Why does ‘cyclist wearing dark clothing' exist as a contributory factor in KSIs

AlaninWales
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Re: Why does ‘cyclist wearing dark clothing' exist as a contributory factor in KSIs

Postby AlaninWales » 14 Jan 2020, 12:07pm

mjr wrote:
PDQ Mobile wrote:The obvious example is the car driver momentarily visually compromised on a narrow road by an oncoming vehicle.
30 or 40 mph is not unreasonable in such a circumstance [...]

I disagree vehemently and wish for any driver believing that to lose their licence ASAP (sorry PDQ). We absolutely must recalibrate our country to not accept people driving blind into spaces at lethal speeds. It may happen in error sometimes but it is not reasonable behaviour!

+1!
Amongst my friends and those who I give lifts to, I am known as a fast driver: If we need to get anywhere quickly, I will usually do the driving. I never drive across road surface which I have not seen to be clear. If my vision of the road ahead is "momentarily compromised", I slow enough so that I see a clear path (not "see no obstruction", I need to see a clear path - there is a substantial difference). If necessary I stop. A while back there was such a "momentary" compromising of my view by a bus passing the other way. The headlights prevented my seeing the road alongside the bus, so I stopped (from the speed limit). Once the bus passed me (two-way road, the main road from here into Carmarthen in fact), there was a woman (waving a "hi-viz" top) standing in the road who had been rendered completely invisible by the dazzle of the bus' headlights. Had I driven into her it would have been completely my fault for making the assumption that the road ahead was clear. Despite her "hi-viz", I would in all probability have been exonerated by our car-centric culture however, so all of you who think it's ok to be "momentarily visually compromised"; yeah, carry on :evil: .

More "hi-viz" stuff... Slightly more recently I rounded a corner to see a police car stopped with all lights flashing, beside another vehicle whose driver had crashed through the hedge. I stopped (in complete control, without skidding sideways or any other way) on my side of the road (because I had been driving at a speed which allowed me to stop in the distance I could see to be clear). Only after I had stopped did I see the policeman standing in full "hi-viz" and waving a torch, about 20 yards nearer to me than the car and about 5 yards from my bonnet (yes, I stopped in the distance I saw to be clear - i.e. before the policeman). He was nicely camouflaged against the lights and hi-viz of his car. Keep trusting those vests people, they don't really make you look like road furniture, not at all :lol: .

I cycle-commuted for over 25 years, distances ranged from as little as 12 to 50+ miles a day. The times that I have been closest to being hit (and the twice that I was hit), I was wearing hi-viz and had the bike plastered in reflectives. Idiot drivers who will drive into you are just as likely to drive into reflective road furniture, it's nothing to do with whether they have seen you or not, it's to do with drivers who assume (as some on here patently do) that the road is clear unless they notice (not "see"but "notice") something on it, in which case they might slow down (or might ignore it as "mot going to damage me").

amediasatex
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Re: Why does ‘cyclist wearing dark clothing' exist as a contributory factor in KSIs

Postby amediasatex » 14 Jan 2020, 12:16pm

People drive into fallen trees!


Indeed they do, why is that?

My point is that they shouldn't drive into fallen trees, cows, sheep, or people. To do so means one of 3 things has happend:

1> driver not looking < terrifying, and best addressed with driver behaviour changes because if they're not looking then they won't see regardless of colour/visibility

2> driver not driving according to conditions. < again best addressed with driver behaviour changes. At it's simplest it's a case of "do not drive blindly into a space you cannot see to be clear, or at such speed that you cannot stop or take avoiding action"
30 - 40mph in your example may not be normal, but that doesn't mean it's reasonable.

3> it was unavoidable <- see below, I really don't believe this happens often enough to be of any consequence.

Personally I think point 1, while a significant issue is not the main issue. Most drivers are looking where they are going, they may not be as observant as they could be, but they are looking. The issue here is that they may not be looking for the right things, or may be distracted. Both of which can be addressed entirely by focusing on driver behaviour and make the roads safer for everyone, even other drivers.

