Quick (5 minute) accident questionnnaire - apologies if posted in wrong forum

Apr 15, 2009
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Hello all,

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Ralph Marszalek and I am a researcher working in the School of Optometry within the Vision and Driving Unit, led by Professor Joanne Wood at the Queensland University of Technology located in Brisbane, Australia. We are currently working on a project that aims to better understand:

The circumstances associated with accidents involving vehicles and cyclists

We are particularly interested in understanding the factors leading to accidents involving cyclists, with the subsequent aim of improving the safety of cyclists on the road. We are now in the preliminary stages of distributing a survey to various cycling groups and websites. Our aim is to gain an insight into the factors surrounding any accidents that cyclists may have been involved in when on the road. From such insight we hope to be able to inform current policies regarding cyclist safety and consideration on the road.

I have been asked to get in contact with a number of well respected cycling groups and organisations to ascertain whether they would be willing to complete some surveys and help us in our work to increase cyclist safety and reduce cyclist injuries and fatalities.
We are looking for respondents from all over the world, not just Australia.

The survey takes about 5 minutes to complete and is available on-line via a Google survey form which can be found at:

http://spreadsheets.google.com/viewform?key=p8k5dfHyfSN2SasWn7E0PMQ&hl=en

If you wish to complete the survey several times (to describe several different accidents that have occurred to you) that is fine, but we would ask that you create a unique user ID which doesn’t identify you in any way personally, and use the same ID each time you visit the page.

Thank you for your time, we look forward to hearing from you.

Regards,

Ralph Marszalek | Senior Research Assistant | Vision and Driving Unit | Centre for Eye Research | Queensland University of Technology | Victoria Park Road, Kelvin Grove, QLD 4059, Australia
| CRICOS No. 00213J
 
Mar 19, 2009
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Sorry to say, that while I ride on public roads 10+ times per week (regularly commuting 17 miles each way), I won't be completing your survey.

The problem is not one of visibility, or visual accuity.

It's one of giving a shi-ite.

And drivers do not.

So I think a psychological approach to road safety is more appropriate.
 
Mar 19, 2009
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I heard two cases just yesterday when I went on a nice Sunday ride with about 6 other guys.

Dr. Joe, a gastro-enterologist at the local hospital showed us graunches on his right elbow and knuckles.

A car actually bashed him while overtaking. He says his wheels were against the kerbstone.

What, are we imagining that light reflected from Joes body was not passing through this driver's cornea, and projecting an image onto the retina?

Of course it was, he just wasn't giving it attention.

And another guy, a semi-retired chap in his 60s told us his wife had been knocked off and had sustained a broken hip. This was on an early morning ride from one quiet residential neighbourhood, to the next quiet, residential neighbourhood. He drove very close, knocked the handlebars and sent her flying.

The guy who knocked her off was a driving instructor.

This was early morning and quiet roads, so there are only two possiblities.

1. He drove close in order to intimidate her.
2. He drove close due to not paying due care and attention to driving

But what happens? He avoids prosecution by agreeing to go on some driving course.

And keeps his job instructing the next generation of selfish, reckless ****s.
 
Mar 19, 2009
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Just by coincidence, this is being discussed on another forum I frequent. Someone else has posted:

 
Mar 18, 2009
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This weekend was not the most pleasant experience, but not crashes thankfully. The following happened:
- Cars taking up a bike lane on a busy road where the cars are backed up and cyclists often are quicker than the cars. Main culprits are SUV drivers. No clue.
- SUV full of young males honk their horn and shout at us because I am riding straight ahead through an intersection and hence preventing them from turning right (I am in North America) for a few seconds.
- Car turning left into oncoming traffic (ie, us). The driver was not looking.
- In the Gatineau Hills, where there are many cyclists and car drivers are usually quite good, there were many instances of cars overtaking cyclists but doing so with such wide margins that they were forcing cyclists riding in the opposite direction off the road.

The previous weekend in the Gatineau Hills, I heard a motorcyclist complaining about cyclists and their lack of regard for the law. I often think about this and wonder why we all get painted with the same brush for the few cyclists that run red lights etc. I also wonder why we are so bad when I am sure that the vast majority of drivers break the law on a daily basis by speeding, rolling through stop signs, etc. And then I think what gives them the right to break the law and endanger our lives because they're ignorant of cyclists and the rules, jealous that we are making more headway in traffic, or just intentionally dangerous to cyclists.

