Author Topic: How do I not get run over by a car?  (Read 19261 times)

NumberCruncher

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How do I not get run over by a car?
« on: December 10, 2012, 11:28:10 AM »
Husband and I are considering moving from a relatively bike friendly place in order to be closer to both our works (14-17 miles away vs 4-6 miles away). I didn't see anyone biking in the prospective town (no bike racks, no bike lanes) and am terrified enough of the drivers here when I'm encased in metal.

What methods do you use to not get hit by cars? Lots of lights, reflection strips? Any advice to someone considering biking a whole lot more where bikes are despised? Evasion techniques?

(not trying to be complainypants - just scared! Also, yes, bikes are despised here by everyone I talk to who does not personally bike anywhere).

Thank you!

Paul der Krake

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Re: How do I not get run over by a car?
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2012, 11:34:14 AM »
People can get pretty angry with bikes around where I live too. The best defense is to ride devensively and with the flow of traffic (e.g. fast). Avoid busy roads, make sure to be seen. A flashing red LED costs nothing  and battery life is phenomenal these days.

You will be honked at occasionally. Don't let that itimidate you- you have the right to be there. Treat assholes as statistically insignificant and stay safe.

mlipps

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Re: How do I not get run over by a car?
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2012, 11:58:31 AM »
Agree with previous poster. Own your right to ride and ignore the haters. Don't be afraid to "claim the lane" when necessary for your own safety. Make yourself super, dorktastically, visible.

Captain and Mrs Slow

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Re: How do I not get run over by a car?
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2012, 12:21:00 PM »
I second the one about wear a bright safety vest, I live in very bike friendly Munich but I find it a struggle to see a bike when turning right, even thought they have front and back lights there is nothing from the side

Secondly when ever possible take sidewalks cross at the cross walk not in the left hand turning lane.

Not all ideas will work here but some good stuff

Bike Smarts

The BBC just ran an interesting program on biking in the UK, got a lot of complaints about being sensational but some of the crazy drivers/cyclists would make me talk a car!

If I can find a link I'll post it.

jp

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Re: How do I not get run over by a car?
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2012, 02:16:47 PM »
You can't be run over by a car if you are a car.  Seriously, I live in a very bike-unfriendly area, and to be safe I just ride right down the road in the middle like a boss.  I find this is safer for me, if they notice me but are annoyed than if they either don't see me or worse, see me and expect me to act like a pedestrian instead of a car.  I might get a few insults hurled my way, but I don't care about that.  I just wave like they said "great idea riding your bike in the road and getting exercise while also saving the planet!" instead of what they actually said, which is "get off the road stupid asshole!" 

I don't wear a lot of reflective stuff personally, but I do try to avoid busy roads or anything where the speed limit is over 40 mph.  I can ride 25 mph, even though I usually cruise along at around 15 mph.  I feel like if someone is going to get that upset about having to go 25 mph instead of 30 mph for 30 seconds, then that is a personal problem.  I don't want to die, but then I feel like just becoming a car in the lane pretty much makes drivers see you.  The difference in speed is really not that great, I know it seems like a lot when they blow by you.

Russ

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Re: How do I not get run over by a car?
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2012, 02:52:58 PM »
You can't be run over by a car if you are a car.
I read this and thought you were about to suggest OP buy a car. Glad that went the other direction!

My two big rules are be visible and be predictable. For visibility, ride where cars can see you (e.g. in the lane at least a little, no hiding between parked cars, etc), and use bright flashy lights even in the daytime. For predictability, ride exactly like you'd drive a car. If you're in car mode half the time and pedestrian mode half the time, nobody's going to know what you're about to do or how to react when you do it (on top of pedestrian mode probably being illegal, and also less visible)

If people aren't leaving you enough space it's either because they don't see you early enough or because they DGAF. To make sure it's not #1, try having a friend ride around the neighborhood randomly on your bike at night (so you don't know when to expect them) and you try and find your bike by driving around in a car. This is the best way to judge whether your lights are bright enough: see your bike as drivers would see you.

If that's not the problem don't be afraid to take your lane. If drivers can see you, they won't hit you, and we already established above that you're visible.  When you take your lane, a driver is forced to cross into the next lane at least a little, which makes them more likely to think about their action and give you a little more space. If drivers aren't crossing into another lane to pass you, they are TOO CLOSE and you need to take your lane and force it. See this infographic for an illustration of how you and a car fit in a lane together. Protip: five inches clearance is not very much space. I'm generally an advocate of staying out of the way, and where I live now people are pretty good about giving me space on their own, but there are places where it's still necessary to take the lane to make sure I don't get squeezed off the road. Don't be afraid to do what you have to do.

Most importantly, don't stop riding! You might be in a bicycle-unfriendly area, but drivers will eventually get used to your presence no matter how much they dislike it. Just stick with it and it will get easier and safer.

StarswirlTheMustached

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Re: How do I not get run over by a car?
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2012, 03:30:45 PM »
I saw a huge increase in driver politeness when I picked up a green and silver reflective vest--I thought they appreciated my visibility but then I realized to a fast-moving motorist, I looked just like a bicycle cop!
Only practical if there are cycle cops in your area, but if you can, my advice is to look like the fuzz. Nobody's going to hit (someone they think might be) a cop.

Note that you don't need to get to "impersonating a police officer" levels of exactitude here; just wearing the same-coloured vest worked for me. Most people won't be looking closely enough to notice.

