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Poll - What's the Biggest Danger on the road for a cyclist ?

karl jkarl j Posts: 517
edited July 2008 in Commuting chat
Reading through some of the threads on here and a couple of recent turn-of-event's got me thinking about the various dangers a cyclist (ie. me) faces on a typical journey. And, in particular, if there is *one*, single biggest danger.

Now, i appreciate that we're all (mostly) in different parts of the country and see things from different perspectives, different problems in different areas etc but i'd be interested in hearing those different views, opinions etc

So... what, in your humble opinion, is the biggest danger you face, as a cyclist, on the roads ?


What i'm not trying to do is overstate the dangers on the road, i think we all realise that they are there but that cycling is not, in the main, a dangerous activity. Nor do i wish to cause an argument of the "your reason's just stupid" etc variety, i'm simply looking for opinions, with experience of said situations if you have it and are prepared to share it.

I would have added Other as a further option but it said i had too many.
Morning route (when i don't get the train)

Evening route ,

What is the Biggest Danger on the road for a cyclist ? 0 votes

road debris (glass, branches, wet leaves, exhaust pipes, tesco trolleys etc)
0% 0 votes
Wet manhole covers
0% 0 votes
drivers passing too close
0% 0 votes
Cyclist RLJ's
0% 0 votes
Cyclist illegality / stupidness (pavement cycling, "undertaking" of vehicles, lightless, brakelesss etc)
0% 0 votes
alien abduction
0% 0 votes
driver RLJ's
0% 0 votes
Driver illegality / stupidity (mobile phone usage, fiddling with satnav, cd etc)
0% 0 votes
pedestrians (inc. kids playing between parked cars etc)
0% 0 votes
«1

Posts

  • ChrisLSChrisLS Posts: 2,749
    Driver illegality / stupidity (mobile phone usage, fiddling with satnav, cd etc)

    ...I went for this one as it has the greatest potential for causing accidents... all the others are just as valid as dangers...but this one has the word stupidity in it...

    ...alien abduction is a big worry to me as I sometimes ride in lonely places late at night...
    ...all the way...'til the wheels fall off and burn...
  • Voted.
    1. My vote "Driver illegality / stupidity (mobile phone usage, fiddling with satnav, cd etc)"
    2. Although "drivers passing too close" would have been second choice
    However 2 most likely to have been caused by 1.

    Alien Abduction out here in Naarfk and S'folk is also a danger :P
    If you see the candle as flame, the meal is already cooked.
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  • iainmentiainment Posts: 992
    Ivoted drivers RLJing!!!

    :twisted:
    Old hippies don't die, they just lie low until the laughter stops and their time comes round again.
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  • will3will3 Posts: 2,173
    you missed out junctions. This seems to be the biggest problem (ie where a car driver doesn't look/see and pulls out on you.)
  • BikerbaboonBikerbaboon Posts: 1,017
    i went for the Driver illegality / stupidity (mobile phone usage, fiddling with satnav, cd etc) as when people are trunderling about in a 2 ton bit of metal you do hope that they are looking where they are going.


    on a side note alien abduction should not be a worry as i have been abducted while out on my bike and did not crash, they even provided some nice isotonic drink ( took them 3 tries for the right orofice )
    Nothing in life can not be improved with either monkeys, pirates or ninjas
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  • ChrisLSChrisLS Posts: 2,749
    ...and huge great multi lane race track roundabouts...
    ...all the way...'til the wheels fall off and burn...
  • snookssnooks Posts: 1,521
    The biggest danger I face is vehicles being driven irresponsibly, which is "driving without out due care and attention" and therefore illegal driving, as is, to pass too close.

    However, that's what I consider to be the biggest danger for ME...but I think lack of knowledge and road awareness amongst cyclists (not necessarily the cyclists who read these forums) is the biggest danger, and greatest killer. I would not go up the inside of a track/bus/hgv unless I'm sure it's not turning left, there isn't an obstruction ahead that it will have to squish me for, or it's about to pull up.

    I also don't take silly risks...What's the hurry to get to work, after all? :D

    I think with a good knowledge of roads, road systems and drivers (and what they are likely to try to do to get 10 ft further down the road) there isn't a "danger" at all, well no more than walking down a road and crossing it on foot, in daylight, in fine weather. :wink:
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  • dennisndennisn Posts: 10,496
    You forgot one. How about riders causing accidents because they were playing with their GPS's, power monitors, heart monitors and not paying attention to their riding??

