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  1. #1
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    4 close calls in 2.5 months.

    Love the workout i get on the road bike and my mountain bike speed and endurance has increased a ton ( i never really did a routine before though) but i have a 4 year old son and once on a group ride a car tried to pass the car behind us while we were turning and it was cllllllllooooossseee. 2 times solo i have been barley missed by car mirrors and once a car turned in front of me. I live near a paved greenway but now i have a road bike that would be overkill for just spinning laps. Not digging the road danger at all. I might just sell it and try some rollers or street wheels back on the mtb.

    Anyone else experience this?

  2. #2
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    Was just discussing this with a friend who used the old chestnut that you buy health insurance for mountain biking and life insurance for road biking.

  3. #3
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    4 close calls in 2.5 months.

    Staying safe on the road is a definite concern. On a bike it only takes one mistake and you're f-ed. There are a few things that I do to try and deal with this - visibility and also how you ride.

    Something that's become increasingly popular round here over the last few years is to have daytime running lights on the bike, front and rear lights to make drivers sit up and take notice. You don't need (or want) huge amounts of lumens for daytime use as you don't really want to aggravate other road users by blinding them. Small lightweight lights do the job well enough.

    I currently have Lezyne Zecto drive USB rechargeable lights front (single solid LED and then two LED flashing mode, 3h40 battery life) and rear (solid low beam, 4h battery life), along with a Cateye Rapid-X TL-700 rear light (solid low beam, 5hr battery life) for a double stack of rear lights. When I'm in the car seeing a single rear light on a bike often doesn't catch my eye. The double rear lights add a bit more oomph.

    http://www.lezyne.com/products/led-l...to-drive-front

    http://www.evanscycles.com/products/...light-ec053177



    Along with lights clothing can make a difference. It seems to be fashionable to ride in all black at the moment. From a safety perspective it's hopeless and really badly thought through on the part of the cyclists who do that. The other day I was out on the bike and there was someone on a road bike coming the other way during the day. I was riding straight into quite a low winter sun. He was wearing all black kit, black bike and the only reason I spotted him at all was because of the fluorescent yellow winter gloves he was wearing. Apart from that he didn't show up at all.

    If you wear a brightly coloured jersey or jacket and a brightly coloured helmet it helps. Don't be a ninja.



    How you ride makes a big difference too. It's all about anticipating what other vehicles are going to do and making sure that you're prepared for them to do something daft. Being alert, signalling your intentions clearly and riding defensively. Covering your lines and taking a primary road position where needed.

    Saying that, there are some incredibly bad drivers on the roads. You can do everything right, be lit up like a christmas tree and at some point someone will still have a good go at left hooking you, oblivious to anything but their sat nav which is directing them down a one way street that's a dead end.

  4. #4
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    Re: 4 close calls in 2.5 months.

    My road riding is on country roads where I seldom see a car and the scenery is beautiful. Though I have had the occasional teenage redneck "roll coal" on me, most people are polite, give me lots of space and sometimes wave at the funny looking cyclist in spandex.... I had a close encounter last fall where an impatient truck pulling a fifth wheel camper went around me and came within inches of running me off the road. We just happen to be going downhill when it happened I was doing close to 40 mph, it probably would've killed me. Right after the truck/camper went by a big diesel truck buzzed me. I was a little frazzled after that encounter but honestly for me, they're rare.

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  5. #5
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    My last real road ride was over three years ago. Ten miles from home, black Caddy SUV honks at us from behind. Two dudes drafting with me in front. We're to the right of the white line.

    The computer shows my speed going from 27mph to 0 in about a second. The road was a rural two lane sort, but saw a decent amount of traffic at times. This was not one of them. The speed limit being 55mph, and given how quickly he/she passed us, I'm guessing the vehicle was going somewhere between 50-60mph when it hit me.

