Author Topic: biking and not dying  (Read 7362 times)

InnTee

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #50 on: February 28, 2017, 12:07:58 PM »
I've biked for errands and recreationally (don't have a commute). No collisions with cars. My scariest moment was biking home after an appointment at the eye doctor where my eyes were dilated. Don't do this! It messes with your depth perception, and I made a left turn and fell right over. Unassisted...

One other tip, I really liked having a helmet-mounted light since I could shine it right at the drivers who looked like they wanted to pull out in front of me. Got their attention & kept me safe. Plus it's easier to see around corners than just a handlebar light.

GuitarStv

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #51 on: February 28, 2017, 12:54:43 PM »
If we're giving out tips earned by personal stupidity:

I once tried to save batteries by putting my front headlight into strobe mode while cycling home along an unlit path during the winter.  No problems up until the first corner, where I flew right off the path and narrowly avoided a tree.  Your brain does not interpret spatial information given by strobing lights properly.  (I later tried bouncing a ball against a wall and catching it in a darkened room with a strobing bike light to confirm this . . . everyone should try it at least once because it seems like it should be easy but is damned near impossible to catch that ball.)
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mm1970

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #52 on: February 28, 2017, 02:12:48 PM »
Ugh this is something I've thought a lot about in the last week - some of my coworkers are stereotypically suburbanite and think my city is a hotbed of gunshot deaths and bicycle deaths. I was grilled a couple of times last week, and I'm not even riding much yet this year. They also think I'll get murdered riding the Metro. Or doing anything outside my house, car, or an upscale grocery store, apparently. Then to add to the fear mongering I've been reading a bunch of long distance rider's blogs (I'm dying for spring) and every single one has a story about a death or serious injury. Statistically I know the numbers, but it's a lot of chatter lately.


I wear bright colors and a crap ton of reflective clothing. My bike has two headlights and two taillights in the winter, plus spoke lights. I was stopped by a garbage collector early in the winter who commended my lighting - he could see me from over a block away in a hilly part of the neighborhood. Being a car driver and seeing how invisible pedestrians are in the dark, my reflective gear and lighting is over the top and I've started wearing a lot of it when I'm walking now. Even my dog has a flashing light collar.

I often stick to bike paths or routes with lanes in the city, mostly as a taxpaying citizen that wants to be seen using them when my neighborhood is currently very divided on the city putting in so many bike lanes.

My best-working strategy that causes cars to move a full lane over for me: look like a girl. Wearing sundresses gets me the most room. I've experimented on the same route at the same time of day in a variety of clothes and bike shorts/jersey nets me the least passing margin; dresses the most. Actually, dress with a bike trailer behind me got me the most but I only use it for Costco trips. Anything that gets you noticed rather than blending in with other vehicles increases safety, in my area anyway.

I don't have any close call stories but I've been clipped by cars while walking across intersections in the past, so I'm sure it's a matter of time. If I'm not comfortable at a left turn I'll just walk the crosswalks instead.


I do love being able to hear and smell everything around me when I'm cycling. I feel much safer cycling or walking than I do driving, actually, because I feel like I'm more aware of my surroundings when I'm not in turn surrounded by a metal cage with the radio playing.
I relate to this.  Health, schedule, and weather permitting, spouse and I bike to work 2 days a week.  We each bike one direction, leave our bikes at work in between, and swap the car midday.

I try to be *very* visible.  We have strobe red tail lights, bright head lights, and a fluorescent vest with reflective tape. For Christmas, I added spoke lights - bought 2 sets.  I've used them only once (weather, illness).  But assuming that I can find my bike bags, we are due to use them again tomorrow.

I try to be really bright, and also assume that cars don't see me.

I find that regular bike commuting makes me MUCH more aware of bicyclists than when I'm just driving.  This morning I needed to turn right onto a ramp, and there was a bike in the bike lane.  Car in front of me went, but I was pretty sure I couldn't make it without cutting him off, so I stopped with my signal on and let him go by.  He waved.  Since I never know if the cars *behind* me are going to be so nice, I figured I might as well be.

BTDretire

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #53 on: February 28, 2017, 06:07:12 PM »
I'm very interested in this topic because I'm planning to increase my cycling.  I need to get some better clothing.  I invested in some great lights.

Check out this website which is awesome with techniques to bike defensively.

http://bicyclesafe.com/

If anyone has some discount price reflective clothing ideas please share the links. 

