that when there are fewer cyclists on roads, the roads get more dangerous for cyclists.  By requiring all of this additional safety equipment you are increasing the percieved danger of cycling, and will likely discourage cyclists.  That has a net impact of making the roads less safe for cyclists.  This is why most places have given up on helmet laws . . . Though well intentioned, they actually make things worse overall.

Should you wear a helmet?  Sure.  Should you use lights?  Yep.  Should it be legislated?  This isn't as clear cut a yes or no as it seems at first glance.  The danger to cyclists is predominantly automobiles.  Getting more bikes on the road means that drivers learn how to behave around cyclists, are more likely to educate themselves about the rules of the road, and will result in fewer deaths/injuries.

NHTSA says most people are hit when they cross the road at a location other than an intersection. Your claim of "pedestrians don't walk down the road but they get hit all the time" is a bit silly unless you can prove that pedestrians are routinely being hit on the sidewalk.

Everywhere I've lived, cyclists are required to follow traffic rules. This includes stopping at stop signs, traffic lights, signalling for turns, and using lights at night. I'd be happy if I saw that.

Kriegsspiel

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Re: Biking is dangerous
« Reply #121 on: September 24, 2017, 06:43:15 PM »

Blissful Biker

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Re: Biking is dangerous
« Reply #122 on: September 24, 2017, 07:20:26 PM »
My daily bike commute is a favorite part of my day.  Fresh air, sunshine, pedals turning in a steady rhythm.  I can breathe and know that the world is a beautiful place.

Sure, there is a wee bit of risk but everything we do has risk, including doing nothing at all.  Get out there and enjoy the ride.

GuitarStv

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Re: Biking is dangerous
« Reply #123 on: September 25, 2017, 07:02:01 AM »
That said, cars require highly regulated safety and visibility features. I don't think it is too much to ask bikers to have similar features that increases visibility. If you are riding a rode in cloudy weather or dusk, you should have bright lights on the front and back.

Cars require the safety features because they kill tens of thousands of people every year.

While I'm not opposed to requiring safety features on bicycles, given that more pedestrians are killed by cars every year than cyclists surely the rules should also apply to people walking?  A bright light front and rear and the requirement that fluorescent clothing be worn every time you walk at night or when it's overcast will make you safer from cars.  (Let's not even touch on the dangers of walking without a helmet!)

I assume that this sounds reasonable to you?  If not, why not?

If you make a habit of walking a city road at twilight, you probably should be told to wear something more visible or get off the road. Bikers want them to have the rules of the road when it benefits them, so I think they should follow all the rules of the road....Not riding through red lights, visibilty, etc.

I'm not talking about riding in a neighborhood or on a bike trail, I'm concern with busy city streets where it is legitimately hard for a driver to see a biker at night.

Nobody has advocated for cyclists to break any laws in this whole thread.  I've consistently said that cyclists should follow the rules of the road.  You want to change the rules of the road to require that cyclists have bright front and rear lights if it's cloudy outsider for safety from cars.  You haven't explained why an activity that has more deaths every year caused by automobile (walking) should be exempt from the very rules you're pushing for cyclists to adopt.  That's not very consistent.  You simply percieve cycling on the road as inherently dangerous and thus are pushing for special rules for cyclists.  It's a common response.

There is a difference between percieved danger and real danger.  Pedestrians don't walk down the road typically . . . Yet more of them are hit by cars every year than cyclists. The case for lights on pedestrians is stronger than the one for cyclists.  Percieved danger of walking is low though - even though mile for mile it's actually pretty dangerous.  When percieved danger of an activity goes up, fewer people do it.  Study after study has shown that when there are fewer cyclists on roads, the roads get more dangerous for cyclists.  By requiring all of this additional safety equipment you are increasing the percieved danger of cycling, and will likely discourage cyclists.  That has a net impact of making the roads less safe for cyclists.  This is why most places have given up on helmet laws . . . Though well intentioned, they actually make things worse overall.

Should you wear a helmet?  Sure.  Should you use lights?  Yep.  Should it be legislated?  This isn't as clear cut a yes or no as it seems at first glance.  The danger to cyclists is predominantly automobiles.  Getting more bikes on the road means that drivers learn how to behave around cyclists, are more likely to educate themselves about the rules of the road, and will result in fewer deaths/injuries.