    Right front quarter panel, straight to my ass. Knocked me straight into the ditch. Rolled a couple times, popped up, and I kid you not, I started running after the vehicle. I would have publicly executed that person on national TV if given the chance. That dude had such little regard for me as a human that he either hit me on purpose, or couldn't be bothered to slow down and pass with the least bit of care.
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  6. #6
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    Buy a dinotte 400 tail light. You need a much brighter tail light during the day time. I have a Design Shine 500. I seldom run it on high. People pull up and thank me for being able to see me from so far away. I lost a friend who wasn't using one. All my friends have very bright lights now. little blinkies may seem bright but they aren't bright enough. 30$ lights with aaa batteries are not at all adequate. We spend 200-300$ for these tail lights. Just do it for you and your kid. You won't know if it saves your life.
    Last edited by rayfromtx; 02-10-2014 at 05:44 AM.
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  7. #7
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    Im thnking of just selling it. Wife says to just ride it on greenway but i just feel the bike needs a better home than mine. Somebody who will do granfondos on it.

    I have some very bright serfas lights lights front and rear but i just dont feel comfy on the road anymore. Think ive answered my iwn questions. Ill just have to figure a way to keep up my endurance without a road bike

  8. #8
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    I used to be an ardent roadie in the past. Don't know if I just get old (being a Dad really makes you more timid) but I've experienced so much sh&% on the road lately that I try to avoid it as much as possible. Somehow it was more relaxed 10 years ago (or maybe I was). It feels that traffic has become more aggressive.

  9. #9
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    Oddly enough, my experience was my first ride back after living in OR (home for the holidays), which was, in my time there, the proverbial "Promised Land".

    Two years, and not a single honk, buzzing, close call or assault. One ride in IL, and I get smoked.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    Oddly enough, my experience was my first ride back after living in OR (home for the holidays), which was, in my time there, the proverbial "Promised Land".

    Two years, and not a single honk, buzzing, close call or assault. One ride in IL, and I get smoked.
    I spent a week in Hoffman Estates, IL lest year, Before heading out I scoped a few bike paths and lanes via google maps and man was it dicey. People driving in the bike lanes, buzzing, and throwing things. Terrible area.
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  11. #11
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    Road bike on paved bike paths when alone (I'm fortunate that I have about 200miles available to me). Only time riding the actual road is with training groups in which we are 10+ together. It seems we are much more visible that way.

    The positive is that the group rides are very fast and a great way to keep in shape, so you don't need more than 1 or 2 a week.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by WR304 View Post
    ...There are a few things that I do to try and deal with this - visibility and also how you ride.
    +1
    additionally, I've recently purchased some used contour roam cameras on eBay (if you're patient you can get these in the $60-$70 range). These are great because they're waterproof enough to deal with drizzle and road spray from a tire if you get caught out. I do wish I'd done a little more research though because these are missing a feature I'd really like but didn't think about until afterwards.

    I don't think I've seen this posted on mtbr but this project is pretty intriguing as well rideye.com mostly because of the continuous loop option - something that would be really neat on the coutour but not currently available

  13. #13
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    *knock on wood* I've only had a handful of close encounters, and they've mostly been while riding in town, and not really out on the back country roads. However, my boyfriend did get hit from behind in September by a vehicle while he was going 35mph out on one of those country roads, and the car kept driving. He managed to call me on his cell phone while laying in the ditch. Fracture pelvis and lots of pretty road rash... bike came out with only very minor cosmetic damage. Vehicle never stopped and since he was skidding across the road, the boyfriend didn't catch a plate or good description. That did rattle the both of us for awhile and it was a few months before the road bikes came off the trainers and onto the road.

    I'm just very hyper vigilant and always stare down drivers that seem like they're going to ignore me and just fly through a driveway or intersection, and for some reason they tend to stop and wait for me when I do that (I must have an awesome ***** face?). I also usually wear neon pink and ride a neon pink bike, so I like to think I can be easily seen. It's all the damn idiots with road rage or who are distracted that scare me. Otherwise I think the majority of cars on the roads I ride are good and polite. I do enjoy road biking both for the training and just the places I get to go while doing it.

  14. #14
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    My last car encounter on the road was a very pleasant one. My frame broke when I was 30 miles out of town, alone on a quiet road without cell service. I started walking home, and soon after, someone drove by, pulled over, and asked if I needed a ride. I gladly accepted.