    Dennis Noward
  • will3will3 Posts: 2,173
    You missed out rubbernecking as well :wink:
  • dang65dang65 Posts: 1,006
    Done 20+ years of commuting by bike and I've had four offs worth considering. Two of those were due to black ice, which I'm still terrified of even though I haven't encountered any for many years as it just doesn't seem to get cold really these days. Absolutely nothing you can do once you hit the stuff while going round a bend.

    Other two were driver errors. Once a bus cut me up big time and hit my handlebars. Was lucky that there was pavement to fall onto and not a barrier or wall. Other time was a van swinging left directly in front of me with no warning.

    So, with no black ice option, I went for Driver illegality / stupidity.
  • dondaredondare Posts: 2,113
    It depends on how you define "The Biggest Danger". HGVs are more deadly but there are fewer of them so that they cause fewer deaths than other vehicles.
    T junctions are dangerous but don't actually cause accidents; it's lack of care at junctions which leads to accidents, injury and death.
    I voted for "drivers passing too close" but I'm thinking mostly of drivers of wide or long vehicles passing too close. Vans pulling trailers are at the top of my hate list; if the van is too close then the trailer will hit you.
    This post contains traces of nuts.
  • Robmanic1Robmanic1 Posts: 2,150
    Where's the "drivers wearing hats" vote?
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  • secretsamsecretsam Posts: 4,612
    Driver studpidity.

    Caught myself driving along focsed on satnav not road the other week. Road was empty, but no excuse.

    Got a P**cture this morning as karma compensation

    It's just a hill. Get over it.
  • JoeSoap76JoeSoap76 Posts: 109
    I voted for driver stupidity. I've only been doing this a few months and I've already lost count of the number of times I've felt intimidated by drivers who are either driving reclessly or simply not paying attention to the road.

    Saying that, the biggest danger to me is probably me... I know (from bitter experience) that things get slippery in the wet, that drivers don't always notice me, that red lights don't always mean 'stop', that a broken bottle on the ground is bad for my tyres, etc, etc, etc. So long as I'm cycling defensively and keep myself focussed on the task in hand (getting from A to B) the chances are I'll be fine. The danger comes when I get distracted or start to think I'm better on a bike than I actually am.
  • dennisndennisn Posts: 10,496
    Of course drivers stupidity got the most votes. This is a bicycle forum and how many
    cyclist are going to admit that they do stupid things. Most cyclist are always in the
    right. At least that's what all my cycling friends tell me when they have a close call
    or accident. I know, probably 6 or 8 guys who seem to always be telling me that
    some driver tried to kill them. What a load of censored . If you're in a car how hard can it
    be to kill a cyclist if you really wanted to? Anyway I'm ranting.

    Dennis Noward
  • always_tyredalways_tyred Posts: 4,965
    Wow. The poll is coming out pretty clear cut!
  • SquagglesSquaggles Posts: 875
    Which one did you vote for Dennis ?

    I voted for driver stupidity . I don't believe any driver has actually tried to kill me , although a few have tried to intimidate me by passing too close or driving very close behind me .

    I just think there are quite a lot of bad drivers with very poor observational skills . Riding a bike has certainly made me a better driver with more understanding of other road users . I think more drivers should try it .
    The UCI are Clowns and Fools
  • always_tyredalways_tyred Posts: 4,965
    In fairness, there are several "idiot motorist" options, but one is rather broader than the others.
  • snookssnooks Posts: 1,521
    Squaggles wrote:
    Riding a bike has certainly made me a better driver with more understanding of other road users . I think more drivers should try it .

    I'll second that...commuting by bike has made me a better driver. I'm a pretty experienced driver, driving over 20,000 miles a year (for the last 10 years), so I get to see most things, but even now a few things surprise me.

    I always gave cyclists room, but now I give them even more room, and look out for them more. It's also calmed me down behind the wheel...Let me just clarify that, I was never Mr angry, and I'd never intimidate people, there are drivers much better at it than me...but for some unknown reason I'd always be in a rush...Out of a car I'm possibly one of the most (non drug induced) relaxed people around, but behind the wheel I'd need to get somewhere...Why? I don't know, I really can't tell you...I guess everybody else was in a rush so I felt I had to be as well.

