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Be Careful Out there!(18 posts)

Be Careful Out there!Len J
Nov 4, 2002 10:06 AM
This happened at 2:00pm Sunday not far from my house. A Cyclist friend of mine happened upon the scene 15 minutes after the accident, before they had removed the body. Apparently the Cyclist did everything right but a 16 year old girl turned right into him.

http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=5941820&BRD=2101&PAG=461&dept_id=417987&rfi=6

You all be careful out there. Being right doesn't matter when you are outwighed 3000 lbs to 200 lbs.

Len
Awful news! :( This whole "road" thing sure is dangreous...jtferraro
Nov 4, 2002 10:31 AM
and it's usually the idiot car drivers who are to blame. It's incredible how many cars drive past me(from behind) then take a right hand turn in front of me, causing me to either stop pedalling and coast, or frequently even hit the brakes! Drivers need to "Share the Road" and respect cyclists way more than they presently do. I hope, over time, things improve here and the League of American Cyclists and other organizations make biking in America safer. Just yesterday I was out for the firt lil' ride on the new bike and there was a car parked on the right hand side of the street. There was a car approaching me from ahead(oncoming traffic), and I could vaguely hear one from behind. Naturally, I had to swing out a bit to go around the car parked on the right. Well, when I did so the car from behind honks his horn at me(actually kept it "honked" for some time!). As he drove by(after I had passed the parked car and swung back to the right) I looked at the passenger(couldn't really see the driver) w/a disgusted look on my face, shrugged my shoulders, as if to say "What?? Did you expect me to slam on the brakes and stop before the parked car to let you go by, from behind me?" Gimme a break!

You're right though...being right doesn't matter when you're outweight 3000lbs to 200lbs!!

-Jeff
Try a mirror and they won't "sneak up" anymore.JL
Nov 4, 2002 10:41 AM
At least not as often. I held off getting one for a while and realized (with the help of some here), that I wouldn't drive a car without a mirror so why do without on the bike.

I tried the "Take a look" mirror. I've liked it for the few months that I've had it and it's nice to be able to look behind you without turning your head. Plus, it's not too obtrusive.

You just need to "remember" to check now and then :)

Happy riding.

John
But if you DO use a mirror ...Allez Rouge
Nov 4, 2002 11:05 AM
... remember to look over your shoulder anyway when a car is coming up to overtake you from behind. The mirror lets YOU know that the car is back there, but you also need to let the DRIVER know that you know he's back there. You don't actually have to make eye contact (although that is, of course, preferable); simply turning your head far enough to catch sight of the car out of the corner of your eye is usually enough to signal to the driver, "I know you're there."
Hold Your LineStewK
Nov 4, 2002 11:19 AM
I don't mean any disrespect, but if you want to survive on the road, you need to hold your line. A car expects you to continue going at about the same speed and direction as you are going. Sharing the road doesn't mean riding over to the right and then abruptly pulling out when something's in your way without checking behind you to see if you're going to cut someone off. You wouldn't do that when driving a car and you shouldn't do it when your on your bike.
Hmm...jtferraro
Nov 4, 2002 12:01 PM
I was already on the right hand side of the road(as I should be) and simply went around a car parked there. I thought I kept pretty tight to it, too(i.e. if there was somebody in it, and they opened their door, I would have gotten whacked!). To that end I really didn't cut the car off though, right? The driver would have had to go around the car anyway. I just added to that car's width, no? I don't know, maybe I'm missing something here but I don't know what. Anyway, the driver behind me should be able to see this and expect it, no? Don't I, in a way, have the right of way. In car land, if you get rear ended, it is the the fault of the car behind you...is almost every(if not all) circumstances. If I was parked, in a car, behind the car I went around, naturally I would look behind me before pulling out on the street, and around the car. If I was driving down the street in my car, however, and this car was parked on the street, I certainly wouldn't look behind me before going around it. I would, however, look ahead of me to determine if the road is wide enough for myself and the oncoming car(if any) and decide to go or wait for the oncoming car.

-Jeff
In theory, Jeff, I agree with you ...Allez Rouge
Nov 4, 2002 12:18 PM
.. but in practice, I have to side with StewK. As has been mentioned more than once in this thread, being "right" has very little meaning when the adversaries are 3000lb motorcars and 200lb bikes/riders.

