Cyclist died after relying on rear brake on Dales descent due to failed front brake

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Brucey
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Re: Cyclist died after relying on rear brake on Dales descent due to failed front brake

Postby Brucey » 10 Dec 2020, 12:32am

Ride-sleep-repeat wrote:....The article states he was an Engineer so surely changing disc brake pads shouldn't have been a problem for him....


clearly it was (for some reason), else he would have got on and done it?

One can only assume that at least part of the reason why he didn't get on and fix his brakes was that he didn't feel able to do so; it is not for everyone. Cable operated rim brakes have a much more obvious function and folk find it easier to repair/adjust them vs hydraulic brakes. You can buy new brake blocks that will fit most rim brakes in any bike shop and lots of other non specialist shops (eg supermarkets, wilko etc) too. Disc pads exist in mind-bending variety (for no good reason that I can see) and most bike shops only stock a few of the many possible types.

I doubt there can be a finger pointed at any one 'cause' but there would have been several factors of which brake type would be one.

cheers
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mjr
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Re: Cyclist died after relying on rear brake on Dales descent due to failed front brake

Postby mjr » 10 Dec 2020, 1:23am

ChrisP100 wrote:Madness.

I Never let my kids ride a bike that wasn't correctly maintained, and as for the cycle leader (I presume suitably qualified and experienced), no way they should have let someone with an unserviceable bike take part in a group ride.

Sometimes you don't realise you've not maintained a bit correctly until it falls off! I didn't realise there was a bolt inside one of my bikes' brake levers until it came loose and the lever was dangling off the end of the cable! :eek: I did fix that before the next ride.

Also, the child's bike's pads might have been knocked while parked at school by another child carelessly parking next to them.

But I agree the leader should have had them all do at least an ABC check before riding, which should have revealed that problem.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
All the above is CC-By-SA and no other implied copyright license to Cycle magazine.

Pete Owens
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Re: Cyclist died after relying on rear brake on Dales descent due to failed front brake

Postby Pete Owens » 10 Dec 2020, 1:50am

Jdsk wrote:Everyone familiar with the Swiss cheese model?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swiss_cheese_model

Indeed. That is after all there reason we are required to have two independent braking systems.

The trouble comes from human nature. Precisely because we have multiple redundancy it means that when one system fails - whether that is one of your brakes, or one of your back lights, or a computer disc in your raid array the overall system still works. This means that fixing it becomes a less urgent task - it is still possible to carry on and make a note to do the repair tomorrow - and when tomorrow comes the next day and so on - until the back up system fails.

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Syd
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Re: Cyclist died after relying on rear brake on Dales descent due to failed front brake

Postby Syd » 10 Dec 2020, 6:51am

If it was not for the fact the cyclist was killed as a result, the series of events in the article would almost seem quite comical.

Lack of proper maintenance was obviously the key factor here. Maybe bike shops should make more a greater deal of informing new owners of the importance of regular checks on vital equipment.

Mike_Ayling
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Re: Cyclist died after relying on rear brake on Dales descent due to failed front brake

Postby Mike_Ayling » 10 Dec 2020, 6:58am

Brucey wrote:
Ride-sleep-repeat wrote:....The article states he was an Engineer so surely changing disc brake pads shouldn't have been a problem for him....


clearly it was (for some reason), else he would have got on and done it?

One can only assume that at least part of the reason why he didn't get on and fix his brakes was that he didn't feel able to do so; it is not for everyone. Cable operated rim brakes have a much more obvious function and folk find it easier to repair/adjust them vs hydraulic brakes. You can buy new brake blocks that will fit most rim brakes in any bike shop and lots of other non specialist shops (eg supermarkets, wilko etc) too. Disc pads exist in mind-bending variety (for no good reason that I can see) and most bike shops only stock a few of the many possible types.

I doubt there can be a finger pointed at any one 'cause' but there would have been several factors of which brake type would be one.

cheers


Nailed it as usual Brucey.

A quick visual check of rim brake pads before you ride take a few seconds, disc pads are mostly out of sight out of mind.

Mike

jgurney
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Re: Cyclist died after relying on rear brake on Dales descent due to failed front brake

Postby jgurney » 10 Dec 2020, 7:47am

Ride-sleep-repeat wrote:The article states he was an Engineer so surely changing disc brake pads shouldn't have been a problem for him.

It states he was an electrical engineer, so he may not have been particularly knowledgeable about mechanical matters.

DaveReading
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Re: Cyclist died after relying on rear brake on Dales descent due to failed front brake

Postby DaveReading » 10 Dec 2020, 7:54am

jgurney wrote:It states he was an electrical engineer, so he may not have been particularly knowledgeable about mechanical matters.

Slightly OT, but in another life I worked briefly alongside a bloke that you wouldn't want to let within 100 yards of anything mechanical.

He was an avionics (aviation/electronics) engineer.

ChrisP100
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Re: Cyclist died after relying on rear brake on Dales descent due to failed front brake

Postby ChrisP100 » 10 Dec 2020, 8:57am

DaveReading wrote:
jgurney wrote:It states he was an electrical engineer, so he may not have been particularly knowledgeable about mechanical matters.

Slightly OT, but in another life I worked briefly alongside a bloke that you wouldn't want to let within 100 yards of anything mechanical.

He was an avionics (aviation/electronics) engineer.


I'm an old school Aircraft Electrical engineer, so a bit more hands on mechanical elements (motors & generators), but I do agree that just because his job title contains the word engineer it doesn't necessarily mean he would have been capable of doing the maintenance on his brakes. Basic maintenance is something all cyclist should learn though; certainly ABC's as a bare minimum, the difference between life and death in this case.

