Friday, 3 January 2014

Losing control

I put this up last year and questions were raised about bikes "losing control

Fifty seven (57) of the recorded bicycle crashes involved a collision between a bicycle and another vehicle, predominantly cars. The most common types of crashes recorded were:
A motor vehicle side swiping a bicycle (12);
A motor vehicle emerging from a driveway or footpath impacting with a bicycle (10);
A bicycle and another vehicle impacting from adjacent directions at intersections (9);
A bicycle and another vehicle impacting from opposite direction (7);
A bicycle colliding with a vehicle door being opened (7); and
A bicycle losing control on a carriageway (4).

I've lost control a few times and crashed off the bike - both occasions required basic medical attention in the form of me walking into a clinic and getting bits of road scrubbed out of my arms and legs, followed by a few weeks of wearing shorts and short sleeved shirts to work whilst the open scabs dried out and healed. Tough Maori nurses, big tubs of undiluted Dettol and harsh scrubbing pads are not a pleasant combination.

The first one happened on a wet day as I crossed a set of tram tracks. It was my first experience of crossing wet tram tracks, and it was unforgettable. Instead of crossing them at a 90 degree angle, I crossed them at around 45 degrees and wasn't sitting bolt upright in the saddle. The front wheel went straight out from underneath me and I splattered on the road in an ungainly heap. There wasn't a car or tram in sight.

The second involved going around a corner and running over a bit of rubbish with the front wheel. Again, the front wheel went out from underneath me, and I slid down a concrete ramp shedding bits of skin along the way. I was on a shared bike/footpath at the time, so there were definitely no cars involved.

I've had plenty of close calls over the years thanks to hitting patches of oil, blowing tyres on broken glass or sliding on loose scree on the road surface. The scree can be in the form of gravel or nuts and stuff dropped by trees. One moment, you're burning down the road, and then you suddenly feel the front or back end move sideways in a little hop or slide. There are corners where I know gravel can often be found, and I take them carefully - I don't want to be leaning over at speed when the front wheel loses traction and goes sideways. I'm not too bothered with a rear wheel slide - I can handle them and am fairly good at recovering from them. However, front wheel slides give me the willies, and I'm amazed I haven't come a cropper more often.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm definitely a more cautious rider than you are. I try to avoid the situations that have caused you grief. As I said, my only time was when my front wheel dropped into a tram track.

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