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Suicidal cyclists

By LSWCHP - 27 June 2011 89

Last week around 6pm I turned left off Clunies Ross St onto Barry Drive. It was dark and damp, with poor visibility and as I turned I almost creamed a cyclist who was pumping his way up the hill while occupying a large part of the left hand lane. He was wearing dark clothing with no reflective gear, and his only illumination was a ridiculous little light that appeared to be dimmer than a cigarette butt. He was almost invisible until he was right inside the arc of my lights. Luckily there was nobody in the lane to my right, so I was able to swerve around him, but it was bloody close. At the time I wondered why he wasn’t travelling on the nearby bike path.

The next night I saw two cyclists entering the Anzac Parade roundabout on Parkes Way at about the same time in heavy traffic. They were also clad in dark clothes with no reflective gear and with ineffective lights on their bikes. One of them was almost hit by a a motorist on the roundabout. I was sure I was going to witness a fatality, but luckily the driver was alert and managed to brake and swerve to avoid the cyclist at the last minute.

After those two frightening experiences in quick succession, I would like to urge ACT cyclists who wish to commit suicide to do so using more conventional and less messy techniques such as a noose, or pills and whiskey. This will be less painful for you, and far less traumatic for those who have to witness the results of your actions and clean up your remains.

On the other hand, if you don’t want to commit suicide by bike on these dark winter nights, then please consider wearing lots of reflective clothing, have powerful and effective front and rear lights and reflectors, keep well to the left on busy roads, and consider riding on bike paths when they are available.

What’s Your opinion?


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89 Responses to
Suicidal cyclists
cobberas63 1:39 pm 27 Jun 11

Gungahlin Al said :

While on the subject of morons, what is with cyclists who flash past other cyclists without the decency of giving the bell a ding? One wobble and pothole dodge and we both go down in a big way. The bell is for general use – not just for pedestrians.

+1

Seems to be particularly the case with roadies. OK so a bell is going to add maybe 50g to your overall weight and – say- 1% drag to your aerodynamics. Nothing wrong with using your on-board “bell” and calling out “on your right” before you pass another cyclist … or pedestrian.

alaninoz 1:33 pm 27 Jun 11

Gungahlin Al said :

While on the subject of morons, what is with cyclists who flash past other cyclists without the decency of giving the bell a ding? One wobble and pothole dodge and we both go down in a big way. The bell is for general use – not just for pedestrians.

Bell? What bell? Doesn’t look good when you think you are Alberto Contador.

borizuka 1:22 pm 27 Jun 11

I am a cyclists, and I use lights and all. Sometimes I also wonder what people are thinking.

Since we use the road, there should be road rules put in place for having proper functioning lights with fines in place when riding at night without them.

Same as you can be fined for not wearing a helmet.

Rollersk8r 1:20 pm 27 Jun 11

As a cyclist my personal favourite is uni students of Fenner Hall using the Northbourne Ave bike lanes at night. Often all black clothing, no lights, helmet dangling on the handlebars, riding about 20kmh slower than a properly equipped cyclist. Bonus points if they’re also lugging shopping bags – and choose to ignore the traffic lights.

Best one was when I experienced all of the above – coming at me the wrong way up Northbourne!

Gungahlin Al 1:05 pm 27 Jun 11

I regularly ride past cyclists who give the rest of us a bad name. Sometimes I will mention that a rear light is near invisible – sometimes ignored, sometimes real dawning.

But for morons with no lights, helmet or anything else – they are clearly putting their fate in the hands of Darwin’s law of evolution – so be it if such types are culled out from the herd.

While on the subject of morons, what is with cyclists who flash past other cyclists without the decency of giving the bell a ding? One wobble and pothole dodge and we both go down in a big way. The bell is for general use – not just for pedestrians.

BlackIce 12:56 pm 27 Jun 11

“At the time I wondered why he wasn’t travelling on the nearby bike path.”

