Tuesday, November 8, 2011

You Think you are Safe on the Sidewalk? Think Again

This story of a cyclist hit by a semi-trailer while waiting on the sidewalk is further proof that being visible to car and truck drivers is the most important aspect of safe cycling!
First published in the Coloradoan, Nov. 5, 2011
By Trevor Hughes
A semi-trailer driver who clipped a Fort Collins bicyclist on the sidewalk as he turned a corner and then kept going knocked off a fire hydrant a few blocks away as a driver chased him down.
The cyclist, 28, was waiting to cross at the intersection of LaPorte Avenue and Shields Street shortly before 5 p.m. Friday when the truck driver turned south from LaPorte onto Shields.
"His wheels ended up hitting the bicyclist who was on the sidewalk," police Sgt. Jackie Pearson said. "He didn't realize he had hit her."
Pearson said the truck driver, 24, continued south for several blocks until another driver chased him down. Startled at being pursued, the driver turned onto Oak Street.
"He ended up clipping the fire hydrant because he was being chased down by someone who was not a cop," Pearson said.
Pearson said the cyclist was not seriously injured, although her feet were hurt because her she had been clipped into the pedals when the truck hit her and her bike.
The truck driver, who was pulling a lowboy loaded with a hydraulic lift, was cited by officers.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Safe Cycling at Night - Being Seen is YOUR Problem

You need to be as visible as possible when riding at night.  Even the bare minimum of legally required lights or reflectors won't necessarily protect you at night.

Imagine a car load of teenagers driving down the road at night.  If you are on that road on your bike you are dependent on the driver of that vehicle going through five complex steps of "seeing" in order to avoid hitting you.  Those steps are:

1) Scanning and searching (requires constant attention both forward and to the sides);
2) Detection (requires focus on the object detected - that would be you!);
3) Evaluation (requires recognition and judgement);
4) Decision (requires the driver to think about what they see and what to do about it);
5) Action (applying the brakes, changing lanes, etc. to avoid a crash).

The problem with all of this is demonstrated in the following drawings: