Road Safety Strategies

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Re: Road Safety Strategies

Postby high_tea » Mon Nov 01, 2010 7:57 am

Downhill wrote:Different cities have different hazards. We don't have to worry about tram lines or hook turns in Perth. Nor do we have the problems with the deep gutters found in cities with high rainfall. On the other hand, Perth is a relatively young city that hasn't yet been choked by ribbon development and urban infill. Most of the road expansion around Perth has taken place within the last 20 years, which means the roads are generally in better condition and usually have wider, well paved shoulders. In my opinion this means that drivers don't move as far to the right when overtaking. They generally expect cyclists to stay out of the way.



Brisbane drivers too, and wide well-paved shoulders are in short supply on my commute. I guess I should qualify that: there are wide paved shoulders here and there. Generally, they are full of rubbish, or parked cars, or they disappear 200 metres up the road, leaving you trying to merge at the top of a hill or something :( .

I suspect that road conditions may have less to do with it than you think. I have this situation on my commute which I think illustrates the point nicely. There's a two-lane road that goes through a cutting. No shoulder at all: the road is right next to a rock wall. There's a nice big drainage grate, a heap of plants and whatnot, and I turn left about 150m down the road.

Staying left doesn't work.

One, I need to come right to get around the drainage grate. Keeping left and nipping out at the last is a bad idea. So I move over early in order to be visible, be predictable and all that.

Two, if I stay far left, the only place I have to go is right: out into traffic. Woe betide me if anything unexpected happens.

Three, it's a two-lane road. Traffic is usually light at the times I ride on it. Avoiding a cyclist who is taking the lane is easy: change lanes. Failing that, poke along for 150m. That'd take, what, 30 seconds?

I have noticed that staying left invites dicey overtaking, both from cars and (joy) from buses. Staying left doesn't make people give me more room when overtaking. If anything they give me less. How much room do I have when a motorist overtakes me there? As much room as I claim. So I take the lane. It gets me the odd bit of engine-revving and verbal abuse, but I'll take that over being the soft squashy bit between a bus and a rock wall when there's nowhere to go.

The point is, I won't stay out of the way by riding through rubbish on the shoulder, or riding in the doorzone or otherwise taking unnecessary risks. No decent human being should expect me to risk life and limb to save a few seconds on their commute. Yet here I am, in a position where it's self-evidently dangerous to hug the gutter and I'm still expected to do exactly that. That's why I contend that the expectation to stay out of the way has nothing to do with road conditions and everything to do with motorists' sense of entitlement, which has built up over decades.
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by BNA » Mon Nov 01, 2010 8:44 am

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Re: Road Safety Strategies

Postby hannos » Mon Nov 01, 2010 8:44 am

Downhill wrote:I know what you mean about people who overtake without leaving a safe distance. But the further over to the right you are, the less safety margin they can give you.



The more visible you are. Where would you prefer to ride? Directly in front of a motorists eyes or somewhere off to the left ish... blocked from view by their massive GPS unit and the crap hanging from their rear vision mirror?

Sorry but the further left you are the more danger you are in.
If you are in the middle of the lane, they cannot do anything except change lanes to overtake. If you are somewhere over in the gutter, you'll get hit.
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Re: Road Safety Strategies

Postby herzog » Mon Nov 01, 2010 3:50 pm

Downhill wrote:I thought I'd start a thread for gathering and evaluating various road safety strategies.


I want to know why a downhiller is concerned about safety on the road? :shock:

Aren't downhillers more concerned about bombing the landing of a 8 foot drop off?!
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Re: Road Safety Strategies

Postby Downhill » Mon Nov 01, 2010 10:26 pm

high_tea wrote:
Brisbane drivers too, and wide well-paved shoulders are in short supply on my commute. I guess I should qualify that: there are wide paved shoulders here and there. Generally, they are full of rubbish, or parked cars, or they disappear 200 metres up the road, leaving you trying to merge at the top of a hill or something :( .

I suspect that road conditions may have less to do with it than you think. I have this situation on my commute which I think illustrates the point nicely. There's a two-lane road that goes through a cutting. No shoulder at all: the road is right next to a rock wall. There's a nice big drainage grate, a heap of plants and whatnot, and I turn left about 150m down the road.


