More Vulnerable?

DIscuss anything relating to non-standard cycles and their equipment.
n+1bikes
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More Vulnerable?

Postby n+1bikes » 5 Mar 2015, 12:21am

interested in giving bents a shot, spouse wonders if I'd be more likely to get hit

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cookie32
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Re: More Vulnerable?

Postby cookie32 » 5 Mar 2015, 6:58am

I wouldn't say more vulnerable just a different kind. I started riding last Feb. and I was terrified my first few rides, especially without a mirror. My pucker factor was set on high alert everytime a car came past. That soon subsided, and now I'm as comfortable as I'll ever be on a bent I imagine. The only places I'm extra cautious of is driveways/side streets where cars are parked along the ride as driver may not be able to see a bike until your passing their bumper, especially those of use riding a few inches off the ground. I don't worry about vehicles ahead or behind me because I know they see me. The best I can do is be aware of my surroundings in case I do need to react. The common belief is your a bit safer on a bent because your more noticeable to driver as your a novelty and they tend to give you a wider berth, if only because they may be a bit unsure. Anyway I hope you decided to join the fun, you'll love it.
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[XAP]Bob
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Re: More Vulnerable?

Postby [XAP]Bob » 5 Mar 2015, 8:32am

I'd say less.

There are a few advantages:
- People actually pay attention - the "WT_ is that" factor - meaning they tend to overtake as per another vehicle, not a zero width unimportant cyclist
- You have better forward visibility and, with mirrors, better rear visibility that an upright rider (and most motor vehicles)
- In single vehicle accidents (coming off on ice etc) you have less far to fall

There is one main disadvantage:
- You can't see over/through as many vehicles
But since you can't see over/through them all on an upright you just have to drive according to it


On a trike there are additional advantages in terms of inherent stability, and I have a theory that most drivers overtake to the outside wheel, which is 18" inside the edge of the vehicle for a cyclist...
A shortcut has to be a challenge, otherwise it would just be the way. No situation is so dire that panic cannot make it worse.
There are two kinds of people in this world: those can extrapolate from incomplete data.

beardy
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Re: More Vulnerable?

Postby beardy » 5 Mar 2015, 9:02am

In the very rare case of a being run into by a car, a fully recumbent puts you at the right level to take the impact on your torso area. On an upright a car will sweep your legs out from under you and your body gets to travel over the bonnet and car.

So being hit by a car on a full recumbent is going to be like being hit by a flat fronted vehicle is for an upright rider.

Not that this one small difference would make a significant difference to overall safety. It would also soon disappear from your mind as a worry once you were used to riding one.

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squeaker
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Re: More Vulnerable?

Postby squeaker » 5 Mar 2015, 9:20am

n+1bikes wrote:interested in giving bents a shot, spouse wonders if I'd be more likely to get hit

Less, IME, for the reasons Bob describes, provided your road positioning is such that you can be seen.
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pjclinch
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Re: More Vulnerable?

Postby pjclinch » 5 Mar 2015, 10:38am

Quite a number of people feel the need to tell me I must be vulnerable down there (my particular bike has the seat fairly high so I'm pretty much at standard car-driver eye level, and I have this conversation through an open car window, at eye level) and that I am surely invisible. Maybe my lack of a dayglo coat makes a double-negative and I pop back in to visual reality as a result of being doubly-invisible; either that or I smell worse than I think and they pick me up that way...

But as noted above, I don't feel vulnerable on the road and in practice am given more space than I get on the upwrongs (possibly excepting the 8-Freight when there's something like half a tree overhanging the back that might scratch paint, or back when we had the family triplet riding it with two wee kids on the back). The only close calls I've had are when the other party didn't look (and I saw them not looking).

The main problem, at least for some, on a 'bent is that just about everyone does notice you and want to either comment on (some negative, some positive) or discuss your mount. Do Not Apply if you're the shy retiring type that dislikes attention.

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[XAP]Bob
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Re: More Vulnerable?

Postby [XAP]Bob » 5 Mar 2015, 10:43am

Yes, my only response when I'm told that I'm invisible is to ask who they're talking to.

Most people don't get it.
A shortcut has to be a challenge, otherwise it would just be the way. No situation is so dire that panic cannot make it worse.
There are two kinds of people in this world: those can extrapolate from incomplete data.

alant82
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Re: More Vulnerable?

