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five riders in pace line taken down by motorist in VA(16 posts)

five riders in pace line taken down by motorist in VAPaul
Oct 6, 2003 6:07 AM
Five riders coming down rt 15, a narrow two lane road in Leesburg, were hit from behind by motorist. Two riders were airlifted out and are in serious condition, other three were released from area hospitals. Local talk has been on-going about making this a safer road for riders, but others want to preserve the rural character. But what does it take to put in a wide shoulder like some other states do for riders. VA, in general, could care less.
re: five riders in pace line taken down by motorist in VAcommuterguy
Oct 6, 2003 6:34 AM
This is very sad. Any additional information available--e.g., was the driver speeding, DUI or distracted by cell phone? Did police cite anybody? Any press reports?
That's all the Wash. Post reported, but I'll keep checking nmPaul
Oct 6, 2003 6:58 AM
Accidents happen.MR_GRUMPY
Oct 6, 2003 6:41 AM
Riding your bike is safer than driving your car. What would it cost to put a wide shoulder on every road in every state??
If people are not willing to accept the risk of riding on the roads, they should stick to trails and bike paths.
...but some are cost effective to preventcommuterguy
Oct 6, 2003 6:49 AM
I have no idea what it would cost to add shoulders, or how many accidents they might prevent. But we (the US) value "saved" statistical life at about $6m each. So it is possible that the road widening would be cost effective.

I agree that risk is inherent in bike riding, but it still makes sense to reduce risk where ever doing so is cost effective.
Who's going to pay for this ?? Not me.MR_GRUMPY
Oct 6, 2003 7:15 AM
Who would vote for this expense ? Where do you get the $6M number ? I think that it's closer to $378.32
Who's going to pay for this ?? Not me.commuterguy
Oct 6, 2003 8:42 AM
Any time the gov't considers changing air quality standards, tightening safety standards for cars and trucks, requiring commercial airliners to have anti-ground-to-air missile capabilities, etc., someone has to compare the costs of the new requirement with the value of the benefits they will yield. There is a big and controversial academic lit. that tries to figure out what the number is/should be. Right now, for environmental regs at least, the number is about $6 million each.
Not expensive at all...gf99
Oct 6, 2003 9:10 AM
To add shoulders, bike lanes, etc. when building a new road or when doing a major upgrade/resurfacing to an existing one.

Very expensive to retrofit later though.

So say our local traffic engineers.

Encourage your DOT to build them right the first time if you live in a fast growing area.
Accidents happen.Steve_0
Oct 6, 2003 7:37 AM
not too sure that riding your bike is safer than driving your car. Stastically speaking, sure you're more likely to be involved in an auto accident. Even then, per mile travelled may not be the case.

I agree with you that riding is inherintly risky. We all know there are terrible drivers out there; I'm suprised people are suprised when accidents happen.

I'm not sure wider shoulders are the answer either...people in cali were run down on a closed road. Not to mention that I'm usually given a wider berth when ON the road than when on the shoulder...
Where do you get that bikes are safer than cars?lemmy999
Oct 6, 2003 1:09 PM
I would think the only way you could come to that conclusion is divide the number of bike injuries by the population of the US and then do the same with car injuries. But that is not definitely apples/oranges. You need to do it based on per unit distance or per unit time traveled to be fair. If you only consider single vehicle accidents (like falling off of the bike or running off of the road) then I would definitely say bikes are safer than a car.
I've been riding for 20 years and I've yet to be hit by a car.MR_GRUMPY
Oct 6, 2003 4:38 PM
In that same time period, I've been in 4 car accidents including a total. Without seatbelts and air bags, I would have been seriously injured in three of them.
True but it only takes being hit once on a bike to hurt bad. nmMB1
Oct 7, 2003 4:38 AM
15 is one scarry piece of road ...Humma Hah
Oct 6, 2003 6:45 AM
... I heard sketchy reports on the news this morning about the accident.

15 is like many Northern Virginia roads, 2-lane, stretches with no paved shoulder, drops off to a ditch. If I recall correctly, near the Potomac, it goes thru a deep cut with no escape. Much of it has a 55 mph speed limit. Because it is one of the very few N-S routes that crosses the Potomac, it is very heavily used (if I'm not mistaken, it is the first route to cross the Potomac west of the beltway).

This would not be my first choice as a bicycling route.
I've ridden it -- VERY scaryGregory Taylor
Oct 6, 2003 7:35 AM
Route 15 is NOT a good road for bikes. Two lanes, fast, heavy traffic, and lots of trucks (big ones, not just pick ups). The main reason for a bike to be on it is to take White's Ferry (an actual boat -- very cool) over the Potomac and into Maryland (and the C&O Canal). There is a shoulder of sorts, but it is covered with gravel and very narrow. Even on a mountain bike, the narrow shoulder forces you to ride very close to traffic.

Sad, but really foreseeable.
re: five riders in pace line taken down by motorist in VAnovagator
Oct 6, 2003 8:45 AM
I live in Leesburg and have never ridden out on that stretch of shoulder after the White's Ferry turn, big trucks, lots of traffic, and most drivers going 55 (speed limit is 45), not a good place to ride. They have done lots of upgrading from Leesburg to the White's Ferry turn, so that is at least a little safer then before...although I don't even ride that. Virginia is not very good about putting shoulders on its rural roads, unfortunately
Choose your battles (and roads)DrPete
Oct 6, 2003 11:38 AM
As a DC area cyclist, I've learned that you really need to choose your battles around here. There are several roads in the area that I would avoid at all costs during a ride, just because I don't want to end up whacked at 55mph.

Now, am I saying that the 5 cyclists had it coming? Absolutely not. It still boils down to the fact that in MD and VA, motorists have to share the road with cyclists.

That being said, though, there are certain roads that my judgment tells me to avoid because I want to minimize my chances of becoming a martyr for the "share the road" cause.

Even if it was too narrow, though, I can't think of many scenarios where the blame wouldn't fall on the driver, and I know how motorists can be around here from riding around the MD suburbs. Many motorists around here, and I won't make any statement on type of vehicle, see the speed limit as a god-given-right minimum speed and yield to nobody.

I'd venture a guess that the driver made little or no effort to slow down before taking out the paceline, but that's just me.