NHTSA says most people are hit when they cross the road at a location other than an intersection. Your claim of "pedestrians don't walk down the road but they get hit all the time" is a bit silly unless you can prove that pedestrians are routinely being hit on the sidewalk.

Everywhere I've lived, cyclists are required to follow traffic rules. This includes stopping at stop signs, traffic lights, signalling for turns, and using lights at night. I'd be happy if I saw that.

Crossing the road != walking down the road.

I'd also be happy to see everyone follow traffic rules . . . cyclists and motorists both.  For every cyclist running a stop sign, there are at least ten motorists breaking speed limits that I see on my typical rides for example.

meghan88

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Re: Biking is dangerous
« Reply #124 on: September 25, 2017, 05:49:20 PM »
My daily bike commute is a favorite part of my day.  Fresh air, sunshine, pedals turning in a steady rhythm.  I can breathe and know that the world is a beautiful place.

Sure, there is a wee bit of risk but everything we do has risk, including doing nothing at all.  Get out there and enjoy the ride.

Amen.  Biking is:  (1) tranquility; (2) freedom; (3) independence; (4) savings; (5) a parking space boon I that I am happy to help create for clown car drivers due to the liberation of the parking spot I won't be using; (6) a badge of overall badassity; (7) a $60/month eco-bonus from my employer; and (8) cleaner air for all.

Plus I love spending my own fat to get to work each day.  Bonus:  not a whole lot of fat to spend.

JLee

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Re: Biking is dangerous
« Reply #125 on: September 26, 2017, 12:18:51 AM »
That said, cars require highly regulated safety and visibility features. I don't think it is too much to ask bikers to have similar features that increases visibility. If you are riding a rode in cloudy weather or dusk, you should have bright lights on the front and back.

Cars require the safety features because they kill tens of thousands of people every year.

While I'm not opposed to requiring safety features on bicycles, given that more pedestrians are killed by cars every year than cyclists surely the rules should also apply to people walking?  A bright light front and rear and the requirement that fluorescent clothing be worn every time you walk at night or when it's overcast will make you safer from cars.  (Let's not even touch on the dangers of walking without a helmet!)

I assume that this sounds reasonable to you?  If not, why not?

If you make a habit of walking a city road at twilight, you probably should be told to wear something more visible or get off the road. Bikers want them to have the rules of the road when it benefits them, so I think they should follow all the rules of the road....Not riding through red lights, visibilty, etc.

I'm not talking about riding in a neighborhood or on a bike trail, I'm concern with busy city streets where it is legitimately hard for a driver to see a biker at night.

Nobody has advocated for cyclists to break any laws in this whole thread.  I've consistently said that cyclists should follow the rules of the road.  You want to change the rules of the road to require that cyclists have bright front and rear lights if it's cloudy outsider for safety from cars.  You haven't explained why an activity that has more deaths every year caused by automobile (walking) should be exempt from the very rules you're pushing for cyclists to adopt.  That's not very consistent.  You simply percieve cycling on the road as inherently dangerous and thus are pushing for special rules for cyclists.  It's a common response.

There is a difference between percieved danger and real danger.  Pedestrians don't walk down the road typically . . . Yet more of them are hit by cars every year than cyclists. The case for lights on pedestrians is stronger than the one for cyclists.  Percieved danger of walking is low though - even though mile for mile it's actually pretty dangerous.  When percieved danger of an activity goes up, fewer people do it.  Study after study has shown that when there are fewer cyclists on roads, the roads get more dangerous for cyclists.  By requiring all of this additional safety equipment you are increasing the percieved danger of cycling, and will likely discourage cyclists.  That has a net impact of making the roads less safe for cyclists.  This is why most places have given up on helmet laws . . . Though well intentioned, they actually make things worse overall.

Should you wear a helmet?  Sure.  Should you use lights?  Yep.  Should it be legislated?  This isn't as clear cut a yes or no as it seems at first glance.  The danger to cyclists is predominantly automobiles.  Getting more bikes on the road means that drivers learn how to behave around cyclists, are more likely to educate themselves about the rules of the road, and will result in fewer deaths/injuries.