    That said, I don't really miss riding on the road too much. It's fun, and I don't have too many problems with drivers -- the troublesome ones usually the ones who don't know that I have the legal right to the road, same as they do -- but riding on the dirt is so much more fun. Being a full-time mtb'er has really strengthened my technical skills, and I'm still exploring new trails and finding new routes to ride. It's tough when the trails are wet and I can't ride until they dry out, but that's just a minor thing. Not really worth buying a new frame over.
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  15. #15
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    I ride narrow mountain roads almost exclusively, although every once in a while a car does come close, most are very aware and give plenty of room. Although I know, " it only takes one time", I enjoy road riding too much to give it up.
    What helps me, I listen to cars coming up on me, sometimes you can tell how close or where in the lane they are, maybe that come with experience(30 years of riding on the road). All things said, I still enjoy riding off road more than on the road

  16. #16
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    I had a couple close calls last summer, all of which were "in town." Once I'm out on the highway, its not bad. I ended up putting lights on the bike front and rear. I also bought a few hi lighter yellow jerseys, that almost glow in the dark they're so bright. I need to get a bright wind jacket now too, since mine is black.

    I also ride through town and assume no one sees me. It works out better that way, but its still not perfect.

  17. #17
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    I am fortunate to have a paved trail that runs for 50 plus miles right behind my house so this is what I ride with a mountain bike. Like others above, my experience on the road has been scary with some close calls. To me it is not worth it to go on the road for a work out.

  18. #18
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    95% of my commuting takes place on multi-use paths, not roads. Additionally, I use very bright lighting when I am on the roads.
    The extra rides I do on the road bike take place on low traffic country roads.

  19. #19
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    If I had kids in the house depending on me, I would not road bike.

    Statistically, it's one of the most deadly hobbies you can do. Riding a motorcycle does top it though.

    In Utah, the road biking isn't too unsafe, but people still die here and there. It's a tight community of cyclist here and I've known a few who have died or spent a lot of time in ER due to collisions with cars.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by quax View Post
    I used to be an ardent roadie in the past. Don't know if I just get old (being a Dad really makes you more timid) but I've experienced so much sh&% on the road lately that I try to avoid it as much as possible. Somehow it was more relaxed 10 years ago (or maybe I was). It feels that traffic has become more aggressive.
    Comes with age and experience. I still use the roads to access trail systems, thereby adding more riding time. However, I've become more leery these past few yrs for whatever reasons. It hasn't stopped me from enjoying my riding though; I guess I refuse to relent.

    I recently had 2 city rednecks in a van try to assault me and gave chase for some time before giving up on me. I became scared for my life for that period of 40 minutes, and it took a good day or so to come down from that.
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  21. #21
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    I was recently hit while road riding, I had a bright set of lights and everything but a 15yr girl ran a red light and slammed into me, after slowing a little she took off.

    I don't think I have ever been that mad in my entire life, the lack of care for my life was almost saddening. I was able to memorize the plate and the police were able to find them and there insurance is paying my medical bills, but I think the person who let her drive is being charged with letting someone without a license drive, I don't think shes been charged with anything. I think both should be charged though.

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    What you can do if you have any close calls that we're on purpose, get the license plate number, description of car and driver if possible and file a police report, that way if it ever happens again, or the driver does hit someone, it shows that it is a pattern of aggressive driving. The police may be reluctant to take a report, but let them know how serious you are tell them that if that same driver does hit someone and you tried to warn them of that driver, it's on them.

  23. #23
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    Wife doesnt want me to sell the road bike. She wants me to ride on the local greenway. Its wide enough and actually has some climbs....

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poncharelli View Post
    If I had kids in the house depending on me, I would not road bike.

    Statistically, it's one of the most deadly hobbies you can do. Riding a motorcycle does top it though.

    In Utah, the road biking isn't too unsafe, but people still die here and there. It's a tight community of cyclist here and I've known a few who have died or spent a lot of time in ER due to collisions with cars.
    where do you get your stats to back up your declaration about road cycling being so dangerous?

    I live in CO and every year there are more people who die skiing than cycling, even though there are far more cyclists and they're riding all year long. Cycling is NOT that dangerous. Some cyclists may be, but the activity itself is not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mudge View Post
    where do you get your stats to back up your declaration about road cycling being so dangerous?