If you cannot pull that trick, be as visible as possible and be aware of how they kill you. Most cycling accidents are either a right hook (where a right-turning vehicle hits a cyclist crossing an intersection) or a door prize (where a cyclist is knocked into traffic by the opening door of a car parked on the side of the road). You are immune to the right hook if you take the lane at stoplights. Likewise, don't ride close to parked cars (or be very careful to notice which are occupied if you do) ; skip those streets if possible, or just take the lane.
The sorts of side-swiping or being run down people seem to fear most simply don't seem to happen that often; in those cases it pretty much has to be deliberate on the part of the driver. I'm going to assume that while they may despise cyclists, they don't actually want to kill you.

NumberCruncher

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Re: How do I not get run over by a car?
« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2012, 04:02:55 PM »
Thanks everyone for the practical advice!

I know a couple people who've fallen victim to the "door prize," and I am always amazed at the cyclists I see in our current town that don't wear helmets. In one case it was dark, the guy on the bike was wearing all black, no helmet, and on a very poorly marked/lit street.

arebelspy

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Re: How do I not get run over by a car?
« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2012, 05:53:56 PM »
IIRC Bakari has a good post on this somewhere.  I'll see if I can dig it up, or maybe someone else has the link, or maybe he'll pop his head in the meantime to share.
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Bakari

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Re: How do I not get run over by a car?
« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2012, 10:21:37 PM »
IIRC Bakari has a good post on this somewhere.  I'll see if I can dig it up, or maybe someone else has the link, or maybe he'll pop his head in the meantime to share.

That would be this one: http://biodieselhauling.blogspot.com/2012/06/please-ride-your-bike-in-street.html

and I wrote it for exactly such questions as the OPs.
I have been riding for transportation since I was 12, including as a messenger in SF and NYC, as well as commuting in very bike-UN-friendly New Jersey, and have yet to have any serious run-ins with cars.
More importantly, I've done a lot of net-based research and a bit of statistical analysis, and I've summed up all of my experience and learning and of course the statistics in that post, in the hopes that everyone not only start riding, but do so safely and confidently.

By all means, be sure to ask me if after reading it you have any follow up questions, either as a comment on my blog, or here on the forum

Hamster

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Re: How do I not get run over by a car?
« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2012, 11:18:54 PM »
http://bicyclesafe.com/ is great, and is also referenced in Bakari's site, which is also a great resource.
 
I especially like the illustrations for #5. Don't stop to the right of a stopped car. Get in line with everyone else like in the second illustration.

The time spent waiting in the queue behind the stopped cars, (in the middle of the lane) is a small hasslel But, it almost eliminates the risk of being hit by a right-turning driver that doesn't see you. They are looking into the intersection, not behind them looking for a bike passing on the right. I find that cranky rush-hour drivers also just get pissed at anyone moving faster than them, and moving past a column of cars on my bike has triggered a few obnoxious threats.

When I'm in my car, I feel uncomfortable having a slow moving bicyclist trying to squeeze between my stopped car and the curb (some bumping into my mirror in the process...). If I don't like it, I'm sure the driver's who don't bike are even less tolerant. In the end, making drivers hate cyclists does not help the cause of bike access and safety.

Captain and Mrs Slow

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Re: How do I not get run over by a car?
« Reply #11 on: December 11, 2012, 03:43:59 AM »
" and I am always amazed at the cyclists I see in our current town that don't wear helmets. In one case it was dark, the guy on the bike was wearing all black, no helmet, and on a very poorly marked/lit street.

That was the one thing that really blew me away when watching the show a out biking in the UK, one went tearing and I mean tearing through an intersection iPod blasting didn't even bother looking, no helmet no safety vest nada

Insane

http://www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/news/blog/530191/road-wars.html


Skip the aritcle and read the comments, very good
« Last Edit: December 11, 2012, 03:50:16 AM by Captain and Mrs Slow »

GuitarStv

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Re: How do I not get run over by a car?
« Reply #12 on: December 11, 2012, 09:19:26 AM »
I've been doing a lot of riding on rainy/snowy busy roads after dark lately . . . most drivers aren't too bad as long as you follow the rules of the road, and are visible.

Visibility:
- Bright lights that flash (front, back, and if you want to be extra careful, both sides of your bike)
- Reflective tape on your bike (I like reflexite v82), and stick some on your helmet as well
- Bike reflectors
- High visibility clothing (reflective is better than bright, bright is better than dark)
- Remember that your backpack/panniers should have reflective stuff or lights on them as well (especially if your backpack is covering your high visibility jacket).

Better to look a little stupid than be hard to see.

PJ

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Re: How do I not get run over by a car?
« Reply #13 on: December 11, 2012, 10:13:19 AM »
I realize that bicycle/car collisions do happen, but I think most drivers are observant and concerned not to hit cyclists (even if only to protect themselves from legal/financial repercussions).  I once worked with an adult client who had a developmental disability, was legally blind (still had some vision but a significant impairment), and had a significant hearing impairment.  He used to bike all over downtown Toronto, wearing headphones and listening to music, no less.  The first time I realized what he was doing, I freaked out so much I told a friend of mine about him - she still occasionally brings up "Blind Deaf Bicycle Guy."  Far as I know, he's still happily riding around, trusting in the alertness of drivers and oblivious to any safety concerns!

galaxie

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Re: How do I not get run over by a car?
« Reply #14 on: December 11, 2012, 10:14:42 AM »
http://bicyclesafe.com/ is great, and is also referenced in Bakari's site, which is also a great resource.
 