NHTSA says most people are hit when they cross the road at a location other than an intersection. Your claim of "pedestrians don't walk down the road but they get hit all the time" is a bit silly unless you can prove that pedestrians are routinely being hit on the sidewalk.

Everywhere I've lived, cyclists are required to follow traffic rules. This includes stopping at stop signs, traffic lights, signalling for turns, and using lights at night. I'd be happy if I saw that.

Crossing the road != walking down the road.

I'd also be happy to see everyone follow traffic rules . . . cyclists and motorists both.  For every cyclist running a stop sign, there are at least ten motorists breaking speed limits that I see on my typical rides for example.

And for every motorist breaking the speed limit in the downtown and college campus area where I worked as a police officer, there were probably 30 cyclists running stop signs (or riding without lights at night, or going the wrong way on one-way streets).

We can play the anecdote game all day...

barbaz

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Re: Biking is dangerous
« Reply #126 on: September 26, 2017, 12:34:34 AM »
or going the wrong way on one-way streets).

We can play the anecdote game all day...
In my driving theory lessons, when we were talking about traffic signs, the instructor showed a picture of a "one way - except bicycles" sign and said "here bikers are allowed to do what they'd do anyway"

Raenia

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Re: Biking is dangerous
« Reply #127 on: September 26, 2017, 05:50:58 AM »
And for every motorist breaking the speed limit in the downtown and college campus area where I worked as a police officer, there were probably 30 cyclists running stop signs (or riding without lights at night, or going the wrong way on one-way streets).

We can play the anecdote game all day...

Man, I wish that was the case where I live!  I've been honked at while driving 5 over the speed limit (in a car) because the guy behind though I should be going faster.  I've been passed on the left while I was signalling a left turn - the guy swerved into the turn lane that I was attempting to enter in order to pass because he was mad that I had slowed down to turn.  Just as many cars run stop signs as bikes (more, probably, since there's a lot more cars on the roads).  I used to play a game while driving in heavy rain - count what proportion of the cars I passed in the other lane had their lights on - I get a pretty consistent 20% with no lights.  I think probably on average a car driver is just as likely to break traffic laws as a bike is, and less likely to have any consequences for it.

GuitarStv

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Re: Biking is dangerous
« Reply #128 on: September 26, 2017, 08:01:14 AM »
People are people.  There are plenty of terrible cyclists, and there are plenty of terrible motorists.  I suspect that cyclists get seen more often when breaking rules than cars do because:
- There are fewer cyclists on the road, so it's more of a novelty to come across a cyclist rather than a car.
- Cyclists break different rules than cars do generally.  Rolling slowly through a stop sign or a red light on a bike is very visible rule breaking.  Speeding in a car, or passing within 3 feet of a cyclist in a car are so common place that they're hardly noticed.
- Traffic rules are optimized for automobiles and don't always make sense for cyclists to follow.  (For example, if there's a T intersections with stop lights and you're travelling straight through in a bike lane on the side without the adjoining road.  It makes little sense for a bike to stop at these lights when they're red.  Cars that are turning from the adjoining road should be turning into one of the two road lanes, not the bike lane.)

While it absolutely doesn't excuse bad behavior of cyclists, there is a significant difference between rule breaking in cars and on bikes that is often ignored in these conversations.  When a cyclist breaks rules he is putting himself at risk.  When a motorist breaks rules he is putting himself and others at risk.  This is well supported by data . . . it's incredibly rare for a cyclist to kill someone in a collision, whereas automobile accidents kill more than 10 a day in the US alone.

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Re: Biking is dangerous
« Reply #129 on: September 26, 2017, 08:45:40 AM »
- Traffic rules are optimized for automobiles and don't always make sense for cyclists to follow.  (For example, if there's a T intersections with stop lights and you're travelling straight through in a bike lane on the side without the adjoining road.  It makes little sense for a bike to stop at these lights when they're red.  Cars that are turning from the adjoining road should be turning into one of the two road lanes, not the bike lane.)
There could be a cyclist turning from the adjoining road into the bike lane; however, I haven't come across any cyclists who would be upset because they had to merge with the cyclist who rolled through a red light at the top of a T intersection.

Since 1982, Idaho law has basically allowed cyclists to treat a stop signs as a yeild signs and a red lights as a stop signs. AB 1103 would privide a similar law for California if passed.