    I live in CO and every year there are more people who die skiing than cycling, even though there are far more cyclists and they're riding all year long. Cycling is NOT that dangerous. Some cyclists may be, but the activity itself is not.
    With that logic, skiing isn't very dangerous in Florida either.
    Here's a quick link.
    Discovery Health "5 Most Dangerous Recreational Sports (with the most ER visits)"

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by mudge View Post
    where do you get your stats to back up your declaration about road cycling being so dangerous?

    I live in CO and every year there are more people who die skiing than cycling, even though there are far more cyclists and they're riding all year long. Cycling is NOT that dangerous. Some cyclists may be, but the activity itself is not.
    Depends on the area. I've found that some areas that are very cycling friendly, like the majority of the Front Range, and you generally have very little to worry about. People seem to be friendlier in general there.

    In the Chicago suburbs, I think I got yelled at, honked at, or had a close call once per ride.

    In many areas of the south, it's the same. And, 4 times out of 5 it's someone in a pickup truck.

    In upstate NY, in some of the more rural areas, people are just amused by you, and give you a wide berth.

    In the western half of OR, you're good to go. No experience in the eastern half.
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  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by serious1 View Post
    With that logic, skiing isn't very dangerous in Florida either.
    Here's a quick link.
    Discovery Health "5 Most Dangerous Recreational Sports (with the most ER visits)"
    Horrible stats to use. For example, cycling has 2.3 times more ER visits than ATV riding, but what, maybe a 1000 times more participants.

  28. #28
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    Most cycling statistics are kids that fall off their bikes not cyclists run over by cars.

  29. #29
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    I ride my bike very aware and honestly, pretty violently. If I can do something to a stupid driver, I will. I've kicked cars that have merged into me in intersections, I've folded side mirrors back on cars that buzz me and then I catch at the next light, I threw a lit cigarette butt into the backseat of a car after it was thrown out the window at me. Basically I don't let it slide. People should not get away with being abusive or unaware of cyclists.
    I'm a mountain bike guide in South West Utah

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by AZ View Post
    Most cycling statistics are kids that fall off their bikes not cyclists run over by cars.
    Truth

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    While I agree with you that the source isn't the best, it does show that it is indeed a high risk activity. In 2011, 2.1% of all deaths on the road were cyclists. I'd call that pretty significant.
    http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811743.pdf

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    2.1% off all deaths on the road is another weak statistic. Of all the 100's of thousands of traffic accidents every year, some result in deaths. Most, the people survive. Of the few that involve a cyclist, I'll bet a larger majority die. That skews the numbers. I'd guess that even motorcyclists have a higher number.
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    The article states that 48,000 cyclists were injured in motor vehicle crashes. So that's 1 fatality for every 70 accidents involving a bicycle on the road. When you say that a larger majority die you are basically admitting that its a more dangerous sport because the chance of a fatal injury is higher. I was just trying to present some statistics to back up Poncharelli's claim that its one of the more deadly sports that you can do.

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    This thread has become an example of what is wrong with internet discussion forums. Everyone here has an opinion and all are playing fast and loose with the facts. My opinion with some round number "facts" is this. Each year in the US around 400 cyclists are killed by automobiles. Around 4,000 pedestrians are killed by automobiles. Around 40,000 automobile occupants are killed in auto accidents and around 400,000 people die of heart related illness. The health benefits of riding on the road far outweigh the health risks. I'll take my chances on the road and I'll improve my odds by using an extremely bright headlight and tail light, a mirror, a helmet and a route that isn't stupid. Let's bring that heart disease number down by putting in more miles on the bike.

