Author Topic: Is this complaining or a valid concern?  (Read 16614 times)

OWHL

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Is this complaining or a valid concern?
« on: April 17, 2013, 12:14:23 PM »
I live about 4-5 miles away from work. I am able to ride a bike and would like to ride one to work. However, the road connecting home and work is a New York route that averages one death a year (walkers/bicyclists). Most people around town agree such a route is dangerous especially during the night due to poor driving.

There is another route that may be a bit safer (less deaths per year) but adds 6-8 more miles onto my work commute (huge rolling hills and such).

The first choice will take me roughly less than a half hour. The second will be more 45 min.s to an hour.

 I would prefer the first option.

Is this "complainy pants" thinking or genuine threat to bicycling safety?

Paul der Krake

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Re: Is this complaining or a valid concern?
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2013, 12:21:14 PM »
It's hard to tell without looking at the road in question and the conditions. Shoulder size, speed limit, congestion, etc. Everyone has a different risk aversion threshold.

Who are these "most people"? Seasoned cyclists or just your regular four-wheeled coworkers? You could start by commuting every other day on the longer route to get a feel for cycling in traffic, and then give the shorter route a shot to see how it goes.

OWHL

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Re: Is this complaining or a valid concern?
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2013, 12:34:23 PM »
I would only ride in sunny, clear conditions to start out with. Road is wide with about 2-3 feet shoulder for emergencies (no bike lanes). There is heavy traffic (cars, trucks, construction machines) with a speed limit of 55 (most go up to 65). The people I have consulted are car driving people (coworkers, family members, friends).

anastrophe

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Re: Is this complaining or a valid concern?
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2013, 12:47:49 PM »
If you decide to ride this route, deck yourself out like a Christmas tree. Neon vest, blinking lights, flags, daytime running lights. Be colorful, bright, and dorky. They even make flags you can attach to your bike which stick out to the left.

Then do a test ride and see how much space the vehicles give you. It might be better than you think, when you are doing your best Xmas Tree Impression.

Rollin

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Re: Is this complaining or a valid concern?
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2013, 12:52:09 PM »
Not saying one should be chosen over the other, but another way to look at the second option is to consider that an "adventure" and more time to yourself.  If you consider either one a chore you won't like either one.

James

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Re: Is this complaining or a valid concern?
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2013, 12:57:04 PM »
If you decide to ride this route, deck yourself out like a Christmas tree. Neon vest, blinking lights, flags, daytime running lights. Be colorful, bright, and dorky. They even make flags you can attach to your bike which stick out to the left.

Then do a test ride and see how much space the vehicles give you. It might be better than you think, when you are doing your best Xmas Tree Impression.

I agree, flashing lights and bright reflective jacket or vest. Try it out and see for yourself whether it is within your safety tolerance.

.22guy

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Re: Is this complaining or a valid concern?
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2013, 01:22:20 PM »
Saving money by biking to work won't do you a lot of good if you're dead or maimed.

kisserofsinners

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Re: Is this complaining or a valid concern?
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2013, 01:29:18 PM »
I think this is one of those things where you'll need to try it and see t it keeps you from sleeping at night. I'm admittedly a pretty brazen bicyler. I know I do things that would make others uncomfortable.

If I were to pretend that other peoples fear doesn't have very real effects, it would be a disservice to you. It might be worth it to walk your bike during the scary part, but you won't know until you try. The "limit" is whatever keeps you up at night. My limit might give you nightmares and it's more important to be gentle with yourself sometimes than do the "right thing".

Good Luck! :)

dragoncar

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Re: Is this complaining or a valid concern?
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2013, 01:31:47 PM »
One death per year, but what is the deaths per bike mile vs deaths per car mile on this road?  You probably don't have that exact stat but consider the number of bikers, the number of cars, and the number of auto deaths toget the full picture of increased risk.

It it is truly more dangerous, even when taking safety precautions above, I don't think it's too complainy to drive (esp if it's a very mustachios car). 

I would put little stock in what "everyone" agrees.

Use it up, wear it out...

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Re: Is this complaining or a valid concern?
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2013, 01:37:42 PM »
I would put little stock in what "everyone" agrees.

off topic

a few years ago, I received a fortune cookie which stated, "everyone agrees you are the best"

/off topic

matchewed

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Re: Is this complaining or a valid concern?
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2013, 01:42:53 PM »
I would put little stock in what "everyone" agrees.

off topic

a few years ago, I received a fortune cookie which stated, "everyone agrees you are the best"

/off topic

HAH!

