Road – musings on danger

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  • Road – musings on danger
  • fisha
    Member

    I think it depends on the road your actually riding along. Obviously going along an A-class trunk road that HGV’s and the vast majority of traffic is going to use will expose you to considerable danger from vehicles than a lesser used back road. Just the other day, 2 cyclists about 100yds apart got hit by a car on a dual carriage way. I have no idea why people cycle the dual carriage way, when there is the shorter, flatter, quieter road that goes through the town which the bypass replaced.

    I added road stuff to the MTB stuff I originally started cycling with. I do tend to avoid using the bigger roads round my way for the reasons you just discuss. I tend to stick to the smaller, quieter roads. A lot of time they go through nicer places as well.

    Premier Icon Garry_Lager
    Subscriber

    Urban riding on the roads feels pretty safe to me – commuted round major cities for years without serious problem. I guess it’s different once you’re out onto the 60mph roads away from built up areas.

    Think it would be rare not to be able to plot a quiet route to work though, even if it meant getting the cross bike out and riding through the cabbages.

    andybloomer
    Member

    Yep

    Roads too narrow/cars getting bigger
    Roads more busy/everyone in a rush
    Drivers more intolerant
    Hate seems commonplace/courtesy has all but disappeared
    slower road users viewed as a barrier

    Get off roads and back to green space and everything is fine and dandy again.

    25 years as a roadie, wish I’d tried this much earlier

    trail_rat
    Member

    back roads at rush hour .

    you would think they are safer – they generally are not – mostly driven by folk going too fast for the twisty nature of the road , half asleep and preoccupied.

    direct route to work for me is 20km – i did it twice. nearly got killed both times – reverted to the 25km mainroad its straighter , its used by cyclists alot so people are used to seeing them and is much safer – despite on paper being the more dangerous road.

    choose your time , your place and your route and youll have minimal issues – i can do 100miles from my house on a weekend and see maybe 50 cars on a busy day all day- very few of them in a rush. Motorcycles on the otherhand – how every they are usually curteous and dont mind slowing down if a cars coming the otherway.

    often see folks cycling out north deeside road on a sunday towards banchory – they are mental- there are 2 other much nicer (but hillier) options that are virtually deserted….. worth the hills for the stress free ride

    Premier Icon roverpig
    Subscriber

    Yes, kind of. I’m sure that not having to mix with cars plays a big part in the enjoyment I get from riding trails. Although it’s more the noise and general hassle than the danger. Ironically (given that I know I’m much less likely to die on the trails) I spend a lot more time worrying about my safety on the trails than I do on the road. I know that every inch of the trail has the potential to put me in A&E (and has done) and I ride a lot of stuff that scares me. On the road I guess I know that it isn’t really in my hands, so tend not to worry about it.

    prawny
    Member

    I swing back and forth every few months. I do enjoy riding on the road, but now I’ve got kids I do worry about them being fatherless so I try to avoid any major risks, I used to commute into brum daily, but I had a vew near misses on the chester road, mainly caused by traffic calming measures and it did worry me that I’d get unlucky one day.

    These days I stick to early mornings at the weekend, and minor roads as much as possible. I don’t have any regular MTB riding buddies (they’re all very much irregular!) though, so it’s hard to get motivated over the winter.

    Premier Icon roverpig
    Subscriber

    you would think they are safer – they generally are not – mostly driven by folk going too fast for the twisty nature of the road , half asleep and preoccupied.

    Very true. When I ride to work (not often these days) I often have colleagues comment that they’d never have the nerve to ride along the (busy and fast) A96. I always point out that the A96 has two lanes and long sight lines. Drivers can see me from a long way back and have plenty of space. There is even a hard shoulder for me to bail out into if I need it. It is the seven miles or so on country lanes to get to the A96 that will kill me.

    I’ve ridden 1000’s of road miles without a major* incident. Stick in the middle of the lane/primary position where nececary to prevent dangerous overtakeing (would have prevented both the OP’s colisions maybe) and pull in if someone behind is being overcautious so you dont hold trafic up.

