So thats how people die.

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  • So thats how people die.
  • mdavids
    Member

    Well nearly.
    Driving home from work at 7pm on a dual carriageway. I’m in the inside lane doing about 50ish a few car lengths behind another car. I check my mirrors before going for an overtake and there’s a car coming up fast in the outside lane so I wait. As the overtakee passes I check my blind spot to make sure its clear behind him and suddenly he’s slammed his brakes on.

    I quickly look forward again and the car in front of me in my lane has swerved into the outside lane to avoid a cyclist that he hasn’t seen until the last instant. Up until this point I had no idea there was a cyclist on the road ahead of me and I had about a second to react.

    I occasionally see cyclists using this road and generally they’re well lit up and I’ve spotted them from 100’s of metres away. This guy was all in black apart from a scruffy high viz tabard that was no longer high viz and a barely functioning rear light. The car in front of me obviously didn’t spot him until the last second and had obscured my view of him. I’d like to think if that car hadn’t been there I would have spotted him in plenty of time but who knows.

    Terrifying!!!

    I was within a second of ruining several lives and I’m not sure what, if anything, I did wrong.

    Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    doing about 50ish a few car lengths behind another car

    I’m not sure what, if anything, I did wrong.

    I think you do if you think about it…

    cynic-al
    Member

    Yes. 2 second + gap needed.

    mdavids
    Member

    Yes. 2 second + gap needed.

    There was, although I guess you’ll have to take my word for it.

    cynic-al
    Member

    2 seconds @ 50mph = 145 feet, 10+ car lengths?

    Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    stopping distance at 50mph is 175ft/50m – that’s more than ‘a few car lengths’?

    You’ll be travelling at more than 20m/second at that speed too.

    Premier Icon alfabus
    Subscriber

    …I had about a second to react.

    > 2 second + gap needed.
    There was, although I guess you’ll have to take my word for it.

    Premier Icon bails
    Subscriber

    “A few car lengths” = about 15 metres.

    Stopping distance at 50mph = 53 metres, or almost 12 car lengths.

    Spotted a chap out for a leisurely jog at the weekend.

    Along the A303.

    mdavids
    Member

    …I had about a second to react.

    > 2 second + gap needed.
    There was, although I guess you’ll have to take my word for it.

    The act of checking my blind spot at that exact time removed about a second of reaction time.

    skindog
    Member

    aye but don’t forget about the clown on a bike on a dueler.

    Darwin’s Theory anyone?

    Mr Woppit
    Member

    This guy was all in black apart from a scruffy high viz tabard that was no longer high viz and a barely functioning rear light.

    Narrowly avoiding the Darwin Awards…

    Sounds like a little more responsibility from the cyclist regarding lights and a bit more room between the cars wouldn’t have gone amiss but don’t beat yourself up about it. Nobody died & everyone walked/pedalled/drove away.

    It’s good to have close shave from time to time if only to remind you how small the margins are.

    Premier Icon thepurist
    Subscriber

    I’m not sure what, if anything, I did wrong

    Obvious error. You posted a thread mentioning your driving thereby inviting all the *above average drivers” on here to condemn you. I can see how it happened and the obvious distractions around you preventing you from spotting Mr ninja. The good news is that nobody got hurt and you tried to share your experience to help others.

    Premier Icon Nick
    Subscriber

    You know that where they display “keep two chevron’s apart”?

    They are 40 meters apart.

    Do you ever see people driving this far apart on the motorway.

    No?

    Just you and me then 🙂

    daver27
    Member

    you might have ruined a few peoples lives, but you’d have done the gene pool a favour! 😆

    Premier Icon bails
    Subscriber

    The thing is, when you’re too close to the vehicle in front you can’t see ahead so even if the cyclist is dressed like a lollypop man with an Ibiza club light strobing on the back you can’t see them. So when the dozy driver in front dives out at the last second the driver behind is left with very little time to act.

