Yet Another Cycling Forum

General Category => Audax => Topic started by: jsabine on September 25, 2018, 05:48:34 pm

Title: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: jsabine on September 25, 2018, 05:48:34 pm
Again, how would we view car drivers who drive almost non-stop for 3 days? In fact, with cycling it is even worse because the physical nature of the riding adds a huge element to the fatigue. Gross hypocrisy is at play here.

I can't agree that cycling is worse, or that the hypocrisy is gross. After all, that car driver is in charge of a ton of metal that can do a hundred miles an hour - they've got a lot more chance of damaging others than has the cyclist, who in most circumstances will only damage themselves.

To a point I do agree though, that events which lead to sleep deprivation probably can't stand much scrutiny, and there is some risk of knee-jerk regulation if there are many other high(ish) profile incidents.

(I do think this sort of discussion should be split off into its own thread.)
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: Laid Back Rich on September 25, 2018, 05:50:14 pm
How would we feel if there were solo driving events across continents with no enforced sleep breaks, and drivers driving dangerously tired, with the similar risks to driving drunk?

There is a massive difference. We travel at 20-30km/h and weigh around 100kg with the bike, so we endanger only ourselves.  A car driver plus the car together weighs upwards of a ton and travel at vastly faster speeds, therefore when s/he falls asleep at the wheel all other road users are endangered.
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: Hot Flatus on September 25, 2018, 05:55:56 pm
Again, it isn't all about us.

What about the impact on families of the cyclist, or indeed of a driver, or the driver's family?

A drunk pedestrian can ruin somebody's life by falling into a road, a mentally ill person can ruin somebody's life by jumping in front of a train. A Cyclist can ruin somebody's life by running a red light and getting killed.

Our actions as cyclists are not without consequence to others.
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: Exit Stage Left on September 25, 2018, 05:58:37 pm
I'll wait to see what the coroner says.

One of the interesting things about this sort of tracker-based racing is that it acts like a tachograph. So enforced rest breaks could be accommodated within that formula.

I've always quite liked the idea of time-based riding, as opposed to distance. Turning people at intermediate controls so that everyone finishes around the same time.
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: Hot Flatus on September 25, 2018, 06:00:43 pm
Again, how would we view car drivers who drive almost non-stop for 3 days? In fact, with cycling it is even worse because the physical nature of the riding adds a huge element to the fatigue. Gross hypocrisy is at play here.

I can't agree that cycling is worse,
or that the hypocrisy is gross. After all, that car driver is in charge of a ton of metal that can do a hundred miles an hour - they've got a lot more chance of damaging others than has the cyclist, who in most circumstances will only damage themselves.

To a point I do agree though, that events which lead to sleep deprivation probably can't stand much scrutiny, and there is some risk of knee-jerk regulation if there are many other high(ish) profile incidents.

(I do think this sort of discussion should be split off into its own thread.)

You haven't understood. I'm saying the fatigue is worse.

Would you be more tired driving 250 miles, or riding it?
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: EllysH on September 25, 2018, 06:29:24 pm
I fail to see how being more awake would protect any rider from a rear collision.
He may, and if he made a general comment I would agree with him. However,  in Mike's case it is hard to know whether his fatigue contributed to his collision. There is nothing to suggest that he was not riding anywhere other than where he should have been in terms of road position when the collision occured.

The only reported comment regarding Mike's riding was from the lorry driver who said Mike cut across him when Mike was turning (I presume turned right with an oncoming lorry), and that Mike cut it fine.  IIRC one of Mike's final tweets was that he was so tired he was having trouble seeing (or words to that effect)...

Sent from my PLK-L01 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: Hot Flatus on September 25, 2018, 06:30:47 pm
I havent suggested that it would.
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: EllysH on September 25, 2018, 06:34:25 pm
I havent suggested that it would.
You haven't used the words, but you have definitely suggested that not being fatigued would protect riders taking on these races.

Sent from my PLK-L01 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: Hot Flatus on September 25, 2018, 07:17:59 pm
I havent suggested that it would.
You haven't used the words, but you have definitely suggested that not being fatigued would protect riders taking on these races.

Sent from my PLK-L01 using Tapatalk

Nowhere have I used the word 'protect'. Nor have I specified being 'protected' from a 'rear collision'. In fact I've been very careful to make the point about fatigue as a general point, rather than specific to Mike's case.

Can I envisage a situation where a cyclist could make a poor choice of road position due to fatigue, such as riding on the white central line? Yes.

Do I think extreme fatigue can slow a riders reflexes? Yes

Do I think it can impair their vision? Yes

Do I think it can impair their decision making? Yes

Do I think that with the right combination of factors this could lead to an accident that would otherwise not have occured? Yes

Do I know that this is what happened in Mike's case? No.

How do I know that fatigue can affect cycling ability? Because it has happened to me.
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: Exit Stage Left on September 25, 2018, 07:51:12 pm
We've seen an Australian inquest for Audax Australia's Martin Pearson, and a conviction, with a custodial sentence. Martin was described as participating in a race in some accounts, and in a community bike ride at others. The trucker involved was a very odd character, who'd shot his wife and been acquitted.

That was of interest to many on this forum, I'd met him and Sandy a number of times. But it wasn't a news story outside Australia.

I wonder if the coroner might be struck by the imbalance between the interest shown around the world, and the physical conditions of the race on the ground.

Promoters of more structured cycle-racing aren't natural allies for this style of race. There's a more obvious overlap with Audax, but Audax has been through this scenario a number of times, without attracting much attention.

The lesson might be that there's a limit to the amount of profile that Audax is compatible with.
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: Wycombewheeler on September 25, 2018, 08:55:08 pm
Again, how would we view car drivers who drive almost non-stop for 3 days? In fact, with cycling it is even worse because the physical nature of the riding adds a huge element to the fatigue. Gross hypocrisy is at play here.

I can't agree that cycling is worse,
or that the hypocrisy is gross. After all, that car driver is in charge of a ton of metal that can do a hundred miles an hour - they've got a lot more chance of damaging others than has the cyclist, who in most circumstances will only damage themselves.

To a point I do agree though, that events which lead to sleep deprivation probably can't stand much scrutiny, and there is some risk of knee-jerk regulation if there are many other high(ish) profile incidents.

(I do think this sort of discussion should be split off into its own thread.)

You haven't understood. I'm saying the fatigue is worse.

Would you be more tired driving 250 miles, or riding it?
definitely driving.

also the element of physical exertion serves to keep one awake, a cyclist who stops peddling will come to a half fairly quickly, whereas a car may continue to travel for many miles with a sleeping driver if not stopped by hitting something.
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: grams on September 25, 2018, 09:00:48 pm
Depending on conditions, driving can be fair more mentally exhausting than cycling, and having a tired brain is far more dangerous than tired legs.
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: LittleWheelsandBig on September 25, 2018, 09:01:42 pm
Again, it isn't all about us.

What about the impact on families of the cyclist, or indeed of a driver, or the driver's family?

A drunk pedestrian can ruin somebody's life by falling into a road, a mentally ill person can ruin somebody's life by jumping in front of a train. A Cyclist can ruin somebody's life by running a red light and getting killed.

Our actions as cyclists are not without consequence to others.

Fuck that. Check the statistics. Plenty of cyclists getting killed. Few non-cyclists getting their lives 'ruined' by cyclists, but they still have their lives.
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: Hot Flatus on September 25, 2018, 09:07:51 pm
The part of my post you quote was in response to the idea that the behaviour of cyclists is irrelevant and of no consequence because cyclists  rarely kill people.

You have decontextualised it, and are making a different point.

Let's extrapolate. If your point stands in relation to my post then it is fine for people to cycle completely drunk...because cyclists rarely kill people.

Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: Hot Flatus on September 25, 2018, 09:09:07 pm
Again, how would we view car drivers who drive almost non-stop for 3 days? In fact, with cycling it is even worse because the physical nature of the riding adds a huge element to the fatigue. Gross hypocrisy is at play here.

I can't agree that cycling is worse,
or that the hypocrisy is gross. After all, that car driver is in charge of a ton of metal that can do a hundred miles an hour - they've got a lot more chance of damaging others than has the cyclist, who in most circumstances will only damage themselves.

