Staying safe on the roads

Snoop

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We’ve unfortunately had two bicyclists killed in unrelated MVAs over the past 3 weeks, here in Western NY.


Here are some scary statistics from the National Security Council regarding bicyclist deaths:


I guess it’s a stark reminder for us all to practice vigilant road safety.
It amazes me whenever I’m out, seeing so many people biking without helmets ( baseball caps are not helmets), wearing dark colors, or having little to no reflective devices or illumination. I’ve seen others listening to headphones while biking.

I almost hit 2 kids biking on a busy road last week, late at night. Not only were they in the road, but they were wearing black, and if my headlights didn’t catch one of their pedal reflectors, I would not have seen them at all.

Any tips forum members have to say road safe?
 
D

Deleted member 4845

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Good rearview mirror, no headphones, stay alert, and understand that the people in cars are actively trying to kill you.

Do not attempt to compete with the hi-speed steel boxes. You will lose, every time. Usually only once, though.

Also a note on stats. Yes, fatalities have increased, but during that same time period, what is the increase in bicycle miles ridden? If this has gone up MORE than the percentages given, then we have actually gotten SAFER, than we were before. As with so many things, it is all a matter of "Compared to WHAT, exactly?"
 

Snoop

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Good rearview mirror, no headphones, stay alert, and understand that the people in cars are actively trying to kill you.

Do not attempt to compete with the hi-speed steel boxes. You will lose, every time. Usually only once, though.

Also a note on stats. Yes, fatalities have increased, but during that same time period, what is the increase in bicycle miles ridden? If this has gone up MORE than the percentages given, then we have actually gotten SAFER, than we were before. As with so many things, it is all a matter of "Compared to WHAT, exactly?"

I think that’s a good point.

I imagine that with the pandemic related increase in bicycle purchases in addition to the rising interest in ebikes, total miles biked per year has probably gone up (and with it, the risk of crashes).

My gut tells me that cycling has maybe gotten a little less safe, just because I suspect there are more amateurs (myself included) out there right now, but that is just my gut and my gut also told me to eat that week old slice of pizza last night. :)

I admit that I’ve done a couple dumb mistakes which I’ve learned from the past couple months (rules of the road at intersections, almost hitting a massive pothole because I was fiddling with a mirror, riding too close to a parked car and almost getting doored, etc). I like to think I’m getting safer each day with experience.
 

Smaug

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This is just awful. I gave up motorcycling and scootering a year or so ago, because it was too scary with the inattentive drivers. I reasoned that on a motorcycle, speeds are high enough that crashes are more likely to be fatal.

Then, I got into eBikes, and while WE are not going so fast, the cagers are, and a lot more of them pass us.

I wonder which is more statistically dangerous?
 

rewheel

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Make sure your insurance is right. Sadly, every time I have had an accident more than a fall, it was beyond my control.
 

Snoop

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Good news for New Yorkers (at least for cyclists)!

Govenor Hochul signed legislation today requiring instruction on bicyclist safety for individuals obtaining a drivers license.


"My top priority as Governor is to keep New Yorkers safe, and it is common sense to make pedestrian and bike safety education mandatory for drivers," Governor Hochul said. "This law will help prevent crashes and save lives, and I thank my partners in the Assembly and Senate for passing this legislation to make our streets safer."
 

Smaug

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I’m sorry to be cynical, but that will do NOTHING. The root problem is that the drivers are selfish. They already know how to not hit cyclists and pedestrians.

This legislation is just him showing that he “did something.”
 

Snoop

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I’m sorry to be cynical, but that will do NOTHING. The root problem is that the drivers are selfish. They already know how to not hit cyclists and pedestrians.

This legislation is just him showing that he “did something.”

Maybe so…..I think it’s a step in the right direction, though.

The law appears to be aimed at new drivers just getting their license, so maybe this will get them started with good habits.

From Justin Booth (director of GoBike Buffalo):

“The newest and least experienced drivers in our state will now receive clear instruction about lawfully and safely sharing the road with cyclists and properly yielding to them and pedestrians, and they must prove they understand that instruction in order to get their license.”

For what it’s worth, I‘ve been trying to do my own part to educate motorists with my new hitch cover. :)



34E74CAF-DF92-4A23-BF74-6773EFE559C4.jpeg
 

JerryB

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People have been getting killed on bikes for many years......I had a friend killed on a bike when I was a kid some 60 years ago. Today....there are more people...more bikes...more cars....more detractions. Can you get killed on a bike.....yep! There are many other ways of getting killed as well. I kayak as well.....just a few days ago....saw a family kayaking with a small 4 or 5 year old kid.....none were wearing life jackets. Stupid right? The point.....be a smart rider.....wear your helmet......be aware of surroundings......be as safe as you can be......enjoy life......we're all gnna die someday.....just don't help the process along.
 

caguirre54

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Went for the first ride on my Ariel Rider Kepler today here in San Antonio, Texas, and was pleasantly surprised. On my return trip from work around 12PM, there was a vehicle that was staying behind me. I was only doing 25mph in the bike lane so I signaled the driver to pass me. Maybe I got lucky, maybe the guy/gal are cyclists, who knows, but it was relieving to experience. Living in San Antonio, we have some of the highest rate of drunk drivers in the country so its always a risk being on the road.

