Author Topic: biking and not dying  (Read 9165 times)

wayfinder

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biking and not dying
« on: February 18, 2017, 12:33:24 PM »
Could I hear about some times you biked to work/school/errands and didn't die?  It could be close calls if you'd like to relate the drama, or beautiful easy rides, or perfectly boring non-eventful rides.

I'm feeling inundated by bad news stories.  Seems like for every 1 good-news type article about a relatively senior citizen who still bikes, there are 10 articles linked about a cyclist dying on the road.

I know the statistics are favorable.  I know that the chances of dying on any particular ride are small, and probably about the same as by car.  I feel safer on my bike than in my car (I can see more, hear more, move more freely).  Still, it helps to have external stories of other people's experience to make the abstract more concrete.

I'm the only bike commuter in my social group at work and school.  In my office of about 100 people, only 2 other people even occasionally bike to work.  Generally the clown car drivers in the office are polite, but eventually see fit to ask me if I heard about that one biker in the news that died (no, I didn't, since I don't watch news, because then I too might fear to step outside my door every morning).

Here's my story of a particularly nice ride after about 100 uneventful rides: normal morning commute to class, merging to turn left across 3 lanes of 55mph traffic.  People were understanding and gave space and even one guy rolled down his window and gave me a thumbs up and a sincere sounding "nice move" (I'll admit I did a double take...the thumb is not the finger I expected to see).

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2017, 12:39:50 PM »
Biking and not dying:
Husband was biking through a green light at an intersection. Car turning left ran through a flashing yellow going 25-35 mph and hit him.  His legs have some terrible scaring from the road rash and he has permanent damage to his ankle. But thank god not dead.

Syonyk

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2017, 12:52:18 PM »
I spent a while learning how to be seen in Seattle, since I appeared invisible to Prius drivers who hadn't consumed a morning cup of coffee (also, Ford Escape drivers - almost always one of those two).

What I learned:

Lights don't work beyond a certain point.  You can run out of handlebar space and still not be seen.

Neon helmet covers and neon riding shirts/waterproof jackets are huge.  Those made a radically larger difference than the lights.

People are reasonably predictable in cars, and you learn to look for the idiots - they usually signal half a mile away that they're a moron if you know what to look for.

I also ran with electric bikes for most of my time commuting, because being able to run closer to traffic speed is safer.  And quicker.  And less sweaty.

Vanguards and Lentils

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2017, 01:27:23 PM »
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.

MrsWolfeRN

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2017, 01:29:19 PM »
When I worked 12 hr overnights I would go out for breakfast and drinks with my colleagues on Monday morning after our weekend. One time I figured I was biking so I could have a second drink (these were strong drinks, I would only have one if I had to drive). There I was, drunk at 9am slowly biking home in my scrubs from the night before. It was only about 5 miles, but there were some big hills, and I use a cheap 7 speed hybrid for work due to my more expensive one being stolen there. Out of a parking lot come a pack of cyclists who are biking across America. They have fancy road bikes, spandex shorts, and everything. Whizzed by me up the hill and made me feel like a total loser.

On a more serious note I go out of my way to avoid roads with 4 or more lanes. Also I live on a busy road with gravel shoulders, so trailers are out.

frugaliknowit

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2017, 01:39:50 PM »
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...

Dave1442397

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2017, 04:13:18 PM »
I've cycled 30,623.7 miles since April 2011 without any major issues.

There have been a few idiot drivers who've come too close, but so far I've been able to spot them and get out of trouble.

I find that group rides are safer overall, although you need to know who you're riding with. I've seen quite a few people go down because someone didn't pay attention or just made a dumb move.

I love cycling. It's my favorite way to explore new places and see the scenery. Cycling around Lake Tahoe (approx 72 miles) is so much nicer than driving it.

aperture

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2017, 06:26:53 PM »
Driving with cars - you have to be paranoid.  I wear a goofy glowy yellow green vest and have a mirror on my helmet to keep an eye on what is coming behind me.  I look at every car as if it is going to hit me, and I take zero chances. I spend as little time as possible on streets with traffic and drive bike lanes almost always.  I have gotten to work without incident every day so far this year. Yay!.  -ap.

katscratch

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2017, 07:33:02 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.