    Evening Chronicle reports that Daniel Mackay who drove a van straight into the back of Elizabeth Brown as she was cycling on the A189 near Cramlington, Northumberland, on 13th April 2011, was today cleared of causing her death by careless driving. A jury at Newcastle Crown Court appear to have accepted Mackay’s explanation that as a vehicle ahead of him swerved suddenly to avoid Miss Brown leaving him with no opportunity to avoid running into her.
    Some might think an object lesson in why not to tailgate the vehicle ahead.

    http://thecyclingsilk.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/van-driver-who-ran-down-elizabeth-brown.html

    you might have ruined a few peoples lives, but you’d have done the gene pool a favour! 😆

    Really?! Maybe his battery had died, or water had leaked in a stopped it working. I’ve had a light drop off before, it would be easy to not notice if there was a lot of traffic noise.

    Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    inviting all the *above average drivers” on here to condemn you.

    I’m an average driver. I know this and tend to drive accordingly, though 🙂

    the teaboy
    Member

    Bloody typical that what’s effectively a reminder to everyone to have decent lights, be visible and ride on safe roads turns into silly squabbling about one individual driver.

    Assuming that mdavids also cycles, it’s a pretty safe bet that he’s more aware of cyclists than the majority of drivers.

    Think about the standard of the average driver. Half of all drivers are worse than that (that’s how averages work). They need all the help they can get and I reckon we need to help them out as much as we can by being sensible. Then, hopefully, fewer of us will get squashed.

    ell_tell
    Member

    I always thought the 2 second rule (double if its raining) was a good judge for maintaining a safe distance by which to minimise the risk of a collision.

    I seriously doubt anyone has memorised every stopping distance required for a given speed, and actually leaves this gap to the car in front every time they drive.

    Premier Icon buck53
    Subscriber

    No condemnation, just a quick tip.

    The act of checking my blind spot at that exact time removed about a second of reaction time.

    Set your mirrors up correctly and there’s no such thing as a blind spot. You shouldn’t be able to see any of your own car in the side mirrors to give proper, three lane coverage. Stops you having to look backwards whilst travelling forwards.

    TurnerGuy
    Member

    “Only a fool breaks the two second rule”…

    Premier Icon bails
    Subscriber

    I seriously doubt anyone has memorised every stopping distance required for a given speed, and actually leaves this gap to the car in front every time they drive.

    True, but how many of us would say “I was tailgating the car in front when it moved out to overtake a bike. I was so close that I barely had any time to react. Bloody stupid cyclist”. If the OP couldn’t see the bike then the lights he had were irrelevant. He couldn’t see him because there was a car in the way. I’ve got some bloody bright lights but I don’t think they’d shine all the way through steel….

    Edit: I got collared at work by someone the other day:
    “I saw a stupid man on a bike this morning. I couldn’t see a thing because of the low sun, and I was doing about 50mph when at the last second I saw this idiot in dark clothes on his bike. I only just missed him.”

    Apparently he was the idiot for wearing dark clothes in daylight (no mention of a lack of lights, so I’ll assume he had them, just like I’ll assume she wasn’t drunk, on her phone etc). She wasn’t an idiot for driving 1.5 tonnes of metal at 50mph into a space she couldn’t see was empty. 😯

    Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    If the OP couldn’t see the bike then the lights he had were irrelevant. He couldn’t see him because there was a car in the way.

    this is the point, you can’t rely on the driver in front being alert and reacting in good time.

    > 2 second + gap needed.

    …I had about a second to react.

    Sounds like the OP probably had a 2+ second gap.

    Looking ahead,
    Check mirror
    Look ahead (time starts now)
    Look over shouder at blind spot (car in front brakes)
    Look back ahead (see car in front)
    Brake (time stops now)

    The fact he had ‘about a second to react’, on top of the time taken to look over his shoulder and take in any information from that and look back ahead, and stillthink about it and react rather than just jab the brakes and hope, but not so much that it wasn’t a bit worrying.

    “So thats how people die.”

    So that’s how people get killed.

    FTFY.

