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 seriously considering giving it up

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Stephen Lindsay
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PostSubject: seriously considering giving it up    seriously considering giving it up  Icon_minitime1Tue Oct 03, 2023 2:26 pm

Some of you may remember when an enraged car driver tried to use his car as a weapon to intimidate me some months back. Today was a closer shave.

I'm on a three lanes on each side main road coming up to a major set of traffic lights some 50 yards ahead. Behind me is a massive truck, we are both beginning to slow down for the lights.

A woman driving a white Mercedes comes out from behind the truck and undertakes him, however, she doesn't see me (the truck isn't following too closely so she must have been looking elsewhere) and comes merging from behind into my lane. First I know of it is the sound of her car and a micro second later feeling her bumper just touch my left riding boot. She has managed to brake in the nick of time. Just. Just.

The lights change and she drives alongside me leaning out the window saying 'are you ok? I'm really sorry' I shake my head.

At the next lights she says 'I'm sorry I didn't see you' I reply, 'that was extremely scary. how could you not have seen me? do you not look in front of you when you're driving?'

calmly. politely.

she replies 'you weren't in front of me. I came from the side. I was behind the truck.

I go 'yes, you were behind the truck which was behind me, which means I was in front of you.'

She 'no no no I came from the side.'

At this point the lights change and she drives to the next lights.

I pull up along side her to continue the conversation, but she rolls up the window and says 'fuck off' and then turns up her music really loud.

I turn around to look at the truck driver, who is shaking his head, motioning that he has written down her licence plate number. We motion to each other and agree to pull over.

Lovely guy. He tells me that I was extremely lucky, he was watching it in real time and he beeped at her and thought that she was going to kill me until the last second when she emergency braked.

He also told me he has cctv from the front of his van and invited me to get in touch with his company to ask them for the footage.

Ok. here's the thing. I'm 43. I've been riding for 20+ years. My riding has only improved in all that time, but in the last year I have been involved in some nasty near misses. In my previous 20 years I have never ever come close to a collision with another vehicle. Some element must have changed.

I believe that it is car drivers on their highly addictive/habit forming smartphones that has changed and I'm no longer confident that the meagre level of safety that I have known in the past 19 years still applies. I think drivers are far far far worse than they ever have been.

I am very close to giving up using the motorbike (and the bicycle) in or into/out of the city permanently. Unfortunately, I have friends I like to visit who live 35 mins out of town by bike, which tends to take between 50-75 minutes in a car due to the near constant traffic jams. I also have sports competitions I compete in that are often within an hour of London, trying to get to those on 4 wheels would be torture!!!. The idea of driving a car to get around the city seems crazy too.

Ahhhhh I dunno. Bikes are just such a huge part of the fabric of my life.

Thoughts welcome

apologies if this post is oversharing in any way, feels like a momentous decision is being thrust upon me.

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PostSubject: Re: seriously considering giving it up    seriously considering giving it up  Icon_minitime1Wed Oct 04, 2023 10:20 am

I agree that the confidence I usually have, content that I'm doing all I can, ATGATT etc, and riding blisfully, can be instantaneously abolished by a distracted driver.

Had a similar instance a week ago on a rural route, straight two lane road. Car entering the road from a driveway on my right. I had full view of him for hundreds of yards at least. My high beam was on, in daylight, no other vehicles or obstructions of any sort, and as the driveway terminated at the roads edge, he simply rolled on, transfixed by the screen of his phone, being held by his left hand in the approximate center of the steering wheel. Simply and utterly oblivious that a vehicle may be coming. I laid on the horn, swerved into the empty oncoming lane, while his head snapped and he displayed complete shock at my presence.

Here's the rub, I could have been in my truck and the process would have been identical, only the left swerve may have been more of a narrow squeeze.

If we are to venture out into the modern world, irregardless of mode of transport, we are putting ourselves at risk. I can honestly say, I was in a multicar accident years ago while on my Jackal. Had I been in a cage, it's unlikely I'd have lived. I low sided as a pickup truck did a pirouette above my head. the truck and the car that hit it were undrivable. I was inspected by paramedics, my bike was inspected by state police, and I continued another hundred miles to my destination where I enjoyed the unbroken bottle of Merlot that was in my soft bags....

