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Has A&S Changed Your Behavior?

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Has A&S Changed Your Behavior?

Old 01-24-19, 03:19 PM
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Paul Barnard
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Has A&S Changed Your Behavior?

I am a safety professional by trade. I have been with the Coast Guard either active duty or civilian for 33 years. I served as a commercial fishing vessel safety specialist for 6 years and recently took my dream job as a recreational boating safety program manager. I am furloughed at the present. There's a reason for this aside, so bear with me. Safety is a tough sell. Especially to older folks who are often fairly entrenched in their ways. To a large degree, I am marketing boating safety.

That has me wondering what are the most effective ways to deliver safety messaging. I am considering creating an official Coast Guard presence on the larger boating forums on the net. That brings me to the topic at hand. Has discussion in A&S changed your behavior? If so how? What was it that caused the change? Does reading about crashes resonate with you? Does data resonate with you? Do you learn when others share their mistakes? What kind of safety messaging works with you? When we learn what causes behavioral shifts, we can more effectively tailor our messaging.

I posted last week a thread about a local woman who was killed. Since the area and the road were familiar to me, it caused me to take greater pause to ponder the event. She was hit from behind. Obviously the driver didn't see her. There are some drivers who are so out of touch with their surroundings that just about nothing can wrest their attention away from their distraction. But there are others who are marginally distracted, and we may be able to draw attention to ourselves by making ourselves more conspicuous. I was riding the local MUP the other day. I rode up behind a great big man with a bulky jacket. I looked at as much of the path as I could see ahead, and well off in the distance and rounding a slight bend in the path, was another rider. I had more than enough time to go around the large man before that rider and I met. I announced my presence to the large man and went around. I had not seen another rider between the large rider and the one coming around the bend. The large rider had obscured him, and when I went to pass, I was focused on the rider I had seen further away. It was much later in the game than I would have preferred, when I noticed the rider that had been obscured. It made me a little angry at myself. Nobody was in any danger, but as a safety conscious, alert rider it bothered me.

I got to thinking about the whole thing and my mind went to the lady that was struck from behind. Is it possible that I could be the one to take a cyclists life? I like to think not. But the encounter on the MUP made me question myself. Later on that ride, I started paying attention to the visibility of other riders. On the long straight parts they were all silhouetted very well and were easy to see. The vegetation along the path made it such that if there were bends in the path, riders wearing darker clothes were difficult to pick out from the background. The few riders who had high vis stood out much better. When I cycle on public roadways, I don't always wear high vis, but I do wear brighter colors. Colors obviously stand out but so does movement. One rider had high vis shoes. Between the color and the movement, that rider really caught my attention.

Let me try to close the loop on what has been a somewhat rambling post. There are several prongs to this post. I am curious about the things that shape or change your behavior as it relates to safety. The discussion of the rider killed in my area had already caused me to reevaluate my visibility. I am curious, not so much about what you do, but what others have done that really helped draw your attention to them. The MUP experience led me to this as one of the ways I will to make myself more conspicuous.


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Old 01-24-19, 04:09 PM
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Not a whit. I get in the saddle every day with the same goal: never put myself into a situation where getting hit by a car would be in any way my fault. I often ignore traffic lights and stop signs-- because I proceed when I absolutely know it is safe-- a stop sign has no idea what traffic conditions look like. Traffic lights and signs are there to remind people of the law. I'm concerned about my own safety, so it's my job, every ride, to protect myself. If someone is on their phone and drifts over the line and punts me into a ditch, there isn't a damn thing I can do about that. So I don't try to change the behavior of others, whether cyclists, drivers, or pedestrians. Doing so would be the rough equivalent of going outside and yelling at the wind.
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Old 01-24-19, 04:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Paul Barnard View Post
Has discussion in A&S changed your behavior?
In a sense. I learned about Dinotti Lighting here on A&S back when they were by far the brightest tail lights out there. A&S convinced me to run bright lights by day, as well as reasonable lighting at night. I think it made a huge difference. High-vis clothing does little good after dark, reflectors don't work unless a light is pointed at you in just the right way. Lighting is the answer and A&S discussions played a huge part in convincing me.