And on topic. Every time you get on a bike to ride you have a risk to not make it back. The same goes for car driving, walking, scuba diving, and swimming in the kiddy pool.

I agree with everyone in this post. Take precautions reasonable to the risks. Helmet, Lights, well maintained bike, and practice in bicycling will increase your chances of riding back home. :)

If you're uncomfortable still with the "Death Route" then just take the less "Death Route" a few more miles isn't the worst thing in the world.

Reepekg

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Re: Is this complaining or a valid concern?
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2013, 02:01:57 PM »
You are only half way to quantifying your risk. I agree you should compare it to the road's car deaths per year. Whizzing around at 55 mph in a ton of metal isn't the safest thing ever.

I have found most drivers in the states avoid you like the plague and give you extra room when you're on a bike because it is like they've never seen one on a road before and are terrified of hitting you and denting their precious BMW.

Take safety seriously, but don't listen to the average person who fears things on an irrational basis (sharks vs. heart disease?)

StarswirlTheMustached

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Re: Is this complaining or a valid concern?
« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2013, 02:55:29 PM »
"One death per year" is actually a pretty meaningless measure of danger.

As a ridiculous example: very few pedestrians or cyclists are recorded killed on 8 lane highways on an annual basis. Do we thus conclude that 8-lane highways are our safest route? Of course not. It's just that you can't (or few people do) go on them to be killed.

Is there any way to tell how many cyclists take this route on a regular basis? Deaths per year isn't the figure we need here; it's deaths per journey. Preferably broken down between "idiot kid" and "prudent commuter".

Ask around and try and find some cyclists to talk to. "Everyone" in this town is absolutely certain that every single road is a death trap, especially at night, because of poor driving, and that daring to step out of your metal cocoon will see you killed instantly. The exception to that "everyone" is the people that do spend time outside of the metal cocoon.
 
If you can't find any cyclists to talk to, I say pack a spare pair of pants, and just go for it! If you need to change into them when you get to the office, well-- maybe try the longer route, first, and work your way up to das Mordenstrasse.

Jamesqf

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Re: Is this complaining or a valid concern?
« Reply #13 on: April 17, 2013, 03:19:02 PM »
You also have to do a comparison of the risk of death from being hit by a car while biking, versus the chance of improving your life expectancy (and more, your healthy life expectancy) with the extra exercise you'll get from biking every day.

Paul der Krake

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Re: Is this complaining or a valid concern?
« Reply #14 on: April 17, 2013, 05:50:09 PM »
For what it's worth, a 45mph zone with commuters is enough to make me nervous. It's fine when it's a country road with little traffic because cars can see me from afar. Heavy traffic with distracted drivers doing their nails and blabbing into their cellphones on their way to work, whizzing past me at 55mph? Hell no.

Be safe.

marty998

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Re: Is this complaining or a valid concern?
« Reply #15 on: April 17, 2013, 06:03:15 PM »
Write a letter to your local government/council. They won't build cycleways unless they know there is demand for them. They won't fix poor lighting if nobody tells them

Nobody on this forum can build a safer route for you to cycle, you need to get in the ear of people who can do it.

I take your point about it not feeling safe, but coming here to ask us is not going to solve your problem.

lifejoy

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Re: Is this complaining or a valid concern?
« Reply #16 on: April 17, 2013, 07:35:46 PM »
What feels like a longer commute, will, if you keep at it, feel like a habit.

I used to take public transit to work, 1 hr and 45 min each way every day for a whole summer. I got to the point where I enjoyed it :) Some "me" time, and a nice view.
good luck! Btw my dad cycles a lot, and he's decked out like a highlighter and looks very dorky and safe :)

Rollin

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Re: Is this complaining or a valid concern?
« Reply #17 on: April 18, 2013, 04:49:27 AM »
I would put little stock in what "everyone" agrees.

off topic

a few years ago, I received a fortune cookie which stated, "everyone agrees you are the best"

/off topic

You may also find that most of those deaths were at night, involved alcohol, and wrong way riding with no lights. Most of the ones in our area are such.

Edit - sorry for the incorrect quote, but I like it just the same!
« Last Edit: April 18, 2013, 04:53:28 AM by Rollin »

DoubleDown

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Re: Is this complaining or a valid concern?
« Reply #18 on: April 18, 2013, 10:13:24 AM »
The flip side of this is that if you find that ride to be too dangerous for your tastes, 4-5 miles is not likely to break the bank in gas usage and car maintenance. If you could ditch your car entirely by biking only, that would be one thing. But assuming you'll own a car regardless, then 10 miles round trip doesn't cost much. I'd drive it rather than take a risky (or considerably longer) bike trip.

