Coffee Talk Tuesday - Our Safety on the Road, Preception vs. Reality.

Tuesday Coffee Talk is where you the reader gets to participate in the topic completing and enriching the discussion with your opinion and knowledge

Are we safe on the the open road? According to a recent poll we took on 303Cycling on Are our roads more dangerous now than 10 years ago or are incidents being reported more often and the majority believe we are not. Why is that?

First I'll start off with that I am of the minority, I DO believe we are safer than we were 10-ish years ago but that is just my perception The reason is, shoulders. Not mine but the ones on the roadway. Every time I ride on a road that does not have a shoulder and that is rare these days I can't wait to get to the other end. This is why I refuse to ride the popular Carter Lake route. All of the road rage I have experienced in the past 10-15 years have always taken place on shoulder-less roads. Now road rage does not equal safety issue but we are talking about perception vs. reality and for me personally I feel safer on a road that has a shoulder. That is part of the reason why Boulder County has invested so much in shoulders on the roadway because I recall at one point hearing one of the officials saying that adding shoulders is the easiest way to resolve and reduce cyclists vs. car tensions.

Just recently there was accident with a cyclists at Carter Lake on their shoulder-less road. Here it is very possible that a shoulder could have prevented such accident. Then back to the most tense route in Colorado, Deer Creek Canyon, this route does not have shoulders all the way up the canyon, wonder what it might feel like it they did?

But that is just my preception, what about reality.
My memory tells me that the fatalities in the Boulder area has experienced in the past 24 months have been left turn collisions. 2 happened at Hwy 36 and Violet and one at Lefthand and Old stage and one on Valmont. Luckily the more recent sort of left turn accident in Lefthand did not end up in a fatality. All of these happened on roads that have shoulders and it does not appear given the information available that any of these were tension/rage related.

So while those shoulders may give me the sense of safety on the roads they might not. What do you think? I can say personally, safe or not I do not want to return to the days of shoulder-less riding, I did my time on those roads in my early days and never want to return.

I'll finish with a bumper sticker I saw the other day and is what gave me the idea behind this Coffee Talk post, it said, "Perception is Reality". I interpret that as, doesn't matter what is real sometimes, it is your perception that defines your thoughts on reality.

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12 Comments

Road Safety

The roads are less safe because there are simply more cars on the roads these days. Granted, most of them are single occupancy vehicles on a perfect weather day driving less than 10 miles. People in cars are more important and clearly more successful. Us on bikes are just in the way. The marketing and brainwashing of the oil/car industry knows no bounds.
I used to ride and live in Boulder County and it just made me sad to see so many people driving all the time. The weather was perfect almost everyday. Driving to Denver was and exercise in survival and I can't believe there is not a safe route for cyclists connecting those two cities.
I still appreciate the 303 for what they bring to cycling in general (products, racers, etc.).

adopted bike behaviors

To increase safety, awareness, and general good vibes with drivers, I have started to:

-run my lights during the day
-wave thanks to cars that pass safely
-mouth 'thank you' to cars that slow at crosswalks
-look back at the vehicle as it is approaching which puts a face with the bike
-off the road subject for a second; I got a bell (I was so anti-bell, I don't know why, but they are on all my rigs now)
-became pro-active with riding partners, ie. "car back, single up!" Getting the Bustop ride to stop at the stop sign is easy. Be up front when approaching Hygiene then gesture for a stop.....omigod, it worked!

I believe drivers are more aware but there are more of them and the texting scares me. (big sigh) I'm gonna go ride...Thanks for this topic!

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