I am curious about the things that shape or change your behavior as it relates to safety.
If it makes sense, and I didn't already think of it (I'm 60 yo), why not try it?

...what others have done that really helped draw your attention to them?
Lane positioning! I have failed to see a few cyclists who were riding in the door zone on cross streets. Therefore, when I reach a cross street on my bike, I will move into the lane, or even the far left curb if that's what it takes. Moving left, away from a car crossing from my right also serves to give us BOTH more time to react if they don't see me. Some motorist's brains only see cars and trucks. They don't "see" fire hydrants,mail boxes, and cyclists. In other words: My failures to see other road users out in the world has taught me how to maximize my visibility. Lane positioning (don't hide behind other objects), speed (faster is better for getting noticed), contrasting colors clothing or "DayGlow", and adequate lighting.

Now that I know all of this for many years now it just seems like common sense. Much of it I picked up from A&S discussions.
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Old 01-24-19, 04:21 PM
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I got more Delta Rocket Rays and taillights than should be legally possible,
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Old 01-24-19, 06:16 PM
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Yes, A&S has changed my behavior over the last 10 years that I have been on bikeforums...along with the Commuting Forum (I mostly commute). My lighting strategies,visibility strategies, riding-in-traffic strategies, vehicle-interaction strategies and route choices have all been modified for the better by thread discussions (as well as my equipment and gear choices). But good discussion that resonate or yield an "a-ha moment" are few and far between. And part of that may be simply because there are fewer aspects of my biking left to modify.

I find that member's reflections on close-calls or questions about how best to deal with specific roads really pique my interest.

Aside from one's personal linear improvement, discussion forums are a bit repetitive like grade school. There is always a new class or batch of members to whom the basics are new and for whom bear repeating.

Personally, I tend to tune out "preachy" pronouncements. I much prefer discussions that invite me to think about how the topic of concern exists in my experience, and how it may be similar or different from what others encounter.

I don't know if this helps you, but I can repeat what I have mentioned many times before: Bikeforums has profoundly changed the way I ride for the better with regards to safety and enjoyment. I'm sure participating in a boating forum would benefit its members as well.

Last edited by BobbyG; 01-25-19 at 07:05 AM.
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Old 01-24-19, 06:21 PM
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Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post


Lane positioning! I have failed to see a few cyclists who were riding in the door zone on cross streets.
I'd agree that's the most significant change I've made (although in areas other than door zones ... learned not to ride there 35 years ago). There are a lot of trees on many roads I ride and a drive and as a driver I find it much harder to see riders hiding in the shadows.

I also think there's a subtle but real impact from folks who share their own mistakes, whatever they may be. That's something I think crosses over to all areas of safety. You probably need to present data, but that doesn't really resonate as well. Of course, stories shared here are off the cuff and generally contemporaneous. That probably works better than canned stories in safety presentations. Everyone is confident that they're smart enough and good enough to ensure their safety. But if someone else relates a tale of their own mistake, people do subconsciously recognize that 'yeah, I could have done that.' But if the tale becomes a 'scare story', I think the impact might be diminished.
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Old 01-24-19, 06:40 PM
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Absolutely terrific feedback everyone. Thank you so very much.
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Old 01-24-19, 11:00 PM
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As fear as lights being the best during the day, I saw a study once that said high vis and movement was better. From my own experience I have to agree, I see cyclists long before I spot their light during the day. I always wear high vis jersey and matching high vis socks.
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Old 01-24-19, 11:30 PM
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A high viz sock is an answer to a question no one has ever asked. 90% of the average sock is invisible inside your shoe and up the leg of your pants (or tights). Seriously, who comes up with this stuff. No, A&S has not changed my cycling behavior to any degree. Much of what I see here is fear mongering and based on poorly understood junk science. I ride predictably and defensively in the door zone (or bike lane) in usually cycling specific clothing which is usually high viz but may not be. At night I run one (1) rear taillight (that flashes!) and one (1) headlight (two if in unfamiliar surroundings) and the rest I leave to what many of you might call 'God'.
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Old 01-25-19, 12:14 AM
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As a 20 year Naval Officer, I was always responsible for safety. Second job in the private sector, my collateral duty was as the corp. safety manager.
Since your subject audience is likely to be willing participants, teach them how the safety guidelines help them; rather than the hammer method used by OSHA and construction industries. The later demand workers just do set rigid safety procedures without thinking. That is OK when dealing with people unwilling or incapable of thinking. I always oversaw safety for professional, intelligent workers. You should be able to think of examples when the rigid safety guidelines were less safe than a modification that would have been frond upon by the rigid folks.