In 2015, cyclists in San Francisco staged a protest in response to the police chief declaring a crackdown on cyclists running stop signs and stop lights. They turned up en mass on a popular route and each took their turn one by one stoping at each stop sign. I don't know if the police present pulled over angry drivers that passed the cyclists illegally, but at least one officer did say "Thank you for obeying the law" over their patrol car loudspeakers.

soupcxan

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Re: Biking is dangerous
« Reply #130 on: September 26, 2017, 09:04:07 AM »
Sorry but the fact is biking on shared roads with cars and trucks is dangerous and getting worse. I don't care how much money it saves. I could save a lot of money riding a motorcycle instead of a car but I'd would rather be around to enjoy it. I'll stick to biking on trails without large vehicles.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/health/ct-adult-cycling-fatalities-20170824-story.html

dougules

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Re: Biking is dangerous
« Reply #131 on: September 26, 2017, 10:37:29 AM »
- Traffic rules are optimized for automobiles and don't always make sense for cyclists to follow.  (For example, if there's a T intersections with stop lights and you're travelling straight through in a bike lane on the side without the adjoining road.  It makes little sense for a bike to stop at these lights when they're red.  Cars that are turning from the adjoining road should be turning into one of the two road lanes, not the bike lane.)
There could be a cyclist turning from the adjoining road into the bike lane; however, I haven't come across any cyclists who would be upset because they had to merge with the cyclist who rolled through a red light at the top of a T intersection.

Since 1982, Idaho law has basically allowed cyclists to treat a stop signs as a yeild signs and a red lights as a stop signs. AB 1103 would privide a similar law for California if passed.

In 2015, cyclists in San Francisco staged a protest in response to the police chief declaring a crackdown on cyclists running stop signs and stop lights. They turned up en mass on a popular route and each took their turn one by one stoping at each stop sign. I don't know if the police present pulled over angry drivers that passed the cyclists illegally, but at least one officer did say "Thank you for obeying the law" over their patrol car loudspeakers.

Stop signs, one-way streets, etc. didn't exist until cars came along.  They're based on an assumption that almost all traffic would be cars, and that has become self-fulfilling prophecy.  Cyclists should obey the law, but then the law needs to be written with cyclists in mind just as much as cars.  Good for Idaho. 

GuitarStv

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Re: Biking is dangerous
« Reply #132 on: September 26, 2017, 10:59:57 AM »
Are there ways to significantly limit the dangers of cycling if you still want to do it?  The data would seem to indicate 'yeah, probably':

https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812382
http://www.bhsi.org/stats.htm

Stay off the sidewalks/don't go the wrong way down a one way street/cycle where you're supposed to:
- 6% of cyclists were killed while cycling on the shoulder of the road.
- 3% were killed while cycling in a bike lane
- 28% were killed while at an intersection
- A whopping 61% killed were not at any of the the above (hello sidewalk cyclists!).


Don't ride your bike drunk:
- Just over 25% of cyclists killed had been drinking before riding their bikes.


Wear a helmet:
- About half of all cyclist deaths occur when the cyclist isn't wearing a helmet.


Distrust people driving light trucks:
- 45% of all deaths are caused by SUV, Van, and pickup truck drivers.

JLee

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Re: Biking is dangerous
« Reply #133 on: September 26, 2017, 08:01:45 PM »
And for every motorist breaking the speed limit in the downtown and college campus area where I worked as a police officer, there were probably 30 cyclists running stop signs (or riding without lights at night, or going the wrong way on one-way streets).

We can play the anecdote game all day...

Man, I wish that was the case where I live!  I've been honked at while driving 5 over the speed limit (in a car) because the guy behind though I should be going faster.  I've been passed on the left while I was signalling a left turn - the guy swerved into the turn lane that I was attempting to enter in order to pass because he was mad that I had slowed down to turn.  Just as many cars run stop signs as bikes (more, probably, since there's a lot more cars on the roads).  I used to play a game while driving in heavy rain - count what proportion of the cars I passed in the other lane had their lights on - I get a pretty consistent 20% with no lights.  I think probably on average a car driver is just as likely to break traffic laws as a bike is, and less likely to have any consequences for it.