Yep, agreed, there are definitely situations where taking the lane is a good strategy. Perth is built on a sand plain so there aren't a lot of cuttings. That said, there are still a few squeeze points where the shoulders disappear altogether, and some of those are high flow traffic zones with average speeds around the 75 - 80 km / hr mark. I never feel comfortable in those situations (Perth drivers don't slow down) and prefer to find an alternate route.

You won't get any arguments from me about riding in the door zone or debris zone either. Fortunately there aren't a lot of parked cars lining Perth's major arterial roads. There are still quite a few around some of the older inner city suburbs though.

Moving on: Many roads have a dedicated cycle lane. Where the cycle lane continues straight forward across a left turn lane, I signal right, check for traffic, and move to the right hand side of the cycle lane before continuing through. Staying left in that instance is deadly - motorists will alway assume that you are going to turn left if you do.
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Re: Road Safety Strategies

Postby Downhill » Mon Nov 01, 2010 10:28 pm

herzog wrote:
Downhill wrote:I thought I'd start a thread for gathering and evaluating various road safety strategies.


I want to know why a downhiller is concerned about safety on the road? :shock:

Aren't downhillers more concerned about bombing the landing of a 8 foot drop off?!


That's "Downhill" with a small "d". All of the hills I encounter have stop signs at the bottom of them. :mrgreen:
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Re: Road Safety Strategies

Postby human909 » Tue Nov 02, 2010 1:14 pm

il padrone wrote:
human909 wrote:In general I often stop pedaling especially going downhill. But I normally raise myself off my seat, make myself look BIG and stare directly at the driver in question.

I think you may be misunderstanding the principles behind the theory of BIG. It's less about making yourself look physically big, but more about increasing your presence on the road - by positioning, use of space, actual riding manouvres and clothing/colour etc. to make you look bigger and more important. You won't actually make yourself bigger, and standing up straight on your pedals runs the real risk of placing you in a more dangerous stance for any braking actions.


I don't misunderstand the theory. Road position, use of space etc are all very important and I effectively used them. However the theory isn't called the theory of BIG for nothing. Standing up makes me look bigger and does make a difference. More importantly it sends the unmistakable body language of assertion. The number of times I have seen cars go to move but stop when I STARE and them and RAISE myself off the bike shows the effectiveness. The influence of a STARE and POSTURING is undeniable police, night club security and even teachers know it well.

But of course it is true that standing up and not back will reduce my braking capacity. As far as cornering goes it improves your ability to change direction suddenly, most MTBers know this. But for long fast sweeping racing corners seated is best.

But as I said. I'm not out to convince anybody to do this. But I personally find it very effective.
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Re: Road Safety Strategies

Postby jet-ski » Fri Nov 05, 2010 6:14 pm

1. be decisive
2. indicate your intentions
3. take the lane
4. share the road

don't ride scared, but ride defensively - just as you would drive a car!
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Re: Road Safety Strategies

Postby il padrone » Fri Nov 05, 2010 6:52 pm

human909 wrote:The number of times I have seen cars go to move but stop when I STARE and them and RAISE myself off the bike shows the effectiveness. The influence of a STARE and POSTURING is undeniable police, night club security and even teachers know it well.

My approach in this scenario is to stick my arm out, indication-style, pointing straight ahead. Clearly indicating my intentions. That's another police communicatiom tactic. I've found it works very well.
Riding bikes in traffic - what seems dangerous is usually safe; what seems safe is often more dangerous.
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Re: Road Safety Strategies

Postby Aushiker » Sun Nov 14, 2010 2:31 pm

zero wrote:Cars don't clip wide riders that they move around. They clip riders that the driver doesn't think they have to move around. They clip the ones that they think they will fit between and oncoming traffic too.


Hi

Plus 1000%. There is NO safety in gutter crawling in my view. Riding wide (my preference is the left hand edge of the left hand tyre line) is much safer. Drivers tend to (a) notice you and (b) pass wide whereas when due to my lack of attention I have ridden closer to the kerb it only takes one driver trying to side swipe me (happens pretty damn quickly too) and I am back out wider.

I saw a dude the other day (I was driving) who was wearing his invisibility gear (high vis-vest) who rode through a red light and then proceed to gutter crawl. It was quite scary watching the few cars in front of me squeeze past him ... his stupidity put himself at risk. BTW I went wide and gave him good clearance which wasn't hard to do on this section of rode, i.e., had he ridden properly in the first place he would have been a lot safer!

