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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm thinking about getting back into road biking. I'm really an mtb'er, but always liked the road too. I stopped road riding after reading about a few too many deaths.

Every now and then I hear about a road biker getting killed or seriously injured by bad drivers. Heck, one accident here in the Bay Area was a sheriff that killed 3 cyclists. How bad is that, that one who is supposed to protect us kills us!

For visibility, logic would say that riding in groups is safer. But in most of the accidents/deaths I read about they were riding with others, mostly 2 or more.

Now I just heard about another rider who is seriously injured. She was riding with another also. This happened on a road that I would have frequently ridden on too. I pray she recovers.

I'm curious how many of you out there have had accidents or close calls with other cars.
 

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one accident, getting doored, and a few close calls. assuming drivers are idiots and/or not paying much attention is always a good start. it should be said, though, that i commute in an incredibly bike-unfriendly town.
 

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Couple falls. Nothing hospital worthy. I've also been doored. The passenger of the car (I assume the man's wife) got out and started to yell at me to watch where I was going. I was so mad I couldn't say anything. I straightened my handlebars and rode away. When I finally realized I should give myself a once over I had a broken shifter and some pretty bad bruises. But nothing serious.

And yes, it is best to assume that every driver is going to turn in front of you, open their door on your or change lanes without signaling.
Ahh the beauty of commuting! Nothing wakes you up quite like it :)
 

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"I stopped road riding after reading about a few too many deaths."

I think that you would be wise to stay off the road.

I got hit by a car a year and a half ago. ...Major score. ..Ka-Ching$$$ The accident managed to "damage" just about all the components on my bike. The settlement got me all new components, a new concrete driveway and garage floor plus a few thou change. My "serious" injuries kept me off the bike for one day.

If you're serious about being afraid of getting hurt on the bike, you should take up bowling.

PS. My middle name is "Danger".
 

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MR_GRUMPY said:
"My middle name is "Danger".
+1--although now I'm old & have to brake on the downhills.

Worse fall--competition or otherwise was getting doored while chasing down my brother at speed--did a full 1 1/2 in the air (I'm told), landed in traffic, had the wind knocked out me so I couldn't even roll out of the way of the cars who locked up their brakes & mercifully stopped before they drove over me.

I had the Holden Caulfield response--couldn't stand the rubber-neckers, so I did the emergency handle bar straighten etc, hopped back on my bike & we kept on with our training ride. Fifteen miles later the shock had worn off, I could no longer hold on to the bars & we had to call the sag wagon (AKA Dad) to come and pick us up...Needless to say fitting suit sleeve length has been a problem ever since.

Sobering thought though--I've lost one mentor from my racing days (car turned left in front of him at an intersection), one former racing buddy (hit from behind & killed) and another guy I knew to race with (also hit from behind) & now wheelchair bound. One of my old pals quit riding after he sold a new bike to a lovely young woman who managed to tangle with a city bus (not her fault) and died from her injuries.

That said--if you hate bowling, golf etc--you're gonna keep on riding, so:

Ride defensively, ALWAYS, wear the helmet, assume at every intersection the cars WILL NOT SEE YOU (in that way we are just like motorcyclists, albeit slower--who also have an overwhelming proportion of their accidents at intersections when cars fail to give right of way, don't ride impaired, don't have your iPod cranked--better yet don't use it-- so you can't hear what's coming up behind you.

And keep happy thoughts while riding....
 

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Ever been in an accident while driving a car (or as a passenger)? Was it life threatening? Did it scare you from ever traveling by car again?

Most incidents with cars are survivable--- or we would all be dead by now. I was right hooked once---
 

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I've been hit by cars three times. I think 11 years of racing and many more years of commuting and riding have provided me with the skills to avoid or minimize most accidents. If you want to ride on the road you HAVE to learn and hone those skills. The only way to do it is to get out there.

Ride like a law abiding cyclist but think like a clueless car driver and you'll be all set.
 

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Too many close calls...

When riding in the city, ride with protecting yourself in mind. That being said, avoiding potholes, runners, walkers etc., with proper signaling is fine. Cyclists have the right to use the road and cars have to respect cyclist when a cyclist tries to avoid things on the road side. I've also used my middle fingers many times...but only if you have to :p
 

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Hit Once
Nailed by a hit an run driver many years ago. His/Her passenger side mirror clipped my left but cheek/hip and then it smacked my left bar-end. Did the death wobble and then endoed. Separated shoulder and a tacoed front wheel. Odd thing was I was on my mountain bike on a tiny segment of road between trails. I was riding both road and mtb back then and got back on the road bike right away. Took a while until the shoulder could handle mtb though.

Close calls are tough to define. I don't consider getting buzzed (close pass) by a car necessarily a close call. If I did then pretty much every-other ride.
 

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Never hit, one close call. Jeep coming up from behind on a flat, level road and not paying attention. Driver finally grokked that there was a bike ahead of him at the last second, and laid down rubber. SERIOUSLY retarded on his part, Helen Keller could've seen me. :shocked:

Just goes to show, logic doesn't enter into it.
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Thinking back over the years, a few.

When I was a teenager, a car pulled out of a junction and drove into my back wheel as I was riding to school. I got a new bike out of that.

When I was living in London, I had 2 nasty prangs in 2 weeks. In the first, a bus squeezed me off the road, and sent me flying. Fortunately, it was winter, so the really thick beanie I was wearing protected my head from the fairly substantial impact :D In the second incident, I rode into the back of a car whilst I was busy swearing at another one that had cut me off... entirely my fault that one.