Undecided

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2017, 11:26:07 PM »
Within my more than a quarter century of riding bikes a lot, I had ten consecutive years of riding more than 15,000 miles per year; I didn't die. I was hit by cars three times; I didn't die. I had too many crashes to count in road races; I didn't die. I have had a few acquaintances who were less lucky, though. I

Fire2025

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2017, 11:53:48 PM »
I've been biking to work for the almost a decade in LA traffic and nothing serious to report.  Some close calls, I yet at drivers all the time, and I treat every car like it might kill me, but so far so good. 

The funny thing is, the one really serious bike accident I've had was in a rural MN, town with a population of 1300 people.  Not dead, still biking.

nlsquared

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2017, 06:43:39 AM »
Following this thread.  I'd love to start biking the 5 miles to work, but the trip home would be in darkness in a city where there are virtually no bike commuters.

My biggest concern is distracted drivers; I was recently behind a driver clearly texting and driving and swerving dangerously close to the shoulder.  If I had been cycling beside him, he most surely would've hit me or run me off the road.

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2017, 06:52:47 AM »
Driving with cars - you have to be paranoid.  I wear a goofy glowy yellow green vest and have a mirror on my helmet to keep an eye on what is coming behind me.  I look at every car as if it is going to hit me, and I take zero chances. I spend as little time as possible on streets with traffic and drive bike lanes almost always.  I have gotten to work without incident every day so far this year. Yay!.  -ap.

If only there was a way to get to the bike path without going through the intersection!

But yeah- goofy safety vest is a must; and you HAVE to be a defensive biker. Being "right" is small concession when you just got run over.  (And don't bike like a jerk; don't sneak up past vehicles waiting on intersections on their right for instance.)
But sometimes there is just nothing you can do when a car comes out from nowhere.

Mezzie

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2017, 07:04:27 AM »
I think this thread has had the opposite of the intended effect.

I live relatively close to a bike path that can get me most of the ten miles to work, but the remainder of the ride is by a number of freeway ramps where truckers are getting on and off because of port traffic. That terrifies me.

I still don't know if my ankle can really handle biking at all; I have to wait until this rain passes to find out, but I did get my old bike (that I almost exclusively used to ride up and down the beach; never for commuting) fixed up, so I should have a neighborhood test run soon. It'd be nice to bike to the gym, maybe.

As far as stories: I watched a biker get hit from behind by a driver. The biker hit the windshield and kept on going, rolling over the top of the car and landing hard behind it. I was sure I'd just seen someone die. Then the biker jumped up and gave the driver one of the biggest tongue lashings I've ever witnessed.

As a teenager I got hit by a car going really slowly out of a parking lot. I got hurt, but no damage was done beyond scrapes and bruises.

Retire-Canada

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2017, 07:58:51 AM »
I've bike commuted for decades and I can't recall any really close calls or brushes with death. Half the battle of safe riding is good route planning and operating your bike in a way that motorists expect/understand. That seems to solve most if not all my problems.

soupcxan

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #15 on: February 19, 2017, 08:05:58 AM »
A friend from high school was killed in college while riding a bike - hit by a car - after she went to college. 20 years old...what a shame...

Retire-Canada

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #16 on: February 19, 2017, 08:11:08 AM »
Odd thing is people are slaughtered in cars every single day and it really isn't something that makes a big impact, but a cyclist is killed and it's a big deal.  That distorts the real risks of driving vs. biking.

cl_noll

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #17 on: February 19, 2017, 09:15:03 AM »
In roughly five years of biking, I have only crashed once and that was my own fault because my chain jumped. Cracked my helmet but not my skull. Safety is a real, serious concern. How I maximize my bike safety:
Avoid busy roads. Avoid suburbs lacking bike infrastructure. Keep the bike properly tuned  (don't ignore a bad chain or brakes!). Use a rear-view mirror. Ride as defensively as possible.  Lights and bright colors always on.

Last and most importantly, always wear a properly fitted helmet. I don't care what MMM thinks, far too many of my friends & colleagues have crashed at some point and would have been hurt a lot worse without a helmet.

