Increasing awareness of cyclists

Discussion in 'Commuting and Road Safety' started by TeamAwareness, May 26, 2017.

  1. TeamAwareness

    TeamAwareness New Member

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    Hello,

    We are a group of students based out of Nova Scotia (Canada) that are currently involved in a project centered around bike awareness -- specifically, developing a product to increase driver awareness of cyclists.

    As part of our research, we have interviewed customers and employees at some of the local bike shops. But we are also interested in obtaining viewpoints from a broader range of individuals. We prepared a few questions, below:

    1. What safety items do you carry on your bicycle?
    2. What safety items do you find most effective during the day? At night? Why?
    3. What do you find most dangerous about cycling on city roads? Why?
    4. We have noticed that adjustable light patterns (such as solid/blinking) tend to be popular. Why would cyclists want that adjustability?
    5. Are there any habits you have adopted to keep yourself safe while cycling? If so, why do think they are effective?
    6. There are a number of safety-focused items available. If you have not purchased them, why not?
    7. Why is performance (e.g., battery life of a light) important?
    If anyone could take a few minutes to answer some (or all) of them, we would appreciate that very much!

    Sincerely,
    Team Awareness
     
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  2. dabac

    dabac Well-Known Member

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    Depends on route, time of year and time of day. Daytime summer, I might settle for bright clothing. During dark I use Hi-Viz clothing, reflectors and lights on the bike. Helmet. Longer rides, out of town, I carry a first aid kit.
    Day - most effective isn't an item, it's behaviour. Claim the lane, act predictably and sensibly. Ride defensively. Bright clothing helps.

    Night - lights, reflectors, Hi-Viz clothing. Most effective way to identify yourself as "unprotected human ahead" is to have your body outline light up in the headlights.

     
  3. dabac

    dabac Well-Known Member

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    And #3 has another oddity to it:What do you find most dangerous about cycling on city roads? Why?

    The plural of anecdote is not data.
    If you want to find what's most dangerous, the source for that info should be injury&accident statistics.
    What you're likely to find out from your question is what cyclists find most scary. And "most scary" does not have to be the same as "most likely to kill/hurt you".

    And if you want to increase DRIVER awareness of cyclists
    Why are you asking cyclists?
    Shouldn't you be asking drivers to describe features and behaviours
    common among cyclists they've noticed early and clearly?
     
  4. TeamAwareness

    TeamAwareness New Member

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    Thank you very much for your answers!

    There is actually a method to the madness, so to speak, in the way the questions are phrased. Because it is cyclists who would be using the product, it is the opinions of cyclists which matter most. You can design the most effective system in the world, but if the consumer (cyclists) aren't convinced? It will never get used.
     
  5. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    I wear a seatbelt...

    Fine I'll be serious.

    1) Safety items I carry ON the bike (assuming you mean attached to the bike and not on my person) is a 90 lumen tail light, front flasher which on sunny days I don't bother using, a 1100 lumen headlight which I only put on for night rides.

    2) During my commute I wear a cheap Home Depot brand fluorescent green safety vest with wide reflective stripes, and use my rear tail light on flash mode. I think the neon green color stands out the best in most situations, however in heavy leafy tree areas it doesn't which is why I run the rear light on flash. Ideally my best, or a jersey if one were made like this, should be made of two colors, Fluorescent green and fluorescent yellow, those two colors lie in the wavelength of light that the human eyes are most sensitive to.

    3) The most dangerous thing about cycling on city roads is people driving distracted, and this distraction is mostly caused by cell phone use. There is an easy fix to the cell phone issue. Every modern cell phone has a GPS in it, all they have to do is once the GPS detects it's moving faster than 15 mph it shuts off the phone till it exceeds 200 mph then it turns back on. At the shutdown speed of 15 mph it would allow a runner and a cyclist to be able to use the phone, though I'm against that too since I know that both runners and cyclists are also doing their sport distracted and seen some really stupid things they do that could have gotten them killed and I'm sure have died.

    4) Flashing vs solid lighting. A European study on this found that motorists had a more difficult time ascertaining their distance from a flashing light source at night like they could with a solid light source, so they made a law banning the use of flashing lights. However a joint US and Canadian study showed that flashing light was safer because it attracted the attention of the motorist to the flashing object. Personally I think the truth is both! This is why at night I use 3 tail lights, the two dimmest ones are on flash and the brightest on is on steady. During the day things change, a solid light isn't effective whereas a flashing light attracts attention much faster; so in the day I only use the one brightest rear light on flash mode the others are off.

