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Sad news re a cyclist(27 posts)

Sad news re a cyclistDog
Aug 2, 2001 10:26 AM
From the UltraCycling world:

This morning I received the sad news that Dutch rider Edy Wiersema had died yesterday August 1, 2001 as the result of an accident she had while doing the Northern PAC Tour.

The accident occured on July 19th on the road between Atlee and Missoula, MT. Edy was hit in the back of the head by the mirror of an RV. The driver hadn't had the RV for very long and apparently had no clue of its dimensions as he had buzzed several of the other riders also. It is my understanding that the police were able to track the driver, because of the the descriptions by the other riders. The man was given a ticket, but I assume he will now at least be charged with wrongful death. The day after the accident he sold his RV.

Edy had been in a coma ever since the accident. As I understand it her prospects for a full recovery were pretty good, until complications occured. First the doctors in Missoula had to remove her gallbladder. There were liver problems too, making it necessary to give her a liver transplant. This was going to be done in Seattle. On the flight to Seattle her kidneys give out and she suffered heart failure, which turned out to be fatal.

Edy was a very strong rider and a very good climber. She is in PAC Tour's Hall of Fame, having done all of Pac Tour's events with the exception of the Elite or PAC RAAM format and brevet week.

We both did our first PAC Tour back in 1993, which was the Northern. We had terrible weather during the first week, but we made it and so we returned in 1994 to do the Southern. By the time we finished that one we were hooked and we signed up for the 1995 Ridge of the Rockies. Edy had to skip that one for medical reasons at the very last moment, but came back in 1996 to do Route 66. She had a lot of fun on that ride and rode very strong even on the toughest days.

In 1998 we did another PAC Tour together, the Ridge of the Rockies. This time she did make it to the start and it was a great ride, although a large group managed to get stuck on top of Douglas Pass in the snow, even though it was June 17th or so.

In 1999 Edy did the Eastern Mountain Tour, and shared the stories with me after she came home. In 2000 she didn't ride across the US, but was part of Mikael Henriksson's RAAM crew. She did go on the Red Rocks tour with John Hughes and friends and was part of the original Red Rockettes FC508 team although eventually she didn't race.

This year was to be her final PAC Tour, ending with the ride she had started with in 1993. Unfortunately she was not allowed to finish it the way she had planned.

She will be sorely missed by her family, friends and all in the ultra community especially by the PAC Tour riders who knew her. I know I for one am experiencing a great personal loss as she was my friend.

Rieks Koning
The Netherlands

I just hate hearing these things, but maybe if someone else can use the info to help to avoid something similar...

Doug
Another very good reason why...Cima Coppi
Aug 2, 2001 10:34 AM
If you own an RV, you should be required to carry a Class C drivers license to operate it.
Another very good reason why...peloton
Aug 2, 2001 10:40 AM
A Class C licence isn't a bad idea! I got buzzed by an RV just two days ago. It was scary how close the mirror came to my head. It was the only time in two years I have actually given a one fingered salute to a car! Not smart, I should know better....

Sometimes when people stop posting here, I wonder if they got bored or if something happened.
When I first got my Aerostar van ...Humma Hah
Aug 2, 2001 2:00 PM
... I didn't realize how much wider it was than my old Toyota truck. I clipped another guy's mirror with mine, and did about $400 damage. I can only count my blessings I didn't hurt someone.

I can understand how easy it is for this to happen. I might go so far as to require a "type certificate" of some sort, like we apply to flying licenses. You'd have to actually pass a driver's test IN THE RV or other large vehicle.

And I always ride with my Third Eye. I can see something like this coming, if I'm bothering to look.
You know...BQ
Aug 2, 2001 5:05 PM
Q: How is someone who normally drives a Civic qualified to drive a Winebago?
A: They aren't.

Here in Ohio, you are required to get a permit and then an endorsement to your license before you can ride a motorcycle legally, but any damn fool can get behind the wheel of an RV if they have a valid drivers license.

I agree with Humma Hah. There needs to be MANDATORY TRAINING for the kind of vehicle you're driving. Anything less is irresponsible and negligent.
Very sad and scary.railer
Aug 2, 2001 10:36 AM
If we just didnt have to share the road with vehicles. I hate thinking about being nailed.

Road riding could be so much more awesome if we just had our own roads.
It's been a difficult summer here, too.Brian C.
Aug 2, 2001 10:44 AM
Three cyclists have been killed in our town over the past two months. One was killed by some guy who was having a drag race on Main Street; another was killed by a hit-and-run driver who's still at large. In both those cases, all the defensive cycling measures in the world would not have saved those fellows.

I can't help but feel angry about this. It's also given me pause for thought that we must be careful out there.
Gees I feel really safe riding my mnt bikecyclopathic
Aug 2, 2001 10:54 AM
I was clipped once by (thanks God foldable) compact car side mirror
scared sh!t out of me.
Re:Aristotle
Aug 2, 2001 10:59 AM
This makes me want to spend more time mtn biking also.
For Gosh sake, don't ride it on the road in the Philippines! nmE3
Aug 2, 2001 11:07 AM
.
What could she have done?Len J
Aug 2, 2001 11:24 AM
From reading the post, it sounds like the RV came up behind her & hit her in the head with the right side mirror.