Point 2 is the huge elephant in the room. We have, as a society, become used to the idea of things being 'safe enough' or 'getting away with it' in the way we drive. You may drive round that blind corner at 40mph every day of your life and never have an issue. Or one day there may be a tractor broken down in the road, or a fallen tree, or a cow, or a pedestrian/cyclist (I give those 4 examples and ask you to take a moment to think how society reacts and apportions blame in those 4 cases).

This pervades all aspects of driving, inappropriate speed for the weather, inappropriate speed for the road, overtaking distances, tailgating etc. In general you 'get away with it' and it becomes normal, until the day something happens, but then because what you were doing was normal it's 'the other thing/person' to blame for changing the normal to the abnormal and thus pin blame elsewhere. What we've lost sight of is that the 'normal' wasn't acceptable or reasonable.

The genuinely unavoidable obstacle is such a vanishingly small probability as to be basically a myth and shouldn't be considered in any reasonable analysis.

The efforts and campaigns should be focused on changing behaviour and resetting our perception of what is acceptable and normal, not about continuing to normalise it and erroneously pin blame and responsibility on the people least able to reduce to the danger.

Emboldened for impact, remember that, the people most able to reduce danger are the ones presenting that danger. The focus should be there, but it's hard to convince people that what is normal isn't ok.

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Re: Why does ‘cyclist wearing dark clothing' exist as a contributory factor in KSIs

Postby pjclinch » 14 Jan 2020, 12:33pm

mjr wrote:
The utility cyclist wrote:Why do local authorities, or should that be police investigators include ‘cyclist wearing dark clothing' as an excuse or as a contributory factor when there's no evidence that this is in fact able to increase safety through wearing, should this in fact be 'person/motorist failed to look properly' in each and every case?

How can we get this changed so that instead of the victims being blamed and an excuse given as to the collision to shift blame when we know that it's the criminal at fault for their failure to observe the law/HC?

It should be police investigators. They include it because it's in the manual. The manual is set by the Department of Transport and I think is supposed to be reviewed every five years. The last review was 2011. We get this changed by convincing the motorists at the DfT writing the manual to remove it in the next review. Past reviews have removed factor codes.


The above nails it: they're following a script.

Not entirely unrelated is the DfT's overdue-a-revision Highway Code, which still says we should dress up in special bright gear. And we all know the first recourse of Joseph and Jane Q. Public is "they need to obey the Highway Code" (even when J&J QP regularly break it themselves, but that's different), so until Rule 59 gets a thorough going over we'll be blamed any time we come to grief not wearing things we notionally "should" be.

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

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Re: Why does ‘cyclist wearing dark clothing' exist as a contributory factor in KSIs

Postby Vorpal » 14 Jan 2020, 12:54pm

PDQ Mobile wrote:I take a different view.
The responsibility of care falls on both parties as road users.

Yes, but the greater burden of care should be on those with the greatest potential to do harm.

Have a look at this article by Finnish campaigner, Marjut Ollitervo, Rethinking Safety
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
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Re: Why does ‘cyclist wearing dark clothing' exist as a contributory factor in KSIs

Postby PDQ Mobile » 14 Jan 2020, 2:27pm

Vorpal wrote:
PDQ Mobile wrote:I take a different view.
The responsibility of care falls on both parties as road users.

Yes, but the greater burden of care should be on those with the greatest potential to do harm.

Have a look at this article by Finnish campaigner, Marjut Ollitervo, Rethinking Safety

Oh I agree with that.
The motorist has a statutory duty to maintain lights, brakes and steering and will be fined and penalized with licence points for not doing so.
All road users have a interest to take reasonable steps to enhance safety, especially their own.

It is impossible (time constraints) for me to individually answer all the points raised above.
However I do not think 30 or even 40 mpg on a double width B road is unreasonable given straight vision and decent conditions. After all the urban limit is 30 with all the myriad pedestrian and other hazards.