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Re: Road Safety Strategies

Postby human909 » Sun Nov 14, 2010 11:59 pm

Not meaning to disagree but what I consider riding wide is sitting centre of the lane or even a bit to the right of the centre of the lane.

Your mileage may vary of where you ride though. 75% of the main roads I ride on either have a bike lanes or 1.5 lanes thanks to parked cars and trams. Otherwise I generally ride in the centre of the lane.
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Re: Road Safety Strategies

Postby The Womble » Mon Nov 15, 2010 12:05 am

jet-ski wrote:1. be decisive
2. indicate your intentions
3. take the lane
4. share the road

don't ride scared, but ride defensively - just as you would drive a car!

How do you take the lane AND share the road? Just asking :? Should I hide now?
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Re: Road Safety Strategies

Postby human909 » Mon Nov 15, 2010 9:31 am

The Womble wrote:How do you take the lane AND share the road? Just asking :? Should I hide now?


Yes you should hide. He said share the road no the lane.
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Re: Road Safety Strategies

Postby The Womble » Mon Nov 15, 2010 9:50 am

Not all toads are multilane so THHHHHHH!
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Re: Road Safety Strategies

Postby Aushiker » Mon Nov 15, 2010 10:29 am

Hi

From Max's posting in the commute thread ...

Fail #1: The Donaldson Rd overpass is quite narrow. I usually take the lane and ride up the hill at a steady pace. Mostly, drivers are very patient. For reasons unknown to me, today I thought to myself, "Hey, I won't take the lane, I'll just ride over to the left, it'll be fine". Fail, fail, fail. As I was halfway up the hill, a truck passed me and I had to go to the gutter. At the last minute, I saw some turd had left a broken beer bottle in the gutter. It was standing on its end so all the pointy, sharp bits were pointing upwards. I had to swerve to avoid it and very nearly went under the truck's wheels. Never again. NEVER. AGAIN.


A salient reminder ...

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Re: Road Safety Strategies

Postby jet-ski » Mon Nov 15, 2010 12:11 pm

Re: share the road...

Not all roads are multi-lane, and not all lanes are the same width. Where the roads are wide, if you ride on the left tyre line then cars have room to overtake, if you ride right in the middle they may not. Also, share the road means give way when you are legally obliged to... seems to be the number 1 criticism that cyclists have of other riders.
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Re: Road Safety Strategies

Postby zero » Mon Nov 15, 2010 12:30 pm

How does bicycle riding in any way shape or form, compete on a "hogging the road" scale with onroad parking and just blocking a whole lane for as long as you feel like with your car.
Virtually all contention that I find, occurs around parked cars, when I merely ride sufficiently wide to avoid being doored.
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Re: Road Safety Strategies

Postby jet-ski » Mon Nov 15, 2010 3:30 pm

I don't think it does, zero, but now we are getting into the realm of being rational about things....the drivers who cause problems on the road are usually not of the rational type....
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Re: Road Safety Strategies

Postby trailgumby » Mon Nov 15, 2010 4:44 pm

The Womble wrote:Not all toads are multilane so THHHHHHH!

They must be big toads they grow in Queensland these days, if some of them are multilane.

So... your mother was a hamster and your father smelled of elderberries :P :wink:
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Re: Road Safety Strategies

Postby aldifan » Mon Nov 15, 2010 8:37 pm

Canberra is a special place - we get to ride on the foot path and the road kind of belongs to the car unless we get a "special" green lane, though there are areas where the number of cyclists on the road is reasonably high (particularly around either the Tidbinbilla or Uriarra crossing / Mt Stromlo loops).

Apart from that we are also spoiled with lots of bike paths full of tree roots and other nature for us to enjoy.

More seriously, being well lit at night should be in the list and in that I include a little thing I call redundancy in your lights (although this can come under the "being big" title). I have two lights on both the front and back (making a total of four) Those cheap red flashers are so cheap you have absolutely no excuse for not having two rear lights. I also have a couple of mini lights on the helmet. This puts a source of light (albeit not a very good source of light) above potential line of sight blockages like parked cars, shrubbery and given the rain we have had lately probably tall grass as well.

Il Padrone has lectured before on how most dangerous accidents between cars and bikes are around intersections and cars turning across the path of bikes and things like that rather than tail ending that seems to be a feature of this thread so far.