I especially like the illustrations for #5. Don't stop to the right of a stopped car. Get in line with everyone else like in the second illustration.


Whenever there's space (wide shoulder/bike lane/etc.), I bike to the front of the line of cars, far enough forward that a right-turning car could go behind me.  Cars don't see you when you're next to them, but they see you if you're in front.  I figure I'm in a separate "lane" and shouldn't have to wait just because their lane is backed up.  If they have any problem with me doing that, they don't understand how lanes work. 

This may be less safe than getting into the lane, but I think it results in me going faster reasonably safely, and them being less angry (which helps the safety).

Bakari

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Re: How do I not get run over by a car?
« Reply #15 on: December 11, 2012, 10:28:13 AM »

- Remember that your backpack/panniers should have reflective stuff or lights on them as well (especially if your backpack is covering your high visibility jacket).

Better to look a little stupid than be hard to see.

I often put the reflective vest on the backpack itself.  Some are big enough to go over me and the backpack, if not I have the backpack wear it.

mlipps

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Re: How do I not get run over by a car?
« Reply #16 on: December 11, 2012, 10:43:33 AM »
I realize that bicycle/car collisions do happen, but I think most drivers are observant and concerned not to hit cyclists (even if only to protect themselves from legal/financial repercussions).  I once worked with an adult client who had a developmental disability, was legally blind (still had some vision but a significant impairment), and had a significant hearing impairment.  He used to bike all over downtown Toronto, wearing headphones and listening to music, no less.  The first time I realized what he was doing, I freaked out so much I told a friend of mine about him - she still occasionally brings up "Blind Deaf Bicycle Guy."  Far as I know, he's still happily riding around, trusting in the alertness of drivers and oblivious to any safety concerns!

People are just dumb though, and not nearly as observant as they should be. I ride only 2 miles in a pretty quiet neighborhood every day, dedicated bike lanes. I've been nearly 4 times in one month. I swear I'm not doing anything dumb; I always err on the side of giving cars the right away, swing wide around cars who might be pulling out of parking spaces, claim the lane when I need to, etc. I feel like I do everything possible, but people just suck sometimes.

mindaugas

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Re: How do I not get run over by a car?
« Reply #17 on: December 11, 2012, 11:17:44 AM »
My route to work is along a busy avenue with a bike trail / sidewalk along it. It is the official bike path ... I absolutely f'n despise it because the road is far too busy to ride (4 lane avenue) in and I have a lot of close calls in the intersections. This is even with treating the intersections like a pedestrian and using the cross buttons and waiting for lights. People making rights never look for anyone crossing. there is another route I can take along a bike path without traffic but it's almost twice as long. This has seriously cut into my commuting, I love riding my bike which makes it more frustrating when I get home and I'm pissed because I was almost hit three times again.

There is also a rash of cycling hating drivers around the Denver metro area. There was the semi-viral video of the old man honking at two riders, another guy literally ran off the road and then assaulted, hit and runs. I've experienced this first hand as well and it has gotten worse recently. Denver metro may be bike friendly in terms of infrastructure, but the drivers certainly are not following form. My only thought is being more aggressive on the bike is part of the cause, especially with the rising numbers of cycling commuters.) In the real world MOST cyclists cannot go 25mph, it's more like 15. (At least not 25mph for more than a short distance.) That speed is a lot more frustrating on a 30mph residential road for a driver stuck behind one taking the lane. Common courtesy dictates you get out of the way and let motorists pass. This means riding far to the right and not taking the lane. Pretentious commuting hurts cycling for everyone and gives the rest of the community the impression we are all ahole cyclists who don't pay attention to traffic laws and are there to just get in the way. I'm not saying everyone should cower away from traffic, just be mindful and courteous. If you aren't actually riding with the flow of traffic at the same rate of speed, pull to the right and let people pass.

zoltani

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Re: How do I not get run over by a car?
« Reply #18 on: December 11, 2012, 11:36:03 AM »
I pretend I am invisible, as often to drivers, hi-viz clothing or not, i am.  Most times I run lights even in the day.  Don't be so quick to use flashing lights at night though as flashing lights can make it hard for people to judge distance and speed.

Personally, I do not dress like a traffic cone, here is an article on the subject:
http://thelazyrando.wordpress.com/2011/03/07/why-dont-i-dress-up-like-a-traffic-cone/

badassprof

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Re: How do I not get run over by a car?
« Reply #19 on: December 11, 2012, 01:35:51 PM »
Also, as someone living in a bike-friendly area, may I suggest following the traffic laws. For example, if one wants to be treated as a car (and I agree that is the best way to be safe) you should stop at stop signs, signal turns, etc.  When it gets dangerous is when bicyclists (and drivers too) want it both ways: to ride a bike (or drive a car) on the road, but not obey the laws.

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Re: How do I not get run over by a car?
« Reply #20 on: December 11, 2012, 02:48:12 PM »
In the real world MOST cyclists cannot go 25mph, it's more like 15. (At least not 25mph for more than a short distance.) That speed is a lot more frustrating on a 30mph residential road for a driver stuck behind one taking the lane. Common courtesy dictates you get out of the way and let motorists pass. This means riding far to the right and not taking the lane. Pretentious commuting hurts cycling for everyone and gives the rest of the community the impression we are all ahole cyclists who don't pay attention to traffic laws and are there to just get in the way. I'm not saying everyone should cower away from traffic, just be mindful and courteous. If you aren't actually riding with the flow of traffic at the same rate of speed, pull to the right and let people pass.