I guess there is really no way of knowing what tomorrow will bring so we must be more proactive than the drivers around us.
 

Snoop

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Went for the first ride on my Ariel Rider Kepler today here in San Antonio, Texas, and was pleasantly surprised. On my return trip from work around 12PM, there was a vehicle that was staying behind me. I was only doing 25mph in the bike lane so I signaled the driver to pass me. Maybe I got lucky, maybe the guy/gal are cyclists, who knows, but it was relieving to experience. Living in San Antonio, we have some of the highest rate of drunk drivers in the country so its always a risk being on the road.

I guess there is really no way of knowing what tomorrow will bring so we must be more proactive than the drivers around us.

I’ve had fairly good experience during my commutes…..I am only on the road for about 20% of the trip, but that’s certainly when I’m the most cautious.

I keep a close ear to what’s behind me, keep an eye on that mirror, and make sure I’m well illuminated especially from behind. I try to hug the white line. If I go too far to the side, I think drivers get overconfident and don’t give as much room.

I would say the great majority of the time, motorists swing wide when they can. Every now and then, however, somebody blows by me with no consideration at all, and almost blow me over with their drag wind.

It’s the texting drivers who are probably the most dangerous.
 

Snoop

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I almost saw a kid die in front of my eyes last week. Little guy was maybe 13 years old or so, and was about 50 yards ahead of me on the path.

I could tell he had headphones on, and where the path ends at an intersecting street, he just rode right out without stopping (or looking). Of course at that second, a semi truck (which we rarely see around here) comes flying out from behind some tall grass. The kid was right in front of its grill, and I saw him stand up on his pedals to try to get a couple strong pushes.

I swear to God, I thought I was going to see something awful. After the truck passed, the kid was still there. When I later caught up to him, I shouted out if he was alright, and he looked terrified.

Poor kid. Lesson learned though, I hope. I would say if he left that path half a second later, it would have been a different story.
 

CloneWerks

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Sit down kiddies, let grandpa tell ya a story (grin).

I started serious cycling (long distance tours) back around 1982 and spent a hell of a lot of time in "shared space" with motor vehicles. Then I had a nearly 9 year long stretch of not-riding-due-to-surgeries-and-recovery that only recently ended. Most of my riding has been in suburban to urban NY, and rural Virginia.

1) The absolute best, hands down, improvement made over that time was ACTIVE lighting. Blinky front, back AND SIDE, lights. We made do with reflectors, bright clothes, and the weak lights back when, but that is all nothing compared to the stuff you have now that is way brighter, runs forever on a set of batteries and will survive all kinds of real-weather.

2) Helmet technology has, for the most part, hit a plateau and stayed there. That is okay, the helmets are GOOD, they do a pretty impressive job of meeting the sometimes conflicting demands of comfort, protection, and price. Helmets now are way tougher and, in a lot of cases cheaper than anything we had back in the day.

3) Bike-Activism. In my younger days the entire concept of "bike-activism" would have barely registered beyond maybe getting a few "hitching posts" mounted so you could lock up your bike at the local library. Now you see serious, legitimate, amounts of space and resources being set aside to produce everything from "more bike friendly" routes all the way up to specific-use bike paths and trails. Sure there is a really long way to go but if you biked around Arlington, VA in the 90's you were lucky to survive the experience (especially at rush hour) whereas now they have complete bike-reserved routes.

Yes things have gotten better (in some cases almost unbelievably better) on the equipment side of things.

BUT

My observation is that current riders lack many of the "defensive biking" skills I was taught, or picked up, in my younger years. The most common failures I see on a regular basis are;

1) Failure to obey traffic signs and signals. Seriously, it's not just the stupidity of skipping signs and signals, it's also the fact that this behavior is one of the biggest road-rage triggers out there. I can't even begin to recount the number of times I've seen a cyclist glide by stopped cars, only to feel the wrath of the driver(s) once the lights change.

2) Keep your distance from the curb. Trash and debris tend to collect closest to the curb. Hugging the curb too tightly leaves you no room to maneuver or avoid. Drain covers and grates are generally graded toward the curb to assist drainage, this can suck your bike in too if you aren't careful. I try to stay at-least three feet from the curb. More if possible.