It's an odd paradox that the shorter the commute, the more we encourage biking... but at the same time, driving a short distance can be pretty damn economical (assuming you get decent mileage) and can make sense when weather or traffic conditions suck, or if you have to shower or change out of gear into a suit, etc.

brewer12345

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Re: Is this complaining or a valid concern?
« Reply #19 on: April 18, 2013, 10:27:36 AM »
I would only ride in sunny, clear conditions to start out with. Road is wide with about 2-3 feet shoulder for emergencies (no bike lanes). There is heavy traffic (cars, trucks, construction machines) with a speed limit of 55 (most go up to 65). The people I have consulted are car driving people (coworkers, family members, friends).

This is a situation where there is zero argin for error on your part and that of innumerable distracted drivers, idiots, drunks, etc.  I would not even consider biking on such a road.  Go the other route or take the car.

matchewed

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Re: Is this complaining or a valid concern?
« Reply #20 on: April 18, 2013, 10:54:32 AM »
The flip side of this is that if you find that ride to be too dangerous for your tastes, 4-5 miles is not likely to break the bank in gas usage and car maintenance. If you could ditch your car entirely by biking only, that would be one thing. But assuming you'll own a car regardless, then 10 miles round trip doesn't cost much. I'd drive it rather than take a risky (or considerably longer) bike trip.

It's an odd paradox that the shorter the commute, the more we encourage biking... but at the same time, driving a short distance can be pretty damn economical (assuming you get decent mileage) and can make sense when weather or traffic conditions suck, or if you have to shower or change out of gear into a suit, etc.

4-5 miles may not break the bank but if you take the true costs of commuting as a factor and even remove the time costs (IMO the time costs are technically increased for the bicyclist) you are left with $170 per mile annually. That is $850 for a five mile commute per year versus... honestly I'm not sure $20 a year?

Yes it may make economical sense to pay 850 dollars a year to not die in a horrible wreck... but a car doesn't guarantee that. I do agree with the lack of facilities if you have tried alternative suggestions and they failed. But there are several success stories of people who commute by bike to a job where they wear a suit, don't have access to showers, weather and traffic sucks. So it is possible.

As for the road conditions - like I said before if it truly makes you uncomfortable to ride on a road like that then don't. But understand that you are just as likely, if not more so, going to get in a car on car accident on a road like that. An alternative route was mentioned in the OP. What is the drawback to that one? 6-8 miles? Just makes you that much more badass.

dizzean

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Re: Is this complaining or a valid concern?
« Reply #21 on: April 18, 2013, 11:00:23 AM »
Also know this.

The safest place for you to ride is IN the lane (assuming it's legal in your area), not on a narrow shoulder, and certainly not on the sidewalk.

Take the lane!  Generally speaking you are just as allowed to be in the lane than other cars and you being IN the lane gets you into their line of vision and forces them to treat you like other traffic.

brewer12345

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Re: Is this complaining or a valid concern?
« Reply #22 on: April 18, 2013, 11:41:47 AM »
Also know this.

The safest place for you to ride is IN the lane (assuming it's legal in your area), not on a narrow shoulder, and certainly not on the sidewalk.

Take the lane!  Generally speaking you are just as allowed to be in the lane than other cars and you being IN the lane gets you into their line of vision and forces them to treat you like other traffic.

I am sure that will work great in 65MPH traffic.

MountainFlower

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Re: Is this complaining or a valid concern?
« Reply #23 on: April 18, 2013, 12:24:25 PM »
The flip side of this is that if you find that ride to be too dangerous for your tastes, 4-5 miles is not likely to break the bank in gas usage and car maintenance. If you could ditch your car entirely by biking only, that would be one thing. But assuming you'll own a car regardless, then 10 miles round trip doesn't cost much. I'd drive it rather than take a risky (or considerably longer) bike trip.

It's an odd paradox that the shorter the commute, the more we encourage biking... but at the same time, driving a short distance can be pretty damn economical (assuming you get decent mileage) and can make sense when weather or traffic conditions suck, or if you have to shower or change out of gear into a suit, etc.

I'm with you DoubleDown.   Perhaps I'm tainted by being second on the scene of a hit and run bicycle fatality (driver was drunk at 4:00 in the afternoon and the cyclist was riding on the shoulder for god's sake).  I'll never get over the image of that guy laying there dead on the side of the road.   It was a dry summer day, so conditions had nothing to do with it.  He could have been decked out in a hundred flashing bulbs and it wouldn't have mattered. 