A friend was hit by a van as he was in a bike lane and the van was turning right into a strip mall. My friend, who is over 6 feet tall, was stuck under the van and, amongst other things, burned by the sump. The driver thought he'd hit an empty plastic bottle. Imagine a 6 foot guy on a bike being mistaken for a plastic bottle. The driver attempted to drive on with my friend stuck under the van. Thankfully other people in the strip mall stopped him. And what did the driver get for running someone over so blindly and stupidly: a fine for not giving way!
 
Mar 19, 2009
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elapid said:
a fine for not giving way!
Yes, and that is the root of the problem.

Every message from "the authorities" is that cyclists should just feck off and die, and that motorists can bear no responsibility for their actions while driving.
 
May 15, 2009
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Animal said:
Sorry to say, that while I ride on public roads 10+ times per week (regularly commuting 17 miles each way), I won't be completing your survey.

The problem is not one of visibility, or visual accuity.

It's one of giving a shi-ite.

And drivers do not.

So I think a psychological approach to road safety is more appropriate.
The one time I've been knocked off I was lit up like a christmas tree; flouro and reflective vest, good front light, 2 rear lights, riding right in the middle between the kerb and the centre of the road(ie not in the gutter), and actually going slightly uphill so hardly moving terribly quickly. She was stopped at the junction, but then just pulled out into me - it wasn't that she pulled out in front of me and I went into her, she actually drove head first into me, I fell off the bonnet and she didn't seem to brake even then. What really ****ed me off was she seemed to think 'I just didn't see you' excused it. It was not an issue of visibility, but one of attention. I think she was banking on any traffic coming from her right having full beam car headlights on so didn't even look.

So on the one hand I agree.

However, I won't dismiss anything which makes us more visible and less likely to be missed on the road. I agree that a lot of drivers don't give a damn, and cause crashes by lack of concentration and attention, but when knocked off, knowing that you're in the right isn't much consolation when you're injured and you're bike's trashed. I'm not saying that the blame should be shifted away from a road-user who caused an accident by not paying enough attention, or just not caring, though. Unfortunately a large number of reports and research seem to suggest the cyclist as the 'problem', even if well intentioned.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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A couple of things that I have noticed with regard to car drivers (US):

1) They are often on the phone (mind you, not hands free) and quite possibly because half the world here drives 'automatic', so their already reduced attention span that comes with the passive driving of a dinky toy, greatly goes down to match the attention span of a fruit fly.

2) Are inside mirrors optional in this country, because it sure looks like it? When someone passes you, usually you can make eye contact with the driver through his right side mirror. I have never been able to do that here, because, guess what, NO ONE LOOKS in that mirror. Great recipe for cutting someone off after passing you.

3) Some drivers honk when they are right behind you, for whatever reason. I am assuming, because they don't like to share the road (meant to be used by the widest hummers or SUV only) or to 'warn' you that someone is at your 6 o'clock. They scare the holy crapperoly out of you when they honk out of the blue.

4) Short ladies in SUVs, usually don't make for good combo's. They are so tiny, they can barely see over the steering wheel/dashboard, let alone see comfortably over the hood of the car. Although they are high up, it's as if they are in a truck, with some dead angles, and in their case it's not only the sides, but most importantly, anything in front of them.

FYI this ridiculous arms race in the car industry (the bigger the car the safer I as a driver, and my family, are), has actually led to more deadly casualties If you, as am SUV driver, get hit by another car, no prob. If you, as an SUV driver, hit something that is more fragile, ie a smaller car or cyclist, the results are much more serious for the smaller party. Hence, more people feel unsafe, and want an SUV as well. Consequence, cyclists have more chance of being hit by an SUV, and since they are so tall, compared to a regular 'small'/'low' car, the impact is not at mere leg height anymore, no they'll get a full body blow, resulting in casualties.

5) your general idiot, who doesn't give the proverbial shi-ite, honks, laughs and speeds past you at 75mph.
 
Apr 12, 2009
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Bala Verde said:
A couple of things that I have noticed with regard to car drivers (US):

1) They are often on the phone (mind you, not hands free) and quite possibly because half the world here drives 'automatic', so their already reduced attention span that comes with the passive driving of a dinky toy, greatly goes down to match the attention span of a fruit fly.

2) Are inside mirrors optional in this country, because it sure looks like it? When someone passes you, usually you can make eye contact with the driver through his right side mirror. I have never been able to do that here, because, guess what, NO ONE LOOKS in that mirror. Great recipe for cutting someone off after passing you.

3) Some drivers honk when they are right behind you, for whatever reason. I am assuming, because they don't like to share the road (meant to be used by the widest hummers or SUV only) or to 'warn' you that someone is at your 6 o'clock. They scare the holy crapperoly out of you when they honk out of the blue.

