Author Topic: Bike commuters - have u been hit by a car?  (Read 7112 times)

mindaugas

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Bike commuters - have u been hit by a car?
« on: August 28, 2013, 04:49:16 PM »
Recently at work 3 of us got hit by cars including myself. All in the spam of a month.
I rolled up to an intersection I had several close calls with, so despite having a green and a white cross signal I stopped (part of a bike path that has a cross walk). There was a van making a right so driver was looking left. I looked through the windsheild and thought he saw me. As I began pedaling into the intersection he made his right hand turn into me. I wasn't injured, just some cuts on my leg and a little road rash from hitting the pavement. He also stopped right away, got out, and apologized profusely and made sure I was ok. Used my water bottle to rinse out the bloodier cuts, road into work. Earned my commuter badge that day.

I was lucky but how about the rest of you?

chardog

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Re: Bike commuters - have u been hit by a car?
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2013, 05:04:37 PM »
Very similar to my crash last year.

I got "left hooked" as I approached an intersection by a pickup truck turning left onto the street I was approaching from. 

I also thought he had to see me, but after he side swiped me, ran over my wheels... and stopped to help.  He said he never saw me.

He gave me a ride in his truck and paid for the bike repairs.   I only had a few scrapes.

Jimbo

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Re: Bike commuters - have u been hit by a car?
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2013, 06:43:38 PM »
Been commuting to work for 5 years now...

Never anything major. A couple of scares though, like what you described. I can yell pretty loud, and I seriously consider a air horn as my next bike gadget.

Once somebody opened a cardoor in front of me when I had no time to stop. So I didn't. He needed a new door, I a new wheel.

Those stories are rare, in my experience. You should be good for a couple of years now...

ToeInTheWater

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Re: Bike commuters - have u been hit by a car?
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2013, 06:51:29 PM »
not me either.  just started this summer, and so far been very pleased with how courteous the drivers are.

one sorta-close call the other day.  like OP, i was crossing the busiest street on my route - stopped at a red light
1 driver turning right - blinker, and angled to make the turn on red if he got the opportunity.
driver behind him sure looked like he was going straight, so when the light turned, i let the 1st guy go,
then started across as #2 started to turn.  luckily we both saw each other and stopped, he waved me on, and all was well

ok, not all that close really, but the closest so far.

b

mpbaker22

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Re: Bike commuters - have u been hit by a car?
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2013, 06:57:02 PM »
Stories are more common when you're in more dense areas or cover a lot of miles.

So far I've only had crashes with the pavement resulting in some bruising and scraping. The worst one was just a result of not realizing water had over-ridden the bike path around the next turn.  I didn't have time to slow down and even at a small turning angle, my wheels slid out from underneath.  Just some road rash.

The worst I've had with drivers is the buses that pass within inches.  They all get reported, but the city doesn't seem to care.  I actually emailed every aldermen in one of the towns I pass through on my commute about their unsafe cycling laws.  I didn't get a single response.

Hamster

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Re: Bike commuters - have u been hit by a car?
« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2013, 08:07:34 PM »
Recently at work 3 of us got hit by cars including myself. All in the spam of a month.
I rolled up to an intersection I had several close calls with, so despite having a green and a white cross signal I stopped (part of a bike path that has a cross walk). There was a van making a right so driver was looking left. I looked through the windsheild and thought he saw me. As I began pedaling into the intersection he made his right hand turn into me. I wasn't injured, just some cuts on my leg and a little road rash from hitting the pavement. He also stopped right away, got out, and apologized profusely and made sure I was ok. Used my water bottle to rinse out the bloodier cuts, road into work. Earned my commuter badge that day.

I was lucky but how about the rest of you?

I have had several close calls, but never been hit in many years/miles of commuting (knock on wood). The only exception is a couple of mirrors clipping me from people passing too close. I'm pretty assertive about claiming my lane when necessary, and positioning myself so that I can respond to any stupid moves by cars. I also don't ride on any paths that cross the road near an intersection, which is a pretty dangerous situation (as you know).

Your scenario is why right hooks are so dangerous. Cars turning right, from the right lane don't expect  traffic on the road to their right. Moving into the intersection from a bike path or sidewalk can be even more dangerous since cars only pay attention to the road, not off-road obstacles. And since bikes are faster than pedestrians, they often move into the road faster than a driver would expect an obstacle to appear.

Is this an area where it would be safe to ride on the road instead of the bike path? At least long enough before/after the intersection that you can claim the right lane through the intersection? That way nobody would turn right into you.

Fingers crossed for your continued safety.

mindaugas

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Re: Bike commuters - have u been hit by a car?
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2013, 10:05:16 PM »
Is this an area where it would be safe to ride on the road instead of the bike path? At least long enough before/after the intersection that you can claim the right lane through the intersection? That way nobody would turn right into you.