I determine each time that I'm going to live my life, and NOT employ the antics that driver did. so as to not be the catalyst of catastrophe. Bad things can happen. I'll not live in a closet so as to try to avoid them at any cost.

I totally understand why you're reconsidering. It's a worthy process. I hope you decide to keep riding in some capacity. Joy is fleeting. Get it while, when and where you can.

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kindoy2
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PostSubject: Re: seriously considering giving it up    seriously considering giving it up  Icon_minitime1Wed Oct 04, 2023 2:11 pm

I've had several near death , not caused by me , accidents  on bikes and in cars in my 55 years riding..but I love riding and driving So don't want to live life avoiding doing the things I love because of other peoples fck up's....life can be short for many reasons.....
My most memorable was when I was 17 yrs old I was  in Chicago on my Norton Commando sitting alone in the middle lane at a stop light waiting for the light to turn green, The last thing I remembered while sitting on the bike was I looked in my rear view mirror and saw a City Garbage truck coming up in my lane behind me fast..He hit me hard from behind and launched me into the air off the bike ,The next thing I remember I was laying on my back in the street in the driveway of a Gas Station across the intersection with a crowd of people circled around me and  ambulance driver's loading me on a stretcher...I spent some time in the hospital..I broke a few bones...but life goes on....I was/am just happy to be here and enjoy the things I love to do...living life to the fullest..riding my bike.

By the way..I spent over 15 years owning and maintaining my own trucks as a Long Haul Trucker delivering High Dollar Racing Yachts from California to Key West,Fla. Miami,Fla. Marthas Vineyard, Boston, etc...etc. I did over 2 million miles over the road...I have seen some of the Craziest things done by drivers of cars you could ever imagine and rescued some idiot drivers who didn't deserve to be rescued out of wrecks THEY caused more than once..these types of things happen every day to innocent people just driving to work in their volkswagon in the morning..its not only us riders.

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Tim Henry
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PostSubject: Re: seriously considering giving it up    seriously considering giving it up  Icon_minitime1Thu Oct 05, 2023 3:13 am

Drunk drivers , Stoned drivers ,cell phone distracted drivers , people eating while driving, plus plain old dumbass drivers , vision impared drivers and my pet peeve ( pun intended) Idiots with their little dogs sitting on lap head out drivers window. It's a Clown world.

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voulga77
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PostSubject: Re: seriously considering giving it up    seriously considering giving it up  Icon_minitime1Thu Oct 05, 2023 4:58 am

Basques are hard to kill! Don't give up
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Lazlokovacs
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PostSubject: Re: seriously considering giving it up    seriously considering giving it up  Icon_minitime1Thu Oct 05, 2023 7:48 am

thanks for the perspective... I'll keep riding back in the basque country no question.... But half of my life is in London and I'm thinking the equation is just becoming too dangerous, which is truly sad. I'll let you know how it pans out.

It's cell phones and the big screens in the cars. Also, a lot of delivery moped riders just ride along permanently looking at their phones too. so it's not just the cagers.
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kidsmoke
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PostSubject: Re: seriously considering giving it up    seriously considering giving it up  Icon_minitime1Thu Oct 05, 2023 8:12 am

In the last few weeks there's been a lot of discussion in my crew regarding the comms units we can put in our helmets. I've been against it, personally, while I can see the occasional utility...in my mind it goes hand in glove with this conversation. Makes us a greater part of the problem, to a degree. Having said that I DO keep my smartphone on my 'dash' on a quadlock for GPS duty on the occasions I'm on foreign roads. no sound, so I need to think to look, nothing is screaming for my attention. At this point, that's as far down the path as I'm willing to go.


If I had the luxury of serious miles in the Basque region on my calendar periodically, I think, like you, I'd be willing to consider urban restriction.
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McCarthy1983
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PostSubject: Re: seriously considering giving it up    seriously considering giving it up  Icon_minitime1Fri Oct 06, 2023 9:42 am

The standard of driving in the UK has definitely diminished in recent years. And particularly after the COVID lockdown. I advocate that all new drivers should do the CBT as part of their driving test, to give a sense of the vulnerability you feel.