An anecdotal car story.  I think we forget all of our scary car mishaps.  I was driving 50 mph on a 2 lane curvy road through town (think highway though).  I was in the left lane.  There was a transport in the right lane that was about 200 feet in front of me.  While on a curve a transport merged and decides while merging he will also pass the other truck.  Fucking idiot.  I slammed on the breaks and had to pull right into the median almost scraping the whole side of my car.  Scared the living shit out of me. 

When I was 17 I was driving through a small town with a car load of my buddies on a way to a baseball game.  Two girls on bikes didn't stop at a stop sign.  I locked up the brakes (when you still could) and skidded sideways and then let off the brakes so I could turn down the road they came from.  I still remember the fear in their eyes.  We got to the game and my whole body was still shaking from the experience.   The whole thing happened so fast that my buddy who was trailing us almost rear ended us. 

About 35 years ago (still strong in my memory) I was stopped waiting for a train at an unguarded traintrack.
 (No gate back then.) As soon as the train ended I crossed the track, oops 'tracks', their was second track with a train going the opposite way that just barely missed me. The timing of that was 1 in ( a great big number)
but it happened to me.

katscratch

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #54 on: February 28, 2017, 06:50:36 PM »
Yes to picking a route for optimal safety/ease of tranpo! My fastest route is actually TWO miles longer than the next fastest route, because there is very little traffic and most of the route has well-marked and well-respected bike lanes.
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Txtriathlete

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #55 on: February 28, 2017, 09:43:18 PM »
  (I later tried bouncing a ball against a wall and catching it in a darkened room with a strobing bike light to confirm this . . . everyone should try it at least once because it seems like it should be easy but is damned near impossible to catch that ball.)

Several pro basketball players use goggles that simulate this strobe effect. Apparently it makes them more accurate shooters in live games where there are photo strobes going off during the game.

SweetTPie

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #56 on: March 01, 2017, 08:30:12 AM »
I'm both a commuter and a rec rider.  My co-workers are convinced that I'm going to get hit by the drivers in the area, because I work in a poorer industrial area.  The scariest incident I've had so far involved an SUV overtaking an 18-wheeler on a 2 lane road, coming at me in my lane to do so.  I just looked up and saw an SUV accelerating right at me, and the truck was already directly to my left.  Thankfully the road was wide enough for all 3 of us, but I was shaking for an hour after that.  I had lights, bright clothes, and all, but you can't always out-plan the self-absorbed twits out there.

I have crashed hard during a rec ride, but that was my own stupid not-paying-attention fault.  Also why I wear a helmet constantly- nothing like looking at the helmet and finding it visibly cracked after doing its job.

jorjor

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #57 on: March 01, 2017, 09:46:30 AM »
Mine happened about 4.5 years ago.

I was on a nice Sunday ride with a friend, coming back down through a residential area after a some climbing. We took a turn a block too early, which was fine (the road was in theory no less bike friendly) other than the fact that I wouldn't have been on that exact road for what happened next.

We were coming down a slight hill on a quiet, residential street. There was a row of parked cars to my right. An oncoming car started turning left across me to go into an alley. He just barely clipped my friend's back wheel, who was ahead of me. The street wasn't particularly wide, so I had nowhere to go. We hit head on, but luckily he slammed on his brakes right after he clipped my friend so his momentum had slowed. I couldn't do the same, because I would have hit the ground and went under the car which would have been much worse.

I was lucky. We hit at a bit of an angle. My left leg was up in the crank, so it hit the fleshy part of my calf first rather than my knee, which would have been bad news. I did a barrel roll up the car which was also lucky, since I escaped any major injury when I shattered the windshield on my way up. I ended up sitting on the roof of the car, legs hanging over the driver's side window. I dismounted and walked around to make sure everything was working properly. My first thought was "I expected that to do more damage" and my first words to my friend were "Well, I knew it would happen someday." The EMTs showed up within a minute or two. They suggested I take an ambulance ride and stay overnight in the hospital to be monitored. I refused (and had to sign a waiver stating I refused) with the reasoning that such a thing was for dying people and I wasn't dying.

The driver was given full blame for the accident by the police. He was a 16 year old kid who had just got his license with his mom in the passenger seat . He kept on yelling "I just fucking hit somebody" when it happened. He told me how much his adrenaline was still pumping 30 minutes after the accident. Oh really? He also admitted that "I was going to turn right, but my mom said to turn left and I just did it without looking." His insurance paid for my bike (which was ripped in half), medical bills, new helmet and gear that got ripped up, and a little bit extra for my troubles.