There is a highway that goes between Golden and Boulder (Hwy 93), two of the most bicycle-crazy towns around.  Guess how many people ever bike that road, here in bike-crazy boulder county?  Almost none, ever.  Why?  It's dangerous as hell.    There are just some roads that aren't worth the savings.  Really. 

skyrefuge

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Re: Is this complaining or a valid concern?
« Reply #24 on: April 18, 2013, 12:56:38 PM »
Give us a link to a Google Map of the route!

When I ride my bike across the country, I do thousands of miles on state or national highways with 2-3 foot shoulders and 55-65mph speed limits. Generally, they aren't particularly dangerous, despite what people who have no idea what they're talking about might say. It's certainly possible that your particular route is a bad one, due to traffic volume/type, road condition, visibility, driveways/intersections, etc., but it's impossible to say without at least seeing a virtual version of it.

If you're like me, you'll find your own equilibrium. Start off on the longer, "safer" route, and then as you become acclimated, you might say "fuck it, this safe route is way too long", and gravitate more towards the direct route. And then if that one seems to scary, you might switch back, or find another option.

StarswirlTheMustached

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Re: Is this complaining or a valid concern?
« Reply #25 on: April 18, 2013, 03:06:58 PM »
Perhaps I'm tainted by being second on the scene of a hit and run bicycle fatality (driver was drunk at 4:00 in the afternoon and the cyclist was riding on the shoulder for god's sake).  I'll never get over the image of that guy laying there dead on the side of the road.   It was a dry summer day, so conditions had nothing to do with it.  He could have been decked out in a hundred flashing bulbs and it wouldn't have mattered.   

Since my grandmother was killed 11 years ago this month in a similar accident in her car, I guess I have the opposite bias you do. That is: I am overly aware of the fact that a car won't save me.

dizzean

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Re: Is this complaining or a valid concern?
« Reply #26 on: April 18, 2013, 06:26:09 PM »
Also know this.

The safest place for you to ride is IN the lane (assuming it's legal in your area), not on a narrow shoulder, and certainly not on the sidewalk.

Take the lane!  Generally speaking you are just as allowed to be in the lane than other cars and you being IN the lane gets you into their line of vision and forces them to treat you like other traffic.

I am sure that will work great in 65MPH traffic.

If you are legally allowed in the road, it will work fine.

Jill the Pill

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Re: Is this complaining or a valid concern?
« Reply #27 on: April 18, 2013, 06:40:28 PM »
Quote
If you decide to ride this route, deck yourself out like a Christmas tree. Neon vest, blinking lights, flags, daytime running lights. Be colorful, bright, and dorky. They even make flags you can attach to your bike which stick out to the left.

Like this:

brewer12345

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Re: Is this complaining or a valid concern?
« Reply #28 on: April 18, 2013, 09:02:13 PM »
Also know this.

The safest place for you to ride is IN the lane (assuming it's legal in your area), not on a narrow shoulder, and certainly not on the sidewalk.

Take the lane!  Generally speaking you are just as allowed to be in the lane than other cars and you being IN the lane gets you into their line of vision and forces them to treat you like other traffic.

I am sure that will work great in 65MPH traffic.

If you are legally allowed in the road, it will work fine.

Sure, at least from the mortician's point of view.

dizzean

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Re: Is this complaining or a valid concern?
« Reply #29 on: April 19, 2013, 05:48:21 AM »
Also know this.

The safest place for you to ride is IN the lane (assuming it's legal in your area), not on a narrow shoulder, and certainly not on the sidewalk.

Take the lane!  Generally speaking you are just as allowed to be in the lane than other cars and you being IN the lane gets you into their line of vision and forces them to treat you like other traffic.

I am sure that will work great in 65MPH traffic.

If you are legally allowed in the road, it will work fine.

Sure, at least from the mortician's point of view.

70% of bike accidents happen with the biker being on the sidewalk.

The safest place for you to ride your bike is in the lane on any road that you can legally ride on.

I recommend you read this: http://bicyclesafe.com/

Paul der Krake

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Re: Is this complaining or a valid concern?
« Reply #30 on: April 19, 2013, 06:35:06 AM »
@dizzean, the website you linked to isn't gospel and doesn't dispend absolute truths. The advice given applies to city and suburban streets, not the freeway. It doesn't take a physics degree to understand that riding your bike at 18-20mph on a 65mph road (or even 55) with heavy traffic is a terrible idea. There is theory, and then there is common sense.

tuyop

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Re: Is this complaining or a valid concern?
« Reply #31 on: April 19, 2013, 06:45:53 AM »
Are you seriously taking deaths per year into consideration with every decision that you make?