Jdsk
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Re: Cyclist died after relying on rear brake on Dales descent due to failed front brake

Postby Jdsk » 10 Dec 2020, 9:46am

As a Swiss cheesist I expect there to be several "just this" or "simply that" changes that would have made a difference with hindsight. And wouldn't conclude that addressing any one of them is the smartest approach to improving safety.

But if I could have every road user either being able to maintain her vehicle or routinely checking her vehicle it would be the latter.

Jonathan

yostumpy
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Re: Cyclist died after relying on rear brake on Dales descent due to failed front brake

Postby yostumpy » 10 Dec 2020, 9:58am

I always carry a spare set of disc pads, both on my tourer and recumbent, having had a 'new' set of Clarkes pads come off the backing plate completely, whilst going down a hill. Needless to say, don't use them anymore. A tragic story indeed, but would never have happenend if he'd have lived in Norfolk.

reohn2
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Re: Cyclist died after relying on rear brake on Dales descent due to failed front brake

Postby reohn2 » 10 Dec 2020, 10:00am

Brucey wrote:
Ride-sleep-repeat wrote:....The article states he was an Engineer so surely changing disc brake pads shouldn't have been a problem for him....


clearly it was (for some reason), else he would have got on and done it?

One can only assume that at least part of the reason why he didn't get on and fix his brakes was that he didn't feel able to do so; it is not for everyone. Cable operated rim brakes have a much more obvious function and folk find it easier to repair/adjust them vs hydraulic brakes. You can buy new brake blocks that will fit most rim brakes in any bike shop and lots of other non specialist shops (eg supermarkets, wilko etc) too. Disc pads exist in mind-bending variety (for no good reason that I can see) and most bike shops only stock a few of the many possible types.

I doubt there can be a finger pointed at any one 'cause' but there would have been several factors of which brake type would be one.

cheers

In this instance the front brake was already worn beyond use,would that not set an alarm bell ringing about the rear brake also being worn down?
I don't buy the brake type having anything anything to do with this unfortunate incident.
Discs work very well indeed,but like any other brake including rim brakes,if not maintained and checked regularly when pads become worn down to the backing material,they don't work at all.
As for "mind bending array of pads available" whilst there are a few different pad types for different calipers,all one needs is the pads for your particular model of brake eg;Shimano XT hydraulic model No M7XX,need X type pad,BB7's need Y type,etc,if one is unsure which,check the manufacturs site on the web or phone a retailer,etc.
There are also enough howto's on YouTube with step by step instructions or forums like this one on how to change disc brake pads of any type.With a leettle research one is armed with knowledge about one's own braking system disc or other.

I feel very sorry for his wife having not only to have lost her husband but in front of her eyes and so tragically,and which could've so easily been avoided
Last edited by reohn2 on 10 Dec 2020, 10:11am, edited 2 times in total.
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thirdcrank
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Re: Cyclist died after relying on rear brake on Dales descent due to failed front brake

Postby thirdcrank » 10 Dec 2020, 10:00am

For anybody thinking about the stable door, I can see only two broad approaches:-

An MOT-type régime for pedal cycles, or at least ebikes.

A compulsory system of wear warnings built into pedal cycles / ebike brakes with a fail-safe immobilization system for those who, like the deceased, were ready to continue with brakes they knew to be dodgy.

Before anybody jumps on me, I'm not recommending either approach.

peetee
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Re: Cyclist died after relying on rear brake on Dales descent due to failed front brake

Postby peetee » 10 Dec 2020, 10:03am

Usually with experience in a particular discipline comes the Knowledge and humility to leave things alone when they are out of your league. It’s all to easy to think it’s better to have something work poorly than not at all and ‘I’ll just take it easy on this ride’.
Winter had arrived in the land of Kernow. Along with it came wet roads and cool winds.
“Oh, my wheels and coupling rods!” Peetee exclaimed.

Jdsk
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Re: Cyclist died after relying on rear brake on Dales descent due to failed front brake

Postby Jdsk » 10 Dec 2020, 10:06am

And of course you nearly always get away with it... so that behaviour is reinforced.

Jonathan
Last edited by Jdsk on 10 Dec 2020, 10:39am, edited 1 time in total.

Brucey
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Re: Cyclist died after relying on rear brake on Dales descent due to failed front brake

Postby Brucey » 10 Dec 2020, 10:38am

It seems pretty clear he knew the brakes were worn, the question you have to ask yourself is why he didn't fix them. I doubt he was in the habit of leaving things unattended for no good reason.

If faced with a (potentially unbranded) disc brake it can be a significant research project just to identify the manufacturer of the parts, leave alone which of the many pads will work; some manufacturers use different pads on the same backing plate, and no, they are not compatible, some use pads that look identical to a known brand but again are not compatible. Add to that the unknowns concerning a hydraulic system and you can see why someone might choose to leave it alone 'for one more ride' instead of getting stuck in and fixing it.

Most things are simple when you have done them a few times but it can be a very steep learning curve, peppered with many opportunities for going backwards not forwards. As someone I know recently said of hydraulic brake repairs; "If I'd wanted to be a ****in' plumber I would've been one". Granted he was standing in an unexpected pool of hydraulic fluid, and not for the first time that day either, but even so it is a sentiment that is widely shared, even by people who don't have feet that won't wear out or go rusty... :roll: .

In a similar vein currently there is an upsurge of serious illnesses that are being diagnosed late, because when symptoms first appear, folk are worried about visiting the doctors and picking up Covid infection. If Covid was part of the reason for the bike's neglect, it could have been the same deal; unwittingly exchanging one perceived risk for another, less easily identified but much greater.

cheers
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