25mph is almost  a sprint for me on flat ground.   On my route, I basically only do that when I am in the left lane, because I am going to turn left.  Otherwise, I ride on the right, not all the way off the road, but  where I can be passed if need be.  If I was riding down the road for a long period of time going half the speed limit, I can't say I would blame the drivers for being pissed.  I don't have any problem taking the lane for a short period of time, but I wouldn't do it for miles on end without letting cars pass me.  That said, in my neck of the woods, tractors and Amish people do it all the time.  On my bike, I have actually passed a horse drawn carriage on a country road before (i have also passed a moped-on a long gradual downhill-, which was one of my all time favorite bike riding moments).   

PJ

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Re: How do I not get run over by a car?
« Reply #21 on: December 11, 2012, 03:00:36 PM »
I realize that bicycle/car collisions do happen, but I think most drivers are observant and concerned not to hit cyclists (even if only to protect themselves from legal/financial repercussions).  I once worked with an adult client who had a developmental disability, was legally blind (still had some vision but a significant impairment), and had a significant hearing impairment.  He used to bike all over downtown Toronto, wearing headphones and listening to music, no less.  The first time I realized what he was doing, I freaked out so much I told a friend of mine about him - she still occasionally brings up "Blind Deaf Bicycle Guy."  Far as I know, he's still happily riding around, trusting in the alertness of drivers and oblivious to any safety concerns!

People are just dumb though, and not nearly as observant as they should be. I ride only 2 miles in a pretty quiet neighborhood every day, dedicated bike lanes. I've been nearly 4 times in one month. I swear I'm not doing anything dumb; I always err on the side of giving cars the right away, swing wide around cars who might be pulling out of parking spaces, claim the lane when I need to, etc. I feel like I do everything possible, but people just suck sometimes.
I know, I don't mean to suggest that things don't happen.  Actually, the last time I seriously rode anywhere, I did get hit - a young guy "failed to yield the right of way" as he pulled out of a parking lot - and worse, although I hit the door behind the driver's door pretty hard as I stopped (partly by my own brakes, partly because of the impact) he kept driving and later claimed that he'd had the music up really loud and hadn't even realized it happened.  Yes, I got the license plate and reported it to the police.  There's non observant and then there's "I just don't care about anything but getting where I want to go as fast as I can."  But most drivers are alert and don't want to hurt us any more than we want to be hurt. 

zoltani

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Re: How do I not get run over by a car?
« Reply #22 on: December 11, 2012, 03:07:16 PM »
Hmmm, sometimes there are reasons the cyclist is not in the bike lane, shoulder, or as far right as you "think" they need to be.

One 4-lane one-way road I take everyday has sharrows in the far right and far left lanes.  I am usually NOT in these lanes.  Motorists honk at me on the rare occasion and point to the lane with the sharrows, i ignore them.  The far right lane is a bus lane, and I personally see it as being more dangerous than taking the lane of one of the middle lanes.  The buses are slow, always stopping ,and the lane also serves as a right turn lane for cars, risking right hooks constantly.  The far left lane is only really used for cars to either turn left or to park in, this too, as i see it, is a dangerous lane.  That is why I am "in the way" of cars.

Many residential streets around here are narrow, and the pavement sucks, potholes and longitudinal cracks everywhere.  In that case I am not always way over to the right either, I am where it is safest to be, the places with the least potholes and cracks. 

Another obstacle that keeps me from being to the far right this time of year are piles of matted down wet leaves.  These are basically like ice.  Surely a motorist sees me as being in their way, and think i should be to the right.  But since they don't cycle then they probably do not realize the danger of the wet leaves.

Also, I do not buy that shit about every cyclist has to be some model of good cycling so that it doesn't reflect badly on the bike community.  In what other areas or activities is this the case, especially with transportation?  Does every bad pedestrian look bad for all pedestrians, what about motorists?  Ride the way that makes you predictable and feel safe.  I too jump lights and yield at stop signs on occasion when the situation warrants it.

TLDR; there are sometimes reasons why that cyclist is "in your way", and they are usually for very good reasons as perceived by the cyclist.  Don't flip out over a 20-30 second delay, the cyclist will give you room to pass when it is safe to move to the right.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2012, 03:08:55 PM by zoltani »

mlipps

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Re: How do I not get run over by a car?
« Reply #23 on: December 11, 2012, 04:00:25 PM »
I realize that bicycle/car collisions do happen, but I think most drivers are observant and concerned not to hit cyclists (even if only to protect themselves from legal/financial repercussions).  I once worked with an adult client who had a developmental disability, was legally blind (still had some vision but a significant impairment), and had a significant hearing impairment.  He used to bike all over downtown Toronto, wearing headphones and listening to music, no less.  The first time I realized what he was doing, I freaked out so much I told a friend of mine about him - she still occasionally brings up "Blind Deaf Bicycle Guy."  Far as I know, he's still happily riding around, trusting in the alertness of drivers and oblivious to any safety concerns!

