Getting hit by a car, is it a matter of time?



mjw_byrne

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Jan 22, 2004
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Originally posted by pineapple
Oxford is the opposite though - the cyclists there are a menace! Whenever I drive in Oxford, I have to make multiple evasive manouevres to avoid the cyclists who swerve off the bike lane while trying to talk on the phone and eat a sandwich at the same time!

Ha ha, yeah, Oxford has this kind of magic combination of incredibly old, narrow streets, a vast number of impoverished student cyclists who think they own the road, and various abortive attempts by the council to "pedestrianise" the place, making it impossible to use for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists alike.
 

Donald Yacovone

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Jan 6, 2004
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Originally posted by pineapple
Having never cycled in the US I can't really comment on that, but I agree that I haven't come across too many drivers over here who have been deliberately agressive to me or other cyclists. What you do get, though, is a lack of experience and people not really knowing how to deal with cyclists. Motorists here are quite bad at seeing cyclists, which is the biggest problem, but are also bad at deciding when/where/whether to overtake.

Oxford is the opposite though - the cyclists there are a menace! Whenever I drive in Oxford, I have to make multiple evasive manouevres to avoid the cyclists who swerve off the bike lane while trying to talk on the phone and eat a sandwich at the same time!

There is no definitive answer to this issue. Experieneces in the US vary depending on place and amount of time spent on the bike. I have, however, biked in central Pennsylvania, southern California, north Florida, and for about 11 years here in the Boston area. Southern California was ok; I had only one full beer can thrown at me. Hiking in the foothills was more dangerous. I was pinned down for about 10 minutes by a sniper. Eventually I ran like hell and got away. But I will not forget the sound of bullets wizzing over my head. North Florida was good, but only because the population was smaller. Truckers liked to see how close they could get to me without hitting me. Here in the Boston area--where congestion is the worst--cycling can be lethal. I have ridden the most here (about 3,000 miles a season) and have suffered quite a few terrible incidents, including being run down by a truck. I no longer ride in Woburn--a Boston suburb--because of the high number of thugs who take delight in terrorizing cyclists. I was even screamed at by a policeman in that town for the crime of passing his car while it was parked along the street. In lovely Concord some passing car full of elderly (yes, that's right) folks yelled at me in what might have been Italian and someone in the back seat reached out to grab my bike as they kept pace along side me. Only some well-placed insults and waving my bike pump got them away.
There are many brutes here, but generally Americans think they have a divine right to the roads and the right to do anything they wish on them. Let's just say that the life of a cyclist iin this country can be unpleasant--just like US foreign policy.
 

mjw_byrne

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Jan 22, 2004
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This is the kind of thing I was trying to say in my first post on this subject - cycling can be unpleasant in either the US or the UK but I get the impression that in the UK, it's generally due to inconsiderate or incompetent drivers, whereas in the US it's often because of malicious ones.
 

Fatherzen

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Jul 6, 2003
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Having ridden in France many years ago, the US a great deal, and Sardinia recently, I would say that mjw_byrne's comment about European driver's being generally more accepting and considerate of bicyclist is probably accurate. My philosophy is to never attribute to malice what can adequately be explained by incompetence, but I have run into (no pun intended) several driver's who vented their road rage on me. There are many people in the US who think that bicycles belong on the sidewalk or should be ridden in the opposite direction of traffic. My experience overseas has been that drivers are more accustom to encountering bicycle and therefore more considerate of them.

As gasoline gets more expensive here in the US, I am seeing more bicycle commuters so I expect drivers to grow more accustom to us. If gas prices reach the prices I saw in Sardinia last year (about $4 a gallon), I figure bicycles commuters will be a common thing in every city and drivers will be more accepting of us.
 