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #18 on: February 19, 2017, 09:34:24 AM »
Odd thing is people are slaughtered in cars every single day and it really isn't something that makes a big impact, but a cyclist is killed and it's a big deal.  That distorts the real risks of driving vs. biking.

After DHs accident my mother asked if I would "let" him bike to work again.  I was hurt in a car accident...no one stopped letting me drive to work. (Though it took a year before I could go that route again.)

For us, I think commute wise, biking probably is more dangerous, because we have short commutes on roads with low speed limits. But driving isn't exact safe.

Retire-Canada

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #19 on: February 19, 2017, 09:38:14 AM »
For us, I think commute wise, biking probably is more dangerous, because we have short commutes on roads with low speed limits. But driving isn't exact safe.

It's hard to say if he would be in better or worse shape had he been in a car when left hooked at that intersection.

waltworks

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #20 on: February 19, 2017, 10:18:46 AM »
Really, if you just assume every car is totally unaware of you, and act accordingly, and then you also are willing to get off and walk through weird intersections, you should be good.

I've been a bike commuter quite literally my entire life (yes, I've *never* had a job where I commuted by car, in 25 years) and I've never even had a close call with a car. I've hit wildlife, stationary objects, and even been hit by other cyclists, and I've crashed plenty of times. But never when a car was involved, because I'm just completely paranoid about them.

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #21 on: February 19, 2017, 12:47:44 PM »
Hmm,  thinking back, most of my "near misses" were between the ages of 13 and 19 years old.   My own fault.

The next most scary moments were biking with my kid (age 7?) who did not stop at a stop sign and just blindly followed mom, who was 1/2 block ahead, even though Mom thought he was sticking with Dad, who was taking up the tail of the family chain.

Other than that, I had a low speed over the handlebar moment when my front handle bar riser was loose (and dropped while braking), and one near miss with a vehicle that caused me to rethink my preferred position approaching a light.  (I don't stay close to the right hand side anymore, but get myself more visible).

So -- use your brain while cycling, and the accidents drop significantly.

BlueMR2

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #22 on: February 19, 2017, 04:11:53 PM »
Close calls a plenty.  Only hit once. 

Car drivers seem to have a big problem with checking the bike lanes/paths before crossing them.  Lots of close calls at one particular place where an on-ramp turns off and crosses the bike path.  Bikes have right of way in this particular case, but drivers don't often realize it.  Other than that, just the usual places where I have close calls in cars too (red light runners are a big issue around here).

Got hit where a bike path crosses an off-ramp (which is usually uneventful because there's a traffic light at that one).  A young woman in an SUV eating a burger right turned on red into me mere seconds after looking me in the eye as I was nearing the intersection with my light green.  Luckily it was wet out so it just sent me skidding instead of knocking me down.  The rear wheel was bent badly enough that I had to carry my bike home, but I was able to fix it after ordering a $15 tool.  Oh, and it was what's known as a "hit-skip" here, as she didn't stop, just gunned it and took off weaving through traffic.  Unfortunately I was unable to catch her license plate number as she sped off.

Vanguards and Lentils

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #23 on: February 19, 2017, 04:50:38 PM »
Oh, and it was what's known as a "hit-skip" here, as she didn't stop, just gunned it and took off weaving through traffic.  Unfortunately I was unable to catch her license plate number as she sped off.

Sorry that happened to you. I wonder what kind of scum, in a split-second decision, makes such a wrong decision. It's like they are rotten to the core.

wenchsenior

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #24 on: February 19, 2017, 05:02:41 PM »
Not a fan of biking in the city or anywhere with lots of people and cars. Never will be, even though I understand statistically that driving is more dangerous. 

A bike hit me when I was on foot once (no one particularly at fault, just crowded and they were moving fast) and blew out my knee, resulting in surgery. 

Another friend who was an avid cyclist was hit by a car and required multiple surgeries over about a decade to regain 3/4 use of his arm. 

Two other people I know were struck and killed by cars while biking.

So, no. This is an aspect of mustachianism that I just can't ever adopt.  I am, however, happy to walk everywhere. On my surgically repaired knee LOL.