I live in NJ now and it's wildly different.  I had someone behind me get on the horn while I was stopped for a pedestrian in a crosswalk....drivers here are terrible.  Somehow they seem to rarely crash into anything, though.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2017, 04:59:28 PM by JLee »

jmecklenborg

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Re: Biking is dangerous
« Reply #134 on: September 27, 2017, 04:44:46 PM »
Don't ride your bike drunk:
- Just over 25% of cyclists killed had been drinking before riding their bikes.


I'd expect that a fair number of these people are either DUI people riding their bikes home from bars or homeless guys on bikes.  We had a guy near where I live discovered days after he disappeared...he had ridden home from a bar and flipped over a guardrail and then downhill into the woods.  Unlike with a car, there was no sign of damage to the guardrail or trees so it was some time before they found him in the woods.  He might not have been killed by the wreck but he did not survive 2-3 days without any medical care. 

As for helmets, don't get a cheap one.  I rode with a $50 one for about 10 years, then finally got one that cost about $150.  No comparison.  Much more comfortable and aerodynamic in all situations, including side winds. 

kayvent

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Re: Biking is dangerous
« Reply #135 on: September 27, 2017, 06:18:36 PM »
Listening to the radio today, about 6% of the driving population in my city per year gets into a traffic collision due to someone running a red light. As someone who exists in my city as a motorist, bycyclist, and pedestrian, this is a terrifying stat.

Don't ride your bike drunk:
- Just over 25% of cyclists killed had been drinking before riding their bikes.


I'd expect that a fair number of these people are either DUI people riding their bikes home from bars or homeless guys on bikes.  We had a guy near where I live discovered days after he disappeared...he had ridden home from a bar and flipped over a guardrail and then downhill into the woods.  Unlike with a car, there was no sign of damage to the guardrail or trees so it was some time before they found him in the woods.  He might not have been killed by the wreck but he did not survive 2-3 days without any medical care. 

As for helmets, don't get a cheap one.  I rode with a $50 one for about 10 years, then finally got one that cost about $150.  No comparison.  Much more comfortable and aerodynamic in all situations, including side winds. 


I worry about that when biking on the trail.

GuitarStv

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Re: Biking is dangerous
« Reply #136 on: September 28, 2017, 07:32:17 AM »
Listening to the radio today, about 6% of the driving population in my city per year gets into a traffic collision due to someone running a red light. As someone who exists in my city as a motorist, bycyclist, and pedestrian, this is a terrifying stat.

I pass maybe 15 - 20 lights on my way to work biking or driving.  I can't remember a time where I've seen fewer than ten people running reds on my way to work.  You just adapt your driving/cycling to match what other cars do.

barbaz

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Re: Biking is dangerous
« Reply #137 on: September 28, 2017, 07:55:19 AM »
Sorry but the fact is biking on shared roads with cars and trucks is dangerous and getting worse. I don't care how much money it saves. I could save a lot of money riding a motorcycle instead of a car but I'd would rather be around to enjoy it. I'll stick to biking on trails without large vehicles.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/health/ct-adult-cycling-fatalities-20170824-story.html
This is exactly the sort of BS story that MMM complained about in his blog posts.

Look at these actual people who died on their bikes, but no word about those who died in their cars in the same time. The article even says more people are biking, so obviously the numbers go up. It's not getting worse. It also says biking is more dangerous at night, but the lesson here is not to switch back to cars but to turn yourself into a christmas tree before going out.

Obviously, some common sense is required. Some streets are not suitable for biking and must be avoided. But you can control some of the risks and make biking safer than these clickbait articles imply.

GuitarStv

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Re: Biking is dangerous
« Reply #138 on: September 28, 2017, 08:03:04 AM »
It also says biking is more dangerous at night, but the lesson here is not to switch back to cars but to turn yourself into a christmas tree before going out.

It makes sense that cycling at night would be more dangerous, but if you check out the link I posted a little back . . . cycling deaths during the day vs during the night are about the same.  It would be interesting to compare numbers of cyclists during the day vs at night to see how much more dangerous it is, but that data isn't available anywhere that I can find it.

Quote
you can control some of the risks and make biking safer than these clickbait articles imply.