People are just dumb though, and not nearly as observant as they should be. I ride only 2 miles in a pretty quiet neighborhood every day, dedicated bike lanes. I've been nearly 4 times in one month. I swear I'm not doing anything dumb; I always err on the side of giving cars the right away, swing wide around cars who might be pulling out of parking spaces, claim the lane when I need to, etc. I feel like I do everything possible, but people just suck sometimes.
I know, I don't mean to suggest that things don't happen.  Actually, the last time I seriously rode anywhere, I did get hit - a young guy "failed to yield the right of way" as he pulled out of a parking lot - and worse, although I hit the door behind the driver's door pretty hard as I stopped (partly by my own brakes, partly because of the impact) he kept driving and later claimed that he'd had the music up really loud and hadn't even realized it happened.  Yes, I got the license plate and reported it to the police.  There's non observant and then there's "I just don't care about anything but getting where I want to go as fast as I can."  But most drivers are alert and don't want to hurt us any more than we want to be hurt.

Ouch. Hope you're ok. You're right, most drivers, and people in general are great. It's that 1% of idiots you have to watch out for. (Nothing political implied...)

PJ

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Re: How do I not get run over by a car?
« Reply #24 on: December 11, 2012, 06:17:47 PM »
Thanks, mlipps.  This was actually a couple of years ago, when I wasn't really living a bikeable distance from work or school, but hoped to do most of my recreational travel around town by bike.  But you know, posting this is making me wonder if maybe that incident scared me more than I realized?  I haven't actually done any serious bike riding since then.  Hmm.  Something for me to think about!

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Re: How do I not get run over by a car?
« Reply #25 on: December 12, 2012, 07:40:07 AM »
One 4-lane one-way road I take everyday has sharrows in the far right and far left lanes.  I am usually NOT in these lanes.  Motorists honk at me on the rare occasion and point to the lane with the sharrows, i ignore them.  The far right lane is a bus lane, and I personally see it as being more dangerous than taking the lane of one of the middle lanes.  The buses are slow, always stopping ,and the lane also serves as a right turn lane for cars, risking right hooks constantly.  The far left lane is only really used for cars to either turn left or to park in, this too, as i see it, is a dangerous lane.  That is why I am "in the way" of cars.

Many residential streets around here are narrow, and the pavement sucks, potholes and longitudinal cracks everywhere.  In that case I am not always way over to the right either, I am where it is safest to be, the places with the least potholes and cracks. 
I agree that you cannot always ride far to the right because of obstacles. The issue is taking the lane, impeding the flow of traffic, and not allowing cars to pass. Take the lane when you need to, just pull to the right when the opportunity arises to allow traffic to pass you. Not doing this is what leads to the frustration of motorists and honking.

Another obstacle that keeps me from being to the far right this time of year are piles of matted down wet leaves.  These are basically like ice.
Yeah, I learned this the hard way my first fall riding and I even rode over them to avoid an icy patch lol.

Also, I do not buy that shit about every cyclist has to be some model of good cycling so that it doesn't reflect badly on the bike community.  In what other areas or activities is this the case, especially with transportation?  Does every bad pedestrian look bad for all pedestrians, what about motorists?  Ride the way that makes you predictable and feel safe.  I too jump lights and yield at stop signs on occasion when the situation warrants it.
You can disagree all you like but this is simply how it works in the real world.

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Re: How do I not get run over by a car?
« Reply #26 on: December 12, 2012, 08:33:30 AM »
Also, I do not buy that shit about every cyclist has to be some model of good cycling so that it doesn't reflect badly on the bike community.  In what other areas or activities is this the case, especially with transportation?  Does every bad pedestrian look bad for all pedestrians, what about motorists?  Ride the way that makes you predictable and feel safe.  I too jump lights and yield at stop signs on occasion when the situation warrants it.
You can disagree all you like but this is simply how it works in the real world.

+1
Yes, one dipshit pedestrian who doesn't wait for the walk sign and crosses without looking will color the way I see all pedestrians. If I look in a car's window and see the driver talking on their phone while eating a burrito, that will affect the way I see all cars. It's not like I hate everyone who drives or walks, but when I'm on my bike I trust them less. When I ride around campus, I see cyclists doing stupid shit all the time and I don't trust them either. That trust gap is what creates stress and frustration for drivers, when they can't predict what a cyclist will do. It sounds to me like you make an effort to ride responsibly and predictably, which I'd call good cycling. I doubt drivers see you roll stop signs and think of you as a bad cyclist, since you do it safely and most people can recognize that. But the idiots I see all over Columbus who blow through reds without looking and think they own the road? Fuck 'em.

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Re: How do I not get run over by a car?
« Reply #27 on: December 12, 2012, 08:45:01 AM »
I did get hit - a young guy "failed to yield the right of way" as he pulled out of a parking lot - and worse, although I hit the door behind the driver's door pretty hard as I stopped (partly by my own brakes, partly because of the impact) he kept driving and later claimed that he'd had the music up really loud and hadn't even realized it happened.  Yes, I got the license plate and reported it to the police.  There's non observant and then there's "I just don't care about anything but getting where I want to go as fast as I can."  But most drivers are alert and don't want to hurt us any more than we want to be hurt.

This is why the bright neon "traffic cone" look is a good idea - people tend not to see what they aren't looking for, but the florescent green version stands out like a strobe light, even in the middle of a sunny day.  I never used to wear anything like that, until I started noticing how noticeable other bikes were in them when I was driving a vehicle.
Another thing that stands out like a strobe light - a strobe light.  I run a flashing headlight anytime I'm riding night or day.
Of course, some people are oblivious no matter how visible you are; in that situation (person pulls directly in front of you suddenly), its usually faster to turn than to brake.  Turn to the right, so you don't end up in front of them, or hit by a car that was passing you.  Just go into the driveway they are coming out of. 
Also, don't hug the curb - you are more likely to be seen if you have a more similar lane position to where drivers expect to see cars, and you have a little more space and time to react if someone comes out of a driveway, sticks the front bumper into the street a few feet, and then stops.