ETA: I guess that tallies to 3 'not dying' incidents and 2 'dying' ones.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2017, 05:04:42 PM by wenchsenior »

AMandM

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #25 on: February 20, 2017, 06:52:07 AM »
Years ago my husband was hit from the side by a car at low speed--iirc, it was coming out of a driveway with limited side sight lines.  The driver didn't see DH till he landed on the hood.  To this day my husband marvels at how he managed to get out of his toe clips and jump up.  No damage beyond bruises.  Heck, I've been hurt worse slamming my fingers in a car door.

aperture

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #26 on: February 20, 2017, 07:51:35 AM »
When I was a 20-something asshat, I used to ride a bike fast through downtown Austin - right up Congress Avenue.  I made a game of trying to beat the traffic up to the Capitol and accomplished this at least 50% of the time.  I was like a NYC bike messenger in a city that had no bike messengers and no bikes.  I routinely had cars turn right across my path, or pull out of parking spots into me.  Even then, with no helmet and no reflective anything, I managed to survive without any scratches, (except those left on the sides of cars that I was happy to fu if they cut me off).  What kept me alive was the relatively slow pace of traffic. If that had been suburban streets with cars going 25 - 40 mph, a number of accidents would have squashed me like a bug.  Still, I learned through the experience that cars do not see me.  Every car and every intersection is an opportunity for an accident.  I ride with paranoia now.  After reading others, I think I will double down on the reflective clothing.  Thanks - great thread.

Nothlit

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #27 on: February 20, 2017, 10:24:50 AM »
Car drivers seem to have a big problem with checking the bike lanes/paths before crossing them.  Lots of close calls at one particular place where an on-ramp turns off and crosses the bike path.  Bikes have right of way in this particular case, but drivers don't often realize it.  Other than that, just the usual places where I have close calls in cars too (red light runners are a big issue around here).

Maybe it is different in your state, but where I live (Massachusetts) bike paths use crosswalks where they intersect streets, and cars are only required to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk. A cyclist is not a pedestrian unless he or she dismounts. The bike path I take to work crosses lots of streets. Cyclists are supposed to stop and dismount at each crossing (there are stop signs facing the bike path) but few do. As far as drivers are concerned, these are just regular crosswalks where the only person you need to yield to is a pedestrian. However, there's so much confusion about what is correct that you end up with this awkward dance where both the cyclists and the drivers stop and gesture to each other until one or the other gets impatient and just goes on through.

Edit to add: I realize the rules are different for bike lanes, which are part of the street, vs. bike paths that cross a street via a crosswalk or some other type of intersection.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2017, 10:35:51 AM by Nothlit »

zhelud

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #28 on: February 21, 2017, 10:50:00 AM »
I ride my bike to work most days (7 miles each way, combo of paths and roads) and I'm still alive and well.  I had a mishap last year when I was riding just after a big rain and I went too fast down a slippery hill and ended up wiping out and my knees were all cut and bruised. And occasionally I will have a close call, usually because I misjudged a car's speed or location or attentiveness of the driver. I try to learn from these.

I did actually get hit by a car about 20 years ago, it was pretty scary!  The car wasn't going very fast so fortunately I ended up with huge bruises all over but no serious damage.

The benefits of riding (health, cost, fun) outweigh the risks for me.   

wayfinder

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #29 on: February 25, 2017, 12:17:57 AM »
I think a lot of common bike on car accidents can be avoided by merging out of the bike lane when going straight through an intersection or passing a drive way.  I do this frequently now and avoid the potential right hooks that used to be frequent close calls.

Prior, I had many close calls of drivers turning right into my path and stopping when I yelled out and they heard and saw me.  That facial expression is priceless (eyes wide and face pale realizing what they almost did) and most of the cases I think they will drive more carefully after.  Since learning to merge out of the bike lane, the worst I've had was a Hummer driver deciding they Needed To Pass Me like their life depended on it....on my right side lol.  Bizarre but minimal risk.

Metric Mouse

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #30 on: February 25, 2017, 01:45:56 AM »
I know the statistics are favorable.  I know that the chances of dying on any particular ride are small, and probably about the same as by car.