To a point I do agree though, that events which lead to sleep deprivation probably can't stand much scrutiny, and there is some risk of knee-jerk regulation if there are many other high(ish) profile incidents.

(I do think this sort of discussion should be split off into its own thread.)

You haven't understood. I'm saying the fatigue is worse.

Would you be more tired driving 250 miles, or riding it?
definitely driving.

also the element of physical exertion serves to keep one awake, a cyclist who stops peddling will come to a half fairly quickly, whereas a car may continue to travel for many miles with a sleeping driver if not stopped by hitting something.

I have fallen asleep at the wheel once. In over 30 years of driving.

It was on the short drive home after riding a 400k
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: LittleWheelsandBig on September 25, 2018, 09:11:26 pm
Is it fine for people to walk completely drunk?

Are you considering the effect on cyclists' families when a cyclist is killed by a driver?

Don't do the false equivalence thing. It is a shitty move. Tackle the big problems first.
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: Hot Flatus on September 25, 2018, 09:18:36 pm
Is it fine for people to walk completely drunk?

Are you considering the effect on cyclists' families when a cyclist is killed by a driver?

Don't do the false equivalence thing. It is a shitty move. Tackle the big problems first.

You are doing the equivalence thing, not me. I'm flagging up that long-distance races on public roads possibly need a rules change.

There are loads of issues with cycling on public roads, and just because driver behaviour happens to be the biggest issue doesn't mean that other issues cannot be talked about.
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: LittleWheelsandBig on September 25, 2018, 09:28:34 pm
Deal with the problems that kill the most people, then move on to smaller problems. Tired cyclists don't kill the most people on the roads.
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: Hot Flatus on September 25, 2018, 09:30:16 pm
You've said that already. And I've said it is possible to tackle more than one issue at once. It's not zero-sum, you can effect changes to cyclists behaviour without shifting responsibility onto cyclists. Take for example cyclist education to take primary position and ride defensively.

By your argument this education shouldn't be taking place.



Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: SoreTween on September 25, 2018, 10:59:06 pm
Sigh, this started out so well:

As ever, part of the story is about driver expectations. One witness was 'surprised' to see a cyclist on this road at that time.  It is possible that few of the drivers expected to see a cyclist...and therefore they weren't looking for one. Interestingly, several of them say they thought the cyclist was an animal, and the likelihood is that they do not exert the same care driving amongst animals as they a human. After all, there are no legal consequences, nor the same level of emotional consequences for them.  Several of the drivers report almost hitting/hitting Mike.
So far so good (in the post).  For worse or for worse expectations are a factor.

The other side of the coin with regards to these sorts of events are the responsibilities of the cyclists.It is no good siding with all cyclists because we are cyclists.
yep, gotta look in the mirror sometimes.  But then sanity goes off a cliff:

These events are races, and at the top end the winner is not necessarily going to be the rider with the strongest physical characteristics but the rider who had the least sleep.  The elephant in the room is that for those intending to win, these events are a contest of sleep deprivation.
Utter bollocks.  The winner is the person who covers the ground fastest in the time they are not dealing with admin.  Admin includes sleeping, eating, mechanicals etc etc.

How would we feel if there were solo driving events across continents with no enforced sleep breaks, and drivers driving dangerously tired, with the similar risks to driving drunk?
We've been there. Endurance racing such as Le Mans, rallying including the Lombard RAC or the Monte Carlo used to be all in.  It turned out that gentlemen drivers were killing themselves and bystanders at rates indistinguishable from the professionals.  Get tired cycling you slow down.  Get tired driving a car you slow down very suddenly indeed.

In my view, regardless of the circumstances of this tragic event, this model of racing needs to change with enforced checkpoints with enforced rest and sleep. 
So regardless of the pace and effort put in to a checkpoint the compulsory sleep before exit is the same?  That destroys the ethos of a free route race at a stroke.  What is the point in going a longer way round a mountain if you are required to rest the same time as the rider destroying themselves over it?

And yes, there is also an issue for audax...Not for people like me who can cover 100 miles at 18mph and earn enough time in hand for a full night's sleep, every night, on a multiday event...but for those forced to ride with little or no sleep.
Wow.  just wow.

Gross hypocrisy is at play here.
Well there's something we agree on.

Oh, wait.
/plonk
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: Hot Flatus on September 25, 2018, 11:21:49 pm
Quote from: Sore Tween
These events are races, and at the top end the winner is not necessarily going to be the rider with the strongest physical characteristics but the rider who had the least sleep.  The elephant in the room is that for those intending to win, these events are a contest of sleep deprivation.
Utter bollocks.  The winner is the person who covers the ground fastest in the time they are not dealing with admin.  Admin includes sleeping, eating, bla

No it isn't. It is the the person who covers the ground in the fast time INCLUDING the time they spend on "admin" (aka sleeping). The clock doesn't stop when they decide to have a nap.

And how is it, do you think that they cut down "admin" time??

Please think first before posting, especially if you descend to insult.
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: Exit Stage Left on September 26, 2018, 06:47:05 am
I suppose the connection between the  Mike Hall case and Audax comes down to friends and relatives asking 'Isn't that what you do?'.

The answer is yes and no. But there have been a number of fatalities in similar settings, but during the day, when riders have been wearing brighter clothes. The question of visibility seems key to this case, but not to other fatalities in Audax.
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: Hot Flatus on September 26, 2018, 07:50:40 am
Depending on conditions, driving can be fair more mentally exhausting than cycling, and having a tired brain is far more dangerous than tired legs.

There have been whole threads on here over the years devoted to people boasting about the hallucinations they experienced whilst on PBP.

Think about that for a minute. Being so exhausted and sleep deprived that you hallucinate. On public roads, amongst other road users...
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: Wycombewheeler on September 26, 2018, 09:32:45 am
Again, how would we view car drivers who drive almost non-stop for 3 days? In fact, with cycling it is even worse because the physical nature of the riding adds a huge element to the fatigue. Gross hypocrisy is at play here.

I can't agree that cycling is worse,
or that the hypocrisy is gross. After all, that car driver is in charge of a ton of metal that can do a hundred miles an hour - they've got a lot more chance of damaging others than has the cyclist, who in most circumstances will only damage themselves.

To a point I do agree though, that events which lead to sleep deprivation probably can't stand much scrutiny, and there is some risk of knee-jerk regulation if there are many other high(ish) profile incidents.

(I do think this sort of discussion should be split off into its own thread.)

You haven't understood. I'm saying the fatigue is worse.

Would you be more tired driving 250 miles, or riding it?
definitely driving.

also the element of physical exertion serves to keep one awake, a cyclist who stops peddling will come to a half fairly quickly, whereas a car may continue to travel for many miles with a sleeping driver if not stopped by hitting something.

I have fallen asleep at the wheel once. In over 30 years of driving.

It was on the short drive home after riding a 400k
That proves my point, your fatigue level did not change significantly between finishing riding and starting driving, but removal of the stimulus led to falling asleep. Because driving is more mentally demanding and less physically stimulating.

I think we can all cycle for 4 hours non stop and feel mentally fine at the end there is no way I would attempt to drive for 4 hours without a break.

Agree with your posts downthread on hallucinations, I can't justify riding to that point, I also don't think I could attempt 600s or longer if i needed 19 to 20 hours to cover a 300.
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: Hot Flatus on September 26, 2018, 09:50:19 am
I was fatigued because I had been up all day and most of the night riding. What I didn't tell you was that I also fell asleep on the bike.
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: Greenbank on September 26, 2018, 10:00:39 am
Deal with the problems that kill the most people, then move on to smaller problems. Tired cyclists don't kill the most people on the roads.

That's just whataboutery.

You'll never reduce deaths from motor vehicles to such levels that more people are killed by people riding bicycles, so saying that we shouldn't even discuss cyclists behaviour because there's a greater menace is silly.

Anyway, heart disease and cancer kill more people than motor vehicles. Should we stop doing anything further to try and reduce deaths from motor vehicles until we've cured cancer? Of course not.