One 4-lane one-way road I take everyday has sharrows in the far right and far left lanes.  I am usually NOT in these lanes.  Motorists honk at me on the rare occasion and point to the lane with the sharrows, i ignore them.  The far right lane is a bus lane, and I personally see it as being more dangerous than taking the lane of one of the middle lanes.  The buses are slow, always stopping ,and the lane also serves as a right turn lane for cars, risking right hooks constantly.  The far left lane is only really used for cars to either turn left or to park in, this too, as i see it, is a dangerous lane.  That is why I am "in the way" of cars.
I agree that you cannot always ride far to the right because of obstacles. The issue is taking the lane, impeding the flow of traffic, and not allowing cars to pass. Take the lane when you need to, just pull to the right when the opportunity arises to allow traffic to pass you. Not doing this is what leads to the frustration of motorists and honking.


In the situation described, I wouldn't ride in the far right or left lanes either, but that doesn't have to mean taking the center lane.  What I do when the right most lane is a right-turn-lane and I am going straight is to ride right on the line between the right and straight lane.  That way I am all the way to the right of the lane I am in, and drivers can still pass (on both sides).
Only if there is a combined right-turn / straight lane will I take the lane, and then only for the last hundred feet or so before the intersection.

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Re: How do I not get run over by a car?
« Reply #28 on: December 12, 2012, 09:10:16 AM »
In the situation described, I wouldn't ride in the far right or left lanes either, but that doesn't have to mean taking the center lane.  What I do when the right most lane is a right-turn-lane and I am going straight is to ride right on the line between the right and straight lane.  That way I am all the way to the right of the lane I am in, and drivers can still pass (on both sides).
Only if there is a combined right-turn / straight lane will I take the lane, and then only for the last hundred feet or so before the intersection.

Exactly, I do the same thing.

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Re: How do I not get run over by a car?
« Reply #29 on: December 12, 2012, 09:33:42 AM »
I recently bought Planet Bike Superflash Turbo tail lights for both of my bikes. It is a 1W flashing LED light that is bright enough to see from a distance, even in bright sunlight. The only flaw is it's almost too bright for night time riding with a friend.

I'm still working up the nerve to ride my bike to work. I would have to ride 3 miles on I-80 with 70 mph semi trucks inches away, there is no other road. There is a guy in my neighborhood who does it regularly so I asked him why he wasn't afraid. His reply was "I've got cancer, I'm not afraid of anything"!

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Re: How do I not get run over by a car?
« Reply #30 on: December 12, 2012, 10:26:29 AM »

I agree that you cannot always ride far to the right because of obstacles. The issue is taking the lane, impeding the flow of traffic, and not allowing cars to pass. Take the lane when you need to, just pull to the right when the opportunity arises to allow traffic to pass you. Not doing this is what leads to the frustration of motorists and honking.

To me, that is erratic riding.  When you are weaving from the traffic lane to say, in between parked cars to let those poor frustrated motorists pass you become unpredictable.  IMO is is more predictable to hold your line, and when there is a clear path for you to continue on the right lane then signal and get over.

In the situation described, I wouldn't ride in the far right or left lanes either, but that doesn't have to mean taking the center lane.  What I do when the right most lane is a right-turn-lane and I am going straight is to ride right on the line between the right and straight lane.  That way I am all the way to the right of the lane I am in, and drivers can still pass (on both sides).
Only if there is a combined right-turn / straight lane will I take the lane, and then only for the last hundred feet or so before the intersection.


It doesn't seem like a good idea to ride right on the line in this situation and risk being squeezed between a bus and another vehicle.  You are really placing trust in drivers at that point.

This road has a slight downhill and i usually am not going much slower than traffic. 

I ride the way that makes me safe, and I don't really give a shit about "getting in the way" of drivers. 

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Re: How do I not get run over by a car?
« Reply #31 on: December 12, 2012, 10:31:03 AM »
You can disagree all you like but this is simply how it works in the real world.

+1
Yes, one dipshit pedestrian who doesn't wait for the walk sign and crosses without looking will color the way I see all pedestrians. If I look in a car's window and see the driver talking on their phone while eating a burrito, that will affect the way I see all cars. It's not like I hate everyone who drives or walks, but when I'm on my bike I trust them less. When I ride around campus, I see cyclists doing stupid shit all the time and I don't trust them either. That trust gap is what creates stress and frustration for drivers, when they can't predict what a cyclist will do. It sounds to me like you make an effort to ride responsibly and predictably, which I'd call good cycling. I doubt drivers see you roll stop signs and think of you as a bad cyclist, since you do it safely and most people can recognize that. But the idiots I see all over Columbus who blow through reds without looking and think they own the road? Fuck 'em.

General hate of everyone I can usually support, lol. 

So what you are saying is that ll people suck, no matter what kind of vehicle or whatever they use.  See, this is truth it is not the vehicle that makes them stupid, it is being human.

mindaugas

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Re: How do I not get run over by a car?
« Reply #32 on: December 12, 2012, 10:39:33 AM »
Basically one unpredictable cyclists makes all of us unpredictable frustrating drivers to no end. trust broken. Hell, I'm a victim of it as a cyclist, I get nervous trying to pass one just waiting for the unexpected weave to avoid broken glass. A lot of that has to do with riding since I know potholes, cracks, glass, ice, and opening doors are attracted to bicycles.

zoltani

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Re: How do I not get run over by a car?
« Reply #33 on: December 12, 2012, 10:50:14 AM »
You are kind of making my point.  What a driver often sees as unpredictable is often the cyclist making decisions that keep them upright, avoiding potholes, debris, doors, wet leaves, ice, whatever.  Again, I care very little of the opinion of others when it comes to this, and ride how I ride. 

