Beating the system - the cycling commuting section
I've been bike commuting since 2000 when DaveOS introduced me to it. True I had done the odd cycle commute here and there previous but from 2000 cycling became my main form of commuting
This year 2 people I know have had accidents involving motor vehicles, one was commuting and was riding to a ride. i myself t-boned a car in 2012 and unlike the other 2 got away with it.
Those who know me, may also know the 2 people and I ask not to mention who they are here as I don't want this thread to be a discussion about their incidents
It's just sometimes I think "why bother", does a week go by where you didn't feel unhappy about the actions of other road users?
A helmet saved my life
I'm fortunate in that 50% or more of my route can be on low traffic roads or SUPs if I so choose. I'd say most of the time I'm OK and no drivers have misbehaved.
However, when the Murdoch press shockjocks start mouthing off with their bile I dust the cameras off and start videoing again.
However, since they put bike lanes in my suburb down the main drag, I am subject to harassment at least once a week from drivers unhappy about me declining to ride in the door zone next to parked cars. They don't get it.
Yes, but a week on the train puts me back in the saddle quicktime!
Nup. Mostly because I love to ride. Partly because I'm stubborn and a small part of it is I consider it my duty to sometimes sit at the front of the bus, if that's not offensive.
Mike, everyone has to wrestle with the pros and cons.
I would not worry so much about what's happened to other people (are you really going to give up driving because of your state road toll?), but an assessment of your own risk factors (route, frequency, etc).
No one likes giving up something they love, but you may decide to do just that.
You do sound conflicted, and a tentative cyclist is inviting error, so another option is to take a holiday from commuting and only go back when confidence returns.
I'm recovering from an accident at the moment (t-boned a van that turned in front of me), and have been pondering over the same question. My commute is 70-90% shared path. My conclusion echos Thomas' above, that in spite of my heightened awareness of the risks and just how vulnerable cyclists are, I'm itching to get off the bus and on to the bike as soon as my knee and ribs let me.
I was getting very aggravated with the frequency of morons per mile. Fortunately I managed to find a better route where the measure changed to morons per month. Perversely this involved avoiding the "quiet back streets" which were frequented by rat runners & sticking to the busier roads where I was faster than the cars. A change of commuting time might also help.
Apart from anything else a change of commute might freshen you up
Never give up! This is something you do for yourself. Don't let others get to you.
The road rage and close calls won't stop just because you're in a car...
Yes, occasionally I do, but public transport is far more dangerous long term I reckon (exercise, germs, mental health...).
I almost sold everything after the 2 car collision late last year. I had a week off to clear my head, revised my route and was back to it.
n=10 (2013 & 2004 roads,2010 track,2x 2009 foldups,1990 hybrid,1992 trainer,2007 rental,1970's step through,1980's zeus)
Every week some moron blows past me close enough to elicit a few curses. I've also had a couple of workmates get knocked off in the past few years. Despite the annoyances, it's not enough to stop me. Commuting is the only opportunity I get for regular exercise and some rare thinking time by myself. It also wakes me up for the day, rather than sending me into a soporific stupor that either getting the bus or driving does. The benefits outweigh the risks in my book.
De Rosa Macro | Trek 8000ZR | Claud Butler Sovereign
Most days are great. Some days just suck. Last week I had four idiot drivers in a few hundred metres doing stupid things. However, they were just annoying really and didn't put any other road user at risk. That's the worst thing that happens on my commute. I have many weeks where I don't see a single irresponsible driver and then days where I see four in a row. Even the worst days don't make me think about giving up. The worst I have had on my commute to work is a transperth bus failing to give way at the stop sign. I was expecting it so it wasn't an issue, just an annoyance. I have had worse things happen in my car and driving isn't an option for me where I work. My other choice is train, bus and compared to riding on the road, that can be truly terrifying. I have been at greater personal risk on the train or bus than cycling.
<removed by request>
Nope, I couldn't bear the thought of not riding to work. I catch the bus every now and again just to remind myself how awful it is travelling any other way.
'11 Lynskey Cooper CX, '00 Hillbrick Steel Racing (Total Rebuild '10), '09 Electra Townie Original 21D
Did this morning with cats and dogs were coming down - then rode anyway. the options I had were two different bikes.