A proportional response is required (i.e. much more focus on motor vehicles than bicycles) but that doesn't mean that we can't consider cycle safety. Funnily enough, that's what we're more likely to discuss on a cycling forum where a bunch of long and ultra distance cyclists hang out.

Audax certainly pushes some people to do more than they should, which may end up getting themselves hurt (even if they don't hurt others physically). Sure everyone is ultimately responsible for their own actions, but put an artificial deadline in front of someone and some people will try and push on through where/when it is not prudent. You can disclaim almost everything in law except negligence and I'm not sure that the over-arching competitive push-yourself-to-complete is safe in this respect.

People are a lot more willing to make the correct decision when they are driving as they're far more aware of the damage that significantly greater mass and speed can cause. But it's amazing the number of heads being stuck in the sand when it comes to their own safety riding a bicycle (i.e. the comments about hallucinating when riding for example, I've done it myself, I was seeing things on luckily deserted A7 heading back into England on LEL in 2009).

This is, fundamentally, one of the main reasons why I decided not to organise any Audaxes. I don't want to be responsible (no matter how much of it wasn't my fault) for something bad happening.
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: CrazyEnglishTriathlete on September 26, 2018, 12:36:36 pm
This is, fundamentally, one of the main reasons why I decided not to organise any Audaxes. I don't want to be responsible (no matter how much of it wasn't my fault) for something bad happening.

This is something I wrestle with too, as an organiser of (albeit permanent) events which are demanding and are likely to result in riders suffering a degree of sleep deprivation.  However, Audax has an ethos of Self-Sufficiency, and, I know it's the small print, but instructions that riders are responsible for deciding whether or not they are fit to continue on an event. 

Tragic events, wherever the responsibility lies, are a cause for all parties to reflect (the fact that one party may choose not to is, IMHO irrelevant to this particular debate).  I'd certainly like to continue organising and riding this style of event, and  'safeguards' in place such as requiring a rest period after a certain number of hours and other impositions, would likely drive me away from Audax.

However, I do think it is worthwhile debating how guidance is provided on the awareness of when continuing may have undue risks (for example in mountaineering, where it is certainly only me that's at risk, I need to be aware of signs of hypothermia or avalanche risk, that might cause me to turn back), as that could help self-sufficient people to make the right decision.  And also we could look at how we recognise that people have made a good decision when deciding not to continue a ride because they don't feel it is safe to continue, rather than just celebrating continuing on in possibly dangerous circumstances as 'audacious'.
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: Frank9755 on September 26, 2018, 12:45:29 pm
There's a lot to be said for focusing on finding solutions to problems that actually exist. 

There's no actual evidence that riding a bike while tired is a dangerous thing for a person to do.    The expert witness at Mike's inquest said as much yesterday:
https://cycle.org.au/index.php/articles/mike-hall-inquest (https://cycle.org.au/index.php/articles/mike-hall-inquest) (scroll down half-way)

We just don't hear of people falling asleep and falling off their bikes into the road from tiredness.  Unless a car happens to be passing, when people readily jump to the conclusion that the thing that doesn't otherwise happen, came about at the precise fraction of a second that the car passed. 
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: eddum on September 26, 2018, 12:53:51 pm
We just don't hear of people falling asleep and falling off their bikes into the road from tiredness.  Unless a car happens to be passing, when people readily jump to the conclusion that the thing that doesn't otherwise happen, came about at the precise fraction of a second that the car passed.

There's a comment on last weekends BGB 600 from someone who fell asleep and fell off.... on a cycle path luckily.

A lot of ultra running races reserve the right to withdraw you at a checkpoint if they think you're unfit to continue, rarely happens in general.. often checkpoint marshals have a sheet to make notes on the state/lucidity of competitors and if nothing else notify subsequent checkpoints to keep an eye on someone.
Probably not something you'd want to see on Audax and I expect the liability situation is equally iffy having an "unqualified" person make those calls (whatever would qualifies you I don't know).
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: Kim on September 26, 2018, 01:02:38 pm
We just don't hear of people falling asleep and falling off their bikes into the road from tiredness.

I've heard several such anecdotes on this very forum (there's even one a little upthread [ETA: and another]), and I've done it myself twice.  One time I was woken by the bike crashing into the verge, the other I woke up (presumably within seconds) with the bike still in motion on the wrong side of the road.  Both were an unfortunately-timed motor vehicle away from a KSI, as per other sudden-loss-of-control-of-the-bike incidents (blowout, broken chain, hitting a pothole badly, skidding on something, stung by a bee, losing grip on the handlebars, whatever).

As I've stated before, I enjoy riding my bike too much to deliberately risk injuring myself, and I have no interest in doing so from something as non-fun as sleep deprivation (rather than, say, falling off a mountain bike while doing something silly).  Other people can make their own decisions, and they can do sleep-deprivation endurance riding if they like.  As long as they don't attempt to drive home, they're very unlikely to hurt anyone but themselves.
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: quixoticgeek on September 26, 2018, 01:08:02 pm
As I've stated before, I enjoy riding my bike too much to deliberately risk injuring myself, and I have no interest in doing so from something as non-fun as sleep deprivation (rather than, say, falling off a mountain bike while doing something silly).  Other people can make their own decisions, and they can do sleep-deprivation endurance riding if they like.  As long as they don't attempt to drive home, they're very unlikely to hurt anyone but themselves.

I'd say that the risk of falling a sleep on the drive home is probably the higher risk, with an accompanying higher chance of doing more damage.

I know there is a big 300k ride (is it a sportif?) in Sweden where you aren't allowed to drive for 6 hours after finishing. They take your finish time, and number, and that is given to local police. It's an interesting idea.

J
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: Kim on September 26, 2018, 01:17:40 pm
The Friday Night Ride to the Coast (which is only about 100km, but it's a slow 100km that most people do after a full day at work) strongly discourages driving home.  To that end, the ride is planned around rail transport, but actually preventing people from driving would be outside the organiser's scope.

Somebody fell asleep at the wheel and died on the way home from one a few years ago.
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: Ian H on September 26, 2018, 01:27:14 pm
All sports have risks; and extreme sports have higher risks, whether from falling off mountains, hostile climate, etc., or from highway hazards.  You factor in the benefits and the risks for yourself. 
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: Frank9755 on September 26, 2018, 01:53:46 pm
Somebody fell asleep at the wheel and died on the way home from one a few years ago.

Worse: they are (at least were) in prison after they killed someone else
https://road.cc/content/news/48833-night-ride-cyclist-convicted-causing-death-careless-driving (https://road.cc/content/news/48833-night-ride-cyclist-convicted-causing-death-careless-driving)
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: Greenbank on September 26, 2018, 01:59:38 pm
Somebody fell asleep at the wheel and died on the way home from one a few years ago.

Worse: they are (at least were) in prison after they killed someone else
https://road.cc/content/news/48833-night-ride-cyclist-convicted-causing-death-careless-driving (https://road.cc/content/news/48833-night-ride-cyclist-convicted-causing-death-careless-driving)

Not in prison. 7 month sentence but suspended for 2 years means no actual prison time unless they do something else within those 2 years.
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: Frank9755 on September 26, 2018, 02:05:12 pm

There's a comment on last weekends BGB 600 from someone who fell asleep and fell off.... on a cycle path luckily.


I've heard several such anecdotes on this very forum (there's even one a little upthread [ETA: and another]), and I've done it myself twice. 

Clearly I was wrong about that!  But we certainly don't hear about it happening very often when no car is present.  On a typical night ride, most of the time one is not being passed by a car so, statistically, I'd expect to hear a lot more examples, and to see people falling off in front of me more when there was no car present.

One reason that I'm surprised that it happens is that, before you nod off, you always get a warning and you should really heed that warning and stop whatever you are doing to rest.
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: Frank9755 on September 26, 2018, 02:06:53 pm

Not in prison. 7 month sentence but suspended for 2 years means no actual prison time unless they do something else within those 2 years.

Sure - what I meant was worse was that it was an innocent '47-year old father of two' was killed, not the sentence
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: Pete Mas on September 26, 2018, 02:25:34 pm

There's a comment on last weekends BGB 600 from someone who fell asleep and fell off.... on a cycle path luckily.