The bus example given above is interesting. The sheer width of a an oncoming bus at night on such a road will often entail an oncoming driver to stop or practically stop.
One wonders what the driver would have done if it had been just a small car?
Such compromised vision may be of very short duration. Dark clothing with no torch is just an additional risk factor for the pedestrian. (Who should walk facing the oncoming traffic but often does not)

Super bright lights have attracted criticism on another topic (and I do not use them before anyone pipes up) but in dark rural conditions they do offer some extra penetration and it is one reason people use them.

I understand the points about inequality raised.
I have felt quite threatened a good deal on a bike at night though never had a serious incident (there but for the grace of etc) but I use sensible lights, just ordinary nothing Blackpool!
But awareness of danger is of paramount importance. There are some situations on blind rural roads that I will always take the defensive and stop.

I live along such a road. Exceptionally narrow single track often between stone walls. No cycle light offers enough power to show an oncoming vehicle of one's presence round tight corners. Adopting a position close in at any wider point showing a light has always stood me in good stead.

Approach speeds on such a road are necessarily quite low (though close enough to 30 at times) but without a torch the danger factor to a pedestrian is still increased.
Last edited by PDQ Mobile on 14 Jan 2020, 2:31pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Why does ‘cyclist wearing dark clothing' exist as a contributory factor in KSIs

Postby Carlton green » 14 Jan 2020, 2:29pm

Vorpal wrote:
PDQ Mobile wrote:I take a different view.
The responsibility of care falls on both parties as road users.

Yes, but the greater burden of care should be on those with the greatest potential to do harm.



Plus one.

So many good posts, it’s difficult to add much of merit.

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Re: Why does ‘cyclist wearing dark clothing' exist as a contributory factor in KSIs

Postby amediasatex » 14 Jan 2020, 2:58pm

However I do not think 30 or even 40 mpg on a double width B road is unreasonable given straight vision and decent conditions.


On a straight road with good visibility it might be reasonable, but in such conditions visibility of obstacles isn't an issue for a carefully observant driver. But throw in some bends, hedges, oncoming headlights, low sun etc. and that can change that drastically. Your original comment was about doing that speed whilst having your vision compromised by an oncoming vehicle. At that point it's no longer reasonable.

On a straight road with good visibility you'd have seen that vehicle coming, anticipated a need to slow down and should have done so. If it wasn't straight with good visibility then by the same logic the speed was unreasonable in the first place. Nobody should be caught by surprise by a vehicle, pedestrian or cyclist in front of them, you either had plenty of time to observe it, or were not driving to conditions. That's what driving is all about, observing, anticipating and adjusting behaviour to suit the conditions, not blindly bumbling along at Xmph and 'hoping' there's nothing in the bit of road ahead that you can't see. That's how people kill themselves and others.

After all the urban limit is 30 with all the myriad pedestrian and other hazards.


As is oft quoth, "it's a limit not a target". Conditions dictate what is appropriate and that is often far below the limit, people would do well to remember that, and have it hammered home at every opportunity.

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Re: Why does ‘cyclist wearing dark clothing' exist as a contributory factor in KSIs

Postby PDQ Mobile » 14 Jan 2020, 6:10pm

^^
As I see it ( no pun etc) there will always be situations where vision is compromised relatively unexpectedly and fast.
The non-dipping driver is a well known and common hazard for example.
I agree speed should always be appropriate but things can change fast.
A darkly clad pedestrian can be hard to spot on a wet dark night even on straight roads given oncoming bright lights. Especially with their backs to the traffic.
Some drivers are more capable than others of course, and some have better vision.

If an older driver with statutory eyesight takes reasonable care and adopts and adapts his/her speed then I think s/he can reasonably expect other road users to make themselves a tad visible.
Bicycles should also have reasonable lights front and back and pedestrians should carry a torch whenever possible.
If they don't then they should be aware of the risk, which sometimes they don't seem to be.

I don't think one can reasonably expect all rural motorists to creep around at sub 20mph speeds their whole lives because a rare ped is too stupid or selfish to show awareness of latent danger of not being seen. ((do not quote this without further context of my post!))

