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  •  Cyclist safety (1+ / 0-)
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    chapter1

    I have nothing but my personal experience to back this up but I feel that you have a higher chance of being injured while on a bicycle but a lower chance of being killed.  With respect to being killed I base this on the fact that only road death statistics are published in my country and the motorist deaths utterly dwarf the cyclist deaths.  With respect to being injured I base this on the fact that incidents that will not harm a driver in any way will knock a cyclist to the ground and injure them (this includes cuts and bruises as well as more serious injuries).

    With regards to where the fault lies in collisions involving cyclists I certainly agree that some of the time the fault is with the cyclist.  I disagree with the premise that "the common perception [is] that drivers are at fault in most auto-bicycle accidents".  In my experience most drivers automatically assume the cyclist is in error when they hear of an incident.  In fact when I tell a story about some dangerous driver that nearly caused an accident I often get told that I was "probably going to fast" or "probably didn't have any lights".  I also get told I need to have more sympathy for the driver concerned because "bicycles are very hard to see".  In my experience, in almost all cases, the immediate reaction is to leap to the defence of the motorist when told a story like this.  Since the main reason I tell stories like this is to get some sympathy I now resort to tricks to get my motorist friends on my side like pointing out the driver I want to complain about had driven down the inside of a line of traffic so he could cut in front of them before almost running me over.  This usually has the desired effect, once the listener hears the motorist has done something they don't like then it's suddenly "people like that disgust me, they shouldn't be allowed on the road".

    Incidentally one of my motorist friends, one who is much more likely than average to bitch and moan about cyclists, decided he wanted to take up mountain biking.  In an effort to get his fitness level up I took him out to a park to get some training.  This park has public roads in it and we were cycling along one of these.  I tell him we need to take the next left.  He sticks his hand out and turns left immediately which required the BMW coming up behind him to skid to a halt.  This was one of the worst things I have ever seen a cyclist do on the roads.  He cycled his bike like he drove his car (like an asshole).  Despite volumnious explanations from me about what an idiot he was he still never accepted he had done anything wrong.  He'd indicated and then turned, what's the problem?

    I guess the point of that last story is that cycling in traffic is a skill like any other that has to be learned.  Put a bunch of people on bikes that have never been there before and they will do very stupid things.  If you take them straight out of cars and put them on bikes they may be even worse.  How do you fix this?  I don't think you can, but what you can do is force motorists to be more careful around cyclists.  Which is what the Dutch(?) law that states that in a motorist/cyclist accident the motorist is always at fault does.  

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