    Also, when riding off road your chance of being killed by a car goes to near zero but your chance of suffering a serious injury goes way up compared to cycling on the road, when compared either by participant miles or hours or just number of participants. Anyone that rides a mountain bike knows that without needing a study or an actuarial table.
    Last edited by rayfromtx; 02-10-2014 at 05:46 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rayfromtx View Post
    This thread has become an example of what is wrong with internet discussion forums. Everyone here has an opinion and all are playing fast and loose with the facts. My opinion with some round number "facts" is this. Each year in the US around 400 cyclists are killed by automobiles. Around 4,000 pedestrians are killed by automobiles. Around 40,000 automobile occupants are killed in auto accidents and around 400,000 people die of heart related illness. The health benefits of riding on the road far outweigh the health risks. I'll take my chances on the road and I'll improve my odds by using an extremely bright headlight and tail light, a mirror, a helmet and a route that isn't stupid. Let's bring that heart disease number down by putting in more miles on the bike.

    Also, when riding off road your chance of being killed by a car goes to near zero but your chance of suffering a serious injury goes way up compared to cycling on the road, when compared either by participant miles or hours or just number of participants. Anyone that rides a mountain bike knows that without needing a study or an actuarial table.
    I don't like to ride on the road, but I agree with Ray from Texas.

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    Well said rayfromtx. The original point of this thread was to show that it is indeed dangerous to ride on the road. I've personally had close calls riding on the road and just wanted people to be aware of the risks involved. I mean this happened in my hometown on a route that I have ridden pretty frequently.
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    Quote Originally Posted by serious1 View Post
    The article states that 48,000 cyclists were injured in motor vehicle crashes. So that's 1 fatality for every 70 accidents involving a bicycle on the road. When you say that a larger majority die you are basically admitting that its a more dangerous sport because the chance of a fatal injury is higher. I was just trying to present some statistics to back up Poncharelli's claim that its one of the more deadly sports that you can do.
    Here's the deal, those stats include a whole $hitload of "cyclists" who aren't recreational cyclists in the sense we're talking about.

    Back in the early 90s, I was going through a bunch of stats in an attempt to put together a sponsorship packet for a series of races that would promote helmet use for kids (working in concert with SafeKids). Latest figures I had were for '90, and as luck would have it, Tucson (where I lived at the time) was THE most dangerous city for cycling deaths per capita. Guess how many deaths we were talking about? 4. Yeah, 4. 2 kids under the age of 10 who rode down their driveways out into the street in front of cars, and 2 retirees out in Sun City who fell off their bikes and bonked their heads. NO deaths or even serious injuries among recreational cyclists. None.

    Cycling, for even remotely skilled recreational cyclists and especially competitive cyclists, is NOT dangerous.

    To proclaim otherwise makes me feel you must have bought into the helmet industry nonsense.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Silentfoe View Post
    I ride my bike very aware and honestly, pretty violently. If I can do something to a stupid driver, I will. I've kicked cars that have merged into me in intersections, I've folded side mirrors back on cars that buzz me and then I catch at the next light, I threw a lit cigarette butt into the backseat of a car after it was thrown out the window at me. Basically I don't let it slide. People should not get away with being abusive or unaware of cyclists.
    Be careful with that approach. I used to feel and act similarly but have since backed off. A simple reminder to an illegally stopped van almost got my ass beat or worse by 2 thugs that looked like they had zero to lose on their end. I used to scrape offending vehicles with my cleats and the like but sadly those days are all but behind me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silentfoe View Post
    I ride my bike very aware and honestly, pretty violently. If I can do something to a stupid driver, I will. I've kicked cars that have merged into me in intersections, I've folded side mirrors back on cars that buzz me and then I catch at the next light, I threw a lit cigarette butt into the backseat of a car after it was thrown out the window at me. Basically I don't let it slide. People should not get away with being abusive or unaware of cyclists.
    So, how has that behavior made things better, either in the long term or short term? You think any driver you treat that way is going to change, suddenly giving respect where none was given before?

    BTW, is that FB link in your sig block your page? "Northern Utahs friendliest and most comprehensive mountain bike guide service."

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    I love that I live less than a block from a paved bike trail that I can ride for over a 100 miles if I really want to. First world problems I guess...

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    I believe you need to know your "enemy", and it seems that a majority (75%) of the bike/car accidents happen at intersections. If you choose roads with very few intersections and are very careful at intersection your chances of having a safe ride on the road go way up!
    Cycling Accidents - Facts and Figures | Cycling Safety Advice and Information | Road Safety | RoSPA

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    And most of the stats are not just adults, but kids not wearing helmets, etc, make up most of those ER visits.
    There are risks in anything you do, I have friends who got hit by cars while mountain biking.

