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

Discussion in 'Commuting and Road Safety' started by Guest, Apr 9, 2002.

  1. Randal Lovelace

    Randal Lovelace New Member

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    Riding slower will not stop stupid people from hitting you, I guess the best way to say this is directly, don't let anything stop you from doing something you enjoy.

    I have been involved in over 18 car accidents (mind you, not all were the other guys fault.....lol) but have not stopped driving sports cars.

    Have been hit a couple of times on my bike (see previous post for details) and I simply ride faster and smarter than before.

    Randy
     


  2. jjk

    jjk New Member

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  3. Brunswick_kate

    Brunswick_kate New Member

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    I must live in a dreadfully polite jurisdiction because I can't remember the last time I passed a pedestrian on the multi-use path with leashed dog that the owner didn't reach down and grab the dog's collar or at least pull in the leash to make sure I passed unimpeded by Rover's chase instinct.

    I'm not a dog owner so I just rather assumed that it was standard dog owner behaviour.



     
  4. meth24

    meth24 New Member

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    I've wrecked four times in my life, none with cars and 3 of those times were on our trail that is over 15 miles long. It does cross the road maybe 3 times through the whole trail and goes through campus (Ohio State). Campus starts to get bad now with about 50k students going in the fall. Most people are courteous, but even if only 2% aren't then you have quite a few risks as it is a busy trail. Everything from people walking, jogging, rollerblading, dogs, strollers and at one part there's a mini skateboard park. There's quite a few blind corners and unless you are lucky quite a few times where you have to slow down to a crawl just to pass someone. Much easier to pack the bike up, go a few miles north and ride through the country that is slowly building into a suburbia.
     
  5. jjk

    jjk New Member

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    You must indeed live in a polite place. Here (New York) about half of those facing you do as you describe. The ones not facing you don't always here your warning since many are wearing ear phones which makes the percentage smaller. Finally, the ones who don't have the dogs leashed, can't reach down because the dog is too far away. Instead they sometimes call the dog, which usually results in the dog running across your path.

    Example of less then polite: Less then a week ago a dog walker facing me with an 'un'leashed dog on a straight portion of the trail(He sees me coming). He does not grap the dog, he does not leash the dog, the dog runs straight at my front wheel forcing me to brake hard in order to avoid a colision. He says "you should slow down". I reply the dog is required by law to be on a leash at all times. Put him on the leash. He responds that "this is a pedestrian walkway and I should not be on a bike - you damn bikers ". He is standing directly under the Bike Route sign as he says it. He entered the trail at an entrance that has a large sign that has the name of the bike route and adds "dogs must be leashed at all times"(All entrances do). Local law requires dogs to be leashed in ALL public palaces as well. At this point I have had it and tell him he has a choice, He can put the dog on the leash or I will put the dog up his a.. I meant it. He knew I meant it. He put the dog on the leash and then left saying he was calling the police. I Finished my ride without a police escourt. This is not the only time I encountered this type of behavior from dog walkers.
     
  6. Brunswick_kate

    Brunswick_kate New Member

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    I don't think I'd last 5 mins in New York. My heart would give out by the wild behaviour
     
  7. jjk

    jjk New Member

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    Well it's not boring and You just need to keep things in perspective. About 15 million people in NY Metro Area. A quick rule of thumb is 10% of any group are jerks. Means 1.5 million jerks in NY. Running into one occassionally should not come as a surprise to anyone.
     
  8. wbmorrison

    wbmorrison New Member

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    THE ACCIDENT RECOUNTED BELOW HAPPENED JUST THIS WEEKEND. A HORRIBLE TRAGEDY. THIS IS SUCH A PERSONAL RECORD OF THE EVENT, BUT I THOUGHT IT WORTHWHILE TO SHARE, NOT TO DISCOURAGE RIDING, BUT TO ENCOURAGE SAFE RIDING, AWARENESS...AND PRAYER. [AUTHOR'S NAME AND OTHER'S FULL NAMES WITH-HELD.]


    Date: Tue, 02 Sep 2003 14:57:44 -0500
    Subject: Bike accident

    I got this today from the exxonmobil cycling team out of houston.

    Brazoria Bicycle Accident — My Memories

    The day before yesterday, Saturday, August 30, 2003, I was involved in a bicycling accident near Brazoria. I sustained a few scrapes and bruises, but all are minor physical injuries that will heal. Emotionally, I feel like someone tore my gut out. I have been riding with our local bike club for 19 years. I have seen some terrible accidents over that time, but never anything like this before. I have heard the accident scene described as grisly, unbelievable, an unspeakable! tragedy, and a nightmare; however, words cannot truly depict the devastation and loss of life that my eyes witnessed.

    The day started out like our typical Saturday mornings at the Lake Jackson Recreation Center. Twenty-one cyclists gathered and were chatting with each other in the parking lot. Kenny introduced us to his girlfriend from Dallas, Amanda. We left the parking lot at 7:30am with the sun shining down on us. Two doctors and a police officer were riding in our group. We were riding West on Highway 332. The road was dry until
    approaching the bridge that crosses the Brazos River into the town of Brazoria. There the road was wet from a small isolated shower that had passed through earlier, but the sun was still shining. Kenny and Amanda were laughing and talking in front of me as we rode under the bridge.

    Within a second, the serenity of our Saturday morning ride was shattered. I heard a commotion at the front of our group and looked up to see a silver truck sliding sideways into our pace line. I tried to turn to the left to avoid the truck, but my tires slipped. I thought I was going to be hit by the truck as I fell down on my left side. As I slid down the pavement, another cyclist, Al, ran into my leg and went down hard on the left of me. At the same time, I heard the dreadful noise of the truck spinning past
    my right side. Before I could stand up, I heard someone behind my left side calling 911. It was Billie telling them to send multiple ambulances. Andy was directly behind me stopping traffic.

    I looked around in total disbelief. The bicycles and riders that were in a neat pace line were now scattered on the road in front of me and in the ditch and field to my right. The truck came to rest behind my right side. I saw a huge dent in the side of the truck. There was someone lying between the truck and the bridge. It was Amanda. I didn't understand how she could be behind me. She was moving and someone was running up to her. I started
    looking at all the riders that were down. I noticed two riders just a few feet away to my immediate right. They were not moving. That's when I first started feeling something tearing at my gut.

    As I stumble toward the rider nearest to me I felt a sense of panic because I had not seen my wife yet. I started shouting her name. Margie responded; she was safe on the left side of the road. I heard Lance, the police officer riding with us, call for LifeFlight. I saw the doctors rushing to help. I knelt down next to the first motionless rider. I was shocked when I saw it was Jim T; he was gone. My mind did not want to believe what
    my eyes saw, but he was gone. A lady that stopped to help knelt down and began praying to God to save him, but he was gone. I looked over at the second motionless rider. It was Brian D; he was gone. CPR, prayers, and tears could not revive them. Emergency Medical Technicians, followed by LifeFlight, arrived within minutes, but Jim and Brian were gone.

    I just couldn't believe it. In the blink of an eye, two skilled riders; two good men; they were gone. It happened so fast, I wondered if they even knew what hit them. After tending to Kelton, Margie came over to me to and gently pulled me away from Jim so the EMTs and DPS Officers could do their job. I didn't want to leave Jim's side. I didn't want to accept that I couldn't do anything save him. The hard reality was no one could do anything
    to bring Jim or Brian back; they were gone. Andy P, an Episcopal minister, led us in a prayer over each of them.

    I watched the doctors, EMTs, and DPS Officers do their jobs. They took care of the other injured riders. Al and Kelton were on there way to Brazosport Memorial Hospital. Amanda was on LifeFlight going to Hermann Hospital. Lance was helping the other officers with the accident investigation. I felt a profound sense of respect for these professionals and the work they have to do every day to try to save lives. It must be hard to have a job where you
    have to deal with human frailty and vulnerability so frequently. By the disturbed looks on the faces of those professionals working the scene, it must be very hard.

    One of our friends, John, heard about the accident and drove over to see if he could help. He loaded Margie's bike and my bike into the back of his truck to take us back to Lake Jackson. As we drove away, I saw a black hearse pulling up to the accident scene. It hit me hard that Jim and Brian would not be going home to their wives and daughters. My heart ached for
    their families. My gut felt like it had been wrenched out of me. Although I have had to deal with the loss of loved ones in the past, I have never been a witness to such a tragic and senseless ! loss of life. The sun was still shining, but it was one of the darkest days of my life.
     