This is not true.

I feel safer on my bike than in my car

But this is probably ok, even if untrue.

somers515

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #31 on: February 25, 2017, 02:15:46 AM »
I know the statistics are favorable.  I know that the chances of dying on any particular ride are small, and probably about the same as by car.

This is not true.

I feel safer on my bike than in my car

But this is probably ok, even if untrue.

Metric Mouse, your statements appear to contradict MMM's thoughts on this.

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/06/13/bicycling-the-safest-form-of-transportation/

That doesn't mean that you are wrong of course but care to expand on your answer and provide some support for your statements?


Metric Mouse

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #32 on: February 25, 2017, 02:31:59 AM »
Ahh yes... the famous MustacheMath!

There is a thread that covers this pretty well: http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/how-safe-is-bike-commuting/

But the basic premise is that: Biking is more dangerous per mile. So each mile of a commute one replaces using a bicycle instead of a car increases one's risk of dying in a bicycle collision.


All transportation is inherently dangerous.

Motorcycles - 125 deaths per billion miles
Walking - 41 deaths per billion miles
Bicycles - 35 deaths per billion miles
Cars - 4 deaths per billion miles
Airplanes - 0.5 deaths per billion miles
Buses - 0.5 deaths per billion miles
Trains - 0.2 deaths per billion miles

http://961theeagle.com/what-is-the-safest-way-to-travel-by-plane-car-train-space-shuttle/
......It's about eight times more dangerous per mile to bike than take a car.....

Whether the risk is worth it is a question that was still undecided; but it is objectively not safer to bike than to ride in a car. MMM uses his patented fuzzy math to side step this fact.

somers515

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #33 on: February 25, 2017, 05:37:46 AM »
Ahh yes... the famous MustacheMath!

There is a thread that covers this pretty well: http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/how-safe-is-bike-commuting/

But the basic premise is that: Biking is more dangerous per mile. So each mile of a commute one replaces using a bicycle instead of a car increases one's risk of dying in a bicycle collision.


All transportation is inherently dangerous.

Motorcycles - 125 deaths per billion miles
Walking - 41 deaths per billion miles
Bicycles - 35 deaths per billion miles
Cars - 4 deaths per billion miles
Airplanes - 0.5 deaths per billion miles
Buses - 0.5 deaths per billion miles
Trains - 0.2 deaths per billion miles

http://961theeagle.com/what-is-the-safest-way-to-travel-by-plane-car-train-space-shuttle/
......It's about eight times more dangerous per mile to bike than take a car.....

Whether the risk is worth it is a question that was still undecided; but it is objectively not safer to bike than to ride in a car. MMM uses his patented fuzzy math to side step this fact.

Thank you for explaining your position and for providing links.  I found them interesting.  Basically take-away is that biking is more dangerous per mile traveled versus being in a car but the long-term health benefits of biking riding could off-set that risk.

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #34 on: February 25, 2017, 06:32:35 AM »
I think a lot of common bike on car accidents can be avoided by merging out of the bike lane when going straight through an intersection or passing a drive way.  I do this frequently now and avoid the potential right hooks that used to be frequent close calls.


Bike lane.   Haha Your city sounds nice.

mountains_o_mustaches

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #35 on: February 25, 2017, 08:17:02 AM »
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.

Had to laugh at this because my co-workers are the same.  They all live in the outskirts of the city (where the newest and whitest (and unsurprisingly largest and most expensive) housing is) for "safety" and "schools."  I live close to city center and they repeatedly tell me how they could never do that and make all sorts of assumptions about how "hard" it is to live where I do.  I also bike commute and I get lots of "be safe out there" and "You're gonna get killed one of these days."  I actually had a new coworker try to block me from leaving on my bike because she was convinced it wasn't safe.  I refer to this as my coworkers "pearl clutching" moments. 

I feel very safe biking home, and in part that's because I'm super lucky - I cross the major road that my work is located on at a crosswalk as a pedestrian and then I ride my bike down a beautiful boulevard that isn't a through street, so no commuters are zipping through. 

Janie

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #36 on: February 25, 2017, 09:40:57 AM »
Ahh yes... the famous MustacheMath!