For me, this reminds me that no matter how safe we ride, no matter how vigilant, there are many things outside our control. Whether it's an inexperienced RV driver, someone making a right turn into us, a tire blowout on a high speed descent, or a jerk hitting us with a thrown bottle, we are subject to many risks when we ride.

In spite of these risks (and for some of us bucause of these risks), we continue to ride. Why? For me, I have never felt truly alive when I am acting out of fear (or not acting because of fear). I am saddened that it takes this kind of event to remember this and appreciate the gifts we get from cycling as well as the danger.

Ride safely!
Would the use of a rearview mirror have saved her?E3
Aug 2, 2001 11:57 AM
I know mirror usage has been debated here a-plenty. Many cyclists don't like'em or think it's "freddish" to use them.

To be a defensive cyclist and to give yourself every chance to survive the roads, I think a mirror is crucial.

Believe me, I'm not at all blaming her. If she wasn't using a mirror, I'm merely wondering if one would have given her another split second to get out of the way.
i doubt it would have made a difference (nm)ColnagoFE
Aug 2, 2001 12:08 PM
sdf
you may be rightDog
Aug 2, 2001 12:59 PM
At least on roads where you must ride very near traffic, it might at least reduce the chances of a sideswipe or rear collision. Especially for "touring" type riding, as opposed to racing, mirrors are looking more and more attractive.

I have several helmets, and might just mount one on one of the helmets.

Also, a suppose a caution is to ride as far to the right as possible to reduce the odds of getting hit. I think sometimes we just get too comfortable being right next to big tonnage passing within inches.

Doug
Narrow road consideration...Cima Coppi
Aug 2, 2001 1:13 PM
I will not dismiss the rearview mirror as a bad idea, but also consider narrow roads do not help our cause. Especially in the mountains, the roads are so narrow with no shoulder, and are often combined with wide vehicle traffic in both directions. This leaves little passing room when trying to get around a cyclist. Even if one could see vehicles approaching from behind, there may be no where for a cyclist to avoid a situation.

We as cyclists NEED to lobby our state and local governments for wide, clean shoulders on all roads to keep us safe from motor traffic. We have the right to ride on roads, but we should also be provided with a safe means to do so.
Maybe it's stupid butcyclopathic
Aug 2, 2001 4:29 PM
if I get caught riding narrow road no shoulder

I try to ride in the middle. THere's not a chance somebody try to pass you without a) matching your speed b) using opposite lane

Pretty scary though
Maybe it's stupid butjtolleson
Aug 3, 2001 8:36 PM
Not even close to stupid. Taught in most respectable clinics, legal in most states, and a lifesaver everywhere.
Right's not rightjtolleson
Aug 2, 2001 1:58 PM
>>Also, a suppose a caution is to ride as far to the right as possible to reduce the odds of getting hit.<<

No, no, no. This myth has got to be stopped because people are literally dying because of it. When there is no good paved shoulder, you have got to claim your lane where needed (especially steep mountain descents).

Riding "as far to the right as possible" does several dangerous things:

1. Puts you in the line of most of the bad and broken pavement
2. Puts you in the line of gravel, sand, and glass
3. Invites motorists to pass you without having to wait for a safe opportunity to pass, and without leaving their lane.

The latter, in particular, results in sideswiping deaths. If you are on a road with no shoulder and moving at a good clip, vehicles need to cross the center line to pass you safely, waiting for oncoming traffic to clear. If you give them the invitation to squeeze by and all ride three abreast (opposing traffic, passing traffic, and you) it is very, very dangerous.

Claim your lane, save your life.
at 5 mph? -- Calif. lawDog
Aug 2, 2001 2:24 PM
While I nearly always "claim the lane" descending at 45 mph in the mountains, I'd think that blocking the road during a climb at 5 mph, or even cruising along at 20 mph, is a good way to get run over. What if a driver comes upon you, but traffic is coming the other way? Without the ability to squeeze by, they might very well run right in to you.

Here is the law in California. I'll be darned if you are not right, though. If the lane cannot accomodate both the bike and the car, you are allowed to ride out in the lane:

Ca. Vehicle Code 21202. (a) Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at a speed
less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction
at that time shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand
curb or edge of the roadway except under any of the following
situations:
(1) When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle
proceeding in the same direction.
(2) When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a
private road or driveway.
(3) When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions (including, but
not limited to, fixed or moving objects, vehicles, bicycles,
pedestrians, animals, surface hazards, or substandard width lanes)
that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge,
subject to the provisions of Section 21656. For purposes of this
section, a "substandard width lane" is a lane that is too narrow for
a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the
lane.
(4) When approaching a place where a right turn is authorized.
(b) Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway of a highway,
which highway carries traffic in one direction only and has two or
more marked traffic lanes, may ride as near the left-hand curb or
edge of that roadway as practicable.