A couple of years ago, a car turned across my path as I was riding down a hill. I rode into the car, went flying and gave myself a few good scrapes, plus a fair bit of damage to my bike. It was cold winter moring, and the driver hadn't allowed time for the windows to clear before setting off... I got a good payout because of that, and the driver had to go on a re-education course.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
It's now about 7 hours after posting this. Let's of carnage here it seems.

Most of these accidents happen when the errant drivers just don't see us with their doors swinging open, cutting into a driveway in front of us, or just plain not seeing us. Then there's those fewer ones where it may be error on our part. Riding too far in the lane, checking out a girl while swerving out a bit far, trying to avoid a pothole and not seeing the car ahead. Whatever it is accidents happen. It just seems worse when you fall asphalt possibly in the way of cars then on the mountain trails.

What I don't like is the fact that we have absolutely no control over what the drivers behind us are doing. Whether they're drinking and drunk, texting or talking, popping in a CD, whatever. Fact is: We are at their mercy to be mindful of us.

That being said. I just came back from a swap meet with a Dean ti complete bike. Oh well. So much for being scared off the roads....

Perhaps a hardly-used bike path is better. Maybe I won't be able to open up and cruise for miles at a time, but I'll be away from those damn cars and stupid drivers.
 

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myitch said:
I'm thinking about getting back into road biking. I'm really an mtb'er, but always liked the road too. I stopped road riding after reading about a few too many deaths.

Every now and then I hear about a road biker getting killed or seriously injured by bad drivers. Heck, one accident here in the Bay Area was a sheriff that killed 3 cyclists. How bad is that, that one who is supposed to protect us kills us!

For visibility, logic would say that riding in groups is safer. But in most of the accidents/deaths I read about they were riding with others, mostly 2 or more.

Now I just heard about another rider who is seriously injured. She was riding with another also. This happened on a road that I would have frequently ridden on too. I pray she recovers.

I'm curious how many of you out there have had accidents or close calls with other cars.
Close calls, a handful over 25 years of riding.

Accidents -- one old man who "was only going 5 mph when I came out of nowhere and hit him head on." The witnesses and police officers who came to the scene begged to differ. Of course the old man had low insurance limits and no assets. Carry extra supplemental unisured motorist ("SUM") coverage on your auto policy.

 

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Understanding statistics

myitch said:
I'm thinking about getting back into road biking. I'm really an mtb'er, but always liked the road too. I stopped road riding after reading about a few too many deaths.
The fatality rate for every million hours spent cycling is 0.26, compared to 0.47 per million driving hours (on-road motorcycling comes in at a whopping 8.80 deaths per million motorcycling hours). For every million cyclists in the US, 16.5 die each year, whereas for every million motorists, 19.9 die each year.

Recognize that a significant fraction of those cyclist deaths are "urban ninjas" who are DUI refugees riding at night without lights and often intoxicated. A number are also children. While these deaths are sad, when you look at the statistics for "real" road cyclists, the fatality rate is much less than half the numbers noted above.
 

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Yep, I've had close calls. I've been adult riding for almost 50 years. I don't have close calls very often, maybe once per year or so. Like any kind of road vehicle you can learn to manage your risk factors. I have way many more close calls when driving my car than I do when cycling.

Kerry alluded to this in his statistics report. I can't live my life by "what if." What if I got out of bed, tripped over the cat, fell and hit my head on the corner of the dresser and died of my injuries? Then again, If I didn't get out of bed my fitness level, which is directly related to health, would sink faster that the Titanic. Hmmm. What to do? What to do? Life itself is inherently risky. Worrying about increases stress levels. I try not to do stupid things, but IMO one of the real purposes in life is to go out sliding into 3rd base to meet St. Peter, body totally used up, holding a Gatorade in one hand, pumping my fist with the other, yelling at the top of my lungs, "WHOOOO HOOOOOO! What a ride.
 

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Why are all you people feeding this guys paranoia??

Look if your reason for not riding on the road is concern about getting hit, please,stay on the trails. Do you ask how many people have had plane crashes before you fly? Do you check on the health inspection of every restaurant in which you eat?

You have a better chance of being in a driving accident than being hit on a bike, so I assume you don't drive.

In ten years of riding I have had one, true, close call with a car while riding, and it would have been my own fault.

So go wrap yourself in cotton and hope that nothing ever happens to you. In the meantime quit reading every story about a cyclist getting killed. There is such a thing as the law of averages.
 

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My Defense Mechanism...

I ride as though I am invisible...I never EVER assume that drivers see me, even if I actually make eye contact with them.

Also I go waaay out of my way to route my rides on roads with light traffic. Not everyone has this option especially those who commute through urban areas and such. I'm strictly recreational so I can take any route that I see fit in the name of safety.
 

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It somewhat depends where you ride. If you ride in the urban setting, your risk will be higher. I ride defensively with my "head on a swivel" and I've been hit by a car twice. Each time it was the car driver's fault and I did everything right. Bottom line, there is risk. However as a paramedic of over 25 years I'm convinced of one simple fact, when it's your time it's your time. Doesn't matter if your cycling or sitting at home watching TV. So go have some fun.
 

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Don't usually comment on this type of thread, but have to echo what others have said above: ride well and keep your eyes open, and you'll be ok....most of the time. I'm fairly cautious on my road bike, and have only been hit once, almost a year ago now. Lady in an SUV turned left in front of me when I was cranking along a road through a university campus, and I couldn't stop. Bike hit the front passenger corner, I came out of my pedals and slid across her hood, landing on my right side in the oncoming lane behind her. A few scrapes 'n bruises, injured both shoulders (haven't completely healed yet) and she had to buy a few replacement components for my bike. I didn't go to the hospital, and definitely wouldn't give up road riding. Hell, I've hurt myself far worse MTBing -- and still do that routinely, too!

Enjoy life, and cycling, while you can!
 
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