4) Short ladies in SUVs, usually don't make for good combo's. They are so tiny, they can barely see over the steering wheel/dashboard, let alone see comfortably over the hood of the car. Although they are high up, it's as if they are in a truck, with some dead angles, and in their case it's not only the sides, but most importantly, anything in front of them.

FYI this ridiculous arms race in the car industry (the bigger the car the safer I as a driver, and my family, are), has actually led to more deadly casualties If you, as am SUV driver, get hit by another car, no prob. If you, as an SUV driver, hit something that is more fragile, ie a smaller car or cyclist, the results are much more serious for the smaller party. Hence, more people feel unsafe, and want an SUV as well. Consequence, cyclists have more chance of being hit by an SUV, and since they are so tall, compared to a regular 'small'/'low' car, the impact is not at mere leg height anymore, no they'll get a full body blow, resulting in casualties.

5) your general idiot, who doesn't give the proverbial shi-ite, honks, laughs and speeds past you at 75mph.
As I have said on this forum my friend was killed by a car while riding in the morning and the reason was carelessness, not because he couldn't have been seen just some idiot alking on the phone, incidentally one of my friends ended up in the hospital when a car passed by him while he has riding and stuck a 2*4 out the window hitting him in the head, darn teenagers.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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Over my riding time I've concluded its a two way street. Give cars the same respect and they do the same. Sure there are the few that no matter what will still either attempt to intimidate you or flat out never see you for any number of reasons. I like to ride out on the country roads but with recent population boom in my area those same roads are also more frequented by cars now. Roads that were litterally dead are now filled with cars due to this urbanization of the country side.

I make a point to always wave hello to any driver who is getting a bit too agro, its muddles their expected response of an F-U or middle finger salute, I reserve the F-U to only be heard by me so as to not give them the satisfaction. There are those cars that pass you then move into the bike lane or shoulder area as to grab your attention for some unknown reason :confused: possibly so we can draft them :)

Then there are the true accidents where the driver does the wrong thing for any reason. You can't really change those cases other than attempting to always be as much aware of whats going on around you.
 
Mar 19, 2009
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ElChingon said:
Then there are the true accidents where the driver does the wrong thing for any reason. You can't really change those cases other than attempting to always be as much aware of whats going on around you.
That's not an accident.

If the FAA (Or Civil Aviation Authority in the UK) took the same view, we'd all be mightily ****ed. Aviation would be very dangerous.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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ElChingon said:
Over my riding time I've concluded its a two way street. Give cars the same respect and they do the same. Sure there are the few that no matter what will still either attempt to intimidate you or flat out never see you for any number of reasons. I like to ride out on the country roads but with recent population boom in my area those same roads are also more frequented by cars now. Roads that were litterally dead are now filled with cars due to this urbanization of the country side.

I make a point to always wave hello to any driver who is getting a bit too agro, its muddles their expected response of an F-U or middle finger salute, I reserve the F-U to only be heard by me so as to not give them the satisfaction. There are those cars that pass you then move into the bike lane or shoulder area as to grab your attention for some unknown reason :confused: possibly so we can draft them :)

Then there are the true accidents where the driver does the wrong thing for any reason. You can't really change those cases other than attempting to always be as much aware of whats going on around you.
Good approach. Unfortunately, my finger and mouth often react before my brain does to stop my immediate reaction to aggro drivers. I have to learn to breathe once or twice before reacting. But, yes, I fully agree that respect is a two-way street and we should be respectful of cars and the road laws to in turn receive the respect we deserve on the road.
 
This was obviously the wrong place to post this. It seems to me the poster needs to find a recreational commuter forum. Most people here are either racers, ex-racers, or just serious riders very interested in details of mostly pro racing.

The worst crash I've ever had was on my own from descending too damn fast on a technical descent. Actually, almost all of mine are of my own, usually cornering or descending too fast, or missing something, like a pothole or crack in the road. Very few crashes by the way, just pointing something out. I know how to control a bike, and stay the hell away from most traffic.

I live in one of the most bike friendly cities in the US and we still have problems. I was on a 35 mile ride in the hills with a friend yesterday and we got yelled at and honked at. The police, and often the media, like to point out the few idiots that don't wear helmets and ride the wrong way on a street and blow through stop signs, and make it sound like this is the majority of us, and if we did things like wear jerseys colored in hunter safety orange and blinking lights 24 hours a day, the world would be easier. Easier for drivers, as the world operating around the motor vehicle.