Randybaker99

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Nov 13, 2003
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Originally posted by Donald Yacovone
There is no definitive answer to this issue. Experieneces in the US vary depending on place and amount of time spent on the bike. I have, however, biked in central Pennsylvania, southern California, north Florida, and for about 11 years here in the Boston area. Southern California was ok; I had only one full beer can thrown at me. Hiking in the foothills was more dangerous. I was pinned down for about 10 minutes by a sniper. Eventually I ran like hell and got away. But I will not forget the sound of bullets wizzing over my head. North Florida was good, but only because the population was smaller. Truckers liked to see how close they could get to me without hitting me. Here in the Boston area--where congestion is the worst--cycling can be lethal. I have ridden the most here (about 3,000 miles a season) and have suffered quite a few terrible incidents, including being run down by a truck. I no longer ride in Woburn--a Boston suburb--because of the high number of thugs who take delight in terrorizing cyclists. I was even screamed at by a policeman in that town for the crime of passing his car while it was parked along the street. In lovely Concord some passing car full of elderly (yes, that's right) folks yelled at me in what might have been Italian and someone in the back seat reached out to grab my bike as they kept pace along side me. Only some well-placed insults and waving my bike pump got them away.
There are many brutes here, but generally Americans think they have a divine right to the roads and the right to do anything they wish on them. Let's just say that the life of a cyclist iin this country can be unpleasant--just like US foreign policy.

Whoa! Those are some pretty intense stories! I feel I need to share my considerably less exciting experiences with Boston area drivers. I don't log 3,000 miles per year (though I may make it this year) but in the miles that I have ridden in downtown Boston and many of the suburbs, I have yet to experience anything like the kinds of incidents you report. I do believe you, but I am hoping that these are isolated incidents. I want to point this out, lest our UK friends think that there is a homicidal maniac hunched behind the wheel of his Olds Cutlass, lurking in each and every Dunkin' Donuts parking lot (there are a *LOT* of those here...) just waiting to inflict death and destruction on any unsuspecting cyclists who happens to wander off of the bike path.

I am much more concerned about drivers who are oblivious/clueless/asleep/on the phone than I am about malevolent, psychotic, enraged thugs. (Now that I've said that, watch me get mowed down next week by a baseball bat-wielding hillbilly!)

I guess my point is this: sure there are lots of hazards to riding, and maybe those of us who live in the US and/or Boston are at a higher risk, but I still feel that if I take some precautions, ride defensively, don't assume driver intelligence, and generally expect the unexpected, I will survive to be a grandfather.

One more thing, I never, ever, ever provoke, engage with or respond to provocations. None of this finger jabbing, bird flipping, name calling stuff - that is a sure way to bring the psychos out of the woodwork. Donald, I am NOT accusing you of any of these acts, or trying to blame you in any way. I just want to remind folks to stay on the moral high ground - it's safer there!
 

JuneBug

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Dec 15, 2003
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Originally posted by Randybaker99

I am much more concerned about drivers who are oblivious/clueless/asleep/on the phone than I am about malevolent, psychotic, enraged thugs.

I agree. though I did a really bad thing today. I was at the back of a group ride today heading into a wind and decided to cut up to the front to take a pull and ...wow it was windy. ...I accelerated and kept on going at a nice clip , was still out in the lane a bit , when huge gust of wind pushed me out into the road. I could NOT get over! so wierd.
An SUV sped past me and nearly took me for a window ornament as it tried to get over to avoid a head on collision with an approaching car.
He was NOT being malicious..in fact he had gotten way over to pass us..NICE person.....But wow I imagine he didnt know what was happening with ME.
whew.
It was an accident though, a near one... and sometimes that is all they are. LIke hitting a wheel in front of you in a pace line. Sometimes we can be our OWN worst enemies. Maybe I should gain some freaking weight, huh??
wind.
 

Donald Yacovone

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Jan 6, 2004
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Originally posted by Randybaker99
Whoa! Those are some pretty intense stories! I feel I need to share my considerably less exciting experiences with Boston area drivers. I don't log 3,000 miles per year (though I may make it this year) but in the miles that I have ridden in downtown Boston and many of the suburbs, I have yet to experience anything like the kinds of incidents you report. I do believe you, but I am hoping that these are isolated incidents. I want to point this out, lest our UK friends think that there is a homicidal maniac hunched behind the wheel of his Olds Cutlass, lurking in each and every Dunkin' Donuts parking lot (there are a *LOT* of those here...) just waiting to inflict death and destruction on any unsuspecting cyclists who happens to wander off of the bike path.