I've heard several such anecdotes on this very forum (there's even one a little upthread [ETA: and another]), and I've done it myself twice. 

Clearly I was wrong about that!  But we certainly don't hear about it happening very often when no car is present.  On a typical night ride, most of the time one is not being passed by a car so, statistically, I'd expect to hear a lot more examples, and to see people falling off in front of me more when there was no car present.

One reason that I'm surprised that it happens is that, before you nod off, you always get a warning and you should really heed that warning and stop whatever you are doing to rest.

From my own experience as a 'full-value rider,'' it is not always easy to do the sensible thing and stop for a nap when necessary. Particularly when a person is not feeling 100% (e.g. suffering from a cold), it is possible to nod off suddenly. Twice this happened to me on PBP 2015. Once I was awoken with the bike noise from passing through roadside gravel, and another time I became alert again just as my bike was about to cross the centre line of a lane. Sleep deprivation is a funny thing. it is possible to go several days with insufficient sleep and feel okay, but then it can suddenly really affect a person badly. In the Alpi 4000 ride last July I decided to continue slowly another 80km , instead of taking a nap and being under time-pressure, but then regretted that when my pace was reduced to a crawl by cumulative lack of sleep so that I went from 2 hrs up at the sleep control to being more than one hour out -of -time at the next control...I have decided to curtail very long rides for now unless I can find time to improve my overall fitness and increase my average speed.
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: CrazyEnglishTriathlete on September 26, 2018, 03:00:11 pm
I have decided to curtail very long rides for now unless I can find time to improve my overall fitness and increase my average speed.

Although this isn't great for your Audax ambitions I'm encouraged by the fact that you've shared this.  There's very little we can do as a forum to influence the standard of driving out there, but there is something we can do to think about how we ride safely.  There may be others who have posted on this thread who have never made a tired error cycling that has resulted in another road user have to take some compensating action.  I am not one of them. 

I'm also not one who has a lack of concern for innocent drivers who have injured someone (pedestrian or cyclist) as a result of that other road user's (pedestrian or cyclist) error.  I've shared a platform with a truck driver who campaigns for cycle safety and talked to train drivers who have had someone suicide by jumping in front of a train.  It is not a pleasant experience for them to recall.

Personally this thread makes me recall a time when I abandoned a ride because of tiredness/mental fatigue.  At the time I beat myself up about it and one of my few Audax regrets is that I stopped and did not carry on.  Reflecting on what might have been, I'm encouraged to think (now) that I made the right decision.

Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: FifeingEejit on September 26, 2018, 07:37:26 pm
There may be others who have posted on this thread who have never made a tired error cycling that has resulted in another road user have to take some compensating action.  I am not one of them. 

It's not just tiredness that can cause this; with cars and (surprisingly) motorbikes getting quieter and my hearing damaged with age and due to both wind noise from cycling and  stupidly not wearing ear plugs while working on the start line at a Sprint a good few years ago I have made a couple of stupid moves that have given motorbike riders a bit of a fleg because I've been blissfully unaware of them and not looked over my shoulder before manoeuvring.

I've learnt to ride by listening for what's behind me and now when there's a bit of wind up that's just fails to work;
I really need to adapt to conditions and possibly get a pair of those ear things that go on helmet straps, or a mirror...

Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: Kim on September 26, 2018, 08:56:48 pm
Mirror:  If you've got hearing damage you probably can't hear electric vehicles other than by their tyre noise, which is only significant when they're moving at 20mph or so.  They're only going to become more and more prolific, and at some point people will discover electric motorcycles.

(I find the electric car sound quite distinctive, and notice them coming up behind me even when surrounded by urban traffic noise, but I'm also aware that my ability to hear the relevant frequencies isn't going to last forever.)

As a recumbent rider, I'm used to using mirrors, and I feel their absence on my upright bikes.  A mirror can tell you there definitely isn't anything there in a way that hearing never can.
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: wilkyboy on September 26, 2018, 09:21:11 pm
As a recumbent rider, I'm used to using mirrors, and I feel their absence on my upright bikes.  A mirror can tell you there definitely isn't anything there in a way that hearing never can.

As an upright rider, previously a Brompton-commuter, I also feel somehow naked without a mirror.  I joke, but it's true — the mirror on my helmet has saved me from serious injury or worse more times than the helmet itself has!  I may look a bit of a twonker with the mirror poking out, but I rely on it all the time to keep an eye on what's going on behind.
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: Von Broad on September 26, 2018, 09:50:32 pm
it is possible to nod off suddenly.

Well....I posted about it at the time, and still after a few years it still gives me the shudders when I think about it.

People talk about cyclists and car drivers as if we're either one of the other. Many of us are both. And often on the same day.

After driving back from The Dean [about 45mins drive, done it several times before], I fell alseep at the wheel and was only woken up with the car bouncing off the kerb on the other side of the road - the A418 from Thame to Oxford. During the day this is a very busy road and at 1.30am not so much. God it was frightening. But I was very lucky indeed - lucky the car woke me up when it did, lucky no other vehicles or cyclists were coming in the opposite direction, and lucky to be able to learn from the experience.

That was a case of accumulated tiredness from a very heavy weeks work, already ready sitting there, dormant, waiting to cause trouble. Didn't feel too bad on the ride, managed to get round, and seemingly felt fine to drive home....but going home....just went out like a light. It scared the shit out of me.
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: Redlight on September 26, 2018, 09:56:45 pm
Yep - similar experience after the Severn Across (400km) one year. I was driving back down the M40 and suddenly realised that I was drifting on to the hard shoulder.  I pulled off at the first junction and slept in a lay-by for a couple of hours.

Now, I always take a sleeping bag with me and crash out in the back of the car (there's room to stretch out fully if I put the back seats down) for at least three hours before contemplating driving home.
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: Ivo on September 26, 2018, 10:04:49 pm
I've done 20 rides of over 1000km. With my (lack of) speed that means a lot of nightriding, often under adverse conditions. I've fallen asleep on my bike 3 times, never crashed. The amount of times I had a near crash due to unproper placed roadfurniture while doing a dayride with no sleep deficit at all numbers in the high hundreds if not already a 4 digit figure. The risk of falling asleep on your bike is that low compared to all the other risks we rund that I rate it as insignificant.
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: mmmmartin on September 26, 2018, 11:09:44 pm
preventing people from driving would be outside the organiser's scope.
FNRttC management would take an extremely dim view of someone driving home afterwards and they could be banned from rides.
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: Exit Stage Left on September 26, 2018, 11:38:21 pm
People seem to be talking at cross purposes. What are the differences between Audax and Adventure Racing?

I know a fair amount about Audax, and reports of riding off the road, hallucinations, and borderline psychotic episodes are not unknown. We've captured a few accounts over the years, and they're most vivid shortly after the event. They tend to settle down into an agreed form after consideration of the likely effect on family members.

All I know about adventure racing comes from the coverage that seeps through onto YACF, and the film made about the Transamerica event that Mike Hall won. We went to see the premiere of that in Sheffield in 2015 prior to PBP, to see if there were any new ideas in it.

I've not got a great deal of experience of working with trackers. The Michael Broadwith LEJOG was my main contact with 'dot-watching', and it's an interesting experience trying to match the tracker information with reality.

The video where the 'dot-watchers' encounter Mike in the night is interesting. I've done similar 'sweeps' to see what condition late finishers on Audax rides are in. These events are 'unsupported', but there's clearly a community which is concerned with the welfare of the riders.

The main interest in endurance events is going to be in those who are pushing themselves the hardest. In Audax that tends to be those who are nearest to the time limits. In racing it's the leaders.

So I'm not sure what lessons there are for Audax. There are bound to be some from an activity that's very similar in many ways, but we shouldn't be blind to the essential differences, and we should be careful not to project the experiences of Audax onto adventure racing.
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: PAC on September 26, 2018, 11:43:21 pm
I cannot see that the possibility that Mike being fatigued had any relevance to him being hit directly from behind by a relatively inexperienced driver who seemed to be driving without due care and attention.
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: hellymedic on September 26, 2018, 11:56:33 pm
Err... without?
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: Frank9755 on September 27, 2018, 06:22:23 am
I cannot see that the possibility that Mike being fatigued had any relevance to him being hit directly from behind.

