"America is no place for cyclists"?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    "America is no place for cyclists"?

    Interesting short article in the Economist. This is one reason why I'm not a huge fan of road riding. Those little white lines are less protection than we think.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------

    With a very few exceptions, America is no place for cyclists

    Dying while cycling is three to five times more likely in America than in Denmark, Germany or the Netherlands. To understand why, consider the death of Michael Wang. He was pedalling home from work in Seattle on a sunny weekday afternoon in late July when, witnesses say, a brown SUV made a left turn, crunched into Wang and sped away.
    The road where the 44-year-old father of two was hit is the busiest cycling corridor in Seattle, and it has clearly marked bicycle lanes. But the lanes are protected from motor vehicles by a line of white paint—a largely metaphorical barrier that many drivers ignore and police do not vigorously enforce. A few feet from the cycling lane traffic moves at speeds of between 30 miles per hour, the speed limit for arterials in Seattle, and 40 miles per hour, the speed at which many cars actually travel. This kind of speed kills. A pedestrian hit by a car moving at 30mph has a 45% chance of dying; at 40mph, the chance of death is 85%, according to Britain’s Department of Transport.
    Had Mr Wang been commuting on a busy bike route in Amsterdam, Copenhagen or Berlin, his unprotected exposure to instruments of death—namely, any vehicle moving at 20mph or more—would be nearly nil. These cities have knitted together networks for everyday travel by bike. To start with, motor vehicles allowed near cyclists are subject to “traffic calming”. They must slow down to about 19mph, a speed that, in case of collision, kills less than 5%. Police strictly enforce these speed limits with hefty fines. Repeat offenders lose their licences.

    Calmer traffic is just the beginning. In much of northern Europe, cyclists commute on lanes that are protected from cars by concrete buffers, rows of trees or parked cars. At busy crossroads, bicycle-activated traffic lights let cyclists cross first. Traffic laws discriminate in favour of people on bikes. A few American cities have taken European-style steps to make streets safer for cycling, most notably Portland, Oregon, which has used most of the above ideas. The result: more bikes and fewer deaths. Nearly 6% of commuters bike to work in Portland, the highest proportion in America. But in five out of the past ten years there have been no cycling deaths there. In the nearby Seattle area, where cycling is popular but traffic calming is not, three cyclists, have been killed in the past few weeks.

  2. #2
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    It's awful when people get hit, but I'll never buy the "this is why I don't ride on the road" argument.
    I road ride and commute because I really enjoy it. Whether it's a safe activity or not is not why people make the decision to road ride.
    In my 12+ years of consistent bike commuting in Chicago and Phoenix I've never had a seroius injury (and only a couple minor injuries) and I've only known 2 people to have a seroius injury while road riding.
    In my 5 years or MTBing I've had many minor injuries, and have known many people who have had serious injuries (spinal injuries, broken bones, etc).
    For me, road biking is a safer activity that MTBing, but I'm not going to give up MTBing because of that.

  3. #3
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    With very few exceptions,America is not Denmark.

    So,get the f*** over it.
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  4. #4
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    And the hits just keep on comin'

    "A bicyclist is injured after being struck by a vehicle Saturday morning in north Phoenix, officials said.

    The accident occurred around 9 a.m. near Jomax and Cave Creek roads, said Frank Salomon, deputy chief with the Phoenix Fire Department.

    The person on the bike was flown to St. Joseph's Hospital, Salomon said. The person was breathing when first responders arrived on scene, he said.


    Impairment did not appear to be a factor in the crash, said Phoenix police spokesman Steve Martos.

    Cave Creek Road between Pinnacle Peak and Jomax was expected to be closed for a few hours, he said

    No other details about the victim or the accident were released. Officials are investigating."

  5. #5
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    Lines and Laws...there is always someone willing to cross one if not both. But why is it "crossing the line" and "breaking the law", why not "break the line" and cross the law"?

    ...mystery continues.

  6. #6
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    Bikes are struck by cars on a regular basis in Phoenix/Scottsdale. Their injuries are bad and frequently life threatening. I see them regularly.

    You are in control of how fast and how much risk you take on a mountain bike. You are not in control of the cars. Many of the people struck are experienced riders.

    While mountain biking is definatly dangerous, probably even more frequent injuries, there are less fatalities and life changing injuries. That is why I don't ride on the road.

  7. #7
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    I've been hit a couple times. Once not very far from where the guy in the article was hit. And it turns out the police found it be an intentional thing. Might of had something to do with the fact that I had his passenger mirror in my hands when the cops showed up.

    Motorists for the most part are "cagers." You get in, you turn out of reality.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scary View Post
    With very few exceptions,America is not Denmark.

    So,get the f*** over it.
    Scary by name, Scary by nature!

  9. #9
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    you had me at 'The Economist'

    best wishes to the victim and family.

    I wish there was something to do when in a car you see people disregarding the line. Its usually because there is no risk, but i find the sloppy habits frightening. My wife, also a cyclist, is one of those sloppy-habitted drivers and we have argued over it.
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  10. #10
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    This summer I have seen more news on hikers and bikers being rescued than I have from real cyclists being hit. By real cyclists I mean those that take what they are doing seriously (please don't hijack this dudes thread trying to pick apart what I mean) and not the white trash DUI guy on the gas powered bike.