    5) Habits for safe riding? man that answer would be too long to type out here so instead here is a website that pretty much covers it all: http://bicyclesafe.com/ The only thing I can add to this is on the section about The Door Prize, when I'm riding next to park cars I start scanning through the back window of a car first to see I can see anyone in a seat, then as I get closer I switch to the side mirror to look for someone in the driver's seat. I also ride like I do driving a car, I line up behind cars slightly to the right but so I can see their eyes in their rear view and right side mirror. I also always stay about 3 feet behind a car or truck because sometimes, especially trucks they can roll back from a dead stop. I never pull alongside any large profile vehicle like trucks and RV's, these people may never see you even if you can see their heads in the mirror. Also when I said I ride like I drive a car that means I obey all traffic laws including stopping for red lights and stop signs (in the city), and I slow down for yield signs. In Indiana they want to adopt a law that allows for cyclists to go through red lights, but only AFTER you stop first and only if you do so safely. Also depending on speed of traffic of course I will take the lane most of the time if I can keep up with traffic and if there isn't enough space to my right to ride without getting sideswiped by a car.

    6) Bells: I find them useless, they're not loud enough to attract the attention of a motorist in a car, nor peds or cyclists anymore because they all have ear buds on these days. Neon flags: never saw a need for one in over 40 years of riding, though I may consider one if I do a cross country tour. Mirrors: not sure how effective these can be, I had one for awhile then stopped using it; look, if a car is going to run you over it will hit you before you could tell in a mirror, or that new radar rear light thing that's more useless than a mirror, that a car was going to that, and at the speed of car you wouldn't have time to react, and even if you did have time to react where would you go? into a curve and damage your bike and fall over only to get by the car anyways? onto gravel and loose control and crash and get hit by the car anyways? down a ravine tumbling end over end only to die from the fall? Not every place you ride has a nice wide smooth grassy area you can just turn onto to escape a car from hitting you. Full body armor: do I have to explain that one?

    7) I think most battery powered lights are running for an adequate time for most night time riders, what I find inadequate is how long the battery will last in terms of years. The new Li-Ion batteries will only last about 2 to maybe 5 years tops (depending on how often it's used) before they no longer hold a charge then you're forced to throw away the light and buy another, though there are a very few lights that the light can be sent back to the manufacture and the battery replaced and a couple can even be replaced by the user, but these small batteries tend to be rather expensive. The old Ni-Cad batteries would last 10 to 12 years, but they didn't have the power nor the ability to be small enough to be of any use on a bicycle light for today's weight weenies. So I wish they could extend the life expectancy of the Li-Ion or if not possible then find another type of battery chemistry that can.

    That's all I can think of for your questions.
     
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  6. GingerNatural

    GingerNatural New Member

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    I like to ride on large multi-lane roads on large rights-of-way with no shade in rush hour daily. That way the maximum number of motorists see me. I am slender and healthy so I love the attention and have had many more approvals and compliments than complaints. I frequent bars, convenience stores and restaurants on the bike. That way even more people see me and talk to me and then more compliments. I have one of those side view mirrors zip-tied to my specs so I can see behind me as I frequently cross traffic and make left turns through large intersections. In the rain it's my red or black jerseys and black helmet. No rain, white jerseys and white helmet--one of those has purple flowers printed on the shoulders and it is lovely. I wear bright white or red gloves to use a turn signals. I try to avoid riding at night but if I have to I use lights.
     
  7. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    I can't recall any adult male stranger ever complaining to another adult female stranger they have never met before that they're ugly, so never getting a complaint is pretty much across all spectrums of looks. And if you keep frequenting bars, convenience stores, and restaurants, that slender healthy body you now have will vanish before you know it. Why would you wear dark clothing on rainy days? You need fluorescent neon colors in the rain. The complement thing...you're either very conceited, or your imagination is getting the best of you, or both!

    This was a very unusual post, so I'm thinking you did it for laughs! LOL!!
     
  8. GingerNatural

    GingerNatural New Member

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    It may be funny to some. That's OK and it is all true. If anyone feels confident and safe in neon colors then that is excellent, although one of my cycling playmates in neon got hit by a truck a couple years ago. I just prefer traditional primary colors as my statements of fashion but they don't always work. Last year when I got hit by a motorist in a Chevy Equinox I was wearing red--the driver was an attractive young woman--but that is only the 2nd time in 10 years of road cycling I have come in conflict with automobiles and one of those was my fault. My ways are not for everyone but I am having fun out there and I have made some good friends--my neon playmate made a full recovery. I am ordering a green, white and red jersey so maybe the contrasting red and green will be a more festive alert to motorists. I confess to being conceited, fanciful, whimsical. However, on a more serious note, another one of my former cycling playmates was killed on a paved bike trail resulting from a collision with another cyclist. Yet another was seriously injured in a conflict with a car on the same trail--a residential street crossing. I have no faith in the popular idea--at least where I live anyway--that "no motor vehicles" bike trails are safer than being out in the road with cars, trucks, motorcycles.
     