    Now I'll make even more room for cyclists, whether they are coming up on the inside, outside, and need a gap to filter into, or a gap to cut across. And the "thanks" I get make it worth the little effort I afforded them.

    Since cycling, I've realised the only way to beat the traffic is on two wheels, and I'm no longer trying to get in front of the car ahead of me. Unless I'm on a bike of course!! :twisted:
    .
    FCN:5, 8 & 9
    If I'm not riding I'm shooting http://grahamsnook.com
    THE Game
    Watch out for HGVs
  • karl jkarl j Posts: 517
    If i can just clarify the "stupidity" term... it came about as the poll didn't let me register all the options i put in first (ie. driving without DCA, mobiles, satnav, shouting at kids etc), so i took some out and covered them all with "stupidity". Maybe in doing so i made it too general, i dunno, but it wasn't meant to turn the thread into an all out "all drivers are stupid" thread. Ok some are, but most aren't.

    Personally i'd have said (if i can possibly be impartial on this ?) passing too close followed by fiddling with phones & satnav would be the most dangerous (ie. likely to cause me injury), but then again, the only thing that's ever caused me to crash was a wet manhole cover. Which was because i took it speedway style, so maybe that should have come under the heading of cyclist stupidness i dunno.

    But some interesting answers there so far...
    Morning route (when i don't get the train)

    Evening route ,
  • boybikerboybiker Posts: 531
    Its the girl on the road bike who I pass everyday and always has her jersey unzipped quite a long way. the first time I saw her I nearly fell off my bike. She always causes a commotion in my lycra :oops:
    The gear changing, helmet wearing fule.
    FCN :- -1
    Given up waiting for Fast as Fupp to start stalking me
  • Clever PunClever Pun Posts: 6,778
    Other people...

    driver stupidity covers it though as it includes me
    Purveyor of sonic doom

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  • biondinobiondino Posts: 5,990
    Chalk up one for pedestrians...

    I had my first spill on my new bike today. I was very nearly at work, heading up Shaftesbury Avenue from Piccadilly Circus, and the lights were green, although traffic was backed up. A couple of blokes crossed, about 25 feet in front of me, and a woman steps out after them, looks left, sees me (we make eye contact) and steps back onto the curb. Only to step FORWARD again 1 second later, by which time I'm upon her and I bang into her unavoidably, going about 17 mph, I reckon. It's a glancing blow - she doesn't go flying - but I lose my balance, bounce off the railing a couple of times, then the railing runs out, bike turns right and somehow I've got my feet out of the cleats and manage to jump off. Bike falls to the ground but doesn't hit anything, so I hope it's okay - only visible damage is the bar tape torn as you'd expect, scuffed pedal ends and somehow the saddle angle has shifted downwards.

    There's one of those community support officers on the scene and he checks we're both alright before telling me off for going too quickly through the lights (even though they're green etc.). She apologises, asks if I'm okay - which I pretty much am though I have a couple of very painful fabric burns on my arm and side from where my t-shirt rubbed against the railing. She offers to give me her number in case the bike's damaged - I'm pretty sure it's not but we'll see.

    Funnily enough, she was (cliche alert) beautiful - a very classy looking, business-like Australian blonde, late twenties. She said she panicked, having been hit by a cyclist only 2 days before (his fault that time). She gave me her work number but not, annoyingly, her mobile. So perhaps I should hope there's something wrong with the bike....
  • biondino wrote:
    She said she panicked, having been hit by a cyclist only 2 days before (his fault that time). .

    Would that not make you MORE careful, as opposed to stepping back onto the road?
    As for the CSO (Blunketts Plod) I would have given him a piece of my mind.
    If you see the candle as flame, the meal is already cooked.
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  • ParkeyParkey Posts: 303
    Which cyclist?

    For a lot of cyclists I would be inclined to say that the biggest danger to them is themself, be it through inexperience, incompotence, complacency or just a general disregard for the rules of the road.