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    I sold my road bike and do all my riding on our paved bike paths, gravel roads, and trail. The last couple of years I have averaged about 4,000 miles a year. We are lucky that there are so many miles of pike/running paths in my area. You still have to watch carefully for cars pulling out of driveways and intersections but I feel like I can control and watch for those situations vs. someone hitting me from behind on the road.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ranger Pride View Post
    I sold my road bike and do all my riding on our paved bike paths, gravel roads, and trail. The last couple of years I have averaged about 4,000 miles a year. We are lucky that there are so many miles of pike/running paths in my area. You still have to watch carefully for cars pulling out of driveways and intersections but I feel like I can control and watch for those situations vs. someone hitting me from behind on the road.
    Driveways and intersections are where most accidents involving cars/bikes occur. It happens, sure, but getting hit from behind almost never happens. You have removed the least likely scenario from your risks, but are still coping with the most likely scenarios. If you're riding bike paths that cross driveways before they reach the street, you've actually magnified the risk at those driveways.

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    But it still sucks when a car overtakes you and keeps only a few inch distance. And this happens quite often to me. Or when a car overtakes you right before a hilltop and suddenly a car comes from the opposite. This sucks. Or when a car overtakes you in a curve without seeing if anything comes from the opposite. Our roads a quite narrowish compared to America but many people think they are Schumachers oder Vettels best buddy. This sucks. Or when a car driver tries to lecture on using the supposed bike lane next to the road. Which is no bike lane. This sucks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by quax View Post
    But it still sucks when a car overtakes you and keeps only a few inch distance. And this happens quite often to me. Or when a car overtakes you right before a hilltop and suddenly a car comes from the opposite. This sucks. Or when a car overtakes you in a curve without seeing if anything comes from the opposite. Our roads a quite narrowish compared to America but many people think they are Schumachers oder Vettels best buddy. This sucks. Or when a car driver tries to lecture on using the supposed bike lane next to the road. Which is no bike lane. This sucks.
    From everything you said, I'd guess you're riding too close to the edge of the road. When you do that, you encourage drivers to try to squeeze by. The key to safe riding is to ride far enough out that drivers know they must cross the center line to pass, but not so far out as to elicit anger because they think you're hogging the road.

    Studies have shown that once a driver has to cross the center line, they don't mind going way over the line. But, if they think they can squeeze by without crossing the line, they'll try it. Try riding about three feet out from the edge of the road and see if drivers don't treat you differently. Hugging the white line invites the very behavior that you want to avoid.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mudge View Post
    From everything you said, I'd guess you're riding too close to the edge of the road. When you do that, you encourage drivers to try to squeeze by. The key to safe riding is to ride far enough out that drivers know they must cross the center line to pass, but not so far out as to elicit anger because they think you're hogging the road.

    Studies have shown that once a driver has to cross the center line, they don't mind going way over the line. But, if they think they can squeeze by without crossing the line, they'll try it. Try riding about three feet out from the edge of the road and see if drivers don't treat you differently. Hugging the white line invites the very behavior that you want to avoid.
    I'm glad somebody mentioned this, its crucial. Its better to be honked at (because that means they at least SEE YOU!) than to be hit by a car. And they see you better when you're in the lane.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mudge View Post
    From everything you said, I'd guess you're riding too close to the edge of the road. When you do that, you encourage drivers to try to squeeze by. The key to safe riding is to ride far enough out that drivers know they must cross the center line to pass, but not so far out as to elicit anger because they think you're hogging the road.

    Studies have shown that once a driver has to cross the center line, they don't mind going way over the line. But, if they think they can squeeze by without crossing the line, they'll try it. Try riding about three feet out from the edge of the road and see if drivers don't treat you differently. Hugging the white line invites the very behavior that you want to avoid.
    You don't get it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by quax View Post
    You don't get it.

    All the advice about riding farther away from the edge of the road is solid, but I only ride about 6,000 miles a year on the road.

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