    Set your mirrors up correctly and there’s no such thing as a blind spot. You shouldn’t be able to see any of your own car in the side mirrors to give proper, three lane coverage. Stops you having to look backwards whilst travelling forwards.

    That’s just rubbish. You can hide a HGV in most cars blind spots. If you have the mirrors that far out you’re just moving it to between the rear viwe mirror and the door mirrors (i.e. anything overtaking you), and there’s still one inbetween your periferal vison and the mirros field of view.

    mdavids
    Member

    True, but how many of us would say “I was tailgating the car in front when it moved out to overtake a bike. I was so close that I barely had any time to react. Bloody stupid cyclist”. If the OP couldn’t see the bike then the lights he had were irrelevant. He couldn’t see him because there was a car in the way. I’ve got some bloody bright lights but I don’t think they’d shine all the way through steel…

    Thing is if he was brighter I thinkI would have spotted him from way back.

    Genuinely, I wasn’t tailgating. If anything I tend to leave way more space than the average.

    gwaelod
    Member

    I’m confused

    so wearing high vis isn’t enough…it also has to be a particular level of unspecified cleanliness…although that death in hampshire resulted in police giving evidence that high vis wasn’t effective anyway.

    We also can’t cycle on dual carrriageways as car drivers don’t expect to encounter cyclists there, even though they have previously encountered cyclists there.

    Its all a bit of a mess isn’t it…

    Premier Icon kcal
    Subscriber

    shared responsibility? cycle on a dual carriageway at 7pm in February? I think that’s just taking “I can” to extreme levels to be honest.

    Sounds like OP is sensible really. If he says ‘few car lengths’ then probably there or thereabouts. 2 second rule. Usually, I’ll try and adhere to that. Always? No.

    mdavids
    Member

    so wearing high vis isn’t enough…it also has to be a particular level of unspecified cleanliness…although that death in hampshire resulted in police giving evidence that high vis wasn’t effective anyway.

    It was so dirty it was no longer reflective.

    We also can’t cycle on dual carrriageways as car drivers don’t expect to encounter cyclists there

    I’ve never said or implied that.

    Premier Icon Nick
    Subscriber

    We also can’t cycle on dual carrriageways as car drivers don’t expect to encounter cyclists there

    It was pretty horrible on the A483 towards Welshpool in bright daylight yesterday, cars only giving me any room when there wasn’t anything coming the other way.

    The answer is, as always, more cyclists on all roads at all times, then it becomes normal, not a surprise.

    Premier Icon buck53
    Subscriber

    @thisisnotaspoon

    With respect, you’re wrong: http://m.wikihow.com/Set-Rear%E2%80%90View-Mirrors-to-Eliminate-Blind-Spots

    Not trying to call anyone out, just trying to pass on a good top. Worked for me for several years in different vehicles.

    Premier Icon adsh
    Subscriber

    Set your mirrors up correctly and there’s no such thing as a blind spot. You shouldn’t be able to see any of your own car in the side mirrors to give proper, three lane coverage. Stops you having to look backwards whilst travelling forwards.

    Unless things have changed, both the police and the institute of advanced drivers trained people to look over their shoulder having checked mirrors. The issue shouldn’t avoiding be looking backwards (and it’s only a glance to check a potential blind spot) but ensuring you’re not so close or fast that you can’t.

    mdavids
    Member

    Not trying to call anyone out, just trying to pass on a good top. Worked for me for several years in different vehicles.

    Interesting!
    However the over the shoulder ‘lifesaver’ check is so ingrained into my driving and riding I’m not sure I could trust anything else.

    Surely that just creates a blind spot behind the C-pillar (or D in an estate)? Having them ‘in’ covers that spot, moving them out would just create a new completely blind spot (as your no longer turning to check them) and remove part of one you could see by turning your head.

    Im usualy happy to learn somethig new or be proved wrong, but that just sounds like someone who didn’t like turning their head coming up with something to justify it.

    Blackflag
    Member

    Christ this forum has some judgemental assholes on it!