I am much more concerned about drivers who are oblivious/clueless/asleep/on the phone than I am about malevolent, psychotic, enraged thugs. (Now that I've said that, watch me get mowed down next week by a baseball bat-wielding hillbilly!)

I guess my point is this: sure there are lots of hazards to riding, and maybe those of us who live in the US and/or Boston are at a higher risk, but I still feel that if I take some precautions, ride defensively, don't assume driver intelligence, and generally expect the unexpected, I will survive to be a grandfather.

One more thing, I never, ever, ever provoke, engage with or respond to provocations. None of this finger jabbing, bird flipping, name calling stuff - that is a sure way to bring the psychos out of the woodwork. Donald, I am NOT accusing you of any of these acts, or trying to blame you in any way. I just want to remind folks to stay on the moral high ground - it's safer there!
:(

Another Medford rider! Well, in none of the cases mentioned was there any provocation on my part. Oh, and last week I had a water bottle thrown at me near Mystic Lake and was hounded by some loser teens in a small car. In all, as a previous writer from GB mentioned, American drivers tend to be mean. Regreatably, I have had an abundance on bad experiences around the country--teenage boys are the worst, but by no means the only culprits. I think the advice you give about not responding to taunts (and there are loads of them) is excellent advice. But I do love the satisfaction of catching up with a mornon in a car at a stop light who a few minutes earlier had screamed an obscenity at me for the crime of cycling. Anyway, no response to provocations is really good advice and the best way to incure staying vertical for a natural lifetime. Happy riding.
 

JuneBug

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Dec 15, 2003
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Originally posted by Donald Yacovone
[B. But I do love the satisfaction of catching up with a mornon in a car at a stop light who a few minutes earlier had screamed an obscenity at me for the crime of cycling. Anyway, no response to provocations is really good advice and the best way to incure staying vertical for a natural lifetime. Happy riding. [/B]

yeah its fun to just nod and say Hello. better yet to really let them see your face. you are just an 'ordinary bloke' and not some 'bike' .

I personally feel that it should be harder to GET a license to drive and harder still to KEEP it. Its not a RIGHT, its a priviledge and we should treat it that way.
Perhaps people would respect each other and drive better if it were harder to obtain and keep that license. Ohhh I wish!
 

baggie

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May 13, 2004
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Cars hit cars all the time and people die, and they are a touch bigger than bikes. So yes it is inevitiable, one day you will get hit by a car. You can't ride with eyes in the back of your head, so even if you are extremely careful with whats coming up in front of you, some **** head driver can still smack you from behind. All you can do is minimise the risks, and ride somwhere where there is very little chance of a car hitting you. Everytime I'm heading down a hill at 65kms, and I approach a junction and a car pulls up, I say a little prayer, hope for the best and expect the worse.
 

CannondaleRider

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Oct 21, 2003
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I do think it is a matter of time before you get hit. I have been hit twice. And of course the close calls are too numerous to mention. I do have to say that one thing in almost all the close calls and one of my two accidents seems to be somewhat consistent; cell phones. They are the bane of our existence, quite literally for us pedestrians/bikers. Headsets or handheld, people are just too distracted by them.

There are things that can be done to prolong your safe riding before the inevitable. Be proactive, wear a reasonable amount of safety gear like a helmet and perhaps a blinking light/reflective tape (just be seen). And additionally, look at every car as if it is trying to run you over. That may seem extreme, but it has worked for me despite my two collisions. I can’t tell you how many times I have stopped for perpendicular traffic because it looked as though they weren’t going to stop, and low and behold they cruise right through the intersection without even touching their brakes. I should have been killed many times over the years if not for my paying attention. I live in a suburb of New York City and it seems to be more and more crowded every day and the risk would seem to be growing as well. With all that said, there are many people who completely yield to bikes, but sadly there are many who feel bikes shouldn’t be on the road and drive in a way that broadcasts their feelings.