  9. GingerNatural

    GingerNatural New Member

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  10. GingerNatural

    GingerNatural New Member

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    That may be true for some but it has worked out for me for many years. I suppose I have a high enough metabolism to get away with it even at my age and even in this super-size hero sandwich & beer culture--love those. And perhaps the lovely adrenaline / endorphin rush I get riding in fast heavy rush hour traffic helps. It is like an addiction and maybe that is NOT safe at all...
     
  11. dabac

    dabac Well-Known Member

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    And if it doesn't work, NO ONE will be saved by it, even if you get 100% usage.

    So what is your main goal, to sell or to improve safety?
    If your main goal is to sell, then buyer acceptance is indeed most important.
    If improving safety is your main goal, then having something that works is more important.
    If a thing improves safety, there'll always be SOME who'll use it.
    I see 2-3 guys regularly who commute in full-face helmets. One even with a neck brace.
    Eventually one of them will benefit from it.
    But if you have something that doesn't work, then no one will ever benefit from it, no matter how many you sell.

    It'll be like those laser lane markers, or any out of a host of ineffective bike "safety" products.

    Of course the truth is somewhere inbetween, something that both works and gets used in large numbers will bring the most benefit to the general population.
     
  12. GingerNatural

    GingerNatural New Member

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    I have a question, After an accident when the police and the paramedics show up what does it take to convince them you DO NOT want to take that ride in the ambulance to the hospital? I appreciate them for their responsiveness however each time I was in the ER due to cycling accidents I was released soon thereafter on my feet after a fortune of tests on my brain and chest--and I told then on the road I didn't fall on my head but fell on my ass--they xray and catscan and MRI my head and chest and not my ass.

    After that accident I avoid riding with my wife as she was there witness. She went hysterical just like the motorist who hit me and all the witnesses all over that intersection. They and the police and paramedics all pushed me to go to hospital and it all turned out to be nothing. I would have been fine if I just got up and kept going.

    About a month later I crashed into the side of a Ford F150 truck--into its tire--and the driver and I agreed to just go on.
     
  13. dabac

    dabac Well-Known Member

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    1) the law might differ from one place to another
    2) but GENERALLY, as long as you're a legal adult and mentally competent, you can deny being treatment.
    3) which leaves two grey areas. The governing authority might not want their paramedics tied up in disputes, and may have simply stated that "all head injuries to be brought in to be seen by a doctor".
    The line of reason being that while affected by a head injury, you're not fit to decide to deny treatment.
    And while most places will respect a registered DNR statement, an injury bad enough to look like a (slow) suicide attempt will get treated, against your will if need be.
    If you'd slit your wrists in public, you wouldn't expect to be allowed to bleed out in peace, would you?
    4) the body has some strong mechanisms to get you out of immediate danger. Pain is suppressed and symptoms masked by massive releases of hormones. It is quite common for accident victims walk around, claiming to be OK only to collapse minutes later.
    Only b/c hindsight has shown you would have been OK after previous incidents is no guarantee that you'll be OK to deny treatment the next time.
     
  14. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    You could have all the neons, super bright flashing LED's in the jersey, your bike adorned with 20 of the brightest lights on the market, a 9 foot pole with a neon flag atop, riding on the sidewalk (which I don't recommend), and some idiot will somehow will still manage to hit you. Many people have been hit with all sorts of safety stuff, does that mean you shouldn't use them because they don't work? So turn off your lights at night because I've known people who got hit with them on?

    That's akin to saying I knew someone who got killed with when their airbag deployed and smacked them to hard in the head, or they died anyways, does that mean we turn them off? NO because airbags have saved far more lives than not. I remember when seat belts first came out and people were saying they were safer to be thrown through the windshield and clear the accident then to be stuck inside a car being crushed! Can you imagine someone saying that today and how stupid they would sound? That's the direction you're going by denying neon colored clothing because you knew someone who got hit wearing them, that's truly ignorant rationalization for not wearing an important safety color.