Otherwise, Animal's cut-and-paste response says it all.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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Alpe d'Huez said:
The worst crash I've ever had was on my own from descending too damn fast on a technical descent. Actually, almost all of mine are of my own, usually cornering or descending too fast, or missing something, like a pothole or crack in the road. Very few crashes by the way, just pointing something out.
Who are you, Rasmussen on a TT bike or Zulle four eyes, both notorious for their submission to the law of gravity? ;)

Another thing I have noticed when on the road, never ever use the 1,5 foot 'shoulder' or the strip of tarmac to the right of the official road, separated by a markedly white/yellow line. It's width ranges from a small gutter, to a normal cycling lane, and can be identified by rubble, strips of rubber/tyres, pebbles, glass and other little pieces of trash. The real problem starts when you think that it is the safest part of the road, however, if you quickly need to get out of that lane, because of aforementioned obstacles, no one expects you to come off the shoulder anymore and people furiously start gesticulating from behind their steering wheel!

Sharing the road has then turned into, 'stay on that shoulder you idiot, because the real road is mine!'.

Give ehm one finger and they take the whole hand. :rolleyes:
 
A group of us were out on our regular Sunday spin a few years ago when a driver attempted to overtake us coming up to a corner. An on coming car approached so the idiot driver felt he had the right to pull in on top of us almost bringing a number of us down.

A few impolite words as well as a few bangs on the side of his car (no damage done to the car) were administered to let him know of our 'upset' at almost being killed. The driver now in a state of rage pulls in a few hundred metres up the road and gets out of the car and walks back towards us shouting and cursing at us. One of us quickly cycled passed him, stopped at his car and took the keys out of the ignition and put them into his jersey pocket and we cycled off. The driver didn't see him taking the keys and to this day we don't know if he knows we took the keys or he thinks he lost them. I hope he thinks he lost them and spent hours looking for them at the side of the road.

Sometime, just sometimes there is justice for cyclist.
 
Bala Verde said:
Who are you, Rasmussen on a TT bike or Zulle four eyes, both notorious for their submission to the law of gravity? ;)
What part of "very few crashes" did you miss?!? :confused:

Oddly, when I was a racer I was best at TT's! Actually, when younger I did think I was some sort of Il Falco at times. :)
 
I probably shouldn't be writing this: don't want to jinx myself you know.

Ok, so I've competed both in the US and Europe based in Italy. I've been hit three times by cars in the 22 years I've ridden, all three in the US, not Italy. Can you believe that! What with the way Italian cyclists take up the road on group training rides and the Italian driving habits. Whereas in the more I would say contrived and safety obsessed American society, where group rides rigorously abide by the double pace line "rule" till someone puts the hammer down and where drivers stay within their lanes generally, which seems to be an alien concept on the Italian roads, I've been floored by motorists thrice. Once a driver coming from the opposite direction turned left right into me and two other guys at a trafic light when we were going straight! I was last in line, so one guy had his collar bone busted, the other broke several ribs and ruptured his spleen. I came away miraculously with a few scrapes and bruises.

In Italy, as I've mentioned no groups follow any riding saftey rules. To the contrary, at times, like a band of mad and raving anarchists, the Italians just take up the road till they decide, after much honking from the trafic behind and swearing on the part of both drivers and cyclists, when the riders are good and damn ready, do they try to assume a more rank and file at the roads edge so the cars can pass.

I think it has to do with their individualism and anarchic sentiments at heart. Italians are anarchists at heart, I've always thought, and they detest nothing more than being forced to abide by anything which is imposed by a collective and civic body and forces them to behave in a more organized manner. So it's pure madeness at times, though nobody seems to be bothered much after the horns stop sounding the "**** offs" desist. Yet at the same time their bike handling skills and reactions to danger are sensational. And, consequently, they seem quite comfortable living with a certain level of danger, which would make more organized societies decidedly unsettled. Perhaps a certain rigidness which accompanies those more rational and organized cultures, makes them at the same time less reactive to the unforeseen dangers and actions that go against such a construct. In any case, as I've said before, I've only been struck by a car in America and not Italy. I have always thought this singularly weird, even inconcievable.

Whatever the reasons so far I have not been struck down here. Naturally my fingers are crossed and I'm knocking on wood (or touching metal as the Italians do in such circumstances
 
ruamruam said:
A group of us were out on our regular Sunday spin a few years ago when a driver attempted to overtake us coming up to a corner. An coming car approached so the idiot driver felt he had the right to pull in on top of us almost bringing a number of us down.