That's my most eventful story of not dying on my bike, but there are plenty other rides where I did not die. I was riding to work again in my downtown metro area within a couple weeks. Bike got replaced with a new one. I still hit the road plenty, but I spend more time on gravel and off-road trails now. It's more peaceful there anyway.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2017, 09:49:05 AM by jorjor »

Vanguards and Lentils

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #58 on: March 01, 2017, 10:13:28 AM »
The driver was given full blame for the accident by the police. He was a 16 year old kid who had just got his license with his mom in the passenger seat . He kept on yelling "I just fucking hit somebody" when it happened. He told me how much his adrenaline was still pumping 30 minutes after the accident. Oh really? He also admitted that "I was going to turn right, but my mom said to turn left and I just did it without looking." His insurance paid for my bike (which was ripped in half), medical bills, new helmet and gear that got ripped up, and a little bit extra for my troubles.

What the hell. It amazes me that society gives licenses to operate 2-ton machines at great speeds to people with so little driving skill and awareness. I'm amazed that I myself was given a driver license at 17. I was not nearly attentive enough, and it took me becoming a bike commuter, and going through a few (much smaller) scares myself, to make me a more careful car driver.

katscratch

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #59 on: March 01, 2017, 11:12:45 AM »
At least the driver learned that lesson in the beginning of his driving career :/

I agree; I think we should have far stricter requirements for driving. We made our son do just that; he had his permit and thousands of hours behind the wheel before he took his test just before he turned 18 (his permit didn't "expire" but the DMV was very confused as to why he held it so long). He also had been a full time bicycle commuter in the city since he was 12, so I personally think he had a major advantage over kids who weren't used to judging traffic patterns etc.
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jorjor

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #60 on: March 01, 2017, 11:52:21 AM »
At least the driver learned that lesson in the beginning of his driving career :/

And without seriously injuring or killing someone. We were both pretty lucky. I think that came up during our conversation afterwards.

He was a nice kid. He and his mom felt really bad, and were happy that I was okay. I hope he did learn a lesson and is now more careful and attentive at the wheel.

jorjor

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #61 on: March 01, 2017, 11:57:23 AM »
I was not nearly attentive enough, and it took me becoming a bike commuter, and going through a few (much smaller) scares myself, to make me a more careful car driver.

He also had been a full time bicycle commuter in the city since he was 12, so I personally think he had a major advantage over kids who weren't used to judging traffic patterns etc.

I always followed traffic laws, even before this incident. Didn't run red lights, didn't swerve in and out of cars, signaled. I'll tell you what though, I learned a lesson too. I notice and anticipate far more in traffic than I did before, and I think I was starting from a pretty attentive starting point. Shit can happen even when you are following the laws and paying attention, and it isn't always the aggressive driver yelling at you to "get on the sidewalk" that you should really be worried about.

I guess all I can say is to do your best to stay safe, even though that isn't 100% in your hands (of course, it isn't when you're in a car either).
« Last Edit: March 01, 2017, 12:00:06 PM by jorjor »

katscratch

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #62 on: March 01, 2017, 12:06:05 PM »
I was not nearly attentive enough, and it took me becoming a bike commuter, and going through a few (much smaller) scares myself, to make me a more careful car driver.

He also had been a full time bicycle commuter in the city since he was 12, so I personally think he had a major advantage over kids who weren't used to judging traffic patterns etc.

I always followed traffic laws, even before this incident. Didn't run red lights, didn't swerve in and out of cars, signaled. I'll tell you what though, I learned a lesson too. I notice and anticipate far more in traffic than I did before, and I think I was starting from a pretty attentive starting point. Shit can happen even when you are following the laws and paying attention, and it isn't always the aggressive driver yelling at you to "get on the sidewalk" that you should really be worried about.

I guess all I can say is to do your best to stay safe, even though that isn't 100% in your hands (of course, it isn't when you're in a car either).