There is some responsibility on the ped or cyclist here too.
It is a shared space and as such has shared responsibility.
The motorist is, understandably on a cycling forum, the bogeyman.
Yet I also see plenty of bicycles without any lights whatsoever though relatively seldom on the open road- the risk is so well appreciated by cyclists.

The general standard of driving here in NW Wales is pretty high.

There are a few poor drivers around of course; lack of indicating all too common, poor positioning and general lack of awareness but generally the majority are polite capable and considerate.

Sometimes quick too.

Personally I always feel happier as a passenger with a quick courteous driver who gives his full attention to the job in hand.
Far far preferable to the slower "oh did you see that lovely view" or excessively conversational type that looks at one a good deal!
Or an ex- urban type that finds the habit of closely following the car in front hard to lose - and they usually can't reverse either!! In London all things progress forwards!

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Re: Why does ‘cyclist wearing dark clothing' exist as a contributory factor in KSIs

Postby The utility cyclist » 14 Jan 2020, 8:02pm

PDQ Mobile wrote:
Vorpal wrote:
PDQ Mobile wrote:I take a different view.
The responsibility of care falls on both parties as road users.

Yes, but the greater burden of care should be on those with the greatest potential to do harm.

Have a look at this article by Finnish campaigner, Marjut Ollitervo, Rethinking Safety

Oh I agree with that.
The motorist has a statutory duty to maintain lights, brakes and steering and will be fined and penalized with licence points for not doing so.
All road users have a interest to take reasonable steps to enhance safety, especially their own.

It is impossible (time constraints) for me to individually answer all the points raised above.
However I do not think 30 or even 40 mpg on a double width B road is unreasonable given straight vision and decent conditions. After all the urban limit is 30 with all the myriad pedestrian and other hazards.


The bus example given above is interesting. The sheer width of a an oncoming bus at night on such a road will often entail an oncoming driver to stop or practically stop.
One wonders what the driver would have done if it had been just a small car?
Such compromised vision may be of very short duration. Dark clothing with no torch is just an additional risk factor for the pedestrian. (Who should walk facing the oncoming traffic but often does not)

Super bright lights have attracted criticism on another topic (and I do not use them before anyone pipes up) but in dark rural conditions they do offer some extra penetration and it is one reason people use them.

I understand the points about inequality raised.
I have felt quite threatened a good deal on a bike at night though never had a serious incident (there but for the grace of etc) but I use sensible lights, just ordinary nothing Blackpool!
But awareness of danger is of paramount importance. There are some situations on blind rural roads that I will always take the defensive and stop.

I live along such a road. Exceptionally narrow single track often between stone walls. No cycle light offers enough power to show an oncoming vehicle of one's presence round tight corners. Adopting a position close in at any wider point showing a light has always stood me in good stead.

Approach speeds on such a road are necessarily quite low (though close enough to 30 at times) but without a torch the danger factor to a pedestrian is still increased.

30 or 40 on any road type is deadly with the general attitude of motorists, it's not reasonable at all simply because those doing those speeds will do it no matter what the conditions and who is in the near vicinity. As my grandpop used to say, it's not outright speed in itself that is the killer, it's doing the wrong speed in the wrong circumstances, that could be as little as 5mph in some circumstances.

Too many motorists think that x speed is fine because they are cocooned, because they don't give a flying fig about anyone except themselves, are distracted and not not just looking, but not seeing or acting correctly. This is in effect justified by police and the so called justice system.

Only just recently we had a Subaru driver smash head on into a motorcyclist on the wrong side of the road, the police's main point from the incident, 'make sure you wear the right kit no matter how expensive it is'. This was in relation to the special body armour the motorcyclist was wearing but he still broke his back. How would hi-vis on the motorcyclist have prevented this type of incident, how did having DRLs benefit the motorcyclist, it didn't, because there's a massive % of drivers who simply don't give a monkeys. But still police are pushing the onus of not getting hurt onto the vulnerable/innocent party.
The Eu re bringing in 'assisted speed' for new motor vehicles by 2021, it should be speed restriction, that and reduced speed limits across the board barring motorways and trunk roads should bring down incidents but it still won't offset the mentality of motorists towards vulnerable road users. This is why AI is as important as taking motors off the road as much as possible.