I have mostly been a little ahead of the A&S safety curve, but A&S Commuting forums have supported some of my prior ideas.

In 1984, when my daily commuting moved to Washington DC with many rude and bad motorist and required much night riding, the bicycle market did not have a decent rear light. So I bought a couple of construction sign lights, cut the bottom short and wired the light with on/off switch to a battery in my bike trunk. Motorist not use to cyclist on the road back in those days, believed I was a road hazard that would damage their vehicle. They slowed and gave me lots of room. Since, BFs has helped with picking the best market lights for my needs.

Along the lines of not being too rigid in the rules. When I started commuting, I was rigid about red light and stop sign laws. As I got more commuting experience, I began to question if that really was the safest for me while bicycle commuting. I began to integrate the Idaho stop without knowing the name, especially at night when at very long red lights or on demand lights that are not set to detect a bicycle (Honolulu and Hawaii state still refuse to properly adjust the detectors). Then A&S discussed the Idaho Stop and reinforced my actions and gave the data that it does make me safer.

A&S posted the eyeglass mirror that has save me from getting hit at least 6 times from behind. The bar mounted mirrors are good, but eyeglass mirror was a huge improvement that diffidently saved my butt. It also helped me catch a hit and run driver by being able to read 5 of the 6 digits on the front plate before he passed and then only having to read the smudged last digit after he passed.

One of our PhDs taught us the best way to trip light detectors.

I knew about and stayed out of door zones, at least most of them, but then A&S pointed out just how wide the doors of a two door car is. I made my door zone give way one foot wider.

I learned a lot about concussions related to rotational forces. That reinforced the importance of tucking my chin in a crash and landing on my back.
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Old 01-25-19, 01:08 AM
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I'd think boating would have the same variables as driving. People are out there for different purposes so asking your audience about the hazards or accidents they have been involved with makes them own their own safety a little more. We had a driver ed teacher come in from the refinery industry to teach the waste disposal guys. I think he got more out of the class than he expected.
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Old 01-25-19, 05:49 AM
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Videos.

Got the idea from this user.

I review every video after every ride, a form of debriefing, usually this reveals what I should have done, rather than what I thought was a good idea at the time.

Still learning, and if I recall correctly, 2018 I stayed upright, 2019 might be a more challenging year.
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Old 01-25-19, 05:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Paul Barnard View Post
I am a safety professional by trade...Safety is a tough sell. Especially to older folks who are often fairly entrenched in their ways. To a large degree, I am marketing boating safety.

That has me wondering what are the most effective ways to deliver safety messaging. I am considering creating an official Coast Guard presence on the larger boating forums on the net.

That brings me to the topic at hand. Has discussion in A&S changed your behavior? If so how? What was it that caused the change?

Does reading about crashes resonate with you? Does data resonate with you? Do you learn when others share their mistakes?
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
…Wow, RF, sorry to hear about this. It sounds like a “major” crash, especially with such damage.

I won’t ask “what happened?,” but posting details for me at least gives me renewed attention to such situations on the road

...kind of a "cycling post-mortem."
What kind of safety messaging works with you? When we learn what causes behavioral shifts, we can more effectively tailor our messaging.

I posted last week a thread about a local woman who was killed. ...

I got to thinking about the whole thing and my mind went to the lady that was struck from behind...

Let me try to close the loop on what has been a somewhat rambling post. There are several prongs to this post.

I am curious about the things that shape or change your behavior as it relates to safety... I am curious, not so much about what you do, but what others have done that really helped draw your attention to them.
FWIW, as decades-long, year-round lifestyle cyclist, mainly commuting, I have frequently posted about my safety mindset, including this week to a recent thread about a wayward driver.
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
…I was hit from behind by a “distracted” (? inebriated) hit and run driver on an otherwise seemingly safe and peaceful route. By good fortune, I’m alive and relatively unimpaired.