3) Make eye contact with motorists. I can't stress this one enough. If you don't see a motorist looking at you, I mean actually making eye contact with you, then you MUST assume that they don't/haven't seen you.

4) Establish your position, maintain your boundaries. Motorists have a regular habit of mentally putting all other vehicles around them "in a box" and assuming they will stay there. One of the best things you can do is to do a mild weave a few inches side-to-side on occasion just to push out the boundaries of "the box" they have you in. Now understand I am not talking about wild swerves into traffic and other stupidity like that, I'm just talking about demanding some attention and space from others on the road. If a driver doesn't respect your boundaries and crowds you the least little bit when you do this, STOP! GET AWAY FROM THEM! The hassle of having to re-gain momentum is -nothing- compared to getting hit.

5) Be clear about your intentions. This means the obvious things like using hand signals when appropriate, but it also means riding with a bit of confidence in a fairly predictable manner. If you miss a stop or turn, keep going until it's safe to turn back. If you are crossing an intersection or making a turn indicate with signals and body language "I'm going from HERE to THERE!" Many of the bad Automobile/Bicycle interactions I've seen are simply because the motorist has absolutely no clue what the cyclist is about to do and then they get impatient and GO.

6) Don't pass slow cars on the right. I've also seen far too many incidents where a cyclist "undertakes" a slow moving automobile on the right, only to be caught as said vehicle suddenly makes a hard right turn when they see the street they've been looking for. Never, EVER, pass close to the right side of a larger truck, box truck, or tractor trailer!

7) Parked cars are DEADLY. I went for years without seeing someone "Doored" by a parked car (person suddenly opens door to get out and cyclist smashes into the door). Barely a week after returning to cycling I've seen a "dooring" and a close call. Stay well away from the sides of parked cars.

8) Make Noise. Calling out with your voice ("On your left"), Bells, electronic horns, hell I don't care if you put playing cards in the spokes, make some noise as you ride and understand that people don't hear things behind nearly as well as they hear things in front. Give plenty of advance notice that you are "in the area and approaching". Being considered "Noisy" is far better than what happens when you surprise pedestrians.

9) Avoid Kids, especially in groups. Groups of young, excited, kids are completely unpredictable and dart everywhere. If you can't pass with plenty of space then stop and walk by or at least drop down to a bare crawl. It's a pain, it's annoying, but can you live with yourself if you seriously injure a kid?

10) Be prudent about your speed. Sure you can go faster, maybe even 30mph or more, but does it really make SENSE to go faster? Keep your speeds appropriate to the conditions and the population around you and don't go doing a Top-Gun "Control tower flyby" on pedestrians (that is unless you WANT to get bikes banned from locations).

EVERYONE ELSE OUT THERE IS DRUNK OR INSANE! Expect that kind of behavior and you'll be far better off than riding "fat, dumb, and happy".
 

Snoop

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Sit down kiddies, let grandpa tell ya a story (grin).

I started serious cycling (long distance tours) back around 1982 and spent a hell of a lot of time in "shared space" with motor vehicles. Then I had a nearly 9 year long stretch of not-riding-due-to-surgeries-and-recovery that only recently ended. Most of my riding has been in suburban to urban NY, and rural Virginia.

1) The absolute best, hands down, improvement made over that time was ACTIVE lighting. Blinky front, back AND SIDE, lights. We made do with reflectors, bright clothes, and the weak lights back when, but that is all nothing compared to the stuff you have now that is way brighter, runs forever on a set of batteries and will survive all kinds of real-weather.

2) Helmet technology has, for the most part, hit a plateau and stayed there. That is okay, the helmets are GOOD, they do a pretty impressive job of meeting the sometimes conflicting demands of comfort, protection, and price. Helmets now are way tougher and, in a lot of cases cheaper than anything we had back in the day.

3) Bike-Activism. In my younger days the entire concept of "bike-activism" would have barely registered beyond maybe getting a few "hitching posts" mounted so you could lock up your bike at the local library. Now you see serious, legitimate, amounts of space and resources being set aside to produce everything from "more bike friendly" routes all the way up to specific-use bike paths and trails. Sure there is a really long way to go but if you biked around Arlington, VA in the 90's you were lucky to survive the experience (especially at rush hour) whereas now they have complete bike-reserved routes.

Yes things have gotten better (in some cases almost unbelievably better) on the equipment side of things.

BUT

My observation is that current riders lack many of the "defensive biking" skills I was taught, or picked up, in my younger years. The most common failures I see on a regular basis are;

1) Failure to obey traffic signs and signals. Seriously, it's not just the stupidity of skipping signs and signals, it's also the fact that this behavior is one of the biggest road-rage triggers out there. I can't even begin to recount the number of times I've seen a cyclist glide by stopped cars, only to feel the wrath of the driver(s) once the lights change.