    Life is dangerous, dress accordingly.
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  11. #11
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    Interesting short article. Also interesting to think about, that most of us drive around in congested population centers at speeds that are fatal to pedestrians and cyclists, 40mph or better. If you bike on the streets, beware the Iron death machines and install some eyeballs in the back of your head.

  12. #12
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    I recently started biking in Tempe. I've always been hesitant to ride in the bike lanes, and this article isn't helping things. At least it's legal to ride on the sidewalks here...

  13. #13
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    Tucson man arrested in bike hit-and-run

    Tucson

    9-5-11
    AZ Republic

    "A Tucson man has been arrested in connection with a fatal hit-and-run accident involving a bicyclist.
    Albert Eugene Brack, 56, was struck around 9 a.m. Sunday while riding his bike. He was taken to a hospital, where he later died of his injuries.
    Police said that officers located the pickup truck involved in the accident and found the driver on foot a short time later.
    Edward Gomez Nava, 48, has been booked into the Pima County Jail on suspicion of second-degree murder, leaving the scene of a fatal collision and criminal damage.
    Police said Brack was wearing a helmet and riding in a bicycle lane when he was hit from behind."

    And another one of us bites the dust thanks to the ID10T factor!

    Accident my arse!

    Here's to you EGN and I think that this speaks for all of us!
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  14. #14
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    Wait a minute.Ive been on here since 2005 or something and 2 whiney crybabies dont like that Denmark shouldnt be the standard in the way we exist in America,and this sends me into negative rep points?

    Well you can take your lame popularity contest and shove it up your clean shaven ,roadie,a55.(Hows that for American rhetoric?)

    Everyone who reads this ,please negative rep me.Ill be in the back of the bus,chucking spitballs at the euro-loving dweebs.
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  15. #15
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    Hey- I like Denmark because it has Amsterdam, but didn't neg you out!
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  16. #16
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    Get back on and DO IT!
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  17. #17
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    had to give you some some Scary-I am a Vet that fought for all of our rights to voice our opinion, whether popular or not. Stay Gold!
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  18. #18
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    Dammit Man!Thanks for serving,though.But,damn you!
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  19. #19
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    seems people named wang are just destined to get messed up on their bikes


  20. #20
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    Just stay off CROWDED roads! It's more peaceful that way. Guess what, I never see cars on singletracks.
    agmtb

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by cstem View Post
    Hey- I like Denmark because it has Amsterdam, but didn't neg you out!
    Close, but no cigar...

    Try Holland, another bike friendly country!

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by abegold View Post
    Just stay off CROWDED roads! It's more peaceful that way. Guess what, I never see cars on singletracks.
    My sentiments exactly! But I did see a car go thru a fence on Twin Peaks road a couple of hours ago and wind up on some double track in the desert. Lots of damage, and some very discombobulated cholla...

  23. #23
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    Ooops-Holland. Sorry must have been an Amsterdam haze... Back to topic- we have a better chance of falling and sustaining a life threatening injury on a daily basis in our homes and cars than we do as cyclists. So ride away and if you get creamed, at least it's better than dying in your kitchen or bhind the wheel of a cage!
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by scary View Post
    wait a minute.ive been on here since 2005 or something and 2 whiney crybabies dont like that denmark shouldnt be the standard in the way we exist in america,and this sends me into negative rep points?

    Well you can take your lame popularity contest and shove it up your clean shaven ,roadie,a55.(hows that for american rhetoric?)

    everyone who reads this ,please negative rep me.ill be in the back of the bus,chucking spitballs at the euro-loving dweebs.
    Quote Originally Posted by scary View Post
    so,get the f*** over it.
    I didn't shoot you any neg rep, but I do find humor in this juxtaposition.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Black Bart View Post
    I didn't shoot you any neg rep, but I do find humor in this juxtaposition.
    Awesome.

  26. #26
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    Im an enigma... wrapped in bacon...or whatever that saying is.
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  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockerc View Post
    Close, but no cigar...

    Try Holland, another bike friendly country!
    Think you mean...
    Close, but no blunt....
    I dig dirt!

  28. #28
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    awhile back I was looking for info into on cyclist deaths and how the cyclist was riding. I need to find it again, but only something like 6% were riding the right direction on the road. The rest were mixes of wrong way road or sidewalk riders. So following the rules of the road does make you significantly safer.

  29. #29
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    I bike commute a couple days a week, and while riding in the bike lane can be very sketchy, I've had way more close calls riding on the sidewalk. Drivers pulling into/out of driveways especially just can't see you until its almost too late when you are on the sidewalk.

    I think everyone who drives should have to go through motorcycle training and then actively ride one on the streets for a while. I know I've become a much better, more patient driver since becoming a motorcycle rider....they cycling just wasn't enough to open my eyes.

    Be careful out there everyone, whether on trail or road!!!
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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Solrider View Post
    Drivers pulling into/out of driveways especially just can't see you until its almost too late when you are on the sidewalk.
    So why are you riding on the sidewalk???? Maybe you need some bike etiquette?

