Reflecting on a recent crash.

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BTurffs
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Sep 04, 2009 10:28 pm

by BTurffs

Hey All,

I'm a formerly dedicated and now occasional lurker on the forum. I have found tons of useful information here and hoped I might receive some feedback from the community about a recent crash I was involved in.

This past week I was returning home and collided with a car backing out of a driveway. At the time I was retrieving my water bottle and looking down, ie I never saw it coming. Fortunately, I am totally okay, no worries there, though the summersault across the trunk certainly woke me up! My concern is that this is the second accident I have been involved in as a result (at least indirectly) of riding with my head down.

Prior to that first accident, I know I had a bad habit of "suffering" with my head down, but I have actively tried to stop that habit, and given that 3 years and thousands of miles passed between these crashes I thought I was doing okay. I live in a pretty bad place for cycling, little dedicated infrastructure, traffic, lots of elderly drivers and I generally try to be careful (following traffic rules etc). That said, I know I lose focus and awareness when putting in large effort, when tired and in this recent case when I am so close to home that I let my guard down.

I'm left wondering if I ride more carelessly than I think. In both the aforementioned crashes I was proceeding with right of way, but collided with an object in my path that I didn't see. In 8 years of dedicated road cycling I have only been involved in maybe 3-5 crashes total. All these crashes were during solo riding. The others were as simple as laying the bike down in corner when it lost traction. Obviously, no one here can analyze how safely I actually ride on the road, but I am wondering if anyone has had similar experience. Do you think these types of accidents are "statistically" guaranteed to happen as a result of how much time I spend on the road, regardless of my level of care? Do I need to work on being more careful yet?

by Weenie


nathanong87
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by nathanong87

Do you think these types of accidents are "statistically" guaranteed to happen as a result of how much time I spend on the road, regardless of my level of care? Do I need to work on being more careful yet?


1. to a degree some accidents are unavoidable. I was hit twice in one summmer riding outside. both were the fault of the cars. Thankfully no broken bones and nothing terrible, cept for broken frames. There is an evitable human error factor to accidents that are the fault of cars and/or your own.

2. you can always* work on being careful. I dont know how long you had your head dwn for, but i can't really picture suffering for that long while not taking note the objects around you. And if you were suffering, coasting, you'd hope that delta V on the car would be slow enough to emergency brake or dodge the car. (But too many unknowns)

dont suffer (aka dont do efforts) on busy streets.
dont be some strava racer
keep your eyes on the road
use blinkers and / or lights, usually to 'be seen' by cars

there is only so much you can do, and as long as you can say 'i've done everything up to snuff', then the rest that happens is just happenstance ...the way i see it.

5 8 5
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Joined: Sat Jul 29, 2006 2:36 am
Location: UK

by 5 8 5

Glad you're okay.

Practice removing and replacing your bottle without looking down until it becomes second nature.

If you are doing big efforts try to use quiet roads you know really well but you still need to look up as much as possible.
You've got to try and expect the unexpected.

quattrings
Posts: 482
Joined: Sun Nov 14, 2010 10:25 pm

by quattrings

You can do everything right, but sometimes things do go wrong.
Cycling comes with a certain element of danger, whether it's racing or cruising.

Some things to keep you safe.

Anticipate and focus on the only thing that is important, that is riding.
Don't assume anything and make space for yourself to manoeuvre,
Don't be an asshole, you are a weak participant in traffic. When confronted with road rage don't spill oil on that fire, instead contact local authorities.
Cover your brakes in busy streets.
Keep equipment well mantained and suited for intended purpose.
Keep the rubber side pointing down.

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djconnel
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by djconnel

I think there's always times when each of us becomes distracted and exposed to such risk. All we can do is reduce the frequency, but it never goes to zero.

I support doing drills for water bottle removal and replacement. Go smoothly and slowly at first, as the last thing you want to do is stick your hand into your front wheel! But eventually you won't even need to think about it.

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Flyfishing3
Posts: 46
Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2013 6:58 pm
Location: Western Pa

by Flyfishing3

I ride with a camelback to help avoid the looking down part.

I removed my seat tool kit and keep that on my back also

mattr
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Location: The Grim North.

by mattr

I just learnt where my bottle was.

Some people do have an issue with working out where extremities are and what they are doing without actually looking at them.

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carbonLORD
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by carbonLORD

I find that joining a group or learning to ride in a pace-line helps people tremendously. Not sure if there are any teams in your area but having experienced riders at your side certainly helps many.

One rule is to learn how to clip and unclip without looking at your feet. Another is to learn how to reach for, and return your water bottle without taking your eyes off the road ahead. That's how the pro's do it, and we all want to be a little more pro right?

Practice keeping your eyes on the prize (whats ahead of you, not under you) and you'll do just fine.
carbonLORD.com

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carbonLORD
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by carbonLORD

Flyfishing3 wrote:I ride with a camelback to help avoid the looking down part.

I removed my seat tool kit and keep that on my back also


Rule #32, broken.
carbonLORD.com

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Flyfishing3
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Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2013 6:58 pm
Location: Western Pa

by Flyfishing3

carbonLORD wrote:
Flyfishing3 wrote:I ride with a camelback to help avoid the looking down part.

I removed my seat tool kit and keep that on my back also


Rule #32, broken.

Lol

Link to said list, I want to see how many I'm breaking


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Flyfishing3
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Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2013 6:58 pm
Location: Western Pa

by Flyfishing3

haha. thanks for the link.

yeah, i break a few.

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Rick
Posts: 2004
Joined: Sat Aug 29, 2009 4:30 pm

by Rick

carbonLORD wrote:I find that joining a group or learning to ride in a pace-line helps people tremendously. Not sure if there are any teams in your area but having experienced riders at your side certainly helps many.

One rule is to learn how to clip and unclip without looking at your feet. Another is to learn how to reach for, and return your water bottle without taking your eyes off the road ahead. That's how the pro's do it, and we all want to be a little more pro right?

Practice keeping your eyes on the prize (whats ahead of you, not under you) and you'll do just fine.

Riding criteriums and large-pack road races will quickly reinforce the idea that you can NEVER take your eyes off what is in front.
But no one is perfect, and some accidents are unavoidable.
But if you are going to look down, there should be alarm bells ringing in your head that warn you to first take a scan around for potential dangers and then make the glance as brief as possible.

munk93
Posts: 408
Joined: Tue Jan 29, 2008 8:20 pm
Location: Denmark

by munk93

I tend to look down when it's raining. Been centimeters from hitting roadwork-signs placed on the bikeline a few times. It's a bad habbit, but hard to avoid.

by Weenie


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stella-azzurra
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by stella-azzurra

Bad things happen when you ride with your head down.

Image

It's best to learn to become more aware of your surroundings knowing where you are in relation to other objects on the road and calculating time distance and space.
I never took drugs to improve my performance at any time. I will be willing to stick my finger into a polygraph test if anyone with big media pull wants to take issue. If you buy a signed poster now it will not be tarnished later. --Graeme Obree

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