    I'm not saying outside hazards beyond our control don't exist, just that the victim mentality isn't always a constructive attitude to take. As road users we have responsibilites as well as rights.
    "A recent study has found that, at the current rate of usage, the word 'sustainable' will be worn out by the year 2015"
  • cupofteacpcupofteacp Posts: 578
    Between 1999 and 2005 in London, cyclists deaths

    Rider at Fault (14)
    R Fault % Tot %
    229 229 Count 229 Riding Off Pavement 13 34% 15%
    207 207 Count 207 Disobeyed Stop Or Give Way Sign Or Marking 5 13% 6%
    220 220 Count 220 Overtaking On Nearside Injudiciously 3 8% 3%
    225 225 Count 225 Going To Fast Having Regard To Other Road Users 2 5% 2%
    221 221 Count 221 Changing Lane Injudiciously 2 5% 2%
    200 200 Count 200 Drink 2 5% 2%
    299 299 Count 299 Other Driver/Rider Factor 1 3% 1%
    239 239 Count 239 Lost Control - No Apparent Reason 1 3% 1%
    231 231 Count 231 Driving/Riding On Wrong Side Of Road 1 3% 1%
    230 230 Count 230 Riding Across Pedestrian Crossing 1 3% 1%
    224 224 Count 224 Going Too Fast Having Regard To Road Environment 1 3% 1%
    217 217 Count 217 Driving Too Close To The Vehicle Alongside 1 3% 1%
    216 216 Count 216 Driving Too Close To The Vehicle In Front 1 3% 1%
    214 214 Count 214 Starting 1 3% 1%
    210 210 Count 210 Turning Left 1 3% 1%
    209 209 Count 209 Turning Right Injudiciously 1 3% 1%
    0 0 Count 000 Factor Unknown 1 3% 1%
    38 43.7%


    Driver at Fault (21)

    210 210 Count 210 Turning Left 17 35% 20%
    216 216 Count 216 Driving Too Close To The Vehicle In Front 5 10% 6%
    217 217 Count 217 Driving Too Close To The Vehicle Alongside 5 10% 6%
    223 223 Count 223 Negligently Opening Or Closing Door 5 10% 6%
    204 204 Count 204 Disobeyed ATS 2 4% 2%
    219 219 Count 219 Overtaking On Offside Injudiciously 2 4% 2%
    221 221 Count 221 Changing Lane Injudiciously 2 4% 2%
    224 224 Count 224 Going Too Fast Having Regard To Road Environment 2 4% 2%
    227 227 Count 227 Emerging From Private Drive Injudiciously 2 4% 2%
    299 299 Count 299 Other Driver/Rider Factor 2 4% 2%
    209 209 Count 209 Turning Right Injudiciously 1 2% 1%
    211 211 Count 211 U Turning 1 2% 1%
    222 222 Count 222 Failure To Signal Movement Correctly 1 2% 1%
    225 225 Count 225 Going To Fast Having Regard To Other Road Users 1 2% 1%
    239 239 Count 239 Lost Control - No Apparent Reason 1 2% 1%
    49 100% 56%

    Hope this helps
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  • CarKillerCarKiller Posts: 60
    snooks wrote:
    Squaggles wrote:
    It's also calmed me down behind the wheel...Let me just clarify that, I was never Mr angry, and I'd never intimidate people, there are drivers much better at it than me...but for some unknown reason I'd always be in a rush...Out of a car I'm possibly one of the most (non drug induced) relaxed people around, but behind the wheel I'd need to get somewhere...Why? I don't know, I really can't tell you...I guess everybody else was in a rush so I felt I had to be as well.

    This is a phenomenon I've noticed. (And I too try to consciously resist it when driving. I'm not in a hurry. I'm not important!)

    I think it's a real, psychological result of being in such a self-amplifying device.

    You can get up to 100pmh using a flick of your ankle.

    You can use the vehicle as a weapon.

    It shields you from harm.

    It's a status symbol.

    I think a change comes over people when they drive which makes them impatient. It also makes them feel empowered and entitled.

    This is what I say when people posit the old line about cyclist/driver interactions that "there are always good people and a few tw ats". I don't feel that holds true in the situation of driving. I think driving can make normal people behave like tw ats.

    Some of those people who harass cyclists would not barge down pavements shouting "GET OUT OF MY WAY" at people. Yet their behaviour in a car is equivalent.

    Zimbardo should do some research on this theory!
  • BassjunkieukBassjunkieuk Posts: 4,232
    snooks wrote:
    Squaggles wrote:
    Riding a bike has certainly made me a better driver with more understanding of other road users . I think more drivers should try it .