Over the past few months I have come to realize that my safety aphorisms, collected over the years by personal or vicarious experience, are my way of actively aligning the stars in my favor, to anticipate those unseen and otherwise unanticipated dangers.

FWIW, for my own information at least, my other aphorisms beside those above are:

  1. Make yourself as visible as possible,and assume nobody sees you.
  2. When riding at night, look for cars, not just headlights
  3. To know where a car is going, watch the front wheels, not the body or hood.
  4. You don’t have the right-of-way until the other yields it to you (learned from my teacher in driver’s ed)
  5. Like a weapon, assume every stopped car is loaded, with an occupant ready to exit from either side.
  6. Don’t ride over an area (such as puddles or leaves) when you can’t see the road surface.
  7. Truck at corner in sight, don't go right." I’m also wary of passing on the right at an intersection, especially next to a bus or truck, after reading of fatalities on my routes
  8. When approaching a curve with no forward sight lines, hug the curb…’tight to the right’ . .
  9. Jim’s Law of the Road: “No matter how well-paved and lightly traveled the Road, a vehicle is likely to pass on the left as you encounter an obstacle on the right.”…my argument to wear a rearview mirror.
Those are all I remember for now, and they all pop-up in my mind as I encounter the situation.


Last edited by Jim from Boston; 01-25-19 at 06:01 AM.
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Old 01-25-19, 06:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Paul Barnard View Post
…Later on that ride, I started paying attention to the visibility of other riders.…

I don't always wear high vis, but I do wear brighter colors. Colors obviously stand out but so does movement. One rider had high vis shoes. Between the color and the movement, that rider really caught my attention….

I am curious, not so much about what you do, but what others have done that really helped draw your attention to them. The MUP experience led me to this as one of the ways I will to make myself more conspicuous.
I have read…but couldn’’t find the thread…that a rotary motion of a light on the lower extremity is the most eyecatching, and identifiable form of illumination; however I can’t seem to find illuminated ankle bands.

Also I am intrigued by this little-cited form of visibility:
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
...However to add to your list of visibility aids, see this thread, Safety hack for bikes using a pool noodle.” It has a video and photo of a pool noodle.

I recall thinking it is something I might put on my bike, and a pool store is nearby my workplace, so I’ll have to check it out.

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 01-25-19 at 07:00 AM.
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Old 01-25-19, 07:01 AM
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"I have read…but couldn’’t find the thread…that a rotary motion of a light on the lower extremity is the most eyecatching, and identifiable form of illumination; however I can’t seem to find illuminated ankle bands."

Lots of different ones :

https://www.amazon.com/BSEEN-Armband...up+ankle+bands
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Old 01-25-19, 07:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Bmach View Post
As fear as lights being the best during the day, I saw a study once that said high vis and movement was better. From my own experience I have to agree, I see cyclists long before I spot their light during the day. I always wear high vis jersey and matching high vis socks.
Where I drive (and ride), that depends on ambient light conditions. In places where it's bright and sunny, lights are much less effective during the day. Although I do find a flashing front light reduces pull outs. But on shady roads, especially those with twists and turns, I will spot the light of a cyclist well before I would otherwise have seen them. As a driver, I find that helpful as the rider may then disappear around a corner or behind a hill. I already know they're out there, so I'm not surprised if I then crest a hill and find them right in front of me.
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Old 01-25-19, 07:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
A high viz sock is an answer to a question no one has ever asked. 90% of the average sock is invisible inside your shoe and up the leg of your pants (or tights). Seriously, who comes up with this stuff. No, A&S has not changed my cycling behavior to any degree. Much of what I see here is fear mongering and based on poorly understood junk science. I ride predictably and defensively in the door zone (or bike lane) in usually cycling specific clothing which is usually high viz but may not be. At night I run one (1) rear taillight (that flashes!) and one (1) headlight (two if in unfamiliar surroundings) and the rest I leave to what many of you might call 'God'.
I know you find in necessary to be adversarial, and I get that some folks have that need, but I would encourage you to process the next high vis shoes you see in action. The ones I saw the other day really stood out. The socks I bought are mid calf, and I would expect the color and constant movement to help draw attention much as the shoes did. I see them as part of a cocktail of safety strategies.
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Old 01-25-19, 07:26 AM
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Originally Posted by CB HI View Post

A&S posted the eyeglass mirror that has save me from getting hit at least 6 times from behind. The bar mounted mirrors are good, but eyeglass mirror was a huge improvement that diffidently saved my butt. It also helped me catch a hit and run driver by being able to read 5 of the 6 digits on the front plate before he passed and then only having to read the smudged last digit after he passed.