That's exactly what the expert witness in the inquest said.
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: Frank9755 on September 27, 2018, 06:30:34 am
What are the differences between Audax and Adventure Racing?

From my perspective of having done both, there's very little difference. 

On both you have a mix of people with different objectives: some who are trying to get round as quickly as possible, others who are riding a bit more within themselves, those who are struggling against time limits and controls closing finally those who have accepted they will be out of time but still choose to complete the route. 

Otherwise, the long races are a bit longer than PBP or LEL so it is not possible to ride as much of them in sleep debt. 
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: Greenbank on September 27, 2018, 08:08:34 am
I cannot see that the possibility that Mike being fatigued had any relevance to him being hit directly from behind by a relatively inexperienced driver who seemed to be driving with due care and attention.

Indeed, and this thread was split off to discuss Audax and road safety in general, not Mike's case.
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: LiamFitz on September 27, 2018, 08:35:13 am


We just don't hear of people falling asleep and falling off their bikes into the road from tiredness. 

Whilst I generally agree with your post I think it may be a lot more common that you think.  In PBP I fished an Italian out of a hedge he'd just ridden into asleep at 3 am and a momentary dozy has led more than one rider I know to clip a kerb or fail to spot a canyon-sized pothole.
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: Exit Stage Left on September 27, 2018, 10:35:54 am
The hearing is over, and the findings will be announced early next year.

The testimony of the driver seems to have been a problem.

Quote
P-plater Shegu Bobb, 19 at the time, was driving the car at the speed limit of 100km/h and told police he didn't see Hall until it was too late.

He was excused from giving evidence at the inquest after being described as "suggestible" in police interviews about the incident.

Coroner Bernadette Boss noted English was a second language for Mr Bobb, who was born in Sierra Leone and moved to Australia in 2005.

Dr Boss said he was a very vulnerable person who would add little to proceedings.

"The quality of his evidence would be very poor," she said.

https://www.canberratimes.com.au/national/act/hall-s-bike-impaled-by-car-in-his-act-death-20180926-p5067h.html

Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: Pete Mas on September 27, 2018, 10:56:18 am
The hearing is over, and the findings will be announced early next year.

The testimony of the driver seems to have been a problem.

Quote
P-plater Shegu Bobb, 19 at the time, was driving the car at the speed limit of 100km/h and told police he didn't see Hall until it was too late.

He was excused from giving evidence at the inquest after being described as "suggestible" in police interviews about the incident.

Coroner Bernadette Boss noted English was a second language for Mr Bobb, who was born in Sierra Leone and moved to Australia in 2005.

Dr Boss said he was a very vulnerable person who would add little to proceedings.

"The quality of his evidence would be very poor," she said.

https://www.canberratimes.com.au/national/act/hall-s-bike-impaled-by-car-in-his-act-death-20180926-p5067h.html

This thread is now supposed to be  about ''audax and road safety'' in general.
For comments about Mike Hall RIP case there is still the original thread:-

https://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?PHPSESSID=5t31qfru83hub5dcil612cb6p3&topic=102468.0

Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: Jaded on September 27, 2018, 01:49:59 pm
OK. I'll bite.

Should "a very vulnerable person who would add little to proceedings" be able to drive?
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: Exit Stage Left on September 27, 2018, 02:01:58 pm
I did wonder where to put the post. I'd hoped that the inquest might provide an insight into how the risks of long distance cycling are perceived by relevant authorities. But this case doesn't seem to answer any questions.
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: mattc on September 27, 2018, 06:52:38 pm
I did wonder where to put the post. I'd hoped that the inquest might provide an insight into how the risks of long distance cycling are perceived by relevant authorities. But this case doesn't seem to answer any questions.
Did you think that Shegu Bobb was a good person to answer that one?  Is/was he a relevant authority? ???
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: PAC on September 27, 2018, 09:42:11 pm
Err... without?
errr....yes. Post modified :o
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: Greenbank on September 28, 2018, 12:02:28 am
OK. I'll bite.

Should "a very vulnerable person who would add little to proceedings" be able to drive?

Insufficient data/evidence.

Do you think that every "vulnerable person who would add little to the proceedings" should be able to drive?
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: Frank9755 on September 28, 2018, 07:54:37 am


We just don't hear of people falling asleep and falling off their bikes into the road from tiredness. 

Whilst I generally agree with your post I think it may be a lot more common that you think.  In PBP I fished an Italian out of a hedge he'd just ridden into asleep at 3 am and a momentary dozy has led more than one rider I know to clip a kerb or fail to spot a canyon-sized pothole.

Yes, I now realise it does happen.

I recall a driving case from a few years ago when a car was driven into a railway line, with fatal consequences, by a driver who had been up all night. There was an expert witness who said that, before someone falls asleep, they always get a warning that it is going to happen. Therefore this driver must have ignored the warning, so he was guilty of causing death by dangerous driving, manslaughter or whatever the criminal charge was. He didn't suddenly get overcome by sleep without warning, as that doesn't happen.

So, if I was organising an endurance event, I would emphasise this and tell people that they must stop and sleep when they are tired.

This is probably an area where ultra racing does better than audax. Mike certainly made this point in his tcr briefings and written guidelines. It's a bit easier on most ultra races as people tend to be better prepared to sleep where they need to whereas audax has more of a culture of getting to the next control and, clearly, some people are ignoring sleep warnings to do so.
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: Greenbank on September 28, 2018, 09:15:07 am
So, if I was organising an endurance event, I would emphasise this and tell people that they must stop and sleep when they are tired.

The problem is that it can come on surprisingly quickly.

On LEL in 2009 I left Eskdalemuir going back south at about 10pm. I felt great, full of energy and it was fun being out in the lashing rain (the storm wind had died down by that point, plus the area from Eskdalemuir along the B709 to the A7 is heavily forested and quite protected from the wind).

About an hour later I was on the A7 and probably fell asleep a few times whilst riding (even more impressive given I was riding fixed). The big 'move left' arrows in the middle of the road were turning into white cats looking over their shoulders and a few of the dashed lines at the side of the road started to slither. My riding companion was doing a good job of keeping me talking and I remember him shouting at me when my head started to do the tell-tale tilting and drooping (and then me winding him up by pretending to do it).

I tried (and failed) to find somewhere to sleep in Longtown, the B&B on the outskirts of the town was full and so I ended up getting the emergency foil blanket out of the rack pack and having an hour long sleep in a church porch in Brampton (St Martin's, highly recommended porch). That was enough to get me along to the YH in Alston where I got a further 3 or 4 hours in a proper bed.

My point is that I generally deal with sleep deprivation well (kind of why I like Audaxing) but I'm still surprised at how quickly I went from being full of beans to almost asleep. It's never happened like that on any other Audaxes. If there had been a hint of tiredness at Eskdalemuir I would have stopped and slept but I thought I'd easily be able to get to Alston for 3-4am and then have a decent kip.
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: Jaded on September 28, 2018, 09:44:54 am
OK. I'll bite.

Should "a very vulnerable person who would add little to proceedings" be able to drive?

Insufficient data/evidence.

Do you think that every "vulnerable person who would add little to the proceedings" should be able to drive?

I think that allowing almost everyone to drive gives society a skewed view of driving and helps build the shields around driving rights that we have. Weaker shields might lead to better driving.
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: Greenbank on September 28, 2018, 09:49:18 am
My point was I've no idea what correlation there is between a persons vulnerability and their ability to drive.

Sure, society has normalised poor driving. We have a test that you pass once and never have to be retested.

Better enforcement of existing standards would be the first place to start.
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: Chris S on September 28, 2018, 10:09:24 am
So, if I was organising an endurance event, I would emphasise this and tell people that they must stop and sleep when they are tired.

You can tell people to do things, even really sensible things like this, until you're blue in the face, but that doesn't mean they'll do it.

Let's face it - anyone riding ultra-endurance events is already demonstrating their spooling is wound differently to the norm.
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: Ian H on September 28, 2018, 10:12:11 am
My point was I've no idea what correlation there is between a persons vulnerability and their ability to drive.