Its a real shame, as I really want to commute into central London on the bike during the spring/summer months. But is the payoff between the enjoyment of riding bike and the increase in risk worth it.
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PostSubject: Re: seriously considering giving it up    seriously considering giving it up  Icon_minitime1Sat Oct 07, 2023 3:27 am

Just me..but..COVID, NEW WORLD ORDER, and diminishing respect for life itself is toxic if not fatal. Go by your gut. I don't think society has ever been worse in our own lives as it is right now. Reckless,careless, oblivious driving,and clueless living in general has increased. I almost gave up riding (since 1970) after several close calls medically without the countless stupid crap I did on my own with bikes. But I didn't want to give up..living in order to live. It's personal for all of us. Weigh what you love against WHO you love.

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PostSubject: Re: seriously considering giving it up    seriously considering giving it up  Icon_minitime1Sat Oct 14, 2023 1:41 pm

I totally agree about the negative effect Covid has had on our sanity. Living and riding on Vancouver Island for 20 years has been a godsend up until a few years ago when the population boomed with more retirees , then Covid . There have been many more bike fatalities of late most involving the left hand blind turn. Our roads are congested now with City drivers having just moved here from Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto all used to driving well over the speed limit. And what was what was just mentioned, they have less regard for human life while behind the wheel rushing to get home for cocktail hour before dinner. Now add in the redneck contingent (very prevalent here) driving F150s 25-50km over the speed limit thinking they own the road and lane changing constantly trying to get around old retirees poking along just under the speed limit. It's a shit show.
I'm considering the same thing ! Might be time to hang it up.

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PostSubject: Re: seriously considering giving it up    seriously considering giving it up  Icon_minitime1Sat Oct 14, 2023 4:36 pm

Stephen. This is a pretty serious list that is not anything to critique. I have never been where you live. If you cannot trailer or truck your bike to an enjoyable location the alternatives to what means something to you really depends on you.
I had to sell the family homestead for all the reasons you mentioned; and more. There wasn't a plan. It was jumping off a cliff and took at least a couple of years for the anxiety to clear. Now? I have what I can't describe other than 'peace. If the joy of riding does not exceed the dangers to claim your spot on the road the let it go. Find something else to replace it with. From my first time riding I knew there would also be a last time riding as well. Good. Luck.

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Lazlokovacs
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PostSubject: Re: seriously considering giving it up    seriously considering giving it up  Icon_minitime1Mon Oct 16, 2023 4:48 pm

Really interesting replies, thanks guys.

I guess in one sense I'm in a minority here as I'm really not talking about using the bike for pleasure rides. Since I was 21 I've basically used 2 wheels exclusively for transport in the UK, so if I were to give it up it's not quite like giving up a weekend hobby.

I was actually looking at cars today. I really really don't want to be adding another car to the road in one of the most congested/highest car per person country in the world!!!

It will certainly require a different mindset

One other thing, it's an interesting take to say that covid changed people, but that time period was also the moment when the amount of time people spent compulsively attached to their iphones/androids went up as well. From my observation, I'd say at least 70 per cent of people are looking at their phones while they're driving in the London area. That just wasn't the case 5 years ago. And f they're looking at their phones they ain't looking out for the bikes!!

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Tim Henry
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PostSubject: Re: seriously considering giving it up    seriously considering giving it up  Icon_minitime1Mon Oct 16, 2023 5:16 pm

61 ride daily to work and for recreation no car around 30 yearsthe wife has one butvery rarely am I in it when the younguns started school on went a sidecar, wasn't uncommon to see our family of 4 riding . Our son had a cardboard sign that read "Hang up Doofuss" he flashed even to cops. This lasted till 2016 but by that time only 3 at a time as kids too big. Back in 07 I got hit bad by a left turner on my high mileage Quota got new bike 3 weeks later when the cane wasn't as nessesary I have never even gave a thought about quitting I feel bad about those that don't get back on the horse . My expierience with side cars is it grabs more attention and never remember any cagers invading my space. Also on 2 wheels Hi viz seems to reduce stupid fuckers pissing me off as much but my temper has unleached a few times . Hope fully you can find a solution