Fortunately I don't take that route any longer since I moved. It is not a safe road to ride on though. There is no shoulder and it's two lanes along with being a major pipe for morning commutes. Hence the reason the intersection is so dangerous. After the hit though I figured out I could ride on a thin aging, crack filled sidewalk on the other side of the road out of traffic. Then take a thin single track trail over a golf course trail and onto the bike path :) It isn't as bad as it sounds to be honest.

My new route into work is nearly all road but it's a route I've taken a lot so I know all the pot holes, intersections, etc.
http://www.strava.com/activities/77667198

lysistrata

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Re: Bike commuters - have u been hit by a car?
« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2013, 10:18:02 PM »
You poor folk! I'm always in a bit of awe over bike riders - it looks so scary out there!

I'm a blind pedestrian. I've been hit by cyclists twice, and a car once. The cyclists were riding on the footpath (illegal in my country and I didn't see them), and the car got me while I was crossing near a corner. He drove off without stopping. I don't like to paint all drivers with the same brush, but since been hit i've been a lot less tolerant of cars stopping across intersections, etc.

AnonymousCoward

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Re: Bike commuters - have u been hit by a car?
« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2013, 10:24:28 PM »
I've been bike commuting since 2011 for a total of 5,000ish miles. I don't know how much general purpose riding I've done in that time. No collisions, no single vehicle accidents, no nothing. 99% of that is on ordinary roads, mostly in Atlanta but there was also a summer in Cleveland.

FunkyStickman

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Re: Bike commuters - have u been hit by a car?
« Reply #9 on: August 29, 2013, 05:11:56 AM »
I commuted for about a year, around 4000 miles or so that year. Got hit by a guy who ran a red light at about 35MPH, shattered my femur. I was on crutches for about 3 months, out of work for 2 months.

Since then (2 years ago) I've only commuted a handful of times. I did yesterday, though. I still enjoy it, it's still a fantastic way to get to work. You can bet it increased my awareness! I will probably go back to it full time once the weather gets a bit cooler.

GuitarStv

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Re: Bike commuters - have u been hit by a car?
« Reply #10 on: August 29, 2013, 06:19:20 AM »
In my lifetime I've been hit by cars three times while on my bike.  I was cycling on the sidewalk each of those times.  Since switching over to road cycling only I haven't had any accidents.

Nancy

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Re: Bike commuters - have u been hit by a car?
« Reply #11 on: August 29, 2013, 07:52:47 AM »
No, I've never been hit by a car. A woman swung her car door open all the way today right as I passed her, but since I ride at the edge of the bike lane (for this very reason), I was clear of her door.

I have had accidents due to uneven pavement/potholes, which is actually a very common cause of bike accidents.

PindyStache

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Re: Bike commuters - have u been hit by a car?
« Reply #12 on: August 29, 2013, 08:10:06 AM »
Your scenario is why right hooks are so dangerous. Cars turning right, from the right lane don't expect  traffic on the road to their right... Is this an area where it would be safe to ride on the road instead of the bike path? At least long enough before/after the intersection that you can claim the right lane through the intersection? That way nobody would turn right into you.

Fingers crossed for your continued safety.

I agree with this completely and recently changed my route in a similar way. It's a bit unfortunate because we have a very nice bike trail that parallels a fairly narrow, torn-up and congested (but only 25mph) road. I've had too many close calls with right/left-hooks though and now prefer to bike on the road. Are there solutions out there for this sort of situation? I've heard of separate bike signals in some areas--any Mustachians have experience with those or another option?

And to the OP, in 2.5 years of regular bike commuting I've not been hit by a car. Only wiped out twice by my own dumb self (once with a bunch of ice that I thought was melted and 2nd time going over very bad road with RR tracks crossing it).

I did see a bike rear-end a car once--the cyclist wasn't paying attention to traffic stopping ahead of him. Everyone was OK and didn't seem to be any damage, but it was a funny interaction to watch as the motorist was initially very apologetic but started to realize half-way through the conversation that it was the cyclist's fault!
« Last Edit: August 29, 2013, 08:12:53 AM by PindyStache »

SavingMon(k)ey

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Re: Bike commuters - have u been hit by a car?
« Reply #13 on: August 29, 2013, 08:28:03 AM »
No, I've never been hit. Had a couple of close calls maybe. I choose my routes very carefully and use the concept of MDSR (Most Direct AND Safe Route). So sometimes I will ride a couple extra miles to make it safer. My commute to work is a good example. I could ride an 8 mile route that's direct but less safe on streets with lots of cars, but the second most direct route is 2 miles longer and much safer (path, bike lane).

Also, I've gotten the advice of "ride like you're invisible but make yourself the most visible possible." Never, ever assume a driver or pedestrian saw you, but do your best to make sure they do.

Insanity

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Re: Bike commuters - have u been hit by a car?
« Reply #14 on: August 29, 2013, 08:43:14 AM »
It wasn't during a commute, but I had a massive near miss.