For sure. That's one of the reasons I prefer biking - it's a lot easier for me to pay attention rather than zoning out to the radio. I bike through neighborhoods that have a higher incidence of new/inexperienced drivers and it's made me much more aware of being predictable myself and noticing how unpredictable car drivers can be (unintentionally for the most part).
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BlueMR2

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #63 on: March 01, 2017, 06:07:34 PM »
I once tried to save batteries by putting my front headlight into strobe mode while cycling home along an unlit path during the winter.  No problems up until the first corner, where I flew right off the path and narrowly avoided a tree.  Your brain does not interpret spatial information given by strobing lights properly.  (I later tried bouncing a ball against a wall and catching it in a darkened room with a strobing bike light to confirm this . . . everyone should try it at least once because it seems like it should be easy but is damned near impossible to catch that ball.)

Ugh, yeah, strobe mode on the front light is the devil when it's actually dark out.  It's fine for identification if it's light out, but when it's dark out, just...  don't...

Retire-Canada

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #64 on: March 01, 2017, 07:19:56 PM »
Ugh, yeah, strobe mode on the front light is the devil when it's actually dark out.  It's fine for identification if it's light out, but when it's dark out, just...  don't...

Whether I am cycling or driving I freaking hate strobes. Especially the super high power LEDs with high speed strobe effects.

dodojojo

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #65 on: March 01, 2017, 07:32:53 PM »
I wonder if low level lights on strobe are also distracting?  At night, my 650 lumen light is on solid but I'll have my tiny 1 or 2 led light on my helmet on strobe.  Occasionally, I'll run my low level $15 front light on strobe along with the 650 light too.

Could strobe or patterned rear lights affect drivers close behind us?

Retire-Canada

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #66 on: March 01, 2017, 08:05:30 PM »
I wonder if low level lights on strobe are also distracting?  At night, my 650 lumen light is on solid but I'll have my tiny 1 or 2 led light on my helmet on strobe.  Occasionally, I'll run my low level $15 front light on strobe along with the 650 light too.

Could strobe or patterned rear lights affect drivers close behind us?

Lower powered strobes bother me far less. I run my rear lights on steady 95% of the time. I have a PDW rear light that has slower pulsing mode that's good for visibility without being super annoying.

My front lights are from Germany where strobes are illegal so that's not even an option. They also have a vertical cut off like a car low beam so the light goes down on the road in front of you for the most part and not equally powerfully into the eyes of an oncoming driver or cyclist.

To me high powered fast strobes are like folks running around with high beams on. Yes you stand out in a crowd, but you do so in an anti-social way that's not making it hard for other people to drive or cycle.

Funnily enough the one thing that stands out to me most on cyclist and makes me aware they are there is reflective ankle bands or reflective pant legs. The pumping motion is really easy to spot from a long way off and they are very visible with a car or bike headlight. Best of all they don't need batteries or cost much.

Scandium

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #67 on: March 02, 2017, 08:34:35 AM »
I almost died two nights ago. At night, both lights blinking, about to make a left turn so I moved to the left of the single lane while hand signaled. The car some distance behind, saw me but instead of slowing down and waiting behind me, he passed me on the left, driving completely in the opposite lane, and nearly hitting me since that was just when I was making the turn. It was scarier due to the fact that they were going 40+ in a 25 mph zone. They had the gall to honk a few seconds later too.

I'm always quite shaken whenever cars almost hit me due to not yielding. If it happened, they would probably just get a slap on the wrist whereas I might be paralyzed. Bicyclists are "annoying", but drivers? Basically 100% of people can empathize with a driver, but <1% with a cyclist.

I have learned to do EVERYTHING I can to avoid left turns in traffic...

There is no way I'd turn left with a car behind me if I'm biking. That's at least 50-50 risk of instant roadkill. Assuming 100% of drivers are retarded psychopaths is a pretty safe bet, and probably not far off the truth..

Our neighborhood is 25 mph with tons of kids and dogs walking, yet people (even those who live here!) fly through at 40 mph+, 2 ft from parked cars with no vision behind. It's insane if you think about it. If a kid runs into the road, even if you (wrongly) get acquitted of manslaughter, would you want your neighbor's kids life on your conscience?! Just to get somewhere 45 sec faster? Not to mention people who think you can rev through a crosswalk the second I'm past the yellow line..

GuitarStv

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #68 on: March 02, 2017, 09:17:47 AM »
I make a several left hand turns on my 20+ mile commute to and from work, including some turns on very busy multi-lane roads.  Four years and no problems thus far.  There are skills that you need to learn to cycle confidently and safely in traffic.  Fear of drivers purposely trying to kill you is unfounded though, nobody wants to buff a cyclist sized dent out of the front bumper.
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