A few impolite words as well as a few bangs on the side of his car (no damage done to the car) were administered to let him know of our 'upset' at almost being killed. The driver now in a state of rage pulls in a few hundred metres up the road and gets out of the car and walks back towards us shouting and cursing at us. One of us quickly cycled passed him, stopped at his car and took the keys out of the ignition and put them into his jersey pocket and we cycled off. The driver didn't see him taking the keys and to this day we don't know if he knows we took the keys or he thinks he lost them. I hope he thinks he lost them and spent hours looking for them at the side of the road.

Sometime, just sometimes there is justice for cyclist.
Okay, that is freakin' funny.

I was involved in sort of a similar incident, but the driver did not get out. After much swearing and finger gesturing he drove off. A few miles later we found the car in a parking lot. The sunroof was open. A couple of bottles of energy drink were poured into the car. For the rest of the ride I had visions of an angry (and sticky bottomed) jerk running us down from behind.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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rhubroma said:
In Italy, as I've mentioned no groups follow any riding saftey rules. To the contrary, at times, like a band of mad and raving anarchists, the Italians just take up the road till they decide, after much honking from the trafic behind and swearing on the part of both drivers and cyclists, when the riders are good and damn ready, do they try to assume a more rank and file at the roads edge so the cars can pass.
When I've riden in the USA its exactly like that, heck its like that on all group rides I've done. I'm thinking you're riding with the wrong groups when you're in the USA :D (or maybe you're riding with the right groups :confused: :D)
 
Mar 18, 2009
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Great thread...although I'm sure this wasn't the OP's intent :D

Keep the stories comin' I say
 
May 11, 2009
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elapid said:
The previous weekend in the Gatineau Hills, I heard a motorcyclist complaining about cyclists and their lack of regard for the law. I often think about this and wonder why we all get painted with the same brush for the few cyclists that run red lights etc. I also wonder why we are so bad when I am sure that the vast majority of drivers break the law on a daily basis by speeding, rolling through stop signs, etc. And then I think what gives them the right to break the law and endanger our lives because they're ignorant of cyclists and the rules, jealous that we are making more headway in traffic, or just intentionally dangerous to cyclists.
This is a great point. There are certainly cyclists who don't always obey the traffic laws, but what really bothers me is the widespread ignorance of the traffic laws concerning cyclists by motorists. There are too many motorists who consider cyclists to have "a lack of regard for the law" just for exercising their legal rights to the use of the road.

One of the biggest problems I have had is with verbal and physical harassment from groups of teenagers (both male and female) driving in their cars. This has often included unprovoked verbal harassment ("F*** you Lance", "F**got" etc), objects being thrown at me (tennis balls, half full two liter bottle of soda etc), a marine air horn being blown in my ear, and a truck passing literally within 6 inches of me with one of the teenagers leaning out the window and pretending to lunge at me as if he was going to push me off the road then slapping my helmet and laughing at me, just to mention a few recent incidents.

I'm not sure how to respond to these kinds of incidents. Getting angry and swearing accomplishes nothing and in fact spurs teenagers (and adults) on to more aggressive behavior, but sometimes it is difficult not to respond angrily when confronted with this kind of unprovoked harassment.

P.S. Getting a good laugh out of the fact the forum censored the verbal harassment :)
 
Alpe d'Huez said:
I live in one of the most bike friendly cities in the US and we still have problems. I was on a 35 mile ride in the hills with a friend yesterday and we got yelled at and honked at. The police, and often the media, like to point out the few idiots that don't wear helmets and ride the wrong way on a street and blow through stop signs
Yea, Alpe, we may be stupid, but there's nothing like the breeze flowing through your hair on a descent at 60mph....Ahhhh, freedom, freedom! Non-conformity and a refusal to participate in the corporate world. We have no more damn freedom anymore, just safety and conformism!
 
Mar 10, 2009
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Alpe d'Huez said:
What part of "very few crashes" did you miss?!? :confused:

Oddly, when I was a racer I was best at TT's! Actually, when younger I did think I was some sort of Il Falco at times. :)
Probably "very few", leaves me with crashes, caused by yourself... ;)
 
Bala Verde said:
Probably "very few", leaves me with crashes, caused by yourself... ;)
I no crash you! I never crash in ITT either! I no chicken! Il Falco even crash! :cool:

rhubroma said:
We have no more damn freedom anymore, just safety and conformism!
Okay, you have a point. A guy was recently killed in my town riding the wrong way in a bike lane with no helmet and "cyclists" were all clumped together as one dangerous lawless bunch. :mad: As long as you're riding safely, legally and not causing anyone else any trouble, feel free to ride with the wind in your air at high speed. :cool:
 
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