    Why is it that roadies ride on the road in places where there is a perfectly good bike trail 5 feet off the road?? Is it to get hit by cars?? Do roadies want to be seen that badly? You know in their matching outfits and stuff......
    I'd rather be hated for what I am, than loved for what I'm not......Dolemite.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by cstem View Post
    ...I am a Vet that fought for all of our rights to voice our opinion, whether popular or not...
    that's a pretty potent, and not very often held, opinion. and pretty awesome in my book.

  32. #32
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    wait ............. mabey the drivers in Europe are just better
    You need a Thneed

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Birdss View Post
    So why are you riding on the sidewalk???? Maybe you need some bike etiquette?

    Why is it that roadies ride on the road in places where there is a perfectly good bike trail 5 feet off the road?? Is it to get hit by cars?? Do roadies want to be seen that badly? You know in their matching outfits and stuff......
    Wow man take a breather...maybe read your sig line every so often. My point was that its BAD to ride on the sidewalk, that it is in fact safer to ride on the road. Don't get so hyped.

    Ya when I was a noobie commuter in Phoenix years ago I was scared to death so I rode on the sidewalk...just took a couple close calls to get me out in the road. Now about the only thing I worry about on my commute is stray dogs....
    "too weird to live, too rare to die" - HST
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  34. #34
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    New article in the Republic.

    Arizona bike-safety plan aimed at cutting down on fatalities

    Ariz., one of deadliest in country, looks at roads, laws, enforcement

    Have at it....

  35. #35
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    I am a bike commuter of the Tempe/ASU/Ahwatukee/Phoenix variety.
    That said, I am bemused that some of you have convinced yourselves that it is safe to ride road.
    It is not safe at all. Don't take solace in that you may be statistically safe, cause you'll die quite handily the *first* time a car smashes into you from behind, no matter how seasoned of a commuter vet you are. The fun of riding overwhelms the safety risk, that is why I do it. But you can't poopoo the safety risk. I mitigate badness with route selection and paranoid-freak-don't-die-today awareness levels.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by jperson View Post
    I am a bike commuter of the Tempe/ASU/Ahwatukee/Phoenix variety.
    That said, I am bemused that some of you have convinced yourselves that it is safe to ride road.
    It is not safe at all. Don't take solace in that you may be statistically safe, cause you'll die quite handily the *first* time a car smashes into you from behind, no matter how seasoned of a commuter vet you are. The fun of riding overwhelms the safety risk, that is why I do it. But you can't poopoo the safety risk. I mitigate badness with route selection and paranoid-freak-don't-die-today awareness levels.
    all true and well said!

    but i did take note of the stats that 50% of the fatalities are the cyclist going the wrong way. that is somnething right there that you CAN do to cut down your risk. Worth the 5 min to read the article.
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  37. #37
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    Article in the AZ Republic had a table showing a comparison between several states deaths by population per million, Florida deaths were about double that of AZ!
    Moral of the story: don't road ride in Florida!

  38. #38
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    http://phoenix.gov/STREETS/2007bike.pdf
    Some good info on bicycle crashes in Phoenix, it's from 2007 but still relevant.
    It's pretty clear in there that riding in a bicycle lane with traffic while wearing a helmet is the safest way to go. If you want to certainly die, then ride sidewalks against traffic.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom93R1 View Post
    http://phoenix.gov/STREETS/2007bike.pdf
    Some good info on bicycle crashes in Phoenix, it's from 2007 but still relevant.
    It's pretty clear in there that riding in a bicycle lane with traffic while wearing a helmet is the safest way to go. If you want to certainly die, then ride sidewalks against traffic.
    Great info, thanks! Among the many interesting stats is the final blow on the helmet vs. no helmet debate:


  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mtn-Rider View Post
    Great info, thanks! Among the many interesting stats is the final blow on the helmet vs. no helmet debate:

    Kind of playing devil's advocate, but that image doesn't necessarily say that helmets are safer - it just says that lots of people don't wear helmets. Looking purely as a ratio, helmet vs. no helmet for the "None" severity is 11%. That's your baseline (with a very small sample set I might add). Now for "Possible" injury, it's 8% - indicating that helmet use reduced "Possible" injury. But for "Minor" injury, the rate is 14% and "Major" is 13.6%. So does that mean that wearing helmets increases the chance of minor or major injury in a crash?

    That said, I'll keep my helmet and take my chances.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbkaz View Post
    Kind of playing devil's advocate, but that image doesn't necessarily say that helmets are safer - it just says that lots of people don't wear helmets. Looking purely as a ratio, helmet vs. no helmet for the "None" severity is 11%. That's your baseline (with a very small sample set I might add). Now for "Possible" injury, it's 8% - indicating that helmet use reduced "Possible" injury. But for "Minor" injury, the rate is 14% and "Major" is 13.6%. So does that mean that wearing helmets increases the chance of minor or major injury in a crash?

    That said, I'll keep my helmet and take my chances.
    You are so right, it's a helmet usage chart, and it fooled me at first.

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