Sure, society has normalised poor driving. We have a test that you pass once and never have to be retested.

Better enforcement of existing standards would be the first place to start.

Which might go a long way to meeting Jaded's suggestion.
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: CrazyEnglishTriathlete on September 28, 2018, 02:49:02 pm
I feel like there are two threads to this conversation.  One is road safety (i.e. how can we make drivers safer) for which I think there is an extensive discussion on the 'On the Road' part of this forum, although with some unique aspects to Audax (given riders will be on the roads in hour when motorists are more likely to be asleep or under the influence of drink/drugs).  The other is how we can make ourselves safer (treating motorists asleep or under the influence as a fixed hazard).  It feels like there are two schools of thought on that - one which is we are doing all we can/should and another which is that, as in good health & safety practice, we should at least stop and reflect on what we currently do and whether there are practical steps to take to make ourselves safer.
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: mattc on September 28, 2018, 03:13:13 pm
I feel like there are two threads to this conversation.  One is road safety (i.e. how can we make drivers safer) for which I think there is an extensive discussion on the 'On the Road' part of this forum, although with some unique aspects to Audax (given riders will be on the roads in hour when motorists are more likely to be asleep or under the influence of drink/drugs).  The other is how we can make ourselves safer (treating motorists asleep or under the influence as a fixed hazard).  It feels like there are two schools of thought on that - one which is we are doing all we can/should and another which is that, as in good health & safety practice, we should at least stop and reflect on what we currently do and whether there are practical steps to take to make ourselves safer.
Good summary - but I'd say there's a further (important) split in your 2nd category:

- How much should organisers (and parent bodies such as AUK) do for rider safety? And
- How much should be down to the rider (who is on the public highway, bound to, and protected by, the laws of the land.) ?
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: Exit Stage Left on September 28, 2018, 07:27:22 pm
There's obviously a duty of care on organisers to avoid roads that are hazardous. That's clearest on rides such as LEL.

I rode LEL 2009 as a filming exercise, and rode straight up the A10 to Royston, Ermine Street to Godmanchester, then to Stilton and through Peterborough to the A15 and on to the first control. That's an extreme example of not following the course, but it hit the controls, and was fast.

I came back a different way, as Gamlingay made a diversion inevitable. There are riders who like to follow major roads, as they're fast, and it gets points logged with less effort. I'd seen the contraflow on the A10 on my way out, but it frightened some of the people using that route on the way back.

There has been discussion on here about fast-route hacks for LEL, those routes tend to be a product of local knowledge. The routing is easy to adapt to GPS, but traffic conditions at various times won't be as obvious.

So it's possible for any amount of due diligence on routing by an organiser to be subverted by participants, given that riders are on a private excursion, taking in a number of defined points, which happen to be open between certain times. But the route provided shouldn't present undue hazards for any of the riders, who will be unfamiliar with local conditions.

Audax has become more difficult, and easier at the same time, depending on whether you follow lanes or fast main roads. You could make 'safer' routes mandatory rather than advisory, but that removes the element of free agency that comes with a 'private excursion'. It also requires enforcement, and penalties.

PBP is obviously the most extreme example of a mandatory route, with monitoring, and time penalties for deviating from the set course. That requires a certain prestige from the event, so that participants see transgressions as 'cheating', which compromise their own rules-bound achievement.

I don't know enough about adventure racing to make any comparisons.
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: Ian H on September 29, 2018, 10:00:53 am
There's obviously a duty of care on organisers to avoid roads that are hazardous.

All roads are hazardous.  The acceptable degree is a a matter of judgement. 

But I do time-trial on roads I wouldn't route an AUK event along.
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: telstarbox on September 29, 2018, 10:47:37 am
And I'll ride some local A roads and dual carriageways which I wouldn't lead a group on - horses for courses.
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: mattc on September 29, 2018, 12:55:43 pm
There's obviously a duty of care on organisers to avoid roads that are hazardous.

All roads are hazardous.  The acceptable degree is a a matter of judgement. 

But I do time-trial on roads I wouldn't route an AUK event along.
2 things:
- our risk perception is crap. (There have been many analyseses showing that the "scary" A-roads used on some TTs are actually much safer than the B-road courses in the same area.)
- how much more hazardous are the worst roads? I'd like to see some real numbers - as Ian says, all roads are hazardous (as are cycle-paths, and driving home with one's bike). Show me evidence of how much worse one road is than another - I think the answers will often be down in the statistical noise, especially given how safe cycling on roads actually is.
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: durandal on September 29, 2018, 07:12:08 pm
Arguably, a fast dual carriageway is potentially safer (assuming adequate illumination/reflection, expectation of other road users etc) because visibility is high, sightlines are longer and traffic has somewhere to go without conflict with the opposing direction.

The road surfaces are inevitably better, and traffic (by the strict letter of it) is only going to be 10mph faster than an unrestricted b-road.

On the flipside, concentration from drivers is often lower, distractions higher and speed is usually in excess of 70mph, and even a swipe is likely to be fatal, let alone a full-on collision. If they're not expecting to see you, they (usually) won't.
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: Ajax Bay on September 29, 2018, 09:17:24 pm
Sleep banking before a ride.
https://www.trainingpeaks.com/blog/should-you-bank-sleep-for-ultramarathon/
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: CrazyEnglishTriathlete on September 30, 2018, 04:33:19 pm
Sleep banking before a ride.
https://www.trainingpeaks.com/blog/should-you-bank-sleep-for-ultramarathon/

I think this article makes a lot of sense - with one proviso - it can be hard to sleep well before a big event, especially if (a) it's a step up from something you have done before - I suspect that I was in the majority in that when I first did PBP, by the time I reached Brest it was already the longest ride I'd done - and that creates a degree of nervous apprehension that isn't conducive to sleep and (b) you have to travel to the event (with consequences of time differences, travel stress, and unfamiliar surroundings).

One thing really struck a chord, the advice to give up on caffeine for 2 - 4 weeks before an ultra event, which is something I have used before overnight rides to try to avoid the dozies.  I didn't directly consider safety, it was more a response to failing to finish a hard event due to struggling to stay awake.  However, from now on I think I'll adhere to the caffeine abstention more rigorously.

One thing I would be interested in is whether anyone has taken something to aid sleep before a big event and if so, how has it worked for them?
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: mattc on September 30, 2018, 08:02:52 pm
I've taken Sleepeze during multi-day rides! It did backfire briefly on one occasion, so my advice is TAKE AT OWN RISK.

But overall it's been very helpful - I'm at the opposite end of the "deals with sleep dep" curve from Mr Greenbank, and it's a definite handicap on long rides.
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: Greenbank on September 30, 2018, 08:25:22 pm
One thing really struck a chord, the advice to give up on caffeine for 2 - 4 weeks before an ultra event, which is something I have used before overnight rides to try to avoid the dozies.  I didn't directly consider safety, it was more a response to failing to finish a hard event due to struggling to stay awake.  However, from now on I think I'll adhere to the caffeine abstention more rigorously.

I gave it up completely[1] years ago. Best thing I've ever done. Sleep far better now and probably helps my "deal with sleep dep" abilities.

1. Well, I still drink decaff and that's usually about 10% of the caffeine of normal coffee not zero caffeine. I can get away with one caffeinated coffee in a day (no later than 4pm) if somewhere doesn't have decaff, otherwise I'll just have water (or another beer).
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: Ian H on September 30, 2018, 09:41:56 pm
I think 'sleep banking' is unlikely to be more than simply ensuring you're not already sleep-deprived before an event.

I have seen the erratic behaviour and riding of randonneurs on Pro-Plus or similar caffeine supplements (on one of my 600s, since you ask).  I didn't get the impression it was particularly helpful — wide awake but no-one at home.
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: Greenbank on September 30, 2018, 10:00:26 pm
Indeed, I don't think you can bank sleep, all you can do is not be in sleep debt.
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: hellymedic on September 30, 2018, 10:04:35 pm
Some sleep-deprived riders on very long rides have become so confused they ended up in hospital...
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: Exit Stage Left on October 01, 2018, 10:35:05 am
There's obviously a duty of care on organisers to avoid roads that are hazardous.