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Gootzibird13
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PostSubject: Re: seriously considering giving it up    seriously considering giving it up  Icon_minitime1Tue Oct 17, 2023 12:25 am

I would like to suggest a whole new addition to the scanning of things that possibly come up that can hurt us. For myself, I have a LED headlight that keeps on going. At every signal at intersection and especially vehicles attempting to pull out into traffic. And also for the ones that are just patiently stopped and are in your line of travel. I simply give them a flicker from high to low to gain eye contact if possible. It's kept me alive in south Florida where during season there are motorcycle fatalities on news every other week. Again, just a lightning 🌩⚡ fast flicker or two is a win. And I'm not blinding anyone with my light. But man they gotta see a light not the bike......be safe out there. Hope this helps.

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paulbrice
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PostSubject: Re: seriously considering giving it up    seriously considering giving it up  Icon_minitime1Tue Oct 17, 2023 2:34 am

Not sure that would work in UK - quick flash of lights usually means 'I'm letting you out' !
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Tim Henry
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PostSubject: Re: seriously considering giving it up    seriously considering giving it up  Icon_minitime1Tue Oct 17, 2023 3:27 am

Way back before all this excellent hi viz riding gear I used to wear loud Hawian shirts. At the time I lived in Palm beach area and the Century village crowd and other similar residents were the predominant offenders we called them Blue hairs. My late mother inlaw was such a person 5ft tall and a Buick roadmaster with a pillow on the seat and still hardly able to see over the steering wheel scary stuff. I try my best now to keep best lane position and distance but still there are asshole drivers divebombing in front of me on occation they apparently don't understand what a cusion of distance is. They really piss me off if no signal is used which is a state law I live near a golf course and golfbaĺls are a road hazzard much like rusty lugnuts were in other parts of the world I lived its an attention getter
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Gootzibird13
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PostSubject: Re: seriously considering giving it up    seriously considering giving it up  Icon_minitime1Tue Oct 17, 2023 7:38 am

Yes many things similar. I find that the blue hairs a better predictable just accept the fact that most just don't flat see you. And always leave yourself an out. But it's the younger, road raged, short tempered fuckos that come screaming up behind you outta nowhere that are to numerous to count. I commute to work on bike some days depending on time , weather ect....
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Tim Henry
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PostSubject: Re: seriously considering giving it up    seriously considering giving it up  Icon_minitime1Tue Oct 17, 2023 7:53 am

Going to Daytona at the emd of the week I wonder how many wrecks I'll see this year due to poor riding/drinking its not always the cagers

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Pawel Spoon
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PostSubject: Re: seriously considering giving it up    seriously considering giving it up  Icon_minitime1Tue Oct 17, 2023 10:54 am

the cars are getting fat
on my last 2 hrs ride i had cars 3 times on my lane
twice in the corner, once on a long straight
either they are not capable or they do not care
i also thing it gets worse

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Lazlokovacs
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PostSubject: Re: seriously considering giving it up    seriously considering giving it up  Icon_minitime1Tue Oct 17, 2023 5:09 pm

yes agreed that its not just the cars...

In London at least 50 per cent of the delivery guys on scooters are look at/on their phones all the time WHILE THEY ARE RIDING!!!!

Darwin awards coming right up

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lcjohnny
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PostSubject: Re: seriously considering giving it up    seriously considering giving it up  Icon_minitime1Thu Oct 19, 2023 3:48 pm

Face it we are probably all going to die (Messiahs and vampires excluded)

The point is to do it before dementia and strokes but as late as possible and in an interesting way!

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Tim Henry
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PostSubject: Re: seriously considering giving it up    seriously considering giving it up  Icon_minitime1Thu Oct 19, 2023 8:43 pm

It's going to take a major disability for me to ever stop. But my wife hates when I tell her if I find out I had Alzheimers or terminal cancer I found a solid wall that will stop me at 100mph. It's good to have a plan
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