Not fast, no style, but still get there.
If I could I would...and this is after coming close to death as a result of cycle commuting.
The way I look at is this...if it is your time to go you will, so why not enjoy what you do as much as you can while you can. Yes the way you approach it may differ as a result but still cycle commute. I would be more cautious and may take the time to smell the roses whilst commuting but I would still claim the lane and be confident that way.
Three years ago almost to the day I gave up cycle commuting (to the CBD), my incident and spine injuries put paid to that. I tried riding in various forms afterwards, but the back pain was intolerable, so that was the end of it (riding) for me. So then it was moto commuting and trust me, even with the ability to keep up and out run the idiots, they are still there and still vocal and still as deadly. Then the moto accident stopped me altogether. A voluntary license suspension had me bussing it everywhere and when you're not in a hurry (no job), its not a problem, but when you do have time restrictions (working and fitting in medical follow ups) you need transport mode options. I'm lucky now, my job is in the suburb I live in and I can commute by bike without going through any lights or crossing any major roads and of the 3.5kms, only a few hundred metres is on the road and unavoidable. And with pain management techniques I have learned, I now enjoy my cycling again. If I ever worked in the CBD again I would never cycle, it would be moto. The biggest problem for me in a CBD cycle commute is the area where my incident occurred, its almost unavoidable. If you go any other way, it takes you onto rat run roads with morons. If you take the way I got hit, well its high speed lunacy (motorists).
Weigh your options, look at your commute and see if there is any particular section that causes the most grief and strikes the most fear into you. If you can re-route it, do so. If not make a decision if you want to keep risking it. I once counted how variations I had for my commute and came up with about 12~15 different routes based on connecting different sections in different ways. Every single one had a problem zone or area, some more than others. Believe it or not the one where I was hit, was the least problematic of all of them. Go figure.
I could agree with you, but then we would both be wrong.
I wouldn't say I lack confidence, more that I desire hassle free commuting
A helmet saved my life
Sounds like you need to work from home...
Don't we all?
Thing is, unless your place of employment is inside your mailbox, it's not gonna happen. See Rangersacs post, sums it up nicely IMO.
I might take a few days break when the dodgy knees complain too loud or outside considerations mean there's not enough time to spare but I'll always come back to my bike.
...whatever the road rules, self-preservation is the absolute priority for a cyclist when mixing it with motorised traffic.
London Boy 29/12/2011
Here is a story from the USA accident to James Cracknel. He was apparently lit up like a Xmas tree, and still was struck by a truck. Just starting to get back to his life.
I must say I am planning my rides with as little danger to myself as possible.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/ ... d-him.html
Every now and then, usually in Melbourne winter, I stop riding for about a week. After about four days I feel out of sorts and grumpier than usual and I start riding again.
It appears I am happier being unhappy on a bike on wet murky roads muttering and swearing to myself. (have you ever listened to your mumbling on the bike cam)
LMAO, a friend and I discuss this and the measure of a good/bad ride is the number of "FOs" you mumble. After S144A was introduced and I was still not riding I asked him how the feeling was on the roads with the new law and his remark was he mumbles a lot less "FOs", sometimes none at all. What makes it funnier is that he is Scottish and it reminds me so much of a Billy Connolly interview about "FOs" and general elections.
I could agree with you, but then we would both be wrong.
I know a little lady that if she gets upset just mouths at the aggressor.... "Forty four fat frogs"....They seem to get the point and she doesn't get upset.
yep, i'm a retired commuter these days. the combination of time (adds 3hrs to my day), fatigue (100km round trip is hard to keep more than a few days a week), safety (the only practical route is via motorways) and inconvenience (no showers at work made getting clean a major hassle).
the safety thing was probably the largest factor for me - you get hit by a car doing 110 that's pretty much it.
I'm currently planning a comeback though - i'm building a cross/commuter bike that i can take on the train and ride along the cyclepaths to the office. that should solve most of my issues with my current commute, but still keep me riding and out of the car plus it will give me some more free time on the train.
Every so often when I have a crash I consider it, I hadn't crashed in a while and then I crashed on a training ride. Considered giving it up then saw a pink bike and bought that and back on again.
I have a pretty safe commute to work, only about 3km of road and the rest is bike path.
Mike didn't you just have a little girl?
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