    Do you all really think that if the OP was driving dangerously he would be posting about it on here? He’s making an observation that a poorly illuminated rider is a hazard on a busy road at night FFS. I’ll bet my bloody mortgage most of the people now challenging him do not follow every aspect of the Highway Code, including stopping distances, 100% of the time

    number18
    Member

    However the over the shoulder ‘lifesaver’ check is so ingrained into my driving and riding I’m not sure I could trust anything else.

    Likewise.

    Think about the standard of the average driver. Half of all drivers are worse than that (that’s how averages work).

    No it’s not, only how median averages work!

    I seriously doubt anyone has memorised every stopping distance required for a given speed, and actually leaves this gap to the car in front every time they drive.

    Every model of car has a different stopping distance anyway, most are far better than those published and discussed in speed awareness courses as they are based on 70’s cars (I think, maybe a bit of an exaggeration).

    The cyclist could be dressed as a ninja, and completely at fault. But if you kill them, odds on, you’ll feel shit about it for the rest of your life.

    Do you all really think that if the OP was driving dangerously he would be posting about it on here? He’s making an observation that a poorly illuminated rider is a hazard on a busy road at night FFS. I’ll bet my bloody mortgage most of the people now challenging him do not follow every aspect of the Highway Code, including stopping distances, 100% of the time

    You should have seen the response I got when I suggested time trialing on the A19 in fog wasn’t the brightest idea. I think in the following year there were 3 fatalities and a paralysis on that stretch. One of the few times I’ve not been happy to be proven right.

    MrNice
    Member

    A question for the driving gods: are you saying I should be the stopping distance behind the vehicle in front of me? i.e. leaving a 100m gap behind the vehicle in front if I’m doing 70?

    If that’s true, then those chevrons dangerously underestimate the gaps we should all be leaving, and we need to make every motorway 20 lanes wide to fit all the traffic on.

    linky

    mdavids
    Member

    A question for the driving gods: are you saying I should be the stopping distance behind the vehicle in front of me? i.e. leaving a 100m gap behind the vehicle in front if I’m doing 70?

    If that’s true, then those chevrons dangerously underestimate the gaps we should all be leaving, and we need to make every motorway 20 lanes wide to fit all the traffic on.

    I think, and I’m happy to be put right, that some people are confusing the 2 second rule with stopping distances. Surely they are 2 differnt things?

    I believe the 2 second rule takes into account the fact that if something causes the car in front to brake, you’ll need that 2 seconds to react. The car in front will not come to an instant stop so you dont need to leave the full stopping distance from your present speed between you and the car in front.

    As quoted earlier in the thread:
    Distance between the 2 second chevrons on a 70 mph road is 40 metres .

    Stopping distance from 50mph is 50 metres.

    I certainly dont see many people leaving 10 to 12 car gaps as suggested earlier.

    teasel
    Member

    this forum has some judgemental assholes on it!

    You took the words right out of my keyboard. Always the same ol’ culprits, too.

    It’s almost as predictable as Druid recommending a Van Nicholas at every bleeding opportunity… 😉

    Premier Icon buck53
    Subscriber

    @thisisnotaspoon

    Unless it’s a spectacularly poorly designed car, no.

    The best illustration I can find without giving it more time than it merits is here:

    http://pages.cs.wisc.edu/~gdguo/driving/BlindSpot.htm

    Essentially, a portion of the car will be in view in (at least) one of your mirrors at all points.

    I ride motorbikes too and the lifesaver had become a habit in the car took, this takes some getting used to but is honestly 100 times better as far add I’m concerned.

    RichPenny
    Member

    I think it’s healthy to have an near miss like this and think constructively about how you might have avoided it. You can’t really influence the cyclist should an identical scenario occur, but you could do something differently.

    As an example, my cul de sac has parking spots all the way round. As a result, the first bend is often blind. I thought I was going slow enough, right until the time someone chose to walk their dog in the middle of the road rather than on the pavement 2m away. He was invisible until I almost ran him over, despite me taking the bend at 5mph. I now drive round it at 2mph. Obviously I posted a shit through his letterbox though, what a knob 🙄

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