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Re: Why does ‘cyclist wearing dark clothing' exist as a contributory factor in KSIs

Postby mjr » 14 Jan 2020, 9:18pm

So, 20mph, faster than any person can run for a length of time, is now to "creep around"? And that on a cycling forum? We're [rude word removed] and this illustrates how badly. Motorists have gone feral and even the basic principles of safe driving have pretty much been obliterated. Just keep blaming those killed who can't answer back - because that's worked so well this far and cycling is booming(!)
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Re: Why does ‘cyclist wearing dark clothing' exist as a contributory factor in KSIs

Postby amediasatex » 15 Jan 2020, 8:51am

The motorist is, understandably on a cycling forum, the bogeyman.


I think this is unfair, firstly most of us on here are motorists at some point or another, secondly I would say the same on any social forum.

You also need to appreciate that cyclists are in a fairly unique position of experiencing our roads from multiple viewpoints, as cyclists, pedestrians and drivers. If you look at the stats, most cyclists are also drivers, and obviously also pedestrians. The vast majority of drivers rarely if ever cycle, and even when they are pedestrians it's less frequent than among cyclists. I think it unwise to dismiss that, most drivers have never cycled on a road as an adult (and many not even as kids), where as most cyclists are drivers. It's not a 'them and us' situation of cyclists Vs motorists, we often are one of 'them'.

A lot of residential and inner city streets have a 20mph limit.

Take a moment to actually think about that... it means that 20mph is the absolute maximum, under perfect conditions, anything less than perfect means it only decreases. That's in an environment where there are numerous hazards that people expect to be there and are (hopefully) being exceptionally vigilant.

Now consider that against a rural environment, a rural road may seem safer for higher speeds but often visibility is just as poor, surfaces are more variable, and there are both expected and unexpected hazards, just because they may be less frequent (per mile) doesn't mean they cannot be anticipated nor that the impact of encountering one is any less. It's worth remembering too that drivers can easily kill themselves as well as others if that hazard is a tree/tractor etc.

A big element that I think goes unrecognised is that cars have got safer and safer over the years, a minor bump now is a lot less risky to the occupants than 30 or 40 years ago, along with the sensation of speed being dulled by the size, quietness and comfort of modern cars, and that has nurtured complacency. Often the only impact on a driver after an accident these days is financial and the inconvenience of mechanical repair, where as the impact to vulnerable road users is basically as high as it ever was. Risk, and perception of risk to drivers has steadily decreased, risk to vulnerable road users has not, and for a lot of people they don't comprehend that risk as they've never had to deal with the results first (or second) hand, and have never given it any real thought.

Appropriate speed is not dictated by what speed you'd like to do, nor even by what speed people normally do. It's dictated by conditions, sometimes it's 60mph, sometimes it's 40, sometimes it's under 20 and sometimes it's 'stopped', and I think it is entirely reasonable to expect people to understand and abide by that.

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Re: Why does ‘cyclist wearing dark clothing' exist as a contributory factor in KSIs

Postby Cugel » 15 Jan 2020, 9:26am

PDQ Mobile wrote:^^
(snip)

I don't think one can reasonably expect all rural motorists to creep around at sub 20mph speeds their whole lives because a rare ped is too stupid or selfish to show awareness of latent danger of not being seen. ((do not quote this without further context of my post!))