Heck, if you don't bike on the sidewalk (61% of deaths) and don't bike drunk (25% of deaths) you're already radically reducing your danger levels.  Throw in some common sense things (wear a helmet, use lights and reflective gear at nights, pick routes for safety where possible) and I suspect that the actual danger level drops quite significantly.

marielle

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Re: Biking is dangerous
« Reply #139 on: September 28, 2017, 08:17:36 AM »
What's the consensus in riding through bad neighborhoods at night, especially being female? Is it better to ride on 4 lane main roads with faster speed limits? Not sure if there's a statistic on assaults with cyclists. I guess my biggest concern is the bad area I ride through is gonna be at the same time for the most part, same day each week. So someone could definitely plan to catch me if they notice the pattern.

robartsd

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Re: Biking is dangerous
« Reply #140 on: September 28, 2017, 08:26:31 AM »
As for helmets, don't get a cheap one.  I rode with a $50 one for about 10 years, then finally got one that cost about $150.  No comparison.  Much more comfortable and aerodynamic in all situations, including side winds.
I agree that more expensive helments are often more comforatable and/or aerodynamic; however, there's no reason to think a more expensive helmet will provide more protection (unless you fail to use the cheap one because you dislike it too much). The biggest difference I see between cheap amd more expensive helmets is the ammount of ventilation. Using more expensive materials allows the manufacturer to meet the safety requirements with more space for air to flow through. This can make a big difference in comfort when riding on hot days.

GuitarStv

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Re: Biking is dangerous
« Reply #141 on: September 28, 2017, 08:33:57 AM »
What's the consensus in riding through bad neighborhoods at night, especially being female? Is it better to ride on 4 lane main roads with faster speed limits? Not sure if there's a statistic on assaults with cyclists. I guess my biggest concern is the bad area I ride through is gonna be at the same time for the most part, same day each week. So someone could definitely plan to catch me if they notice the pattern.

My wife (5', 100 lbs woman) has been hassled once while riding at night to our local library (somebody actually ran out into the street and tried to push her off her bike - very scary).  She prefers busy streets to dark/quiet residential ones for this reason.  I'm 6' and 200 lbs, regularly do night rides all over the place (through bad neighbourhoods), and have never had anything like that happen to me in my life.

If you can't re-route, maybe check out something like this:  https://www.amazon.com/Pepper-Spray-Bike-Mount-stem/dp/B00LBAJGL2 .

marielle

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Re: Biking is dangerous
« Reply #142 on: September 28, 2017, 08:39:04 AM »
What's the consensus in riding through bad neighborhoods at night, especially being female? Is it better to ride on 4 lane main roads with faster speed limits? Not sure if there's a statistic on assaults with cyclists. I guess my biggest concern is the bad area I ride through is gonna be at the same time for the most part, same day each week. So someone could definitely plan to catch me if they notice the pattern.

My wife (5', 100 lbs woman) has been hassled once while riding at night to our local library (somebody actually ran out into the street and tried to push her off her bike - very scary).  She prefers busy streets to dark/quiet residential ones for this reason.  I'm 6' and 200 lbs, regularly do night rides all over the place (through bad neighbourhoods), and have never had anything like that happen to me in my life.

If you can't re-route, maybe check out something like this:  https://www.amazon.com/Pepper-Spray-Bike-Mount-stem/dp/B00LBAJGL2 .

I think there's a better way that adds about half a mile and stays on main roads a bit more. I'll have to try it out next week. I think I'm more concerned about someone in a car trying to chase me down, but worst case scenario I guess I could go off road since I have a hybrid bike?

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Re: Biking is dangerous
« Reply #143 on: September 28, 2017, 09:03:19 AM »
What's the consensus in riding through bad neighborhoods at night, especially being female? Is it better to ride on 4 lane main roads with faster speed limits? Not sure if there's a statistic on assaults with cyclists. I guess my biggest concern is the bad area I ride through is gonna be at the same time for the most part, same day each week. So someone could definitely plan to catch me if they notice the pattern.

Interference-wise you'll get far less biking while female than you do walking or jogging while female. You'll be harder to grab and to attack. Also, you won't be in the field of view for as long, so you'll have far less of the disruptive, aggressive horn-honking, catcalling, or throwing of objects. You can still expect to get the occasional drink or piece of garbage thrown at you but that's normal.

Once in a while there will be someone who tries to bump you or run you off the road for riding while female, but in that respect it's no different from riding a motorcycle while female.