All roads are hazardous.  The acceptable degree is a a matter of judgement. 

But I do time-trial on roads I wouldn't route an AUK event along.
2 things:
- our risk perception is crap. (There have been many analyseses showing that the "scary" A-roads used on some TTs are actually much safer than the B-road courses in the same area.)
- how much more hazardous are the worst roads? I'd like to see some real numbers - as Ian says, all roads are hazardous (as are cycle-paths, and driving home with one's bike). Show me evidence of how much worse one road is than another - I think the answers will often be down in the statistical noise, especially given how safe cycling on roads actually is.

I was interested to read Jasmijn Muller's thoughts on how her perceptions of safety had affected her on the End to End. That's one end of a continuum of observation and time pressure, and takes in the safety measures in place on TTs.
Obviously that's her story, Michael Broadwith's would be different. Looking at LEJOG, the 24 and Audax events has got me wondering where perceptions of risk fit within the overall mix.

Quote
As I wrote in my blog at the time, I started out on this journey with a mixture of optimism and foolishness. The optimist in me quickly learned that these busy A-roads were not for the faint-hearted. Riding on them with a massive yellow number on your back during an organised time trial, riding with the benefit of formal warning signs, marshals and car drivers already having been alerted by seeing other cyclists on the road, is one thing. Doing so on your own on A-roads that are, in part, treated like motorways is quite another. No wonder nobody tried to break these records after Lynne Biddulph’s successes in 2001 and 2002.

Quote
I knew that there were risks attached to this record attempt. I knew you had to have big balls to even start. This record has stood for so long for a number of reasons, but one that cannot be ignored is the fact that no other woman has even tried since Lynne broke her own record in 2002. I have time trialled on a lot of busy A-roads. I have ridden the whole record attempt route twice, all on my own without a follow car. But each time I wasn’t sleep deprived or chasing this record. I had the luxury to pause in laybys to find back my courage when needed and I wasn’t under real time pressure.

Quote
After some ambiguity/uncertainty during my first record attempt about what was to be considered as too much use of radios, we decided to do away with them all together for my second record attempt. After all, Lynne didn’t have a radio so why should I? It was Mike Hall’s death in Australia and the realisation of the roads I would be on and the risk involved that made me adamant on using radios the first time. But why put in all this effort at the risk of retrospectively being disqualified if you broke the record but the observers deemed the use of the radios too often or not for the correct purposes? The Road Record Association (RRA) rules state that “Excessive use of either radio or mobile phone contact between the rider/s and any following vehicle will not be tolerated. The use of radio or phone contact should be restricted to emergency purposes only, and not for giving encouragement, or for general dialogue”. Fair. But what is excessive and when is something an emergency and when is using a radio valid to avoid an emergency?
In the Race Across America (RAAM) radios are permitted and riders have frequent contact with their crew. Following a few very unfortunate deaths in the past, cars now have to follow at no less than 15 meters at night. At night the rider may not proceed unescorted either. Circumstances change over time. Roads get busier. These days many A-roads and even some motorways in the UK are full of holes. Safety is important, but so is adhering to the rules of the organisation that administers the record and ensuring a level playing field with previous record holders. There is no easy answer and I am very grateful to the RRA for all the guidance and support I have received (involving official observers in each of the follow cars as well as an army of official checkers along the route) during both my record attempts.

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For the moment (once I can sit on a saddle again), I want to ride with others again. I want to eat cake. I want to chat and not look at the numbers for a while. I want to ride nice Audax routes along the small B-roads. I want to ride for sheer joy, freedom and relaxation.

https://duracellbunnyonabike.com/2018/09/14/and-in-the-end/
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: CrazyEnglishTriathlete on October 01, 2018, 11:37:38 am
One thing really struck a chord, the advice to give up on caffeine for 2 - 4 weeks before an ultra event, which is something I have used before overnight rides to try to avoid the dozies.  I didn't directly consider safety, it was more a response to failing to finish a hard event due to struggling to stay awake.  However, from now on I think I'll adhere to the caffeine abstention more rigorously.

I gave it up completely[1] years ago. Best thing I've ever done. Sleep far better now and probably helps my "deal with sleep dep" abilities.

1. Well, I still drink decaff and that's usually about 10% of the caffeine of normal coffee not zero caffeine. I can get away with one caffeinated coffee in a day (no later than 4pm) if somewhere doesn't have decaff, otherwise I'll just have water (or another beer).

I wish...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kymGYuMa_k0

..but also caffeine as a stimulant can help overcome periods of natural physical/mental lows.  For me that does help with safely / staying awake.  The problem is that when it's habit forming, it's effects are reduced.  Hence, I think why a period of abstention works, by sharpening the effects.
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: teethgrinder on October 01, 2018, 03:37:32 pm
Not everyone is the same and not all sleepiness is the same.
I've just got home from weight training, eaten, then fallen asleep. I wanted to sleep when I was at the gym but just rode home slowly, then fell asleep. I'm good now I've had my nap.
It's not the same as when I rode the 600km permanent last thursday and Friday. I was tired from lack of sleep. It was easier to stay awake but I knew I needed to finish before around midnight when staying awake would get much harder.
I think that all AUK can do is raise awareness. It's not the same as being sleepy driving a car, but still well worth avoiding if possible. Once you get so bad, you'll be too slow for Audax time limits anyway. I've been there, or very close enough times to know that once you get too sleepy, you know the game is up. If you're far enough ahead of the time limit to sleep, it often turns out that you'll finish at about the same time you would have done, had you pressed on through sleepiness, so you may as well grab some sleep and make it more enjoyable.
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: nextSibling on October 01, 2018, 03:57:52 pm
We just don't hear of people falling asleep and falling off their bikes into the road from tiredness.

I've experience of one. Few years back. Quiet road in the middle of the night on a 400. No other traffic involved. He said he woke up as he fell, but too late. DNF broken collarbone.
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: Planet X Paul on October 01, 2018, 10:34:28 pm
Nearly fallen asleep a few times myself.  It's not pleasant when you realise how much you could hurt yourself.  First time I experienced it was when I ECE'ed the National 400 a couple of years ago.  I had been up since 7am on Friday, done a very busy day in work and set off just before midnight to ride to the start of the event.  By the time the event started, I had already been up 24 hours and ridden 125 Km through the night.  During my second night I nearly crashed a few times but just managed to wake up when I felt myself swerve.  It could have been so different.  It is not something I have experienced before on multi-day/night runs without sleep.  Maybe the motion of cycling is more soporific than running.
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: GPS on October 02, 2018, 08:11:25 am
Actually falling asleep is the sharp end of the problem. Before that though there are plenty of other equally dangerous symptoms that can cause a crash, such as lack of concentration, poor depth perception, seeing things that aren't there and wandering all over the road. You gradually start losing your mind if you keep pressing on and these are early indicators in my experience.

If I start to experience anything like that now, I stop for a rest. As TG said upthread, you only go slower if you try and press on anyway. A quick nap can usually reset you and you'll go quicker anyway. Although, if you really have a big sleep deficit, you'll need more than a quick nap.
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: Ivo on October 02, 2018, 09:29:44 am
One item not discussed yet regarding sleep is the moment you sleep. Everyone has his own prefered moment, the time of the night when an hour or two of sleep has the best possible effect. For some people that's at the start of the night, for others at the end of the night. My most effective sleeping time is between 4 and 6 in the morning. Sometimes the control spacing forces me to sleep earlier. If I do that, I will inevitably be sleepy between 4 and 6 and hardly gain any ground. Despite having slept a few hours. Sometimes I can't even fall asleep at the time/place I have to sleep because I don't need to sleep yet.
So if possible I prefere to press on and sleep in the wild between the controls since that gives me a better quality sleep.
This effect is often forgotten by those who advocate enforced sleep breaks.
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: Exit Stage Left on October 02, 2018, 09:37:30 am
It might be better if the minimum speed varied with each step-up in distance. There are rules of thumb as to how much leeway you should have in a 400 to ride a 600, and what time you should do a 600 in to have a comfortable PBP.

