Bicycle Safety

Jan 14, 2007
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japanichiban.com
#1
2 weeks ago a guy in our club fainted and crashed while doing our morning training ride.
We don't know exactly what happened and neither does he. He was unconcious for over 24 hours. The guy riding behind him said his front wheel started wobbling like he was falling asleep at the wheel yet he was still ridng fast enough to hit the guy's back wheel in front of him.

As a result, our club didn't have the usual Sunday morning warm-up and shinkansen like sprint along the Edo river last week. We had a 2 hour talk about the accident and ways of improving safety all round instead.

Our club has grown a lot and we have experts and beginners. We divvy them up and ride in small groups of 4 to 6 accordingly, but we realised the experts have to start taking on more responsibility in helping the newbies.

We are making a manual on safety, hand signals, and a few other things to help us all stay alive on the bike without upsetting pedestrians, drivers and other people that use the roads and cycling paths.

I've come off my bike twice at 40+kph and luckily was able to walk away without trips to the hospital.

I can be lazy when leading a group of riders too and even when my wife is following me while riding together I don't always afford her (a lot of the time )the calls and hand signals that I'd be expected to do within our club rides.

Since our meeting last week I've been extra careful. Pointing out obstructions to my wife following cloesly behind. Obstructions that she knows like the back of her hand anyway.

It's vital that when riding you take into account the rider at the end of the group. If you are leading or have riders behind you, you need to always think to yourself... for example...
can the person at the end of this line get past this obstruction before that person with the dog over takes the old couple up ahead? Can we all get through this traffic light or should I just stop and wait?

Should we ride at the speed of our weakest rider or make them suffer?

Should we let that guy ride in our group even though he forgot or doesn't like helmets?

Should we get angry at our frineds when they ride foolishly, risking their safety as well as the safety of the group's?

Our club has decided to ride a bit slower on Sunday mornings, get a rhythm back, help the newbies, make sure we are all riding safely and not push ourselves too hard just to try and fit in with the speedsters.

The speedsters will of course ignore the restrictions and ride fast after training or form smaller groups and go to different places. That's ok. At least the beginners won't get in their way.


4 years of Sunday morning sprints and this is the first real problem we've had to deal with. We've had a few falls and I think a guy broke his thumb, but apart from that, this was the biggest scare. The guy was close to death. In a coma.
I wasn't there that day, so didn't see how it was handled. I'd like to know if the ambulance got their quickly and whether anybody had the brains to check breathing, pulse etc...

Do any of you guys know first aid? Where the nearest hospitals are? :warau:

Rant over but I think it's worth talking about.

Cyclists dying can take the fun out of our lifestyles....
 
Jan 14, 2007
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#2
Be careful....


Cyclist, 80, killed by truck after tour

NAGANO (Kyodo) An 80-year-old man from Nagano Prefecture died Monday after being hit by a truck on the very day he was due to return from an almost 14-month cycling tour of Japan.

Kamesaburo Harano, who lived in the village of Ogawa, was hit from behind at around 1:50 p.m. in Otari village while in a tunnel, police said.

Harano began his nationwide tour from Nagano in late April 2006. It is believed he was just about to return when he was hit by the truck.
 

Sora

Basho's companion
Nov 2, 2005
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#3
Be careful....


Cyclist, 80, killed by truck after tour

NAGANO (Kyodo) An 80-year-old man from Nagano Prefecture died Monday after being hit by a truck on the very day he was due to return from an almost 14-month cycling tour of Japan.

Kamesaburo Harano, who lived in the village of Ogawa, was hit from behind at around 1:50 p.m. in Otari village while in a tunnel, police said.

Harano began his nationwide tour from Nagano in late April 2006. It is believed he was just about to return when he was hit by the truck.
Hi Peter-san,

I also saw the very sad news.:eek:uch: Again, I think, I must be careful....

新聞等で報道されていますが、自転車で日本一周をしていた80歳の男性がゴール直前(自宅まであと40km)の長野のトンネル内でトラックにはねられて亡くなられたそうです。非常に不幸な出来事としかいいようがありませんが、みなさんもくれぐれも気をつけてくださいね。私も気をつけます。トンネルは特に危険ですし・・・。
 

nobu☆

Speeding Up
Aug 5, 2006
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Shibamata
#4
Hi Peter-san,

I also saw the very sad news.:eek:uch: Again, I think, I must be careful....