    Most day’s I don’t considder it dangerous.

    *actualy getting hit

    mrmo
    Member

    I commute 17miles a day each way, mix of country roads and more major roads. First do not cower.

    There are lots of drivers who will stupid things the only safe thing is to prevent them, if i have to ride in the middle of a lane (which i do on one stretch) and anoy drivers because they actually have to change lane to overtake, that is there problem not mine.

    There are far too many drivers who are too important to bother with following the law, and there are no police to bother enforcing it.

    Talk of 20mph speed limits is a waste of time, drivers won’t bother and police won’t enforce it. Apparently using a phone handheld is illegal, you wouldn’t know it though!

    Premier Icon DaveRambo
    Subscriber

    I think there is always a risk in road riding and it’s difficult to minimise the chance of accidents against never riding just in case.

    Whenever I do ride on the road I ride aggressively – that is a third of the way into the lane. I never ever ride near the kerb – it means I have always got somewhere to move to, it stops a lot of vehicles trying to squeeze past and I get less punctures.
    You do get a few horns which I see as a positive thing as that driver would have tried to squeeze past.

    I also never undertake large vehicles and will avoid very busy A-roads.

    It means route planning is hard work but it means a safer ride.

    I’ve not commuted by bike for a while but if/when I start again I’ll wear a camera given how cheap they are plus a couple of rear red led lights.
    Maybe a wearable sign in large letters saying “rider wearing camera” might help – probably not though.

    Premier Icon crazy-legs
    Subscriber

    How much of it is a perception thing? These days with the increased amount of media and the way people get their news, social media in particular, you get incidents reported that you probably wouldn’t have heard about otherwise which perhaps puts a bit of a skew on the perception of danger?

    I think the derisory sentences handed down on the occasions where someone is actually convicted also add to that perception of danger, the fact that a driver can (more or less) get away with murder.

    I’ve ridden tens of thousands of road miles and only actually been hit once (car turned across my path). Had a few near misses (mostly not my fault, a couple that were) and a bit of road rage but generally I have incident-free rides 90+% of the time.

    Choose the route carefully, ride assertively and in most cases, you won’t have too much trouble.

    trail_rat
    Member

    that is something – colleagues have commented on how they give me extra space because of the camera . i say why , you should give cyclists that room all the time – not just because of camera.

    Yes.

    Owned a road bike for about 2 years. Just had one too many close shaves.

    Sold it and moved on. I miss it, it was a bloody amazing bike, and having the ability to ride from my doorstep, rather than get in a car and drive for an hour to the trailhead was great, ( there are NO off-road routes anywhere near me 🙁 ) but meeting one too many idiots in metal boxes changed my outlook, and gave me more than one chance to reflect on what could have been a very messy outcome.

    I now only get to ride my mtb very occasionally due to time pressures and location, but it’s better than ending up as roadkill, because someone didn’t think to slow down for 10 seconds.

    Certainly going over to the Netherlands was a real eye opener for me, and coming back to the U.K. was a grim reminder of what I had to put up with.

    Shame, but there you go, that’s the attitude of U.K drivers for you.

    trail_rat
    Member

    sorry crazy legs – ive lost a couple of mates in the past to this but this year alone alot more folk i know have been hit and in some cases killed.

    puts a bit of a personal spin on it in your mind.

    birney29
    Member

    Are there dangers in road riding – sure.

    However it is easy to forget that the health benefits far outweigh the dangers. Less chance of cancer, diabetes, dementia, being fat, all-sorts-of-horrible-things.

    The real danger lies in not exercising enough. Statistically, it is the people in the metal boxes who are in the most long term danger.

    On the way home yesterday I was shoulder brushed by the back of a caravan doing 60mph after the driver decided it was perfectly safe to overtake on a fast but blind country lane corner. Obviously a car just happened to be coming the other way. I don’t think they even noticed.

    mrmo
    Member

    @trail_rat, i know a few people hit, a few killed. I also know that i am more likely to die slipping over in the shower. It is about actually thinking about what is and is not safe, about what is an acceptable risk.

