Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Deja Vu All Over Again

Posted by Picasa

Sadly, another VC hit from-behind wreck happened here in Dallas, this time to a middle-aged couple on a tandem.

The collision happened within 200 feet of the crash I reported last month, but this time in broad daylight.

The Stoker on the tandem suffered a sprained ankle and a deep two inch gash that required ten stitches to close. The Captain was bruised.

Surprisingly, both are expected to fully recover in spite the fact that neither were wearing a helmet. The tandem's rear wheel will be fine when the rim and spokes are replaced.

The driver of the car may have been distracted by one or more of the five children who were her passengers. She locked up the brakes on her car before hitting the tandem.

The tandem was traveling about ten miles per hour centered in the right travel lane on a road with a forty MPH speed limit. The motorist struck the bicycle on her license plate- perfectly centered in the middle of her bumper.

Because she had no car insurance, her car was impounded.

City assets involved in this incident was one EMT ambulance with three EMT personnel, one fire engine with three firemen, six police units and six police officers.


  1. Dude. Glad you guys are okay, but please get a mirror!

    For every motorist that actually hits you - and you've had two now - there have to be quite a few close calls.

    What a mirror allows you to do is get familiar with motorist behavior as they approach from behind. What you do with that information, I'd anything, is up to you.

  2. Reid, get another daylight blinky, please???? That dinotte 300 is self contained and has several flashing modes. It buys you time! Do it for your spouse if not for you! Please!!!!

  3. Reed, another suggestion I could make is a rear-facing HD video camera or a really cheap VGA quality video camera. I have seen the VGA quality cameras at $10-30 dollars that will take up to 3 hours of video on a SD memory card. This will get you verification about your lane position and driver behavior immediately prior to a wreck or near miss. I also second the mirror suggestion, I have 2 on my helmet with the one on the right for that half mile I have to ride in the left lane to get to church every Sunday.

  4. Greetings PP! I doubt the knowledge of impending impact would have been perceived in time to do anything about it. Therefore, it observations in a mirror are a waste of energy and attention that is better spent elsewhere.

    The thousands of mile. I have traveled without harm is testimony of that.

  5. Whareagle! Really? This motorist failed to see a tandem bicycle in the middle of the lane in front of her in midday sunshine until it was too late to slow enough to avoid hitting it. A blinking light, even a very bright one, would not have made a difference.

    We were hit at the end of a very long straight portion of the roadway, with clear sight lines. Whether her view was blocked until a motorist merged in front of her I cannot say. But it takes a minimum of attention to notice and avoid obstacles in one's way.

  6. Greetings Opus!

    It has taken five years for a motorist to hit me. The prospect of reviewing and discarding the next five years of boring video is a disheartening prospect.

    Because you are on a recumbent, the use of mirrors is needed to safely merge into adjacent lanes. This would be true for cyclists with neck and back problems that make shoulder checks difficult.

    But for use to monitor traffic approaching from behind, it only increases apprehension and fear of overtaking traffic. That isn't the direction from where a cyclist's peril is.

    By actual count, I have an average of 300 motorists overtake me for every 25 miles I travel. I have traveled 16,000 miles in the past five years. Two motorists have struck me in the past month. Both of them managed to sloe enough before the mishaps for me to survive.

    I believe it would be foolish to concern myself with what motorist's are doing behind me as long as I act predictably within the normal rules of traffic.

  7. sloe = slow Grrrr!

    Chipseal reminds himself that a human proof read is still needed. Sigh.

  8. "the use of mirrors is needed ... true for cyclists with neck and back problems that make shoulder checks difficult."

    Mirrors are also helpful for those that are nearsighted. With glasses, a simple head check requires much more of a head turn to see things far away through the corrective lens. Or so I've been told. Fortunately, I'm farsighted myself, so that aspect isn't a consideration for me. When I have had a mirror to use, I found it helpful to increase overall situational awareness, just as it does when prudently used while driving a motor vehicle. As in that case, overusing the mirror can be VERY DANGEROUS since the main danger IS ahead.

  9. BTW, I don't use side mirrors when driving my 1967 Jaguar, though I do occasionally use the center rear view mirror. Side mirrors were not required on automobiles until 1968.

  10. I doubt the knowledge of impending impact would have been perceived in time to do anything about it.

    That doubt appears to be predicated on the assumption that most motorists don't react to a cyclist riding well positioned in the lane until moments before reaching the cyclist. That is typical for motorist behavior if you are riding far right, even right tire track. But it's not true if you're closer to the center, or left of center. I know this from my own experience, but it's fairly well documented on video from California to Florida. Surely you've seen the links and watched the videos? Are you not convinced?


    Like whareagle says, a mirror greatly enhances your situational awareness, expanding it by almost 100% more relative to what you have without a mirror, to include an awareness of the behavior of traffic approaching from behind.

    The vast majority will either change lanes or obviously slow in reaction to your presence well before it's too late for you to do anything about it. Of course, when they respond like that, there is nothing for you to do about it. But once in a while, probably more often than you might expect, someone will be distracted or on "auto pilot" or affected by inattentional blindness (because they don't expect a bike there they don't "see" a bike there) and will not react as soon as most. Now, most likely, such a person will eventually react in time, but you can't know that for sure, as you've learned twice in one month. But on the rare occasions when that happens, there is always time to make a lateral adjustment of a foot or two in one direction or another, or to look back at the approaching motorist with a head turn, and every time I've ever done that I've elicited an immediate reaction out of them (they change lanes or hit the brakes), and still with plenty of time to ditch or whatever in the highly unlikely event that they still don't react.

    Reed, it seems to me that you've gotten not one, but two, signs from wherever you might believe signs come from in the last month. Now, are you going to ignore this Communication, or do something about it? And when the tandem is in play, we're not just talking about you anymore...