    HOWEVER, having said that, at the end of the day it's your choice, all I can do is bring to light what certain things can do to enhance safety, I never said they would prevent all accidents, just as I can't tell you to wear your seat belt when driving, all they do is enhance safety not prevent accidents, and you're confusing safety with stopping accidents. Even I don't wear neon colors all the time, just depends on where I'll be riding if I do or don't, more traffic exposure I will be riding in then I wear neons, less traffic exposure like on country roads I don't bother, or if I'm riding in bad lighting circumstances then neon clothing is worn. On bright sunny days I wear white, mostly to make me cooler, but white does show up quite well in bright situations. If I'm just going to ride the bike paths around where I live I'll wear black, gray, or blue.

    Another thing to consider is why do road workers wear neon clothing? because their studies have proven that neon colors saves workers lives even though some still get killed wearing neon, but now there are far less being killed. Multi colored clothing does help if you don't have neon, but neon is idea but really only under special conditions do they work the best. Keep in mind too that even in dim lighting found in tree covered roads neon green doesn't stand out at all, but neon yellow does. So probably for bright daylight conditions neon yellow is the best bet, but I don't have that color myself, I just go with white under those conditions.

    Again, I'm not trying to force you to wear neon stuff, just like cops can't force you to wear seat belts (though they can give you a ticket, which I can't do (LOL), in an attempt to force you to comply) but even after getting a ticket you still don't have to wear a seatbelt because we have self will.
     
  15. GingerNatural

    GingerNatural New Member

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    Again, I am not advising anybody to follow my ways. All I have to relay is I am not comfortable wearing safety devices. I do not believe in them at all. What other little battery am I going to have to disrupt my life to charge--all the blinkie lights--pain in the ass.
     
  16. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    Ginger back in the days before cell phones, that's how I ran too, except at night I did have a light to see the road with, but the tail light was super dim, a match would have been 3 times brighter! I wore reflective ankle straps but only if I was wearing long pants. But today in this crazy distracted driving society we have created a bright flashing light is necessary if you ride a lot on the street, you need something to attract the attention of a driver from a distance, unless you live in a small town with little traffic then it's probably fine to keep on keeping on. The only other way I know of to attract motorists attention fast is to ride your bike naked...hmmm, anyways the battery thing is sort of a hassle I agree, but they do make tail lights with quick disconnect and they plug into any USB port; and all these types of batteries found today need to be recharged after every use and not wait till it dies or the battery won't last as long. The only two ways to get around the battery thing is to have a wheel built with a generator hub to supply power to a tail light made specifically for generator power, and as you can probably guess those systems are rather expensive. The other option is to get a solar panel and attach it to the rear of the bike with a cord that runs from it to the light to keep it charged while riding in the daytime.

    I assume you wear a helmet? If you do why? It's a hassle to put on all the time and take it off, keep it clean, etc., so why bother? If you bother to wear helmet to stay safe then keeping a light charged is actually less of a bother.

    Keep in mind, I'm not telling you what to do, but I do care that a rider stays as safe as possible, and short of riding naked a super bright 90 plus lumen rear light and neon clothing (when the lighting conditions is as such to make it work) are the only things I know to help keep a rider safe. There are flagpoles they make you can attach to a bike in the rear that extends about 6 feet with a neon flag on top, but I don't really see the need for that if someone is already wearing neon clothing and or has a rear flasher.

    Again I'm sorry if I'm coming off as telling you what to do, it's good intentions only that I have for you that you stay safe. Granted you could stay safe for years doing what you're doing, but then again maybe not, and maybe that one time you're not a flashing light could have made the difference, the same would be true with wearing a helmet.
     
  17. GingerNatural

    GingerNatural New Member

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    You have touched on an issue I have been thinking about for some time--the helmet. I have accepted it for years but at some point I am going to reject it and go on with one of those cute little cycling caps and damn the consequences.
     
  18. dabac

    dabac Well-Known Member

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    Well...
    Serious head injuries as a result of a bicycle accident are quite rare, so going by the statistics there probably won't be any consequences.
    With that said, ER visits aren't much fun.
    Scalp abrasions aren't fun either.
    Split eyebrows/cheekbones and stitches are outright tedious.
    These are about the minimum consequences of taking a topple and hitting your head.
    And they're all easily avoided by using a helmet.
    Money and effort well spent IMO.
    If you, with your history of collisions can't see the merit of wearing a helmet - you seem quite accident prone - then I don't know what to say.


    On the whole, I think you're trolling.
     
  19. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    Thought this same thing, and still do, I was giving her, probably a him, the benefit of being ignorant, now I think with 99% of certainty that this person is trolling.
     
  20. GingerNatural

    GingerNatural New Member

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    I am telling the truth about my experiences on the road. Perhaps I cannot properly explain my disjointed interpretation of what it all means. I lost all my beloved cycling playmates due to age and injuries and fear. I have been out there for years searching for a mate--and group rides do not provide that.
     
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