Saturday, 13 June 2009

Putting a dent in your head

One thing I forgot about my most recent post - the guys doing the helmet testing told me to tighten my head strap (the one that goes around your temple to the back of your head) - which I did. When I got home, I had a dent in my forehead from where the uncomfortable bloody strap had been jammed into my skin.

That strap is now back on the old setting. Yes, the helmet slid slightly when backwards pressure was placed on it, but if it's too bloody uncomfortable, I won't want to wear it.

The other thing they told me is that from the anecdotal evidence they have collected on bike/car crashes, roundabouts are about the worst place to be on a pushbike. You either get hit from behind by an impatient driver that wants to overtake you in a one lane roundabout (almost happened to me today, thanks to a dickhead in an Audi, who I caught at the next lights), or you get hit from side on by someone that fails to see you - or decides to not give way because you are small and vulnerable, so you slam into the side of their car.

Make that van, or ute. The most common vehicle that fails to give way to me is the tradesman's ute (or van). The most common type of vehicle that tries to overtake me in a roundabout is the black BMW - replaced today by the black Audi. Seriously, given all the wankers driving BMW's these days, can someone tell me why we didn't nuke the Germans as well, just for the heck of it?


kae said...

It's really, really easy not to see cyclists in round-abouts.

I don't know what it is, whether they're small enough to be obscured by the windscreen pillar, but I hit a cyclist on a large roundabout, I just didn't see him. Had I seen him I would most definitely given way.

I won't pass cyclists if I can't see the road ahead is clear and especially if there are double lines. I will slow down and drop back from them.

Although some mornings on the way to work meeting up with them on a 100kph back road was a bit annoying, particularly when I just couldn't see to pass them safely. (I do change lanes almost completely as if I was passing another vehicle.)

Take care, Boy!

Boy on a bike said...

It's funny, the guy who hit me said he never saw me. His passenger did - she was screaming in terror as he took off and T-boned me. A driver on the other side of the intersection, who had worse visibility than he did, saw me. I had my headlight on (and it's a bright sucker) plus hi-vis clothing. It all came down to him looking but not seeing. I think people are accustomed to only seeing what they are used to seeing. If they are not used to seeing cyclists, they just look right through them.

I see the truck driver who hit a train and killed 11 passengers got off yesterday. He had gone across that level crossing 250 times and never seen a train. When one did come along, I suspect he saw it, but it didn't register on his brain in time. He simply wasn't expecting to see it, so he didn't react fast enough.

It's a funny old thing, that brain of ours.

kae said...

I getcha.

I remember reading an item about something (accidents? how observant people are? don't remember). In the article it said that we usually notice something out of the ordinary. For example, if we expect to see something we will only notice if we don't see it.

I drove my car for about a week without a left hand indicator on the front (it was taken out by a roo). One day I made a left turn into a familiar country road. I indicated, but the indicator didn't work (of course). An oncoming driver waiting to turn right into the same street was obviously angry with me because I didn't indicate. He noticed that the car didn't indicate, but didn't notice that the front left hand side including the indicator, was smashed.

One day (before I hit the bloke on the roundabout, it may have been the same week or within a week), I drove through my small country town on the way home from work. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a kid on a pushbike on the footpath in front of the shops on my left, zooming along... very fast, going like the clappers. The road had just been resurfaced and was covered with the gravelly crap that they should sweep up. The speed limit was slower than usual and I was only doing about 20kph. As I reached the pedestrian crossing the kid on the bike flew out in front of me, he hadn't stopped or even slowed down. Fortunately as I was travelling very slowly I was able to stop within about a metre of where he zipped across the crossing. The people in the take away (where he was headed), were horrified and just stood there looking with their mouths agape.

He certainly scared the shit out of me.

Within the week I'd hit the bloke on the roundabout (he was wearing black, and the sun had just come up, I don't know if there was "sun strike" on my window, either.