The nearby bike path on the other side of the road only goes halfway up the hill, where it turns into an onroad bike path for cyclists coming down the hill.

To go up Barry drive on that path you have to exit illegally at the Dryandra street turnoff (or exit early and ride up a very dark Nicholson street) before using the underpass to come back onto Barry drive behind CSIRO. Bit of a pain, but a lot safer than that Clunies Ross/Barry Drive corner.

cobberas63 12:32 pm 27 Jun 11

“Keeping well to the left” is also suicidal – it encourages motorists to share lanes with cyclists instead of changing lanes to pass. Worse still on roundabouts.

Classified 11:35 am 27 Jun 11

Suicycle?

Holden Caulfield 11:12 am 27 Jun 11

Grail said :

Of course, this assumes that the cyclist is aware of their invisibility. The paper suggests that many people do not realise how hard it is to see them in the first place…

To be fair, that’s probably inline with the large number of numpty motorists unable to decide when it is appropriate to use lights, especially at dusk and in foggy conditions.

molongloid 11:09 am 27 Jun 11

Holden Caulfield said :

Cyclists with no lights, and often no helmets, are seen daily/nightly in the inner north.

I saw police pull one over in O’Connor a couple of days ago. Black clothes. Black hood. No lights. Madness.

Holden Caulfield 10:52 am 27 Jun 11

At least he had a piss-weak light.

Cyclists with no lights, and often no helmets, are seen daily/nightly in the inner north. I assume elsewhere as well.

I’m happy to share the road and try to do the right thing for cyclists, but riding at night with day-glo black clothing no lights is just taking the piss.

Jivrashia 10:25 am 27 Jun 11

his only illumination was a ridiculous little light that appeared to be dimmer than a cigarette butt.

niftydog said :

I’ve noticed a lot of very dim lights too

You guys are luck that there are at least some dim lights. I have to deal with DIM-WITS on Northbourne who have NO LIGHTS. They are virtually invisible against the backdrop of headlights from motor vehicles if you are paused at the exit of a driveway wanting to enter traffic. The only reason they were visible was by the reflection of streetlights off the shiny metallic parts on their bikes.

There will be a time when I (or another motorist) will completely fail to see these DIM-WITS, and someone is going to get hurt real bad.

Grail 10:21 am 27 Jun 11

The simplest thing that cyclists can do to improve their visibility is add a reflective tape band to their leg. The Cyclist visibility at night: Perceptions of visibility do not necessarily match reality study published through Australian College of Road Safety indicates that a reflective vest provides a 50% confidence level of identification of a cyclist, adding the tape to a moving body part increases that to 90%.

Of course, this assumes that the cyclist is aware of their invisibility. The paper suggests that many people do not realise how hard it is to see them in the first place. I guess that’s a measured way of stating that many people suffer under the illusion, “it won’t happen to me.”

KB1971 9:44 am 27 Jun 11

I agree with you LSWCHP, be visible people. My rear light on my roadie is that bright you cannot look into it & it has a flash that is inconsistent to attract attention. Same with my front lights, I have one on my helmet & one on the bars. I dont care if pedestrians abuse me because they are bright, it beats running into them………

I also have reflectors all over & on bits that move to attract attention.

The bright rear lights are a different story on the MTB though (off road), nothing worse than following your mate & being blinded by the light.

niftydog 9:22 am 27 Jun 11

…his only illumination was a ridiculous little light that appeared to be dimmer than a cigarette butt.

I’ve noticed a lot of very dim lights too – and it’s just as annoying and dangerous to other cyclists. Just because the light glows doesn’t mean it’s working effectively, folks – check your batteries!

At the time I wondered why he wasn’t travelling on the nearby bike path.

Probably because that bike path is useless if you wish to reach Belconnen Way; it dumps you out onto the wrong side of the road a few hundred metres up Barry Drive. It’s really only intended for city-bound traffic.

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