Motorists are NOTORIOUSLY bad at underestimating the speed of a moving bicycle. That's why you get all those cars making right turns across your path immediately after overtaking you -- the driver thinks you and your bike are way back there and would be astounded to learn that you are right THERE, basically holding station with him as he slowed to make the turn. In the case of the parked car you had to dodge, it may be that the motorist thought he would be past you before you reached the parked car, which made your move out into the lane a surprise to him -- especially if he was close enough that he was already swinging out to go around you.

When we learn to drive, we are taught to drive defensively -- to act as if we are the only one who is looking or thinking. That goes double, triple, quadruple when riding a bike. Because it only takes one idiot.
OK, at least I get partial credit.jtferraro
Nov 4, 2002 12:26 PM
though I'd have full credit if it wasn't for all the bad drivers out there. I wonder if european drivers are better w/regard to cyclists. My guess is they are, as they seem to be better drivers in general and I imagine there are far more cyclists/commuters in most european countries.

-Jeff
Sounds like you did theJL
Nov 4, 2002 12:28 PM
right thing, just the driver was jerk. It's another example of assuming drivers are paying attention and drive like you would/should. I can't tell you how many times I get passed where I think a sane driver shouldn't. It happens anyway and you just need to shake your head and move on. As someone else said, try to hold a steady line and in a situation like that give a glance back to see if a car is approaching from the rear. Sometimes you can tell what the driver's intentions will be by their speed of approach and make a decision whether to slow down/speed up to avoid a confrontation. Remember they're in the 3000# car and can hurt you a lot more than you them.
Use hand signals. Even if you move 1ft. to the side.tz
Nov 4, 2002 2:37 PM
That makes you predictable, which, I believe, is very (if not the most) important defensive driving skill.
1st: <i>we</i> are in <i>their</i> way (typical driver attitude). 2nd: they think we are going <i>much slower</i> than we really are (typical driver perception failure). -nmTig
Nov 4, 2002 7:02 PM
That's a terrible tragedy. It really does showJL
Nov 4, 2002 10:42 AM
that you need to be really careful. Even if you are "right".
Ride as though every vehicle has an idiot or 'jerk'coonass
Nov 4, 2002 5:51 PM
in control...that goes for some cyclists as well. Hand-signals or electric turn-signals are no insurance that the operator in front, rear, or side of you is aware of your intentions..(cel phones are 'king' of distractions; not to mention "being late for the baby sitter pickup" after work)....ride as you should drive: defensively, and anticipating that you're almost invisible to the traffic. If you're in a situation that is 'questionable'; slow down to give the idiot(s) a chance to make the first move....you may live long enough to ride to a 'ripe old age',and with fewer broken bones....Ever hear the old saying " Dead right "? I'd almost bet that the 16yo was on the cel phone, hurrying to pick up a friend....A terrible tragedy for both parties; one young man whose life was ended, and a young girl that will live with this memory for the rest of her life.
..Defensive Cycling: Expect the worst from every car, agree. NMSpunout
Nov 5, 2002 5:05 AM
..Defensive Cycling: Expect the worst from every car, agree. NMAllez Rouge
Nov 5, 2002 5:36 AM
And in addition to expecting the worst -- which is not a pessimistic mindset, rather a realistic one -- from every car, remember too that cyclists (and motorcyclists, too) present a small visual target and are harder to see against the background and within other traffic. Worse, motorists get conditioned to looking out for vehicles that are car-size or larger; i.e., the same size or larger as what each motorist is driving. A motorist can look RIGHT AT YOU and yet not "see" you because you're such a small target that you just don't register. This is one reason there are so many accidents caused by motorists failing to yield to a cyclist or motorcyclist: even if they look, they don't always "see."
True, True. (nm)jtferraro
Nov 5, 2002 6:19 AM
My reason to ride right in the middle of the lane: Visibility.NMSpunout
Nov 5, 2002 6:41 AM
I think it's called "Condition Yellow"kenyee
Nov 5, 2002 6:40 AM
And it should be applied to walking, driving, biking, whatever. It means: expect people to do something stupid or attack you. You'll consider escape routes and backup plans so when the inevitable happens, you'll have a better chance of surviving.

Living in Condition White means you're oblivious to the world and I've seen pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers do this. You figure Darwin will eventually catch up with them...