  9. skiracecoach

    skiracecoach New Member

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    I don't know that it is inevitable. I think the odds depend on location. I have riden since the 1986, averaging as much as 700 miles per week, as little as 200. During this time I have been hit twice. Once in 1987 on a July afternoon in Ohio by a drunk driver, a hit and run. He was unlicensed and uninsured and some kind motorists helped me while others chased him down and got his license plates. The officer who arrested him said he was so high that when he tried to pull his eyelids open, his eyes just rolled back into his head.

    The other in 1996 in S. Carolina. The second time I was hit head on by a driver who was passing another car. He actually came back to attempt to beat me up for damaging his car. I quickly flagged down other cars for witnesses. After an argument I told him to call the police if he thought I had wronged him. He called, then got tired of waiting and left. By then I had his license number and several witnesses. So he ended up as a hit and run driver and had to pay mutliple fines.

    When living in Kentucky I was never hit, but had rocks, pennys, a cooler of ice, pop, beer (in the can) and other unidentifyable objects thrown at me.

    The Chicago area was much different. In the suburbs people were generally courteous and tried to give you room as they passed.

    I now live in Denver and have only had one close call. A guy passing another car coming up a mountain, as I was coming down. He ran me right off the road and it could easily have been another head on. That is a rarity here though. Most drivers here bend over backwards to be polite to cyclists.

    In evaluating my overall experience I'd say your level of risk varies in accordance with where you live. Some cultures are more conducive to sharing the road than others.
     
  10. Musicant

    Musicant New Member

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    I have never been hit by a car while riding a bike. Is it only a matter of time? Well, anything that has a non-zero chance of happening will happen eventually if given enough time. That's a statistical thing. But there's plenty most bike riders can do to reduce the probability of getting hit by a car. I can only remember one ride when I felt that I could not do anything at all to assuage my fear of being struck by a car. Fortunately, I haven't returned to that neighborhood. I knew of no other route to my destination, and I felt it was a dangerous street.

    Years ago I used to ride thoroughfares a great deal. I never do anymore unless I feel particularly safe. You are safer on relatively little used roads/streets. You should pay close attention to what's going on around you - everything going on, especially if it impacts your safety.

    The fact that you had a close call suggests that you probably did something wrong. I rarely have close calls. I can't remember the last. I've had them, sure. Whenever I have a close call, whether it's driving my cars, my bike, skating the streets or walking, I ask myself if there was anything I could have done to prevent even the close call. 99% of the time the answer is yes. You have to take action to keep even close calls from happening if you want to minimize your risk of having that dreaded accident.
     
  11. Musicant

    Musicant New Member

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    Oh, that reminds me of an "accident" I had. A guy riding in the front passenger seat of a car (I assume it was a male, girls don't do things like that) stuck his arm out and whacked me as they passed me. I fell. I was furious but there wasn't a thing I could do. I don't remember if I reported it to the police.

    Another time I was hit in the helmet by a bottle tossed by someone standing on the sidewalk. I guess it was a "lucky" shot - he was lucky he hit me and I was lucky I was wearing a helmet - I usually don't in the city, where I have so much experience and so seldom have close calls I don't feel particularly at risk.

    I did get winged one day riding in rush hour traffic on a Friday afternoon. An elderly couple had parked and were about to eat at a local restaurant. The driver opened his car door quickly and hit my right hand, which was holding the Maes handlebars of my 10 speed. My hand was bloodied. I was angry, more than anything. I was probably around 10 miles from home, and in a somewhat unfamiliar neighborhood. The couple went to the restaurant and brought back a glass of water and some napkins to clean up the wound but I spurned their efforts to help me. That's how I expressed my anger. I know it was maybe somewhat childish, but that was my reaction. I had a bandaid in my wallet and I applied it and managed to get home. It wasn't much of an injury, certainly no broken bones or injured tendons, etc. The driver had given me his phone number but I never called. It was over 15 years ago.