新聞等で報道されていますが、自転車で日本一周をしていた80歳の男性がゴール直前(自宅まであと40km)の長野のトンネル内でトラックにはねられて亡くなられたそうです。非常に不幸な出来事としていいようがありませんが、みなさんもくれぐれも気をつけてくださいね。私も気をつけます。トンネルは特に危険ですし・・・。
私も昨日ニュースで知って、とってもとっても切なくなりました。
今までも何回かトラックには、恐怖心を感じたことがあります。
無理をしないで、安全第一でこれからも自転車に乗りたいとおもいます。
                      最後に ご冥福をお祈りします。
 
Jan 14, 2007
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#5
One of our fastest riders, an 18 year old high schooler had the most horrible experience.... Watching 2 of his training partners were killed while training on their keirin bikes....

http://meta.cdn.yahoo-streaming.jp/cgi-bin/yahoo/news.asx?cid=20070719-00000038-jnn-soci-movie-001&media=wm300k

http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/videonews/jnn/20070719/20070719-00000038-jnn-soci.html

高校の自転車部員2人死亡、車に衝突

 自転車でインターハイにも出ていた千葉県の高校生2人が、一般道で部活の練習中、駐車していた乗用車に突っ込み、死亡しました。

 死亡したのは県立京葉工業高校3年で自転車部の須藤哲也さん(17)と高橋匠さん(18)です。

 調べによりますと、2人は別の部員とともに、午後1時50分ごろ、部活動の練習のため片側3車線の道路を4人縦一列で走っていたところ、停めてあった乗用車に突っ込んだということです。

 2人は3時間後、運ばれた病院で死亡、その後ろを走っていた2人の部員は、車を間一髪で避け、無事でした。

 須藤さんと高橋さんは、2人ともインターハイに出場したこともある選手で、時々、この道路で練習していて、時速6、70キロ出すこともあったということです。

 警察は、駐車禁止の場所に乗用車を停めていた31歳の男性について、自動車運転過失致死の疑いで書類送検する方針です。(19日18:00)
:cry:


The car was parked on a road where cars are not supposed to even stop. He's facing possible manslaughter charges. I am not 100% sure but I think he may have stopped/parked suddenly giving the riders no time to slow down or even veer around.
 

astroman

Speeding Up
Mar 19, 2007
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Shirokanedai, Tokyo
#6
Terrible news this, my wife already mentioned it to me this morning. She worries about me being out on the road when I am training enough as it is. They must have been flying when they hit the car. Were they wearing helmets? My guess is that the driver stopped suddenly without looking behind, as I have seen many taxi drivers and others do here.

Found this in English-
http://mdn.mainichi-msn.co.jp/national/news/20070720p2a00m0na009000c.html

Very sad for the families and for your team member.

Keren
 

WhiteGiant

Maximum Pace
Nov 4, 2006
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#7
Terrible news!

The big issue for the police though, is to determine:
1. Whether the car went past them first, and then suddenly stopped - in which case, it is completely "driver negligence." OR...
2. Had the guy been parked there for a while - in which case some of the blame can be put on the riders - ie. never ride faster than you can see ahead.

My guess is that the car stopped suddenly (which may not be the case). But I believe that cyclists are actually more conscious and aware of what's ahead of them than most drivers are.

In defense of the driver, there may have been extenuating circumstances that caused the driver to have to pull over suddenly.

Either way, it's just a reminder to be on the watch for EVERYTHING!

Still, terrible news:eek:uch:
Travis
 

Ash

Warming-Up
Apr 23, 2006
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shakujiidai, nerima ku, tokyo
#9
so sad...

Thats very sad indeed.

I agree with Travis, it is up to us to look where we are going at all times, but even that said, no one can be perfect all the time. So sad this news. It always really gets to me when a cyclist comes to grief like this, but that is speaking for all of us.

I do agree with you, pete regarding your club member, that clubs (ours included) have a responsibility to look after the newbies and to maximise their experience of cycling, as much to encourage them as to promote the primary aim of keeping them safe. Nothing really is more important than the latter though.

thanks for your posts

Ash
 

Tadashi

Warming-Up
Jun 18, 2007
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#10
Keirin bikes, huh? Did they have brakes? It's very hard to stop it without brakes, when the gear is high. That's why I train on my keirin bike with a front brake, I don't really use it, I just resist the pedals, but when some idiot just takes the whole lane without any notice it saves my ass. It's Tokyo after all, the traffic is crazy.