2) Keep your distance from the curb. Trash and debris tend to collect closest to the curb. Hugging the curb too tightly leaves you no room to maneuver or avoid. Drain covers and grates are generally graded toward the curb to assist drainage, this can suck your bike in too if you aren't careful. I try to stay at-least three feet from the curb. More if possible.

3) Make eye contact with motorists. I can't stress this one enough. If you don't see a motorist looking at you, I mean actually making eye contact with you, then you MUST assume that they don't/haven't seen you.

4) Establish your position, maintain your boundaries. Motorists have a regular habit of mentally putting all other vehicles around them "in a box" and assuming they will stay there. One of the best things you can do is to do a mild weave a few inches side-to-side on occasion just to push out the boundaries of "the box" they have you in. Now understand I am not talking about wild swerves into traffic and other stupidity like that, I'm just talking about demanding some attention and space from others on the road. If a driver doesn't respect your boundaries and crowds you the least little bit when you do this, STOP! GET AWAY FROM THEM! The hassle of having to re-gain momentum is -nothing- compared to getting hit.

5) Be clear about your intentions. This means the obvious things like using hand signals when appropriate, but it also means riding with a bit of confidence in a fairly predictable manner. If you miss a stop or turn, keep going until it's safe to turn back. If you are crossing an intersection or making a turn indicate with signals and body language "I'm going from HERE to THERE!" Many of the bad Automobile/Bicycle interactions I've seen are simply because the motorist has absolutely no clue what the cyclist is about to do and then they get impatient and GO.

60 Don't pass slow cars on the right. I've also seen far too many incidents where a cyclist "undertakes" a slow moving automobile on the right, only to be caught as said vehicle suddenly makes a hard right turn when they see the street they've been looking for. Never, EVER, pass close to the right side of a larger truck, box truck, or tractor trailer!

7) Parked cars are DEADLY. I went for years without seeing someone "Doored" by a parked car (person suddenly opens door to get out and cyclist smashes into the door). Barely a week after returning to cycling I've seen a "dooring" and a close call. Stay well away from the sides of parked cars.

8) Make Noise. Calling out with your voice ("On your right"), Bells, electronic horns, hell I don't care if you put playing cards in the spokes, make some noise as you ride and understand that people don't hear things behind nearly as well as they hear things in front. Give plenty of advance notice that you are "in the area and approaching". Being considered "Noisy" is far better than what happens when you surprise pedestrians.

9) Avoid Kids, especially in groups. Groups of young, excited, kids are completely unpredictable and dart everywhere. If you can't pass with plenty of space then stop and walk by or at least drop down to a bare crawl. It's a pain, it's annoying, but can you live with yourself if you seriously injure a kid?

EVERYONE ELSE OUT THERE IS DRUNK OR INSANE! Expect that kind of behavior and you'll be far better off than riding "fat, dumb, and happy".

^^^^
Great post!
Thanks for taking the time to put that together. I think you make some really good points.
 

Mysery

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This is just awful. I gave up motorcycling and scootering a year or so ago, because it was too scary with the inattentive drivers. I reasoned that on a motorcycle, speeds are high enough that crashes are more likely to be fatal.

Then, I got into eBikes, and while WE are not going so fast, the cagers are, and a lot more of them pass us.

I wonder which is more statistically dangerous?
I can't tell you which is more statistically dangerous but I ride a motorcycle and an e-bike I feel much safer on the motorcycle. Moving with traffic instead of being passed all the time, better riding gear and better brakes just to name a couple of things. Don't get me wrong I really like riding my e-bike. Doesn't take me as long to check out the e-bike and to gear up for a ride. Anything 20 miles or less I take the e-bike 99% of the time. I like the relaxed pace of the e-bike. I find the time of day will dictate what mode of travel I take. 7 am to 9 am and from 3 pm to 6 pm I usually will not ride the e-bike. Be safe.
 

masterofchaos

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There is something to say about requiring ALL drivers to take a course for awareness. I started motorcycling in my 30s and took the PA Motorcycle Safety Course (class and riding course) and it opened my eyes to safety strategies which would give non-bike riders greater awareness. The riding part was cool too...I use tips even bicycling. But yeah, not everyone will be absorbing the info. So maybe it's just part of a solution.
 

HumanPerson

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There is something to say about requiring ALL drivers to take a course for awareness. I started motorcycling in my 30s and took the PA Motorcycle Safety Course (class and riding course) and it opened my eyes to safety strategies which would give non-bike riders greater awareness. The riding part was cool too...I use tips even bicycling. But yeah, not everyone will be absorbing the info. So maybe it's just part of a solution.
Welcome to our little corner of the internet @masterofchaos :cool:

HP
 
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