I was going to write this post with a long list of things that are more dangerous than riding a bike 5 miles to work (chief among them being NOT riding your bike and dying of diabetes or heart disease), but I think that you have a bit of a complainypants irrational fixation here.

Just use your common sense and don't be afraid to try new things, you're not an insurance actuary (and if you are, leave that at the office). Walk over some subway grates, ride your bicycle for fiteen minutes in traffic, walk up a mountain, have sex, love life.


For reference, I biked more than 300km per week (about 10km/day through moderate traffic) for my commute last summer on an 80km/h "highway" with lots of blind turns and crests on a $125 1986 Fuji road bike. I had one $4 reflector belt wrapped around my backpack for visibility. In my experience, people were highly conscientious when driving around me, especially in the dark and rain. Other cyclists were far more annoying than motorists.

Personally, it's very important to me to not live in fear regardless of the risks, you may have different values.

brewer12345

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Re: Is this complaining or a valid concern?
« Reply #32 on: April 19, 2013, 07:50:11 AM »
I don't know how young the invincible posters on this thread are, but you are either in your 20s, crazy or both.  Shockingly, yes, I do consider what risks I am taking when I do things.  I don't bike on highways, hitchhike, spend time after dark in dangerous areas, etc.  After one season hunting deer in the mountains in winter by myself, I am putting in for a fall tag in the plains.  I don't drive an econobox and I have a large life insurance policy.  Don't take foolish risks.

TwoWheels

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Re: Is this complaining or a valid concern?
« Reply #33 on: April 19, 2013, 08:45:57 AM »
(IMO the time costs are technically increased for the bicyclist)

Only if you think all time is created equal. But to me time alone in a car is truly wasted, as I'm neither getting exercise nor able to concentrate on whatever I choose.

dizzean

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Re: Is this complaining or a valid concern?
« Reply #34 on: April 19, 2013, 10:48:13 AM »
@dizzean, the website you linked to isn't gospel and doesn't dispend absolute truths. The advice given applies to city and suburban streets, not the freeway. It doesn't take a physics degree to understand that riding your bike at 18-20mph on a 65mph road (or even 55) with heavy traffic is a terrible idea. There is theory, and then there is common sense.

If there is an alternative/safer route then by all means take it! I personally add time to all my rides if it will get me on a safer route.

I am simply saying that if it is a legal road for you to ride on, it is perfectly legal and safe to take the lane instead of trying to dodge cars, debris, and potholes on a narrow shoulder.

StarswirlTheMustached

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Re: Is this complaining or a valid concern?
« Reply #35 on: April 19, 2013, 11:00:55 AM »
I don't know how young the invincible posters on this thread are, but you are either in your 20s, crazy or both.  Shockingly, yes, I do consider what risks I am taking when I do things.  I don't bike on highways, hitchhike, spend time after dark in dangerous areas, etc.  After one season hunting deer in the mountains in winter by myself, I am putting in for a fall tag in the plains.  I don't drive an econobox and I have a large life insurance policy.  Don't take foolish risks.

Maybe we invincible young folks are aware that the number one killer of folks under 40 is dying in our cars, and that the number one killer past forty are lifestyle diseases that can be mitigated by spending less time in cars.


I would only ride in sunny, clear conditions to start out with. Road is wide with about 2-3 feet shoulder for emergencies (no bike lanes). There is heavy traffic (cars, trucks, construction machines) with a speed limit of 55 (most go up to 65). The people I have consulted are car driving people (coworkers, family members, friends).
- 3 foot paved shoulder sounds great
- 65mph sounds a bit scary. That's highway, non-motorized-vehicles-prohibited speeds in Canada. That said, it sounds like a straight stretch? The two things most likely to kill you are people turning into you, or opening doors, knocking you into traffic. If no one is parked and intersections are controlled, it should be fairly safe. Regardless of the speed difference, accidents involving an auto overtaking a cyclist are very rare-- usually there are poor conditions and/or impaired driving to blame.

To be honest, though, I think the speeds would unnerve me and I'd take the detour, too.

matchewed

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Re: Is this complaining or a valid concern?
« Reply #36 on: April 19, 2013, 11:10:23 AM »
I don't know how young the invincible posters on this thread are, but you are either in your 20s, crazy or both.  Shockingly, yes, I do consider what risks I am taking when I do things.  I don't bike on highways, hitchhike, spend time after dark in dangerous areas, etc.  After one season hunting deer in the mountains in winter by myself, I am putting in for a fall tag in the plains.  I don't drive an econobox and I have a large life insurance policy.  Don't take foolish risks.