Helmet is of no importance, if you smash into the car at 60 km/h (or even at 40 km/h) you'll just suffer multiple terrific wounds and die quickly. I'd still wear one if it's cool looking. It's good to wear a white, light helmet in the summer, it helps your head to stay cool.
 
Jan 14, 2007
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#11
I could see brakes in the video clip.
My wife's view on what happened based on what she read on our club's BBS is that the kids were just going too fast and may have had their heads down and didn't even see the car.
Hard to understand that, as it's a long straight, flat road and there were 4 riders in the group. The 2 or 3 riders behind may have just been folllowing the wheel in front.

Our club has a strict policy that the leader takes the responsibility for every rider behind him and that his/her eyes are the eyes for every rider behind them.
If you turn up for a ride in our club with no helmet you can't ride.

The 2 riders that died were not in our club. The school they go to has a very strong cycling club. 2 of our riders go to that school. (I used to provide that school with its English teachers too).

The car may have just been parked illegally as Travis suggested with no intent or awareness of the possible dangers.

Our club has been putting together a safety rule book for our club over the last month and I will post a copy here if I can. We have appointed captains whose responsibility is to help newbies learn the rules before they can ride in our faster groups. We have some very fast riders who are actually beginners and although they are very fast they are also very dangerous. They have to be patient.
 

Ash

Warming-Up
Apr 23, 2006
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shakujiidai, nerima ku, tokyo
#12
Tadashi, while I respect greatly your wish to die while looking cool, you may be unneccessarily hastening the end of your fashionable little trist on this quickly spinning orb.

90% of deaths on bicycles are the result of head accidents. I leave it to you therefore to decide if a helmet might have something to do with mitigating this. For the rest of you with less interest in lying in state in your lycra, I would STRONGLY RECOMMEND wearing a helmet.

Reading pete's mail, who knows what happened but what your wife suggested sounds more than a possibility. When I look at my 3 year old, he does so many dangerous things I sometimes wonder if he is ever going to see 4. A teenager on a roadbike though... I remember what I was like. I still have a rather nicely spaced set of scars on the back of my calf from where the top ring etched itself into my leg when I was going down a 15% hill with my arms crossed in front of me...

ride long, live strong

Ash
 

Tadashi

Warming-Up
Jun 18, 2007
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#13
No helmet wars please. If I will ride with you, I'll wear a helmet if that's a rule. But when I'm alone nobody can make me wear one ALWAYS. Riding a bike is dangerous in the first place. Be careful or die. Helmet is no panacea.

As for road bikes. The guys were riding KEIRIN bikes. Those are TRACK bikes. Steep geometry, fixed gear, no multiple gears, no brakes (usually). It takes some experience to be able to ride one, and usually this experience brings safety (as in my case). When the speed is amazing, you just know that you may die instantly if you're careless (as they did).
 

WhiteGiant

Maximum Pace
Nov 4, 2006
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#14
Ask Fabio Casartelli!

No helmet wars please. If I will ride with you, I'll wear a helmet if that's a rule. But when I'm alone nobody can make me wear one ALWAYS. Riding a bike is dangerous in the first place. Be careful or die. Helmet is no panacea.
Fabio Casartelli was a world-class rider, and Olympic Gold-medalist.
He died in the 1995 Tour de France, coming down a mountain at over 70km/h, crashed, hit his head on one of the cement blocks on the side of the road, and died on the way to hospital.

I also have friends who have crashed:

1. On the Arakawa cycling-road of all places. No cars whatsoever, and no traffic-lights - My friend was checking behind him before changing his "line", while at the same time adjusting his hand position on the bars... just when he hit a bump in the asphalt - it was enough to throw his hand off the handle-bars, and he went down hard at about 32km/h.
He told me later, that his helmet hit the ground with "considerable force" - ie. really f***ing hard!
No matter how strong his neck & shoulder muscles were, he would have split his head open if not for the helmet.

2. A different friend on a different ride - coming down from Imagawa-toge at over 40km/h, his front tyre completely blew-out, slid on the rim, and he went down, breaking his finger in process. He needed an ambulance to bring him down from off the mountain...
His helmet was "CRACKED OPEN LIKE AN EGG-SHELL"!

>Tadashi: You can keep your "no-helmet" mentality for the meantime, but I guarantee that after your first (hopefully non-fatal) crash, your head WILL hit something, and you will change your mind about helmets very quickly.
Besides, helmets DO look pretty cool!
And not wearing one makes you look like an IDIOT or SUICIDAL FOOL!!!