    Ever since that accident I've been particularly careful not to ride too close to parked cars, or any cars, really. I see people on bikes who ride insanely close to parked cars, obviously innocent of the considerable danger they are putting themselves in. I know a guy who wound up in the hospital when someone opened their car door while he was passing on his bike. They had to wire his jaw back together. My sister had a similar accident but wasn't as badly hurt.
     
  12. jacatty

    jacatty New Member

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  13. Jess

    Jess New Member

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    I have done a thesis into the provision of cycleways for sports cyclists and one of the things the research found (not unexpectedly) was that sports cyclists dislike off-road bikepaths, especially when shared with pedestrians. As a triathlete, I would prefer to ride with the vehicle traffic, coz at least motorists are somewhat predictable (while pedestrians change direction and stop at any time.
    I have been riding 5 years now and have not been hit by a car, but have had several side swipes and near misses. I think it just comes down to riding defensively and assuming that motorists don't see you or respect your right to be on the road. Many motorists will pass too close to you because they just don't realise how vulnerable you are without a metal box protecting you, or they decide that they'll make it just a little uncomfortable for the cyclist coz 'they're not meant to be on the road in the first place'.
    However, in Australia and in most other countries, it is legal to ride on the road (and usually two abreast), but we do have to earn the respect of motorists if we want to ride on the road in relative safety. We have to obey road rules and ride like you would drive. I've heard in Europe that bikes and cars coexist much more harmoniously since there is mutual respect.
    Cheers!
     
  14. Chuck-MN

    Chuck-MN New Member

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    Your right, it's all about being seen. Anything you can do to be more obvious, like bright clothes and lights, even in the day time. I was hit at night riding with a tiny little light, I now use a Stadium 3 HID light and a 18 LED rear light and have not had anymore close calls with night riding. Think about the couriers that run packages all day long in the worse inner city trafffic 40 hours a week beore you work yourself up too much. They are professionals and rarely get hit...
     
  15. scottiebaird

    scottiebaird New Member

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    I am both a daily cyclist, (20k a day return to work in the Sydney CBD), weekend MTB and also a motorcyclist. You cannot trust the drivers in cars. The best tip would be to make eye contact and expect the unexpected. Remember your lane positioning, or buffering can be the difference between being hit and not. This means placing yourself as far away from potential trouble within your lane as possible. Common sense would say, as a cyclist, don't just swing out from the gutter to the middle of a lane, but if you are already taking a quarter, make it into a half at intersections, or car park exits.

    ________________________________

    Stay upright, unless otherwise required.
     
  16. Memphmann

    Memphmann New Member

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    I live in the rudest city in Canada. I encounter all knds of behavior. You handled this situation better then I would have. First I would have beat the dog, then beat the owner for negleting the dog and being stupid. I hate rude, stupid people. Just too many of them. Nothing helps someone learn a lesson better then a good old fashion arse kicking. The reason why I carry a knife....

    Memph

    Memph
     
  17. Chuck-MN

    Chuck-MN New Member

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    Happens all the time here, dogs unleashed and kids 5 to 9 years old riding about 40 feet from their harebrain parents on the bike trails unsupervised straight into your path. After
    you come to a screaming halt to avert a collision the parents seem to think it's our responsibility to avoid their infant children not theirs. Can you imagine the reaction had you hit one.
    Your not in a good state to get into verbal fight with adrenaline gushing through your body. Your judgment is not the most rational, so we usually try and void direct conflict
    and just swear that them as we pass. This is one of the reasons I prefer night riding when kids and dogs are in bed.. and you can barrel down the trails wide open with your $500
    HID lighting system blistering the trail. Any people encountered seem to whither away and off the trail from a blinding light in the pitch black darkness of night. <===========>
     
  18. Memphmann

    Memphmann New Member

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    Sounds like a great idea which I might be doing. My new job has me working the main cycling hours. So am going to have to ride from 4am til 8am. Less people, traffic, cooler, and stressful......

    Memph
     
  19. jwadleig

    jwadleig New Member

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  20. Memphmann

    Memphmann New Member

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    Great advice. If it is a double lane road on my side. I take up the entire right/slow lane. A few honks sure beats having someone try to cram by me and hit me. I call this "self preservation"......

    Memph
     
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