Postby alant82 » 5 Mar 2015, 11:31am

n+1bikes wrote:interested in giving bents a shot, spouse wonders if I'd be more likely to get hit

No more likely in my experience. They do attract attention, mostly good, and I've had several beeps and waves or thumbs up from motorists in recent weeks, so I'm clearly not invisible. Despite the occasional non-cyclist telling me I'm riding a death trap I feel far less vulnerable riding my recumbents than I ever did riding an upright.
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dakari-mane
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Re: More Vulnerable?

Postby dakari-mane » 5 Mar 2015, 11:34am

I'm a firm believer in the astonishing factor, which is where drivers when they spot a recumbent go "astonishing is that?!?" & give you more space. Or it has seemed that way to me.

Loomis
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Re: More Vulnerable?

Postby Loomis » 5 Mar 2015, 12:27pm

I would highly recommend a pair of good mirrors; in my view pretty much essential on a recumbent. After trying several different types I now have a pair of Busch and Muller 80mm dia. mirrors as recommended by aushiker in his Giro 20 ATT review. Being large and not too convex they enable a good judgement of speed and distance of following traffic. It is amazing how confidence building it is having a really good view behind. I bought them after nearly launching myself in front of a bus for a right turn and misjudging his speed and distance in the small mirror I had. I swung back to the left in the nick of time. As the bus passed, everybody on it was looking out of the window at me. I can only guess what the driver had said when he slammed on the brakes. When the shaking stopped I decided on better mirrors or no recumbent. The ones I have do look quite big, but a small price to pay as far as I am concerned.

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pjclinch
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Re: More Vulnerable?

Postby pjclinch » 5 Mar 2015, 1:03pm

Mirrors... Only essential for values of "essential" that actually mean "quite handy", as opposed to actually, errrr, essential.

It's typically harder to look over one's shoulder than on many upwrongs, but then it's harder to look over your shoulder on a racer than something where you're bolt-upright, so it's all degrees and those degrees affect different 'bents more or less too. IME the more reclined one is the more useful a mirror is, and at least at first the twitchier the steering the more useful a mirror is.

I've only ever used one, I don't think I've seen a cycle with a pair before now, velomobiles excepted.

The trick with a mirror on any cycle is to realise you can get a false negative, so the lifesaver always goes in by looking behind directly. The beauty of a mirror is you'll not get a false positive, so if you see there's a bus there it really is there and you can monitor it easily without needing a direct look behind.

Pete.
Often seen riding a bike around Dundee...

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[XAP]Bob
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Re: More Vulnerable?

Postby [XAP]Bob » 5 Mar 2015, 1:06pm

I run a pair, but on a trike - makes driving it much the same as driving, but with better visibility.
A shortcut has to be a challenge, otherwise it would just be the way. No situation is so dire that panic cannot make it worse.
There are two kinds of people in this world: those can extrapolate from incomplete data.

Stradageek
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Re: More Vulnerable?

Postby Stradageek » 5 Mar 2015, 1:34pm

I have been a full time recumbent rider for over 10yrs now. I occasionally ride an upright but always end up scared witless by how little room cars give you compared to a recumbent.

In those tens years (about 50,000 miles) I have had one motorist fail to see me and two who saw me late but stopped in time. This is a much better record than the previous ten years on an up-wrong. None of these incidents resulted in an accident.

The only time I seem to be invisible is when cycling towards people on dual use cycle-footpaths. People seem transfixed at eye level and I've given some groups a bit of a fright.

Be careful when approaching horses however. About one in five may potentially go ape; if they freeze, stop quickly and stand up. Then pass the time of day with the normally very grateful horse rider.

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[XAP]Bob
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Re: More Vulnerable?

Postby [XAP]Bob » 5 Mar 2015, 1:45pm

Yes - not quite as long on a "real" bike, but the "real" gets far fewer incidents than the upwrong...

Horses are the major exception. I tend to stop and stand on sight now, it's just easier on the horse...
A shortcut has to be a challenge, otherwise it would just be the way. No situation is so dire that panic cannot make it worse.
There are two kinds of people in this world: those can extrapolate from incomplete data.

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pjclinch
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Re: More Vulnerable?

Postby pjclinch » 5 Mar 2015, 2:03pm

[XAP]Bob wrote:Yes - not quite as long on a "real" bike, but the "real" gets far fewer incidents than the upwrong...

Horses are the major exception. I tend to stop and stand on sight now, it's just easier on the horse...


I've come across quite a few reports of horses Not Doing 'Bents, though I've met quite a few over the years and they've never been worried. I do make a point of going very slowly and taking the widest possible berth (since it's invariably on quiet back roads that means pretty much the opposite gutter).

Pete.
Often seen riding a bike around Dundee...