Play safe and be nice to each other.
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Re: Road Safety Strategies

Postby Spadian » Sun Nov 21, 2010 11:29 am

This post seems the logical place to ask the question.

I have recently started the work commute (Melbourne) and I would like some advice about turning right on a road with multi-lanes.

In the morning the multi lane road I use is bumper to bumper with cars and there is a dedicated bike lane on the left. In order to make a right turn, I need to changes lanes to get in the right lane turning lane. There are two ways I could do this.

1. Stay in the left and move on to the footpath and use the pedestrian crossing; or
2. Change lanes and turn just as if I were using a car. However given the volume of cars and trucks this can be tricky when the traffic is flowing.

So far, I have taken the back-streets to avoid this intersection. But given that there will be other times on the road I will need to do this I would like to hear the best way to go about.

Thanks
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Re: Road Safety Strategies

Postby human909 » Sun Nov 21, 2010 11:47 am

Spadian wrote:1. Stay in the left and move on to the footpath and use the pedestrian crossing; or
2. Change lanes and turn just as if I were using a car. However given the volume of cars and trucks this can be tricky when the traffic is flowing.


The third option is to do a hook turn. That is you go straight and then position yourself in front of the stopped cars on your left and wait for the lights to go green. Not only is this sensible and easy but it is actually explicitly allowed for bicycles by the road rules.

If I am riding a similar speed to the traffic then I will generally indicate and move right as I would in a car. Most of my riding I can manage this. If the traffic is racing past I would generally be doing a hook turn.
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Re: Road Safety Strategies

Postby il padrone » Sun Nov 21, 2010 11:53 am

Spadian wrote:In the morning the multi lane road I use is bumper to bumper with cars and there is a dedicated bike lane on the left. In order to make a right turn, I need to changes lanes to get in the right lane turning lane. There are two ways I could do this.

1. Stay in the left and move on to the footpath and use the pedestrian crossing

No, that one is illegal (unless you are walking your bike ie. a pedestrian)

Spadian wrote:2. Change lanes and turn just as if I were using a car. However given the volume of cars and trucks this can be tricky when the traffic is flowing.

Most often this is the technique I use. Stick your arm out clealy as an indicatoion of intent, well before you make the lane change. Most motorists will slow up to let you in, if you time it right. Correct timing is crucial, to make sure you make the move when there is a gap and when traffic is moving at a slower speed. Oh, and also, a rear view mirror is an invaluable aid to help you judge the traffic behind on an ongoing basis.

If traffic speed is not too great and you are brave, there is nothing to stop you claiming the lane on the right and riding in it for quite a length of distance. Legally, as a vehicle, you are just as entitled to do this as any motorist.

The other technique you've missed is the hook turn - legal at all intersections for cyclists. Stay in the left lane and pull over in front of stopped traffic on the cross street and stop, then proceed when the cross street traffic light goes green.

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This video gives you a good idea of how to ride in traffic, rather than cowering in the gutter (it's US, so shows riding on the right). You'll find you get much better treatment from motorists if you ride confidently.



Give the different techniques a try, and work out which best suits you. But please, don't ride the footpaths :|
Riding bikes in traffic - what seems dangerous is usually safe; what seems safe is often more dangerous.
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Re: Road Safety Strategies

Postby martinjs » Mon Nov 22, 2010 9:41 am

I'm a bit more fluid in how I ride, to the left when needed and take up the lane when needed, Some town and city riding but mostly country roads sharing with trucks up to Double road trains. I don't have any trouble by sticking left on narrow roads, there's always a nut or two, but strangely I've found that they seem to try and past me even if I'm claiming the lane.

This morning while sticking left I had a semi slow down behind me and the ute coming the other way slow down as well. :D On an open road were they were ably to do a 100k's and they had room to pass too. 8)

Different thinks work for different riders I believe. 8)

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Re: Road Safety Strategies

Postby jet-ski » Mon Nov 22, 2010 12:07 pm

I like hook turns. I don't have much reason to do them these days cos I only ride busy roads in peak hour when the traffic is barely moving, so turning right I can usually filter to the front.
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Re: Road Safety Strategies

Postby Spadian » Mon Nov 22, 2010 12:37 pm

Thanks Guys. The hook turn worked a treat this morning.
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