.
As much as I have read about the usefulness of mirrors, I keep telling myself I am going to get one. I just never have gotten around to it. That will end up being one of the ways A&S has changed my behavior.
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Old 01-25-19, 09:45 AM
  #19  
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Originally Posted by paul barnard View Post
as much as i have read about the usefulness of mirrors, i keep telling myself i am going to get one. I just never have gotten around to it. That will end up being one of the ways a&s has changed my behavior.
fya
Originally Posted by jim from boston View Post
i use both left and right rearview mirrors, in my case take-a-look eyeglass mounted ones. I got the idea from a cycling companion who used only a right hand mirror. The additional right hand mirror affords a pretty good rearward view, but is particularly useful:

1. Riding on the left-hand side of a one-way street

2. riding in the middle or left lanes of a two-way thoroughfare

3. in a rotary

4. on a curved road to the right

5. when passing entrance/exit ramps from a freeway, with the right hand mirror, i can view the ramps to my right, and stay wide of them, while watching upcoming traffic on my left, all while almost continuously looking straight ahead

6. when the sun is directly behind, usually one mirror can be positioned away from the glare of the sun.

As a corollary, this morning (2/5/18) at about 7:30 to 7:45 am on my southbound commute, the bright, low-lying winter morning sun was directly at the level of my left hand rearview mirror, and the sun glare made it difficult to get a fix on that mirror. My right hand, west side mirror was free of glare, with a good rearward view.

That was auspicious because on my otherwise straight 14-mile southbound ride, during that interval i had to proceed from the right side of the road to make three left hand turns,and on two occasions i was closely followed by trucks.


7. when wearing a backpack, usually one mirror has a less-obstructed view over my shoulder.

my main argument for a mirror, particularly in the urban environment is summarized by jim’s law of the road: “no matter how well paved or lightly-traveled the road, a vehicle is likely to pass you on the left as you encounter an obstacle on the right.”
Originally Posted by zacster View Post
… i can also hear what's coming at me, with 2 exceptions. #1 and the most usual suspect is another bike. #2 is an electric bus or car…
o
ne other situation where hearing is ineffective, even on rural roads, occurs when being passed by one car, and i'm never sure that another one is following the first. No problem with a mirror.

Addendum: This past weekend i rode with a companion on a low-riding recumbent three-wheel trike. I just deflected my right-hand mirror slightly downwards so i didn’t have to crane my neck upwards to see him. The left-hand mirror was still in place to monitor rearward traffic.

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 01-26-19 at 09:35 AM.
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Old 01-25-19, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Bmach View Post
As fear as lights being the best during the day, I saw a study once that said high vis and movement was better. From my own experience I have to agree, I see cyclists long before I spot their light during the day. I always wear high vis jersey and matching high vis socks.
You are correct and is the same experience I have found. It's because those riders have crappy lights or they are not positioned correctly. Just today I saw someone with their front light pointed down. Too many riders go for form over function which usually ends up with those tiny flashing LEDs that really don't do anything unless you are looking for it. A light used for daytime riding should be able to get the attention of a driver in the sunlight. This means that it has enough power and flashing patterns to do so. These lights do exist, but people tend to think that they are going to blind someone, or the patterns are going to cause siezures.....stupid.

But...the best is going to be a combination of good lights and bright colors, particularly on your legs/feet and tied into the rest of your kit so it really jumps out at you.
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Old 01-25-19, 11:51 AM
  #21  
berner
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I'm a firm believer that experience is the best teacher and it does not have to be your own experience. Just as much can be learned from evaluating how others may have screwed up. With this in mind, learning of the misadventures of others, as in A&S, can be valuable provided we really pay attention.