T
 

Tadashi

Warming-Up
Jun 18, 2007
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#15
I know Fabio Casartelli's story. I forgot the name, but I've heard about it. That case was the reason UCI made helmets compulsory for races. Still, many racers didn't like the decision.

I had a light concussion of the brain and some other small injuries when I was a real rookie. Because of that brain concussion I bought a helmet. When I got good with riding fast and hard on the road I felt that I don't need it anymore (the foam kinda doesn't make me feel safe at 50 km/s, I don't ride a hybrid anymore). That doesn't mean I won't wear it. I may wear it, but I don't feel "naked" on the road with out it, nor do I feel "suicidal".

Anyway, is this a topic for helmets? I'm sorry that I mentioned it.

Take care.
 

trad

Maximum Pace
Dec 4, 2006
393
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Tokyo
#16
personal note

There's a lot of choices we make. My familiy thinks I'm pretty careless to ride a bike out in the streets and mtn bike...but I do. On the point of safety, my choice is to wear a helmet.

3 years ago, I got rear ended by a car doing 60-70 kph when I was stopped at a red light, and flung 15 meters into oncoming traffic. In the end, the helmet saved the noggin (and more). The helmet cracked through in 14 places, but maintained its shape and kept protecting.

Because I was stopped, I'm not sure I can call it a biking accident, but I'm sure glad the sucker was on my head when it happened. :warau:
 

Ash

Warming-Up
Apr 23, 2006
686
1
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shakujiidai, nerima ku, tokyo
#17
I think a thread called 'bicycle safety' is definitely a place to discuss helmets :D

Anyway, I know this area has its proponents on both side, but I think Trad has a good point. As my old Dad (Sydney's worst motorist) always said when he was teaching me to drive (usually while reading the paper) 'its not so much you that you have to look out for, it's the other f('&'#$$.'

Point being you may well be Lance Armstrong when it comes to descending hills at over 100kph, but that makes no bloody difference when you get hit by a car, or when something else happens you cannot control (doors, parked cars, loose gravel, potholes etc...)

Its no point saying ' I am a super cyclist, I don't need a helmet.' Unless you are God or Paris Hilton, the world will not always do what you want it to...
 
Jan 14, 2007
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japanichiban.com
#18
I have a helmet trophy. It's split in two and caked in dry blood. I'd be even more brain damaged if I'd not worn my helmet that day.
Was also on a moped scooter riding it unlike I'd ride my bicycle and got hit by a car. Was speared into the air 5 meters landing perpendicular on my head. My spine went into spasms and I was lucky it didn't snap. My helmet saved my brains from painting the tarmac.

I only ever not wear a helmet when I'm riding to the corner store at about 10kph. I'd be arrested in Australia for even being that irresponsible.

These 2 kids that died, died in hospital. I'd say the helmets gave them the chance to get to a hospital rather than instantaneous on impact. There was a small chance of survival because they had helmets on.

I don't judge people who don't wear helmets, they've got the Darwin Awards for that.

:cool:
 

Tadashi

Warming-Up
Jun 18, 2007
30
0
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Tokyo
#19
These 2 kids that died, died in hospital. I'd say the helmets gave them the chance to get to a hospital rather than instantaneous on impact. There was a small chance of survival because they had helmets on.
That's what I'm talking about. In serious crash you'll die. With a helmet or with out one. In this case, I'd prefer the instant death. Don't tell me fairy tails about magic of helmets. Will it protect me on 50 km/h impact? Or 60 km/h? Or much more? It's the damn foam, it can only protect your skin from scratches. Want to be protected? Wear a motorcycle helmet, or what's better don't ride a bicycle at all. It's dangerous.

And most crashes happen on shorter rides, because people are usually careless ('oh, that's just 10 kms, what may happen to me').
 
Jan 14, 2007
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#20
Helmets are designed to explode on impact so that they quickly disperse the impact force in all directions so that your brain doesn't get slammed against your skull. You're right too that excessive speed may make the helmet almost ineffective but that almost may be enough for me to see sunshine again and ride another day.

If you ever have a small crash and use your helmet to save your self you should replace the helmet. If they have a small crack in them their ability to disperse energy is greatly reduced.

I'll take the precaution by wearing a helmet if it gives me a better chance to see my grand children riding bicycles.