There is a thread that covers this pretty well: http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/how-safe-is-bike-commuting/

But the basic premise is that: Biking is more dangerous per mile. So each mile of a commute one replaces using a bicycle instead of a car increases one's risk of dying in a bicycle collision.


All transportation is inherently dangerous.

Motorcycles - 125 deaths per billion miles
Walking - 41 deaths per billion miles
Bicycles - 35 deaths per billion miles
Cars - 4 deaths per billion miles
Airplanes - 0.5 deaths per billion miles
Buses - 0.5 deaths per billion miles
Trains - 0.2 deaths per billion miles

http://961theeagle.com/what-is-the-safest-way-to-travel-by-plane-car-train-space-shuttle/
......It's about eight times more dangerous per mile to bike than take a car.....

Whether the risk is worth it is a question that was still undecided; but it is objectively not safer to bike than to ride in a car. MMM uses his patented fuzzy math to side step this fact.

Chances of killing someone else are much higher operating a car than a bike (though cyclists do kill people sometimes). Another way of looking at risks involved.

meghan88

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #37 on: February 25, 2017, 12:04:04 PM »
Really, if you just assume every car is totally unaware of you, and act accordingly, and then you also are willing to get off and walk through weird intersections, you should be good.

I've been a bike commuter quite literally my entire life (yes, I've *never* had a job where I commuted by car, in 25 years) and I've never even had a close call with a car. I've hit wildlife, stationary objects, and even been hit by other cyclists, and I've crashed plenty of times. But never when a car was involved, because I'm just completely paranoid about them.

-W

This.  I've been biking for 40 years, including three years as a hardcore bicycle messenger in Canada (summers and winters).  My only close call was getting doored once when I wasn't paying attention during my bike messenger days.  Broke my little toe but finished my day. 

I don't trust ANYONE to see me, ever, when I'm on my bike.

I'm a 57-yr old female.  If I can bike everywhere for 40 years and not die, anyone can.

Metric Mouse

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #38 on: February 25, 2017, 12:55:42 PM »
Quote from: somers515 link=topic=68792.msg1447221#msg1447221

Thank you for explaining your position and for providing links.  I found them interesting.  Basically take-away is that biking is more dangerous per mile traveled versus being in a car but the long-term health benefits of biking riding could off-set that risk.
No problem. No one is saying not to bike- they are just saying that the decision should be made with full knowledge of all risks.

Personally I don't see the "health benefits could outweigh the risk" argument. They are different risks and are not really relatedto each other (unless one uses MustacheMath) if one wished they could easily get exercise health benefits in a way that takes the same time but is safer.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2017, 05:49:30 PM by Metric Mouse »

Linea_Norway

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #39 on: February 25, 2017, 02:36:15 PM »
My husband cycles to work with a gopro camera of him helmet. This greatly improves the behaviour of car drivers.

Johnez

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #40 on: February 25, 2017, 02:37:27 PM »
The math never made sense to me, the benefits speak for themselves though. Conflating health benefits and accident rates just clouds the issue and brings doubt on the rest of the "biking is awesome" mantra.  Honestly I think if he went with a "per trip" rate, the math would have been more favorable. Bike trips are generally shorter, no way you'll have a 30-40 mile one way commute that seems "normal" in a car. In the same vein, being a dedicated bicycle commuter one has the motivation to live closer to work.

With regards to safety, the only thing I have to add is to clip a mirror on your handlebars or helmet. Adding this little bit of awareness gives more options when the unexpected happens, and is really convenient.

The two dangers I came across most often were driveways and intersections where the left turn lane didn't have dedicated arrows. Coming up on those intersections with a driver waiting to turn left was always dicey, often times I felt the driver would make the left even though it was my right away, so I'd steel myself. The best way to keep safe here is to take your lane. Not huddle on the edge by the curb-take the whole damn lane. You are more visible and give drivers the clue that you are a vehicle in motion with the same right away as a car.

FIRE_at_45

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #41 on: February 25, 2017, 02:58:07 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. 

On my bike I've gone over the handlebars with a chain skip.  The rest of my experiences have been positive but I'm a novice compared to some hardcore riders here.