Was riding a fundraising course - 75 mile ride (150 total, with the ride back the next day).  Going through a development during the course was with a pack of riders.  Cars were parallel parked on the side of the road.  One must have parked shortly before we came around the curve.  He opened the car door and took out about 5 riders in all.  I was 7th back and able to stop before hitting the guy in front of me.


Ottawa

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Re: Bike commuters - have u been hit by a car?
« Reply #15 on: August 29, 2013, 08:45:00 AM »
In my "driving" lifetime (25 years) I have been crashed into by other cars quite seriously twice (a rear end and a T-bone).  I estimate total km driven over that time of approximately 250,000km. 

I estimate biking during the same period to be much less...but then, alot of that time was university/travel...work commuting has been approximately 12 years...and is about 40,000km.  I was rear ended at a round-about...I jumped off bike at the last minute and wasn't hurt...bike was destroyed...

I certainly gained safer cycling habits over that time.  I certainly believe that as a cyclist, (and driver too) one can minimize the potential for accidents by:
1) being EXTREMELY defensive - always assume and anticipate the other driver's will not see you or obey the road rules - make eye contact - use hand signals...communicate!
2) be predictable - don't swerve around sewer grates, puddles etc...
3) obey the road rules - act like a driver. For example: take up an entire lane if you have to - don't hug the gutter.
4) choose a bike route and timing (if you can) that minimizes interaction with vehicles (bike paths, back roads). avoid intersections, lights etc. 
5) be visible - lights, clothes, bell and an air horn.  I deploy airhorn on average once per week - when I see a driver that doesn't notice me...or running a light etc.
6) when going past parked cars...assume the doors will open...cycle more than a door length away from parked cars...

feel free to add more..

bettyb

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Re: Bike commuters - have u been hit by a car?
« Reply #16 on: August 29, 2013, 08:58:42 AM »
I had a car back into me once when it decided to do a 3 point turn in a traffic jam and didn't look in the rearview mirror (urban bike commuting). Luckily it slow-rolled into me, but I'm more wary of waiting behind cars for left turns, in narrow streets, etc., and try to get beside them or stay well behind.

nawhite

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Re: Bike commuters - have u been hit by a car?
« Reply #17 on: August 29, 2013, 09:18:54 AM »
I had a right hook like situation where I ended up hitting the rear quarter panel of the car and flipping over their trunk. I was unhurt but they drove off. I honestly see that as partially my fault because I was hugging the gutter in the turn only lane instead of out in the middle lane. I know better now. Take your space in the lane and be visible.

hybrid

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Re: Bike commuters - have u been hit by a car?
« Reply #18 on: August 29, 2013, 11:43:14 AM »
So far so good, but I am only a few hundred miles into being a bike commuter.  I'm really trying to pay close attention to the possibility of a guy turning right while I am in the bike lane on his right.  Sometimes I just make sure I lower the odds of being hit by deliberately placing myself appropriately.

cambridgecyclist

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Re: Bike commuters - have u been hit by a car?
« Reply #19 on: August 29, 2013, 12:12:51 PM »
I started bicycle commuting 18 years ago. I've been in only one collision with a motor vehicle around 5 years ago. The motorist was lost, tired and confused and turned right across the bike lane without signaling. I was occupying that lane at the time, hit the passenger side quarter panel and flew across the hood. Scrapes, bumps and bruises, and about $60 of damage to the bicycle, but otherwise okay.

That's the day that the corporate services group at work learned from me that all 6 first aid kits in the building's kitchens were out of supplies. That situation was resolved almost immediately and the first aid kits are still rapidly restocked when anything runs out.

jflo

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Re: Bike commuters - have u been hit by a car?
« Reply #20 on: August 29, 2013, 05:20:11 PM »
Only accident that landed me in the ER, I was hit by a bike.  Seriously.  Hipster salmoning at full speed on the wrong side of a bike lane - swerving would have meant either hitting a fence (probably should have gone with that option) or taking out a baby carriage.  Got hit head on - torn shoulder muscles (couldn't lift my arm properly for a month) and stitches in my front shin.  Tacoed my wheel too.

I did learn if you're ever asked if you were hit in the head and the answer is "I don't remember", then the answer is really yes.  Only noticed the lump on my forehead and the dent in my helmet the next day.

That said, if I didn't pay much more attention while biking than drivers do or have decent bike handling skills, I probably would have many more car hits to report.  Lots of close calls in my 6 years cycle commuting.  London was by far the most exciting.  They would die laughing at the 3 feet rule.

Russ

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Re: Bike commuters - have u been hit by a car?
« Reply #21 on: August 29, 2013, 05:42:59 PM »
Spent plenty of time in the ER and had a few fun ambulance rides due to crashes during bike races. Never once been touched by a car either commuting or just riding around (probably have about 70k miles in me so far)

Mike

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Re: Bike commuters - have u been hit by a car?
« Reply #22 on: August 30, 2013, 03:24:55 AM »
I've had a number of close calls - most of them occurred when I rode on paths that crossed streets.  I've had far fewer issues since I started riding mostly on roads in the past year.