Now really paying attention is a large category. Part of it is not only being visible but how our visibility changes depending on clothing worn and shade. In my area there are many roads partially lined with trees providing partial shade. Dark clothing when moving from bright sunlight to shade would cause a cyclist to become nearly invisible. While I don'e wear dark clothing, I'm aware of this and if entering shade, I cast a look behind to see if a car is approaching.

The previous is only one aspect of paying attention. Actually, when riding I actively work at clearing my mind of stray thoughts in order to rermain hyper alert. Last winter a club member, while on holiday in Florida, was riding on a section of road that had a shoulder. Abruptly, the shoulder ended and her front wheel dropped down into soft sand. She lost control of the bike and fell in front of a motor vehicle and died. My question about this incident is, could she have been more alert and anticipated the shoulder could end resulting in lost of bike control. We will never know but I try to ride with this level of alertness.

In aircraft pilot training, from the very first flying lesson, safety is stressed beginning with an exterior check of the plane, kicking the tires so to speak to see if anyone has been messing with it. Once the engine is started, there is a methodical process to check all systems and the pilot has worked out a flight plan. I don't think something like this is likely to happen in the cycling world. I don't know how to teach safety. I only know how to improve my own chances.
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Old 01-25-19, 03:04 PM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by Paul Barnard View Post
As much as I have read about the usefulness of mirrors, I keep telling myself I am going to get one. I just never have gotten around to it. That will end up being one of the ways A&S has changed my behavior.
I tell you what, I get so used to using my mirror that once I was walking my kids to the park, and before crossing the street I looked up and to the left to see if there was anyone behind us. Took me half a second to remember that we were on foot and I didn't have my helmet with mirror on.

But a mirror is something I had to have. I have a hard time hearing vehicles coming up behind me, so a mirror is a must. Plus it's a lot easier to move my eyes up than turn my head completely around to see if anyone's behind me before making a left turn. Once you get used to using a mirror you'll feel lost without one.
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Old 01-25-19, 03:10 PM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by berner View Post
Last winter a club member, while on holiday in Florida, was riding on a section of road that had a shoulder. Abruptly, the shoulder ended and her front wheel dropped down into soft sand. She lost control of the bike and fell in front of a motor vehicle and died. My question about this incident is, could she have been more alert and anticipated the shoulder could end resulting in lost of bike control. We will never know but I try to ride with this level of alertness.
I hate to speak ill of the dead ... but absolutely a rider has to look ahead. Bike lanes end, shoulders end, debris falls across the road ... It could have been a piece of wood, or a sand bar left after a rain storm, a branch, or a pot hole ... or a shoulder or a bike lane ending. Very sad, but riders have to be heads-up.

Originally Posted by berner View Post
In aircraft pilot training, from the very first flying lesson, safety is stressed beginning with an exterior check of the plane, kicking the tires so to speak to see if anyone has been messing with it.
Guy I toured with taught this. Shake the bike, bounce it, rattle it, squeeze the brakes ... I have found a loose BB, loose brake mount, a loose headset .... a bunch of loose stuff, plus soft tires and just problems in general. it takes a few seconds and as for benefits .... I'd rather tighten a brake bolt before a ride than have the front brake rip off while riding.
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Old 01-25-19, 05:46 PM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
. It could have been a piece of wood, or a sand bar left after a rain storm, a branch, or a pot hole ... or a shoulder or a bike lane ending. Very sad, but riders have to be heads-up.
It's amazing how quickly a branch can jump out in front of you when you aren't paying attention.
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Old 01-25-19, 06:11 PM
  #25  
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Absolutely A&S has had a profound influence over my cycling. Here are some things that I've learned over the years, both through my own experience, which I have shared here, and from others on A&S, off the top of my head.

*360 awareness at all times; a helmet-mounted mirror makes this possible.
*visibility at all hours--lights, high-vis, light+movement.
*better to error on the side of caution
*use of camera, front and rear; doesn't prevent you from being hit, but helps with investigation after the fact

This is why I think a forum like this is valuable for cyclists.
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