    I'll second that...commuting by bike has made me a better driver. I'm a pretty experienced driver, driving over 20,000 miles a year (for the last 10 years), so I get to see most things, but even now a few things surprise me.

    I always gave cyclists room, but now I give them even more room, and look out for them more. It's also calmed me down behind the wheel...Let me just clarify that, I was never Mr angry, and I'd never intimidate people, there are drivers much better at it than me...but for some unknown reason I'd always be in a rush...Out of a car I'm possibly one of the most (non drug induced) relaxed people around, but behind the wheel I'd need to get somewhere...Why? I don't know, I really can't tell you...I guess everybody else was in a rush so I felt I had to be as well.

    Now I'll make even more room for cyclists, whether they are coming up on the inside, outside, and need a gap to filter into, or a gap to cut across. And the "thanks" I get make it worth the little effort I afforded them.

    Since cycling, I've realised the only way to beat the traffic is on two wheels, and I'm no longer trying to get in front of the car ahead of me. Unless I'm on a bike of course!! :twisted:
    .

    I'd say exactly the same thing about myself. I think the main problem with my agrressive driving started when I become a field engineer with my current employer, I would be given a few jobs (normally 5 or 6) to do in the day and they could be fairly spread out. This meant I was always in a rush to get everywhere as time on the road was time I wasn't getting work done! Since switching roles, and mode of transport, I have calmed down a lot, and my car is loving me for it! I only used to able to get over 50MPG in my Prius if I had a good dose of motorway, but I'm regularly getting this around town now on the rare occasions I need to use it!

    Once I accepted that certain things are beyond my control and stopped rushing everywhere I felt much better, the most depressing thing about driving now is when bikes pass me and seeing what sh1tbags some drivers can be - like the lovely gentlemen in the 911 Turbo yesterday heading towards the Blackwall Tunnel approach. After speeding down one road, taking the corner from the wrong lane (with no indicator of course), and then overtaking several cars on the next road he got all of 1 van ahead of me by the time I saw him again a bit closer to the tunnel and I wasn't even racing!
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  • jedsterjedster Posts: 2,004
    how could you miss SMIDSY pull out from your list?

    That's the one that gives me cold sweats
  • Spinner28Spinner28 Posts: 58
    biondino wrote:
    Chalk up one for pedestrians...

    I had my first spill on my new bike today. I was very nearly at work, heading up Shaftesbury Avenue from Piccadilly Circus, and the lights were green, although traffic was backed up. A couple of blokes crossed, about 25 feet in front of me, and a woman steps out after them, looks left, sees me (we make eye contact) and steps back onto the curb. Only to step FORWARD again 1 second later, by which time I'm upon her and I bang into her unavoidably, going about 17 mph, I reckon. It's a glancing blow - she doesn't go flying - but I lose my balance, bounce off the railing a couple of times, then the railing runs out, bike turns right and somehow I've got my feet out of the cleats and manage to jump off. Bike falls to the ground but doesn't hit anything, so I hope it's okay - only visible damage is the bar tape torn as you'd expect, scuffed pedal ends and somehow the saddle angle has shifted downwards.

    There's one of those community support officers on the scene and he checks we're both alright before telling me off for going too quickly through the lights (even though they're green etc.). She apologises, asks if I'm okay - which I pretty much am though I have a couple of very painful fabric burns on my arm and side from where my t-shirt rubbed against the railing. She offers to give me her number in case the bike's damaged - I'm pretty sure it's not but we'll see.

    Funnily enough, she was (cliche alert) beautiful - a very classy looking, business-like Australian blonde, late twenties. She said she panicked, having been hit by a cyclist only 2 days before (his fault that time). She gave me her work number but not, annoyingly, her mobile. So perhaps I should hope there's something wrong with the bike....

    I'd have definately given the PCSO a piece of my mind. What speed did he advise you should you be doing through a green light? Assuming the speed limit was 30MPH, you weren't exactly speeding at 17MPH. I'd argue that a car would be going much faster & the ped in question would actually be lying in the hospital/morgue by now had it been a car that hit her rather than a bike. And whatsmore if you were going much slower it may put YOU at risk of being hit by a motorist who may not notice a cyclist who's doing say 5MPH. Just for the sake of argument like! Who the hell does he think he is & is he an expert on these things?! GRRRR!!
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