Still, for most circumstances, I think your chances of survival are improved by getting as far away as possible from the cars. If there is a shoulder, for example, ride to the right of the shoulder, not next to the traveled lane. Don't you think?

Even with this law permitting you to "take the lane", I'd think there is a fair chance that you'll just really piss someone off by not keeping right, and causing them to slow to bike speed and wait to get around, particularly if there is a double yellow no passing zone. Technically, they must then stay behind you for what could be miles before passing. They will likely run you down on purpose after that.

Doug
at 5 mph? -- Calif. lawjtolleson
Aug 2, 2001 3:10 PM
Your point is a good one. Common courtesy and avoiding getting blown away by rednecks are two very good reasons to accommodate passing traffic whenever possible. I still tend to "claim the lane" until the vehicle arrives behind, and then pull to the right and slow down, then move back out. And maybe our lane edges here in Colo are unusually miserable, also! : )
Mine's a comfort ...Humma Hah
Aug 2, 2001 8:32 PM
... exploring some of the narrow roads around here, I found myself on one that would have been nice, except for a construction project down it a ways.

Picture BIG dump trucks, lots of 'em, going both ways on a narrow road. The pavement stops a inch past the white line, drops four inches, and there's either a rutted gravel shoulder or it simply drops into a ditch. And the edge of the pavement is crumbling, big chunks missing.

On several occasions, realizing I'd have two such trucks passing me going opposite directions along such a stretch, I took the coward's way out and ducked into a driveway. Having the third eye let me see the truck behind me a few hundred yards back, so I could plan. I don't trust those guys to hang back, and there absolutely was no room for them to safely pass me. Cars, yes, dumptrucks, no. The same would go for RVs.
a beautiful road near hereDog
Aug 3, 2001 5:27 AM
I've been riding, doing some longer weeknight rides, on a road that has between 6 and 12 feet of perfectly smooth, clean, flat shoulder. Bike heaven. I can safely ride a good car width from the traveled lane nearly the whole way. Aaahhh - to relax and just ride.

Doug
People driving & dealing with 2 wheeled vehiclesmr tornado head
Aug 2, 2001 6:32 PM
Even tho this event affects us cyclist & we feel "slighted" by this wrongful death, similiar things happen to motorcyclist.

About 9 years ago I was cruising down the road on my way home from work. I saw a car on the exit ramp getting ready to turn in to my side of the road, so I instinctively slowed. I saw him come to a complete stop, so I figured he saw me and accelerated. Wrong. With headlights, bright sun & everything, he pulled out right in front of me while I was going 55 mph.

I quickly realized I would not stop in time and not wanting to be part of his trunk I headed for the ditch quickly. As soon as I hit the gravel shoulder the bike kicked out from underneath me and the first things to hit were my shoulder, the chin bar on my helmet and the right edge of the handlebar.

Needless to say the bike was totaled and I never touched the guy. ***But to make a short story long, drivers are unaware of just about everything it seems, not just bicycles. So sometimes it seems like nothing we can do will save our skin.

BTW - Yes I was wearing gloves, jacket, jeans, boots. Took about a 1/8" off the chin bar, ruined the jacket and gloves, but I still have a face and flesh.
versusDog
Aug 3, 2001 5:29 AM
This made me think. Aren't small car owners now experiencing the same feelings versus SUV's that cyclists and motorcyclists have experienced for 100 years - the, "I'm vulnerable, please don't kill me" state of mind?

Doug
coulda been meColnagoFE
Aug 2, 2001 12:06 PM
i was hit by the mirror of a tow truck and it broke my scapula. fortunately i was going 20+mPH already and it was in town so the truck was not at highway speeds. also nobody ran over me after i went down. there's really nothing i could have done to prevent it. as soon as i saw how close he was it was too late.
That is scary ...bianchi boy
Aug 3, 2001 6:45 AM
I worry about getting hit by mirrors all the time. Just about every other vehicle in my area is an SUV, and many of the people driving them don't seem to know how to handle them. I've had quite a few pass me close enough where the mirror almost made contact. I had assumed it would just give you a good knock. What is so ridiculous is that most of the time when they buzz you the on-coming lane is open and they're just too lazy to give you wider berth.
That is scary ...ashleyrenfroe
Aug 4, 2001 8:08 AM
Lazy. Boy, now there is a word that could easily be used to describe every driver in the Southeastern US. And they wonder why they keep getting fatter. Man, it really infuriates me to hear of a cyclist getting hit or worse by some lazy-ass driver in a Ford Expedition.

Now, I road bike to train for MTB. So thankfully, I spend most of the summer in the woods. But during the winter, I spend time on the road, and it is obvious to me that a few things need to happen to save lives of cyclists, and drivers:

1-18 years of age to have a non-restricted license. Limited driving at 17, learner's permit only at 16.
2-Increase fines for speeding by twice as much.
3-Make the penalty for hitting a pedestrian or cyclist (motorcyclists too) much higher, and the state needs to ADVERTISE the new law. Let drivers know about the penalty.

I am sick of getting buzzed by a damn soccer mom driving a 5 ton battle tank while talking on the cell phone and screaming at her 7 boys and a dog. Sheesh.