As to the OP and subject of this thread, in the end you are safer riding a bike than doing a lot of other activities, many of which you do everyday without a second thought.

http://danger.mongabay.com/injury_odds.htm

You are more likely to die from accidental drowning, in a fire, falling out of bed, or choking on something than from riding a bike.

mindaugas

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Re: How do I not get run over by a car?
« Reply #34 on: December 12, 2012, 11:00:47 AM »
Yes, I'm using your point as case now. Weaving is controlled (your hands are on the hoods right?) and frankly I would rather pop a tire than pop my pelvis on the bumper of a car. I admit this can be avoided by taking the lane, my argument is that you don't need to "claim" the lane. take it when needed, relinquish when safe. "Share the road ... "

Bakari

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Re: How do I not get run over by a car?
« Reply #35 on: December 12, 2012, 11:25:14 AM »
As to the OP and subject of this thread, in the end you are safer riding a bike than doing a lot of other activities, many of which you do everyday without a second thought.

http://danger.mongabay.com/injury_odds.htm

You are more likely to die from accidental drowning, in a fire, falling out of bed, or choking on something than from riding a bike.

When people compile statistics on bike accidents, they never control for the cyclists own behavior.

Assuming you follow the law, make yourself visible, and generally ride safely (whichever strategy you employ, all the rider suggestions here have been on the safe side), then your risk of bike fatality drops to a fraction of the overall rate (which includes all the people riding on sidewalks and blowing through red lights without even slowing down).

In fact, it drops to below the risk of dying in a car crash!

True, you can choose to drive safely, which lowers your risk relative to the average driver, but since there are very few drivers who drive on the wrong side of the road or run stop signs without even looking, the potential for beating the odds is lower than it is for safe cycling.

DoubleDown

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Re: How do I not get run over by a car?
« Reply #36 on: December 12, 2012, 11:26:51 AM »

in the end you are safer riding a bike than doing a lot of other activities, many of which you do everyday without a second thought.

http://danger.mongabay.com/injury_odds.htm

You are more likely to die from accidental drowning, in a fire, falling out of bed, or choking on something than from riding a bike.

Ha, definitely not trying to argue against bike riding as some sort of unsafe activity. However, and mostly just for fun, those broad statistical samples are misleading because they take the entire population, and divide the number of incidents among them to determine (percentage-wise) "what is more likely to cause death." But many of those activities will be deemed "safer" just because fewer people do them as a percentage of the population (bike riding being one of those lesser-practiced activities compared to driving a car). As an example, if I never ride a motorcycle, my odds of dying on one are zero, not whatever percentage they've determined. Just the other day, statistics showed that bike riding deaths last year went up overall (due to increased ridership) while automobile deaths went down (due mostly to safety improvements).

The more relevant statistic is, how likely are you to die based on the population of people who undertake that activity? Then activities like Blind Motorcycle Riding and Russian Roulette won't come out with absurdly low risk numbers and apparently safer than activities like Driving a Car.

Your point is valid though, people every day undertake activities they deem to be within their risk tolerance while calling other activities "dangerous" out of ignorance. And the risk of the average American dying from being fat and sedentary probably significantly outweighs the risks of riding a bike.

mindaugas

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Re: How do I not get run over by a car?
« Reply #37 on: December 12, 2012, 12:35:13 PM »
Interesting, this just popped up on my facebook.

http://www.getholistichealth.com/13639/the-top-20-colorado-cycling-laws-everyone-should-know/

I didn't know this was an actual law here in CO.
Quote
If a cyclist is going slower than the designated speed limit, they must ride in the right hand land. If riding in the right hand lane, the cyclist must allow enough space for motor vehicles to pass.

but what if the third law of cycling conflicts with the 4th law of cycling? hehe
Quote
A bicyclist is not expected to ride through dangerous parts of the roadway where parked vehicles, pedestrians and other hazardous obstacles remain.

and for the sake of the internet, I'm being sarcastic. I understand u simply ride to the right of traffic, not into obstacles.

PJ

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Re: How do I not get run over by a car?
« Reply #38 on: December 12, 2012, 01:27:43 PM »
I did get hit - a young guy "failed to yield the right of way" as he pulled out of a parking lot - and worse, although I hit the door behind the driver's door pretty hard as I stopped (partly by my own brakes, partly because of the impact) he kept driving and later claimed that he'd had the music up really loud and hadn't even realized it happened.  Yes, I got the license plate and reported it to the police.  There's non observant and then there's "I just don't care about anything but getting where I want to go as fast as I can."  But most drivers are alert and don't want to hurt us any more than we want to be hurt.
Of course, some people are oblivious no matter how visible you are; in that situation (person pulls directly in front of you suddenly), its usually faster to turn than to brake.  Turn to the right, so you don't end up in front of them, or hit by a car that was passing you.  Just go into the driveway they are coming out of. 
Yup, that's exactly what I did, except that I didn't have time to get up into the driveway - I turned to the right, and braked simultaneously but couldn't either stop or complete the turn in time.  I ended up with left hand outstretched slamming into the window right behind his head.  I call B.S. on "he didn't see me or hear me" 'cause it was loud - my left shoulder hurt for weeks.  What's more, I saw him only a month later (I remembered the make/model and license plate) come roaring out of the same apartment building driveway and narrowly miss hitting another car as he crossed several lanes of traffic to make a right hand turn at the next intersection.  This is not a particularly busy street, so he didn't need to be that aggresive.  He just wanted to catch the light on green so he wouldn't have to stop before making his right hand turn.  Overall, I think he did see me and just prefers aggressive driving over ensuring safe driving.  "I can beat them to it" is the mindset.