    Why is the UK so screwed, everyone thinks the roads are dangerous and won’t walk or cycle anywhere which only makes the roads less safe because they drive stupid distances!

    Premier Icon BigDummy
    Subscriber

    I’m generally not worried on the road, but I can see that a genuine close shave or two could easily change that.

    🙂

    Premier Icon adsh
    Subscriber

    When I got back into cycling I did it on the road. Loved it. Did 2500 miles got jammed against a wall by a lorry (overtaking me on a blind bend and moving in when a car come round crushing me against a wall – I still see those rear wheels – very lucky to just get abrasions) and hit by a car mirror at 40mph – bruising only.

    Add in some high speed close shaves and I’ve more or less had enough – I now ride off road and have massively reduced my contact with cars.

    It seems road riding requires a fatalism or blind faith I just don’t have. I can’t imagine how people ride along somewhere like the A4074 Reading to Oxford morning and evening trusting to in excess of a 100 cars to pass them safely at a 40mph speed differential.

    Anyone else moved to mtb as a result of this?

    corroded
    Member

    I stopped road riding in the UK when I stopped trusting drivers. There are more cars, more aggression, less space than when I started riding and I don’t think that’s going to change. I appreciate that the odds of being killed are small but what about getting injured? Just wasn’t worth it.

    ti_pin_man
    Member

    I get the concern, I’ve seen more near death experiences on the roads than offroad.

    As others have said there are ways of riding that will help you stay safer but there are no guarentees.

    As others have said the health benefits are huge for regular exercise.

    There has been more press as more people begin to cycle and inevitably casualties have gone up.

    BUT you could trip over a curb, slip on a banana and have a fatal accident. The risk assessment for your life is with you to perform. Most of us who ride on roads think the benefits outweight the risks but youre allowed to disagree.

    fasthaggis
    Member

    I constantly risk assess when I am on the road ,but still never take things for granted.
    I see too many swerve/drifters* these days to rule out a hit from the rear.
    I am never going to see that one coming.
    It won’t stop me cycling,but I do think about it from time to time.

    *I am sure half of these people are checking stuff on their phones 👿

    Premier Icon iainc
    Subscriber

    i choose not to commute by bike for this very reason. On decent nights I drive 8 miles home and go for a 30 mile ride on quiet back roads.

    user-removed
    Member

    I decided to flog my road bike last week. In the early ’90s, I spent two years as a cycle courier and only had one serious accident. These days, the road terrifies me.

    Had a ride last Summer with three guys on mostly quiet country roads. During my spell at the back, I watched several near misses with my heart in my mouth – didn’t occur to me ’til later that this was absolutely normal. Think the decision to get off the roads was made that day.

    I’ll still cycle into town and back but no more country roads for me.

    Edric 64
    Member

    I time trialled on the A31 Bentley bypass on Saturday the most dangerous thing on the two laps was the unfit older bloke on a hybrid weaving across the inside lane from kerb to crown of the road as he struggled up the little hills .Im surprised he wasnt hit!!

    slowjo
    Member

    I am riding more road nowadays than I used to.

    I stopped riding on the road some years ago when a girl in front of me was hit and died of her injuries (very unpleasant sight). This was on a TT on a trunk road (A14).

    When I ride on the road now, I use very rural roads and I choose my times carefully. Mainly weekends, early in the morning before people are up and about.

    You still get close shaves and intolerant, aggressive drivers, just fewer of them.

    My MTB riding does take in road sections as I link routes up so I can’t really avoid it unless I spend all my time getting dizzy riding round the same old tracks, week after week in Thetford.

    corroded
    Member

    I know the A31. It’s a fine road for TT – wide, good visibility etc. And I get that life is a continuous risk assessment – at times I’ve made the why-the-hell-not call. But I simply don’t want to die because a 22yr-old was checking her texts or a mum was 5 mins late leaving on the school run because the dog was sick. That’s no way to go.

    5thElefant
    Member

    Anyone else moved to mtb as a result of this?

