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SteveFord

A Cautionary Tale

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...All my young friends in the heart of the city ride bicycles. They all know kids who have died doing so....

When I landed my first full-time job as a snapper's assistant here in London I used to cycle to work. Partly because I enjoyed it; partly because the 150 miles per week commute was good training but mostly because it saved me £9.50 (around $13) a week by not having to buy a public transport 'travelcard'. After 18 months of seeing probably an average of 2 - 3 accidents per week, of varying degrees of severity, involving cyclists I decided that my life was probably worth the money in the long run.

 

I've never cycled in to the heart of London in the ensuing 28 years.

 

Pip.

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I wear a helmet even when I ride a bike WITHOUT a motor.

 

Once you've seen someone dead in the street, from riding a fking bicycle...

 

I'm not scared of death, but I really don't want to wake up on morphine hearing "the good news is you're alive. The bad is you'll never have use of your left arm again".

 

Wear seatbelts, earplugs, rubbers and helmets, kids.. The risk/benefit ratio... Not worth it.

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There is a 'despatch rider' culture in large towns and cities....

 

Young and not so young men and women delivering fast food, legal documents, medical supplies and almost anything else on bicycles, mopeds, scooters and motorcycles of all sizes...

 

Short haul and long haul....

 

Being out in all weathers is a major hazard : urban roads in particular become very slippery with oil and rubber deposits when it rains....and worse if icy and untreated....

 

Some despatch riders are students looking for extra money....some more or less desperate for a wage....others wouldn't wish to do anything else....

Ridden miles anything up to 50,000+ a year.....:blink:

 

Many riders have experience of and expect to crash.....sometimes 2-3 times a year.....

 

A case reported some years ago of a despatch rider delivering surgical needles.....his shoulder bag came undone on the motorway and needles were deposited on the road, causing multiple punctures for following drivers....who were very, very annoyed....

 

The poor rider was prosecuted and given a custodial sentence for 'extreme carelessness'.....

 

V

 

:-({|=

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Yeah, bikes are for young lucky people. Most of my biker friends are dead now. The lucky one died right away. Two others suffered really badly with painful permanent injuries and died from miserable complications years later. [crying]

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I've ridden nearly a million miles, I'm still here and am going out for a ride in about 10 minutes.

I posted that little "get off my foot, you stupid thing" story to remind people that the four wheeled menace lurks everywhere, even at the foot of your driveway.

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i'll be getting another motorcycle eventually. i have other stuff i need first, but it's definitely a priority in my life. risk management is what it's all about. you do your best, and hope everything turns out ok. there is nothing good in life that comes without risk. riding a motorcycle is among the best of those

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Yes Steve, I'm glad your ok as things could have turned out worse. Here today I'm seeing so many car drivers that have no respect for the law. They speed 10-20 mph over the speed limit, I see people running red lights all the time like the red light doesn't apply to them. Stop signs mean nothing to some folks. There's so much road rage now and I see most of it coming from girls and younger aged kids.

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Guest Farnsbarns

I wear a helmet even when I ride a bike WITHOUT a motor.

 

Once you've seen someone dead in the street, from riding a fking bicycle...

 

I'm not scared of death, but I really don't want to wake up on morphine hearing "the good news is you're alive. The bad is you'll never have use of your left arm again".

 

Wear seatbelts, earplugs, rubbers and helmets, kids.. The risk/benefit ratio... Not worth it.

 

Good, it's a legal requirement here although many ignore it.

 

Do yourself a favour and don't attach a go pro to the top of the helmet which has become a bit of a trend here. I know of 2 cyclists killed by their go pro bracketry being pushed through their skulls.

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I never wore a helmet except for 2006 to 2010 when I had (actually still own) a very nice Arai helmet. Up until that point I couldn't find a helmet that fit. I'm not making an excuse; I tried helmet after helmet and in order to find one that didn't mash my forehead, I had to get one so large that it flopped from side to side. The more money I threw at it, the closer I got, but I never found one that I could wear for more than 5 minutes without pulling over to the side of the road and yanking it off. Then I got the Arai and couldn't believe something actually FIT and was comfortable.

 

Then I sold the 1974 Honda CB360 and bought the Sportster and since then I've been too cool to wear a helmet.

 

Yeah, I know...

 

Doesn't matter, here it is July 10th and the Harley is still put away in the shed. I should just sell it but I figure 'it's there if I want it'. I should put a new battery in and get it serviced, since I'm keeping it insured and registered.

 

Other safety notes, in 1992 I bought a 1982 Subaru GL wagon. To this day I have no idea why, but when I drove it home I snapped the seat belt on (never wore them before) and within a few days I was hooked. Since then, I wouldn't dream of being in a car without buckling up. In 1995 seat belts became the law in Maine. People complained a lot but for me, it was just another day.

 

Having said that...

 

My '57 Chevy has no seat belts. I bought some for it (50s turquoise even!) but I only installed them in the back so my stepdaughter could ride with us. Never did put them in the front. It's registered as an antique so seat belts are not required if it didn't have them as factory equipment. Funny thing about these big old American cars. Seat belt or no, if I collide with your 2014 sedan head-on in town, 20-30 mph, I will drive home afterwards while your car will be towed, with bits of plastic scattered all over the intersection. If we collide head-on at 60 mph, you will open your door and get out. I will have a white sheet over me.

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I've been kinda staying away from this thread because it's a painful subject for me. My older brother died in a motorcycle accident almost 4 years ago and since then I cant help but resent the things.

 

I don't want to tell you guys what to do or bum you out, but I would never get on a motorcycle around other motorists after what I have experienced.

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I owned nothing but a bike for a whole year in 1985. I definitely got it out of my system. Riding every day is different than riding when the weather is nice and traffic is light. I rode to work in 18 degree winter mornings and in 90 degree afternoon thunderstorms. People WILL pull out in front of you because they do not see you. It is not an "IF" it is a "WHEN". Fortunately the only wreck I had was minor. I looked up and a car was stopped in front of me. I hit the brakes - then hit the bumper of the car. I bounced off sideways, picked the bike up, and carried on. I was lucky.

 

In a perfect world, bikes would be awesome. In a world with lots of idiots in 4000 pound vehicles, it's a crap shoot.

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