Those 20 somethings are taking risks into account too. They're just evaluating the risks in a different manner. You're hearing wide shoulder but fast cars and thinking it is instantly a death trap. Veteran bicyclists are hearing wide shoulder and know that the difference between being hit by a car going 35 mph vs a car going 65 mph is going to be very small for the guy/gal on the bicycle. But I do agree that if you are still not comfortable biking in those conditions then don't. Biking in those conditions are not foolish risks when taken with the right precautions such as turning yourself into a Christmas tree, practicing biking with traffic so that you know how to be a good cyclist, and clearly communicating to your fellow commuters what you are going to do.

brewer12345

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Re: Is this complaining or a valid concern?
« Reply #37 on: April 19, 2013, 11:24:26 AM »
I don't know how young the invincible posters on this thread are, but you are either in your 20s, crazy or both.  Shockingly, yes, I do consider what risks I am taking when I do things.  I don't bike on highways, hitchhike, spend time after dark in dangerous areas, etc.  After one season hunting deer in the mountains in winter by myself, I am putting in for a fall tag in the plains.  I don't drive an econobox and I have a large life insurance policy.  Don't take foolish risks.

Those 20 somethings are taking risks into account too. They're just evaluating the risks in a different manner. You're hearing wide shoulder but fast cars and thinking it is instantly a death trap. Veteran bicyclists are hearing wide shoulder and know that the difference between being hit by a car going 35 mph vs a car going 65 mph is going to be very small for the guy/gal on the bicycle. But I do agree that if you are still not comfortable biking in those conditions then don't. Biking in those conditions are not foolish risks when taken with the right precautions such as turning yourself into a Christmas tree, practicing biking with traffic so that you know how to be a good cyclist, and clearly communicating to your fellow commuters what you are going to do.

Unless there are distracted commuters who veer over into the shoulder.  That never happens, right?

tuyop

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Re: Is this complaining or a valid concern?
« Reply #38 on: April 19, 2013, 12:07:25 PM »
I don't know how young the invincible posters on this thread are, but you are either in your 20s, crazy or both.  Shockingly, yes, I do consider what risks I am taking when I do things.  I don't bike on highways, hitchhike, spend time after dark in dangerous areas, etc.  After one season hunting deer in the mountains in winter by myself, I am putting in for a fall tag in the plains.  I don't drive an econobox and I have a large life insurance policy.  Don't take foolish risks.

Those 20 somethings are taking risks into account too. They're just evaluating the risks in a different manner. You're hearing wide shoulder but fast cars and thinking it is instantly a death trap. Veteran bicyclists are hearing wide shoulder and know that the difference between being hit by a car going 35 mph vs a car going 65 mph is going to be very small for the guy/gal on the bicycle. But I do agree that if you are still not comfortable biking in those conditions then don't. Biking in those conditions are not foolish risks when taken with the right precautions such as turning yourself into a Christmas tree, practicing biking with traffic so that you know how to be a good cyclist, and clearly communicating to your fellow commuters what you are going to do.

Unless there are distracted commuters who veer over into the shoulder.  That never happens, right?

Just think, man, a piece of space debris could just like drop from the sky and kill you as soon as you leave the building! Happens all the time. Or, if you stay in the building, you could get killed by lightning! Also happens fairly commonly. Life is risky, accept it and get on with doing things that are important to you.

How much fear are you feeling like right now? How many things this week did you decide not to do because it might be dangerous?

If you and I were friends, and I asked you to come with me and hike a mountain on which 17 people a year died, would you do it?

If it was a canoe trip, and knowing that drowing is the fifth highest cause of accidental death in America, would you be willing to do it? Even taking into account the risk of lyme disease, space debris deaths, skin cancer, and spontaneous combustion?

brewer12345

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Re: Is this complaining or a valid concern?
« Reply #39 on: April 19, 2013, 12:37:43 PM »
I don't know how young the invincible posters on this thread are, but you are either in your 20s, crazy or both.  Shockingly, yes, I do consider what risks I am taking when I do things.  I don't bike on highways, hitchhike, spend time after dark in dangerous areas, etc.  After one season hunting deer in the mountains in winter by myself, I am putting in for a fall tag in the plains.  I don't drive an econobox and I have a large life insurance policy.  Don't take foolish risks.