I have had a full beer can thrown at me just missing my head (I actually heard the air "wizz" as it went by) One person just missed hitting me while hanging out his passenger window and taking a full fisted swing as he passed. If I’d been about 6 inches closer he would have connected. If he did connect, I would have been thrown into the rear end of a parked car at 35 mph, probably never knowing what hit me. I’ve had people right pull up on me and scream at the top of their lungs. The wrong reaction could have sent me into the front wheel of the truck they were driving, or off the road entirely. I’ve also had people pull up two inches off my rear wheel and just sit on their horn. And more innocently but just as dangerous, I’ve had a person pull up next to me (again scaring me a bit) holding a map out the window and pointing to a location and asking for help getting there.

It just makes you wonder what goes through peoples minds that they would put your life in danger and not think much of it. Accidents are accidents, we can work to avoid them and even compensate for others shortcomings. However, malice is something entirely different and something that you really can’t accommodate for. Someone shooting at you, like in Don Y’s case just makes you wonder if it is worth it. Guess you gotta start carrying your gun with you on rides too.

Despite all those seemingly harsh experiences, I can counter with hundreds of great rides for each of those frustrating ones and I humbly accept the risks. Except for the gun thing, Don, don’t go back to that block again, I’m thinking they were trying to say go away :) ….That’s my two cents worth….


Be safe out there…

C’DaleRider
 

xferretx

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Feb 1, 2004
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if you're a bike messenger, than yes, you will get hit by a car eventually. i've only got hit once, in atlanta over a year ago
 

jzb84

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Nov 10, 2003
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I've been riding a road bike for about 4 years, love it and am addicted. I live in a city that is not bike friendly. Some of the postings I read, I agree with.....YOU have to be aware and do the thinking for the drivers.... you need to watch and anticipate their moves as part of YOUR safety. No doubt, the motor vehicle driver feels as though they own the road and don't want us on it....so, how do we get them to be more aware and share.....some of us who cycle and many of us in cycling teams and clubs are attempting to form a cycling alliance and are approaching our city council...(and if you know me, political BS if not what I'm about)...but it's a way to be heard and banning together is our attempt to get bike lanes, safety awarness and educate the drivers. Afterall, we drive and we pay taxes as well. I became a better driver and more aware of cyclist and runners after I started riding.
I have had friends hit by cars....but here in Texas....can't say the cyclist have won.
Let me also say, in reference to bike paths... in my limited experience, 4 years dodging cars, I thought was dangerous. I got on a moutain bike and went to the park thinking it would be safer, 30 minutes later, I laid at the bottom of a creek bed. The results a shattered tibia, now 5.5 months later, I'm still in a wheelchair recouperating. I hope to be up and learning to walk again by July (another couple of months from now). Talk about all your plans coming to a halt, changes in lifestyle...gezzzz-whizzz!
Although, my recovery will have bittersweet moments, I still stay focused on riding someday soon. It will take me a while to regain my cycling skill and ability, but the love of the sport and it's benefits are worthwhile. I remain involved with my cycling team, I'm even coordinating a benefit ride for a MS patient.
So, let's be cautious, educate the non-rider, demand sharing the road and enjoy our sport. ;-)
 

foxiecharles

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Apr 26, 2004
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Be extra carful when heading East in the early parts of the morning, as drivers can not see you when blinded by the son.

The same is true when heading West in the late afternoon.

When add adding the sun "blindness" to a cell phone, or coffee, or children distracting a driver, you have a mix for a potential hurt cyclists.

When cars, and espically large trucks are approaching, lift your left arm and wave, so they understand they you SEE them. The driver will quickly "relax" and pass with care.

In a curve, and a car is approaching from behind, and you can see that it is NOT clear for the driver to pass, hold up your left arm, and show them that it is wise to WAIT. When it is clear, indiacte that passing is safe.

The more a cyclists communicates the safer the vehicle will be.
 

xferretx

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Feb 1, 2004
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Originally posted by foxiecharles
Be extra carful when heading East in the early parts of the morning, as drivers can not see you when blinded by the son.

The same is true when heading West in the late afternoon.