Bakari

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Re: How do I not get run over by a car?
« Reply #39 on: December 12, 2012, 06:38:52 PM »
Not that I actually condone vigilante justice, but:

http://www.instructables.com/id/Instant-Caltrops/

Just sayin'...

sol

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Re: How do I not get run over by a car?
« Reply #40 on: December 12, 2012, 09:48:41 PM »
For side-visibility, all of my bikes now rock at least one of these, for $1.00.  Gets lots of comments.

http://www.amazon.com/Green-Flash-Wheel-bicycle-Motorbicycle/dp/B00508MXUC/



edit: alternate purchase source, 86 cents:

http://www.everbuying.com/product64699.html
« Last Edit: December 13, 2012, 08:41:58 PM by sol »

Paul der Krake

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Re: How do I not get run over by a car?
« Reply #41 on: December 12, 2012, 09:55:49 PM »
Now I'd be curious to see the spike in orders for this particular item in the next few days. Ordered.

PJ

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Re: How do I not get run over by a car?
« Reply #42 on: December 12, 2012, 10:19:14 PM »
Not that I actually condone vigilante justice, but:

http://www.instructables.com/id/Instant-Caltrops/

Just sayin'...
LOL, Bakari!  I haven't seen him for a while, but if I find out where he's living now ... watch out! 
 
For side-visibility, all of my bikes now rock at least one of these, for $1.00.  Gets lots of comments.

http://www.amazon.com/Green-Flash-Wheel-bicycle-Motorbicycle/dp/B00508MXUC/

Ooh!  Pretty!  I'm bookmarking it in case I ever get back to regularly riding my bike at night!

sol

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Re: How do I not get run over by a car?
« Reply #43 on: December 12, 2012, 10:34:18 PM »
Now I'd be curious to see the spike in orders for this particular item in the next few days. Ordered.

They're less than a dollar including shipping from China.  The price could double and I'd still buy a new set every year.

The ones I have are cheap plastic, probably useless as actual tire caps.  But they work great for vis, off when stopped and on when rolling, plenty bright.  Of course I also rock the in-spoke wheel reflectors too.  Nothing like a moving object to catch a driver's eye.

I did note that when I posted a link here to an amazon LED light bulb last year, the price went up about 20% over the next week.  That's the down side of sharing good deals with people on the web, Amazon's auto-pricing feature jacks up the price when something gets popular.  This one is a safety feature I think all cyclists should have, though, so I won't complain.

mindaugas

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Re: How do I not get run over by a car?
« Reply #44 on: December 13, 2012, 07:08:17 AM »
For side-visibility, all of my bikes now rock at least one of these, for $1.00.  Gets lots of comments.

http://www.amazon.com/Green-Flash-Wheel-bicycle-Motorbicycle/dp/B00508MXUC/



That's pretty neat but only schrader? $2.26 this morning.

madgeylou

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Re: How do I not get run over by a car?
« Reply #45 on: December 13, 2012, 07:43:56 AM »
i have a red helmet, and i feel like that helps people see me during the day.

i'm also getting myself a lime green safety vest, as bakari suggests, and i'm going to silkscreen "PLEASE DONT KILL ME" on the back. maybe with a smiley face. you think it will make people smile, or madder?

mindaugas

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Re: How do I not get run over by a car?
« Reply #46 on: December 13, 2012, 08:15:12 AM »
Eh, people will prob just kill you pulling too close to try and read it :P

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Re: How do I not get run over by a car?
« Reply #47 on: December 13, 2012, 09:22:51 AM »
i have a red helmet, and i feel like that helps people see me during the day.

i'm also getting myself a lime green safety vest, as bakari suggests, and i'm going to silkscreen "PLEASE DONT KILL ME" on the back. maybe with a smiley face. you think it will make people smile, or madder?

I've seen a study that suggests that a bright helmet does indeed make you significantly more noticeable than a black one (I think it was for motorcycles, but I'd assume it still applies)

I love the jacket idea.  I doubt it would make people madder.
I have a shirt that says "one less car" on the back in fairly big letters, and another that says "pass with care", both from the bike coalition, but they are frequently covered up by by florescent green jacket, which makes me like your idea even more. 

sol

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Re: How do I not get run over by a car?
« Reply #48 on: December 13, 2012, 10:01:32 AM »
That's pretty neat but only schrader? $2.26 this morning.

No, they're reversible, so good for either type.

And there are still lots of other ones listed for cheaper.  Shop around.  I still think they're a good idea.  Combined with front and rear flashers, I feel pretty hard to miss at night.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2012, 10:06:34 AM by sol »

GuitarStv

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Re: How do I not get run over by a car?
« Reply #49 on: December 13, 2012, 10:17:03 AM »
I've seen a study that suggests that a bright helmet does indeed make you significantly more noticeable than a black one (I think it was for motorcycles, but I'd assume it still applies)

Reflective tape on your helmet FTW . . .



WAY more visible at night than bright colours.