Those 20 somethings are taking risks into account too. They're just evaluating the risks in a different manner. You're hearing wide shoulder but fast cars and thinking it is instantly a death trap. Veteran bicyclists are hearing wide shoulder and know that the difference between being hit by a car going 35 mph vs a car going 65 mph is going to be very small for the guy/gal on the bicycle. But I do agree that if you are still not comfortable biking in those conditions then don't. Biking in those conditions are not foolish risks when taken with the right precautions such as turning yourself into a Christmas tree, practicing biking with traffic so that you know how to be a good cyclist, and clearly communicating to your fellow commuters what you are going to do.

Unless there are distracted commuters who veer over into the shoulder.  That never happens, right?

Just think, man, a piece of space debris could just like drop from the sky and kill you as soon as you leave the building! Happens all the time. Or, if you stay in the building, you could get killed by lightning! Also happens fairly commonly. Life is risky, accept it and get on with doing things that are important to you.

How much fear are you feeling like right now? How many things this week did you decide not to do because it might be dangerous?

If you and I were friends, and I asked you to come with me and hike a mountain on which 17 people a year died, would you do it?

If it was a canoe trip, and knowing that drowing is the fifth highest cause of accidental death in America, would you be willing to do it? Even taking into account the risk of lyme disease, space debris deaths, skin cancer, and spontaneous combustion?

Nice straw man.  Scare away many crows with it?

I go hiking and camping in bear country regularly.  But I do so in a judicious manner.  Friends know where I will be so if I don't return they will have some idea where to look for me.  I have appropriate gear with me, including survival/first aid stuff and often a firearm.  I pay attention to the weather and dress/plan accordingly.  I have a map and a gps with me, as well as a compass.  And I still enjoy hiking, camping, hunting, fishing etc.

Is there risk in the world?  Sure.  But only the foolhardy would not judiciously consider the risks and accept only reasonable ones, doing what you can to minimize them.  Playing chicken as a cyclist with a bunch of idiot commuters doing 65MPH is not a wise choice.

matchewed

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Re: Is this complaining or a valid concern?
« Reply #40 on: April 19, 2013, 12:43:42 PM »
My point is that a human, even with a helmet, is just as likely to die when being struck by a vehicle going 65 as a vehicle going 35. So what makes a 35 mph road any safer?

tuyop

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Re: Is this complaining or a valid concern?
« Reply #41 on: April 19, 2013, 12:44:16 PM »
/\/\/\ This is also my point, this is not an attitude based on a reasoned, holistic, comfortable evaluation of the situation. It's just straight-up fear. I particularly love the hiking example. You don't need any of that shit to hike safely and I've spent many months in the wilderness traveling literally thousands of miles with nothing more than some sleeping gear and a map and compass (and food).

I mean people are so funny about hiking, people lived in the wilderness for hundreds of thousands of years with none of that stuff, you'll be fine with a tiny fraction of the "just in case" items.

Nice straw man.  Scare away many crows with it?

I go hiking and camping in bear country regularly.  But I do so in a judicious manner.  Friends know where I will be so if I don't return they will have some idea where to look for me.  I have appropriate gear with me, including survival/first aid stuff and often a firearm.  I pay attention to the weather and dress/plan accordingly.  I have a map and a gps with me, as well as a compass.  And I still enjoy hiking, camping, hunting, fishing etc.

Is there risk in the world?  Sure.  But only the foolhardy would not judiciously consider the risks and accept only reasonable ones, doing what you can to minimize them.  Playing chicken as a cyclist with a bunch of idiot commuters doing 65MPH is not a wise choice.

How much fear are you feeling like right now? How many things this week did you decide not to do because it might be dangerous?
« Last Edit: April 19, 2013, 12:47:50 PM by tuyop »

anastrophe

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Re: Is this complaining or a valid concern?
« Reply #42 on: April 19, 2013, 12:46:32 PM »
My point is that a human, even with a helmet, is just as likely to die when being struck by a vehicle going 65 as a vehicle going 35. So what makes a 35 mph road any safer?

It is different--it's easier to make eye contact with drivers in dense urban traffic than it is on a limited access highway, just as one example. But the speed alone isn't the only indicator of safety, the intersections, curb cuts, signals, everything depends. If the OP would post a link to the google map of the offending road we might be able to make a better determination, but all of this is just conjecture without the specifics.

brewer12345

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Re: Is this complaining or a valid concern?
« Reply #43 on: April 19, 2013, 01:17:19 PM »
/\/\/\ This is also my point, this is not an attitude based on a reasoned, holistic, comfortable evaluation of the situation. It's just straight-up fear. I particularly love the hiking example. You don't need any of that shit to hike safely and I've spent many months in the wilderness traveling literally thousands of miles with nothing more than some sleeping gear and a map and compass (and food).