When add adding the sun "blindness" to a cell phone, or coffee, or children distracting a driver, you have a mix for a potential hurt cyclists.

When cars, and espically large trucks are approaching, lift your left arm and wave, so they understand they you SEE them. The driver will quickly "relax" and pass with care.

In a curve, and a car is approaching from behind, and you can see that it is NOT clear for the driver to pass, hold up your left arm, and show them that it is wise to WAIT. When it is clear, indiacte that passing is safe.

The more a cyclists communicates the safer the vehicle will be.

and if all else fails always have bike lock in yr pocket.....
 

jzb84

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Nov 10, 2003
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Originally posted by foxiecharles
Be extra carful when heading East in the early parts of the morning, as drivers can not see you when blinded by the son.

The same is true when heading West in the late afternoon.

When add adding the sun "blindness" to a cell phone, or coffee, or children distracting a driver, you have a mix for a potential hurt cyclists.

When cars, and espically large trucks are approaching, lift your left arm and wave, so they understand they you SEE them. The driver will quickly "relax" and pass with care.

In a curve, and a car is approaching from behind, and you can see that it is NOT clear for the driver to pass, hold up your left arm, and show them that it is wise to WAIT. When it is clear, indiacte that passing is safe.

The more a cyclists communicates the safer the vehicle will be.


Good Points made....
 

davlbrown

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May 15, 2004
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What rear view mirror system is best?

I commute and have ridden roads for years in redneck America. Had a can of fruit cocktail thrown at me once. Fitting tribute I guess. Smart choice since a pack of Winston's has minimal impact.

I'd like to know the best rear view mirror system so I can tell what's coming at me and train my rear machine gun mount appropriately.


Originally posted by jzb84
Good Points made....
 

skaufman

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May 26, 2004
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The issue isn't praying not to be hit, it's cycling defensively and responsibly. Just as one can spend a lifetime of driving without being in an accident, so one can spend a lifetime of cycling as well, but it does require a sense of responsibility.
 

davidstead

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May 28, 2004
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Originally posted by Guest
Hi.

For people who frequently ride on road.. is it only a matter of time before you get hit?

I'm always thinking about it when I'm on the road, and just pray it never happens to me.. had a close call the other day.

Who here frequently rides on the road and has never been hit, and who has been hit.

Share your stories please.

I cycle to/from work every day, admittedly only a short distance, but in busy traffic. I've had several incidents but always managed to take the necessary action to avoid a calamity. Regular road cyclists naturally have a well-developed sense of hazard awareness, but I'm sure that mine has improved after taking a course of advanced driving lessons. I'd recommend this to anyone who wants to be safer on the road, whether on two wheels or four. In some ways cycling in busy traffic is safer than on quiet country roads where vehicle speeds are much higher and the consequences of any collision will invariably be tragic.
 

Hoxley

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Jun 1, 2004
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I have been knocked off only once by a car in 10 years riding, during the winter in england. The car came round the corner sideways with the driver completely out of control. There was nothing she could do and unfortunately nothing i could do either apart from try and get out of the way (i failed!). but I work on the theory that as far as road riding is concerned the drivers cannot and do not see you, assume that they could do any thing that may take you out. Also give your self lots of space (dont ride in the gutter, you have as much right to be on the road as they have!) and you will be OK (most of the time)
 

CTK

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Apr 6, 2004
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Originally posted by Guest
Hi.

For people who frequently ride on road.. is it only a matter of time before you get hit?

I'm always thinking about it when I'm on the road, and just pray it never happens to me.. had a close call the other day.

Who here frequently rides on the road and has never been hit, and who has been hit.

Share your stories please.


One cannot be too careful, especially with traffic coming from behind! Had a few close shaves and the experiences were not pleasant. After the last one when I was nearly "pushed off" the road by a cement mixer truck, I decided to buy myself a reevu helmet (with rear vision system built in). Now i can "see" any inconsiderate s.o.bs coming from behind and take the necessary precautions. Wished I had bought one earlier. As with new things it will take a couple of days to get used to it. Now it works well for me. Even bought one for my son, at least I don't worry too much when he is out riding.