GuitarStv

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #42 on: February 25, 2017, 03:38:21 PM »
I cycled more than 8000 km last year alone without dying, crashing, or being hurt*.

* sore ass and tired legs notwithstanding.

FIRE_at_45

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #43 on: February 25, 2017, 05:04:21 PM »
I cycled more than 8000 km last year alone without dying, crashing, or being hurt*.

* sore ass and tired legs notwithstanding.

That's badass.  And I just figured out that's about 700 additional calories per day.  You must eat like a king!

tallen

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #44 on: February 26, 2017, 01:43:35 PM »
Uneventful rides don't make the news, that's why you only hear about the accidents. A flashing red light on the back (and a flashing headlight on the front) makes you visible and goes a long way towards keeping you safe. Also don't hug the curb so cars try to pass you closely if there's more than one lane going in your direction, take enough of the lane so that they have to use the other lane to get around you. I've had a few close calls before I put the lights on my bike and gained enough confidence to take the lane, none since.

bop

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #45 on: February 27, 2017, 07:24:31 AM »
Car drivers seem to have a big problem with checking the bike lanes/paths before crossing them.  Lots of close calls at one particular place where an on-ramp turns off and crosses the bike path.  Bikes have right of way in this particular case, but drivers don't often realize it.  Other than that, just the usual places where I have close calls in cars too (red light runners are a big issue around here).

Maybe it is different in your state, but where I live (Massachusetts) bike paths use crosswalks where they intersect streets, and cars are only required to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk. A cyclist is not a pedestrian unless he or she dismounts. The bike path I take to work crosses lots of streets. Cyclists are supposed to stop and dismount at each crossing (there are stop signs facing the bike path) but few do. As far as drivers are concerned, these are just regular crosswalks where the only person you need to yield to is a pedestrian. However, there's so much confusion about what is correct that you end up with this awkward dance where both the cyclists and the drivers stop and gesture to each other until one or the other gets impatient and just goes on through.

Edit to add: I realize the rules are different for bike lanes, which are part of the street, vs. bike paths that cross a street via a crosswalk or some other type of intersection.
Thanks for the information and link.  I live in Massachusetts too (Boston area) and often ride on the Minuteman Bikeway.  Where the crosswalks have a sign in the middle of the road telling cars to stop, I had thought that cars were required to yield to me while I biked through such crosswalks.  Now I see that may not be the case.  I'll be more careful.   

GuitarStv

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #46 on: February 27, 2017, 08:58:27 AM »
I cycled more than 8000 km last year alone without dying, crashing, or being hurt*.

* sore ass and tired legs notwithstanding.

That's badass.  And I just figured out that's about 700 additional calories per day.  You must eat like a king!

Much more like a horse than a king . . . I'm grazing constantly through the day.

SilveradoBojangles

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #47 on: February 27, 2017, 09:40:58 AM »
Something people rarely talk about, but I think is an important part of staying safe, is get off the busiest streets! If you have the option, bike a block of two out of your way to ride on a side street. I can't tell you how many helmetless idiots I see riding down the busiest street in heavy (but fast moving) traffic. That street doesn't even have a bike lane! We have well marked bicycle boulevards everywhere! Take those.

Retire-Canada

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #48 on: February 27, 2017, 10:00:59 AM »
Something people rarely talk about, but I think is an important part of staying safe, is get off the busiest streets! If you have the option, bike a block of two out of your way to ride on a side street. I can't tell you how many helmetless idiots I see riding down the busiest street in heavy (but fast moving) traffic. That street doesn't even have a bike lane! We have well marked bicycle boulevards everywhere! Take those.

Picking the best route to bicycle commute is like 75% of the battle. I also see people riding the craziest roads around me when there is a residential street one block over that would be just as fast to use.

aetherie

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Re: biking and not dying
« Reply #49 on: February 27, 2017, 12:29:44 PM »
Just adding my anecdote: I have biked to work almost every day for the last 18 months. I have not died yet, nor been hit by any cars.

(This is an 8 mile round trip on a combo of suburban roads and bike paths. My bike lights are super bright and I wear a fluorescent yellow jacket.)