I mean people are so funny about hiking, people lived in the wilderness for hundreds of thousands of years with none of that stuff, you'll be fine with a tiny fraction of the "just in case" items.

Nice straw man.  Scare away many crows with it?

I go hiking and camping in bear country regularly.  But I do so in a judicious manner.  Friends know where I will be so if I don't return they will have some idea where to look for me.  I have appropriate gear with me, including survival/first aid stuff and often a firearm.  I pay attention to the weather and dress/plan accordingly.  I have a map and a gps with me, as well as a compass.  And I still enjoy hiking, camping, hunting, fishing etc.

Is there risk in the world?  Sure.  But only the foolhardy would not judiciously consider the risks and accept only reasonable ones, doing what you can to minimize them.  Playing chicken as a cyclist with a bunch of idiot commuters doing 65MPH is not a wise choice.

How much fear are you feeling like right now? How many things this week did you decide not to do because it might be dangerous?

How much of a douchbag have you been this week?

I am glad you are superman.  Have a nice life.

Gerard

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Re: Is this complaining or a valid concern?
« Reply #44 on: April 19, 2013, 02:23:28 PM »
Now, now, people, not everyone who disagrees with you is evil. Even on the internet.

I have to say, I have a fear of riding my bike on fast roads, but I've done it before and it's not so bad once you get going. General possible-facts like "one death a year" don't help make an informed decision, especially if they're actually pedestrian deaths (which are, statisically, much more likely to involve drunks staggering home after dark). It's more a matter of locally relevant conditions, maybe. Is either route better/safer in one direction than the other? Like, wide shoulders, sun in eyes, dangerous intersections or required turns? Are you usually in more of a hurry in the morning? Is the maybe-more-dangerous route used by many larger trucks, that might suck you into traffic when they pass? Would it help if you adjusted your departure times a little?

Paul der Krake

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Re: Is this complaining or a valid concern?
« Reply #45 on: April 19, 2013, 02:36:53 PM »
My point is that a human, even with a helmet, is just as likely to die when being struck by a vehicle going 65 as a vehicle going 35. So what makes a 35 mph road any safer?
It is inherently safer because the speed difference between the cyclist and the motorist is lower. This means a car won't be within hitting distance of the cyclist as fast, leaving more time for the distracted driver to realize there is someone ahead and adjust speed/position.

Also, every car out there on the road with shitty brakes.

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Re: Is this complaining or a valid concern?
« Reply #46 on: April 19, 2013, 10:08:31 PM »
I bike to work a lot, and personally, I would take the second option. I get uncomfortable when cars are going around 35-40. There's a highway near where I work that is similar to what you describe: high speed limit, lots of trucks. That one has no shoulder whatsover, and very sporadic sidewalks. I wouldn't bike down it if you paid me. I do occasionally walk down that road, on the side, in the grass, and it's a terrifying experience. When I bike, I take the back way, which still has it's share of trucks, but it's less high-traffic, and there's more room for cars to go around. That takes about 40 minutes or so, but it's worth the peace of mind. Also, take this with a grain of salt, but I've found cars give you much more space when you ride down the middle of the lane like you own it. It lets them know that you're there, and they'll change lanes to pass. When I ride on the shoulder, it seems like more people come close to sideswiping me because the imagine that they have more clearance than they do.

tuyop

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Re: Is this complaining or a valid concern?
« Reply #47 on: April 20, 2013, 08:30:42 AM »
I think this would be awesome for ensuring clearance...



Except made out of a piece of jagged steel so that it scratches cars when they come too close. In NB it was recently made illegal to pass within 1m (~1 yard) of a cyclist. If you can't give them the space, stay behind them.

olivia

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Re: Is this complaining or a valid concern?
« Reply #48 on: April 20, 2013, 12:47:00 PM »
I'd take the longer route, myself, or just drive.  I recently started biking to work daily, but I live in a pretty bike-friendly city with decent bike lanes.  Plus there are a ton of cyclists, so cars are used to seeing them.  I'll take the lane if there isn't a bike lane or the bike lane is blocked, but the cars aren't going much faster than me, so it's a reasonable thing to do.  I absolutely would not ride on a road with no bike lanes where the speed is 55-65 mph.  If that makes me a coward, I wear that title proudly!