    Not really. I’ve avoided road riding because it was obviously a dumb idea. Roads are for cars and lorries. They’re not a playground.

    Having said that I’ve just bought a road bike. I’ll be sticking to quiet backroads. Certainly not towns or A-roads.

    Premier Icon stilltortoise
    Subscriber

    There are areas of the UK – plenty of them I’m sure – where you can easily get onto some very quiet roads and hardly see any other significant traffic. I know I’m lucky where I live cos I can ride for hours and barely notice or see cars and lorries. I’m slap bang in the middle of the country so hardly in the middle of nowhere. The rare occasions I’ve chosen or had to deal with traffic on busy A roads have not been what I call “fun” so I try to avoid it. Choose your roads carefully and road riding is ACE.

    birney29
    Member

    well worth a read to put it in perspective with rational evidence rather than personal anecdote:

    CTC

    Short version – benefits, even riding in traffic, outweigh the risks 20:1

    5thElefant
    Member

    Short version – benefits, even riding in traffic, outweigh the risks 20:1

    That assumes that instead of cycling on the road you sit in front of the TV and eat chips. You could just ride offroad instead. All the benefits without the risks.

    birney29
    Member

    No risks in MTB? Really?

    Premier Icon tomtomthepipersson
    Subscriber

    Used to commute in central London – lots of near misses but great fun… the one time I had a proper crash (with a van) I called it a day.

    I now avoid roads as much as possible – usually just the 5 mins ride from home to the nearest trail. But even in those 5 mins, on a pretty quiet country road I see too many driver on the phone, texting, not paying attention etc.

    On the odd occasion i’ve had to do a bit of distance on road I find it utterly depressing. Dull, tedious, repetitive… give me a nice off road ride any day.

    (not knocking anyone who enjoys road riding – it just aint my thing. I’d rather stay at home).

    rentachimp
    Member

    It’s thrilling though, what? A rush hour commute through town, swerving through traffic, can be just as exhilirating as holding on for dear life on a downhill trail.

    Critical mass is the answer, surely. The more of us that pack it in, the less safe it will be for the remainder.

    mrmonkfinger
    Member

    I haven’t given up road riding. I do try and pick routes to stay away from trunk roads though. Luckily there are nice quiet roads all over the place near where I live. Not so nice is the commute to work, which I literally can’t avoid a 3 mile stretch of trunk road, and a back road which gets used as a bit of a rat run (although it is mainly a 30 zone, so not as bad as it could be).

    Its the fast roads with poor visibility that give me the screaming heebie jeebies.

    edlong
    Member

    I know that every inch of the trail has the potential to put me in A&E (and has done)

    You really need to think about a skills course!

    Talk of 20mph speed limits is a waste of time, drivers won’t bother and police won’t enforce it.

    I agree that they’re not enforced, but they do have some effect, even if all it means is that the people who normally do 40 in a 30 are now doing 30 in a 20 (which seems to be how it’s working round here) that’s still an improvement.

    mrmo
    Member

    That assumes that instead of cycling on the road you sit in front of the TV and eat chips. You could just ride offroad instead. All the benefits without the risks.

    but plenty of risks come from driving unneccesarily, breathing car exhaust fumes, getting fat, not doing enough exercise.

    Premier Icon amedias
    Subscriber

    Not really. I’ve avoided road riding because it was obviously a dumb idea. Roads are for cars and lorries.

    And unfortunately that right there makes you part of the problem. Roads are NOT for cars and lorries, they are for everyone.

    Avoiding the road and reinforcing that attitude helps nobody, it should be challenged at every opportunity and slowly, very slowly things may change.

    kcr
    Member

    Roads are for cars and lorries. They’re not a playground.

    Most of my road riding is commuting to work.
    In my experience it’s mostly motorists who treat the road as their playground.

    ScoobysM8
    Member

    amedias – Member
    Avoiding the road and reinforcing that attitude helps nobody, it should be challenged at every opportunity and slowly, very slowly things may change.

    This. +1

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