There is some responsibility on the ped or cyclist here too.
It is a shared space and as such has shared responsibility.
(snip)


It is reasonable that people in charge of a potentially lethal machine should avoid taking speed risks for which they cannot possibly assess the potential awful outcome. In West Wales (as illustrated by various posts here) there is a laboratory of conditions in which the shared space of a road is also shared by pedestrians, horses, dogs, numerous tractors, large HGVs and all sorts. The roads are seemingly designed to test to acuity of all users in their efforts to control their behaviour and reduce the risks. Very narrow and bendy roads. Roads with no pavements between villages that are quite close together (therefore walkable). Roads that are unlit at night. Roads with no verge at all to escape the oncoming speed-loony.

There are many instances in which drivers of vehicles crash into things (other vehicles, horses, tractors, people, the roadside banks, etcetera) because they were going too fast to be able to deal with a 'round the bend hazard of some kind. The problem is that they get away with too-fast driving for weeks or months because the traffic out here is extremely light. Then one day the random configuration of several road users produces a 'round the bend hazard they haven't had to deal with so have stupidly assumed will never, ever occur. They squash or kill someone.

As others have pointed out, visibility aids do nothing at all to deal with this syndrome. As others have pointed out, society at large (including the justice system and mass media) have decided that such 'round the bend risk taking is "reasonable" and that the consequent and inevitable incidents are "accidents". The alternative is to enforce different attitudes and behaviours that are not so risky. This is unlikely to happen in our self-centred little skinbag society full of car adverts and other encouragements to drive like a racing loon.

Personally I avoid main roads in West Wales when on a bike, as they seem to be the most dangerous for everyone using them, by far. The back roads can suffer similar stupid driving but its far easier for a cyclist to see or hear them coming on a quiet back road, from some distance away and so take avoiding action. The back roads are also near empty for miles and miles and miles. Some will argue that one shouldn't have to take avoiding action at all, as the driving behaviours should not produce the need. However, the status quo has an immense inertia and I don't want to be arguing the point from a hospital bed or a grave.

Cugel

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Re: Why does ‘cyclist wearing dark clothing' exist as a contributory factor in KSIs

Postby PDQ Mobile » 15 Jan 2020, 10:53am

What I tried to put forward was the argument that ALL road users have a responsibility to be a tad visible.
A simple idea!


I have not advocated driving around blind bends at excessive speeds at all.

However 20mph on a decent but narrow B road is IMV not excessive and neither is 30 or 40. Even at night. Dependent entirely upon conditions of course.

It is the really fast rural driver (of which there are many) that will often cause grief.

It was the fact that walking dark clad on rural roads is so demonstrably dangerous (suicidal even) that seemed to me to go some way towards answering the OP's initial premise?
Or more simply put, I do think there is merit in being easily seen (not necessarily hi viz), that is, not wearing all dark clothes on dull days and always using sensible bright lights (not eye searing) and some reflectivity at night even in urban situations.

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Re: Why does ‘cyclist wearing dark clothing' exist as a contributory factor in KSIs

Postby mattheus » 15 Jan 2020, 10:59am

PDQ Mobile wrote:It was the fact that walking dark clad on rural roads is so demonstrably dangerous (suicidal even) that seemed to me to go some way towards answering the OP's initial premise?


It's a very safe activity. Good for the heart too!


Until you allow car drivers onto those roads. Even then it's very safe, if they drive with due care.

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Re: Why does ‘cyclist wearing dark clothing' exist as a contributory factor in KSIs

Postby PDQ Mobile » 15 Jan 2020, 11:09am

mattheus wrote:
PDQ Mobile wrote:It was the fact that walking dark clad on rural roads is so demonstrably dangerous (suicidal even) that seemed to me to go some way towards answering the OP's initial premise?


It's a very safe activity. Good for the heart too!


Until you allow car drivers onto those roads. Even then it's very safe, if they drive with due care.

I take the point, and even do it myself on really narrow lanes always listening though! And I would carry a small torch.
There are however roads where I would not do it dark clad and torchless unless absolutely desperate.
Then I would always assume I had not been seen by an oncoming car and really "hide" in the hedge or a gateway etc. i would also walk facing the oncoming traffic.

It is a space shared by drivers and others.
They are "allowed" onto them!

And everybody has a duty of care, that duty is to try to make things safe.