I do recommend dressing in loose fitting clothing, carrying a weapon of some sort that you know how to use, and avoiding a "female" attention-seeking bling bike, and varying your route and times. But that applies to walking and jogging while female too.
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GuitarStv

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Re: Biking is dangerous
« Reply #144 on: September 28, 2017, 09:15:51 AM »
You can still expect to get the occasional drink or piece of garbage thrown at you but that's normal.

Yep.  It's (sadly) an essential part of the experience of cycling around pickup trucks.  :P


FWIW though, my wife has much less stuff thrown at her than I do so being a woman might offer some protection in this area.

RidetheRain

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Re: Biking is dangerous
« Reply #145 on: September 28, 2017, 09:33:24 AM »
You can still expect to get the occasional drink or piece of garbage thrown at you but that's normal.

Yep.  It's (sadly) an essential part of the experience of cycling around pickup trucks.  :P


FWIW though, my wife has much less stuff thrown at her than I do so being a woman might offer some protection in this area.

I've never had something thrown at me, but I do get some crappy people driving too close so they can "talk" with me.
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barbaz

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Re: Biking is dangerous
« Reply #146 on: September 28, 2017, 10:01:34 AM »
It makes sense that cycling at night would be more dangerous, but if you check out the link I posted a little back . . . cycling deaths during the day vs during the night are about the same.  It would be interesting to compare numbers of cyclists during the day vs at night to see how much more dangerous it is, but that data isn't available anywhere that I can find it.
The Chicago Tribune article says deaths are equal but only 20% of rides are at night, that would make it 4 times more dangerous, although it probably also correlates strongly with drunk biking so it's still hard to tell what you'd get as a reasonable biker with lights.

honeybbq

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Re: Biking is dangerous
« Reply #147 on: September 28, 2017, 10:15:59 AM »


Distrust people driving light trucks:
- 45% of all deaths are caused by SUV, Van, and pickup truck drivers.

Wouldn't that mean 55% are from regular cars and we should distrust them MORE?

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Re: Biking is dangerous
« Reply #148 on: September 28, 2017, 10:31:55 AM »


Distrust people driving light trucks:
- 45% of all deaths are caused by SUV, Van, and pickup truck drivers.

Wouldn't that mean 55% are from regular cars and we should distrust them MORE?

You have to compare the number of deaths per vehicle type with the proportion of that sort of vehicle on the road. The 45%-of-deaths statistic would be more useful if we knew the percentage of the vehicles on the road that fell into that group.
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jmecklenborg

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Re: Biking is dangerous
« Reply #149 on: September 28, 2017, 11:00:21 AM »
I've been attacked numerous times why bicycling. 

1. was sucker punched while bicycling very slowly on a downtown sidewalk by a 11 or 12 year-old kid.  I was a pretty weak punch. 
2. had a group of teenagers attempt to steal my bike while I was walking it and talking on my cell phone.  I punched one of them in the nose while still holding the phone, which broke the phone, but they all ran off. 
3. was ambushed late at night while biking up a hill by three teenagers.  They pushed me into a parked car and I rolled my ankle while bailing from the bike (but didn't feel that until the next day).  I realized that none of them could ride a bike since one of them threw my bike at me, which broke the seat.  The big loss in this incident wasn't my wallet, which had a grand total of about $20 in it, but my new eye glasses which were punched off my face and run over by a car.  They cost about $400 to replace.  The only reason I gave them the wallet was because they claimed they had a gun, but they never flashed it.   
4.  a week after incident 3 I was riding at night near a hospital and was chased on foot by a guy who was about 20, but I was able to ride away without him reaching me. 

Much scarier than any of these incidents were my many run-ins with loose dogs.  I have been bitten twice, once in the heal and another time just below the ankle.  The scariest dog was a mad dog in Kentucky.  I had never seen a mad dog before but there was no mistaking it when it appeared from nowhere and ran at over 20mph after me.  I was on a commuter bike, not a road bike, so I was barely able to stay in front of it.  Then it randomly veered off to chase an imaginary object. 

The big problem with dogs is when you're going uphill.  If they want to bite you, you're a sitting duck.  Sometimes they look like they're contained by a farm's fence but they'll run to some spot where they can get under it.