With riders new to Audax doing PBP after only a pre-qualifier and then an SR in 2019, there might be a lot of people hitting their limits having organised their travel and accommodation. I'd say that self-imposed pressure can lead to bad decisions.
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: Ian H on October 02, 2018, 10:07:07 am
A essential ingredient of randonnée riding is being competent at looking after yourself on the road. 
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: Wobbly on October 02, 2018, 11:11:17 am
What Ian just said.
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: Pete Mas on October 02, 2018, 12:39:05 pm
Yes sleep deprivation is an unavoidable element of the longer multi-day rides, and we all have to learn to deal with it - particularly the slower rider who, for example, will find more crowded controls on PBP and less time and opportunity to sleep properly. It's also a truism that the longer the ride the more likely it is that a rider will not finish within the time limits for whatever reason. Would be interesting if there were stats for longer rides for 'reason for DNF' eg Mechanical problems, sleep deprivation, other physical problems (Schermer's neck, knee problems,gut problems etc).
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: FifeingEejit on October 02, 2018, 01:11:06 pm
One item not discussed yet regarding sleep is the moment you sleep. Everyone has his own prefered moment, the time of the night when an hour or two of sleep has the best possible effect. For some people that's at the start of the night, for others at the end of the night. My most effective sleeping time is between 4 and 6 in the morning. Sometimes the control spacing forces me to sleep earlier. If I do that, I will inevitably be sleepy between 4 and 6 and hardly gain any ground. Despite having slept a few hours. Sometimes I can't even fall asleep at the time/place I have to sleep because I don't need to sleep yet.
So if possible I prefere to press on and sleep in the wild between the controls since that gives me a better quality sleep.
This effect is often forgotten by those who advocate enforced sleep breaks.

I had that problem on BGB; was tired enough to sleep for 50m when I got back to Gretna, I had set and hour on the alarm but I woke up before it went off; that was 2am, carried on and started to get sleepy as my speed dropped on the climb up Shap but my HR didn't really rise with the climb, that was around 5am, wasted 15m at Lowther eating sweets then remembered there was a decent bus shelter I had spotted at Shap and got 10m sleep there despite setting the alarm for 15m.
Daylight breaking as I summited was the best thing ever and for me one of the best sleep inhibitors too.

My natural sleep period of needing sleep seems to be between 3am and 6am so this didn't surprise me.

I spent years working in an inside office in a large hospital, going through the shortest days of the year without daylight is, interesting.
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: Ajax Bay on October 02, 2018, 02:11:30 pm
Yes sleep deprivation is an unavoidable element of the longer multi-day rides, and we all have to learn to deal with it - particularly the slower rider who, for example, will find more crowded controls on PBP and less time and opportunity to sleep properly. It's also a truism that the longer the ride the more likely it is that a rider will not finish within the time limits for whatever reason. Would be interesting if there were stats for longer rides for 'reason for DNF' eg Mechanical problems, sleep deprivation, other physical problems (Schermer's neck, knee problems,gut problems etc).
Is it? True, that is? Do you not think that a higher proportion of riders on longer rides are better prepared (and more experienced, maybe) and therefore the DNF rate is lower.
Tiredness kicks in at the end of 300s but sleep deprivation (current topic in this thread) will not be a factor till 400. And for many riders (except ones whose pace means they cannot afford to stop and sleep and still be in time) a 600 can be completed without sleep deprivation as maintaining 18kph by day allows a 6+ hour stop 'overnight'. And on a 1000, 18kph during the days allows 3 x 6+ hour stops. Riders taking advantage of this and sleeping for 5 hours a night will be tired (they're riding a long, long way (and hills eg Mille Pennines or Mille Cymru make a significant difference to pace and tiredness (now there's a "truism"))) but they should not be suffering from sleep deprivation provided (as Ian said upthread) they didn't (willfully eg ECE) start sleep deprived. However lots of riders deliberately choose to experience (and cope with in safety terms) sleep deprivation by not planning to take / taking decent sleep so they can finish earlier.
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: Whitedown Man on October 02, 2018, 02:23:20 pm
For any given average speed, doesn’t the amount of sleep time available on a 600 depend upon the spacing of controls?  Wherever in the ride you place that sleep stop (unless it’s at the finish) you still need to arrive at the subsequent control on time.
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: LittleWheelsandBig on October 02, 2018, 02:37:21 pm
DNF rate for a good PBP is 1 in 7 starters and around 2 in 7 for a tough PBP.
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: teethgrinder on October 02, 2018, 03:01:28 pm
Yes sleep deprivation is an unavoidable element of the longer multi-day rides,

Not necessarily. I slept every night on the 2013 LEL. Late start at 10:30am. Rode 250km and had time for about 7 hours sleep. The earlier start meant I rode further and built a bigger time buffer for sleep.
400s could be the toughest, probably because they're mostly ridden straight through without sleep and start later in the day. Maybe riding them as 300/100km would be a lot easier?
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: simonp on October 02, 2018, 03:27:08 pm
A 400k can be started at 6am and finished by midnight*. Sleep deprivation not required.

* By faster riders than me. I've done 400km in about 20h at best.

Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: Kim on October 02, 2018, 03:41:06 pm
Starting anything at 6am means sleep deprivation.
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: FifeingEejit on October 02, 2018, 04:00:43 pm
Starting anything at 6am means sleep deprivation.

Entirely dependent on the person;
A lark should have no problem with a 6am start, it could easily be well into their normal day; but may suffer later on depending on how far their sleep cycle allows them to push it past their normal sleep time.
An owl on the other hand may struggle with the early start, but since the world is set up for early starts we're possibly more used to it and handling having to get up when we should be asleep; the up shot of that is riding into the night is easy as you're not trying to go to sleep when your body's awake. 

I've so far had no problems with lack of sleep towards the end of a 24hr ride. (which the one 400km I did last year turned out to be); but I can reasonably comfortably allow for staying up past 3am even if all I'm doing is reading or mashing a keyboard. Longer than 30hrs though...

You've got to learn your own sleep needs and work that into your game plan;
I remember a few years ago Jason Miles got a bit of a shock as Keith Forsyth absolutely hammered it off the front at the Puffer and as he had no idea if Keith was going to sleep or not, all he could do was batter on and try and keep up.  Keith slept, Jason didn't and Jason won by quite a decent margin.

Some riders would sleep a few minutes, some a few hours; it gets surprisingly quiet out in the forest in the wee small hours for those that just keep plodding on (me).
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: ian_oli on October 02, 2018, 09:43:19 pm
For any given average speed, doesn’t the amount of sleep time available on a 600 depend upon the spacing of controls?  Wherever in the ride you place that sleep stop (unless it’s at the finish) you still need to arrive at the subsequent control on time.
On a 600 someone riding an 18kph average including stops can get around 4 hours sleep at the 350km mark and still make the next control with a little time to spare. If that's four hours quality sleep in a proper bed rather than a noisy church hall or shivering in a bivi, you'll probably finish the ride faster than the people who were near you in time when you crashed, and enjoy the last 250Km.
Title: Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
Post by: CrazyEnglishTriathlete on October 02, 2018, 10:27:07 pm
One item not discussed yet regarding sleep is the moment you sleep. Everyone has his own prefered moment, the time of the night when an hour or two of sleep has the best possible effect. For some people that's at the start of the night, for others at the end of the night. My most effective sleeping time is between 4 and 6 in the morning. Sometimes the control spacing forces me to sleep earlier. If I do that, I will inevitably be sleepy between 4 and 6 and hardly gain any ground. Despite having slept a few hours. Sometimes I can't even fall asleep at the time/place I have to sleep because I don't need to sleep yet.
So if possible I prefere to press on and sleep in the wild between the controls since that gives me a better quality sleep.
This effect is often forgotten by those who advocate enforced sleep breaks.

My best sleep time, for three hours is midnight to 3am.  I've not thought about this before, but it's probably a reason why I've struggled on Andy Corless's rides, where I'm not likely to make the overnight control until 3pm, but why, generally I prefer 600s where I can get to the sleep control at midnight. 

Likewise, as a lark rather than an owl, I'm usually awake at 6am so a start at that time is not a problem unless I've got  to travel a couple of hours to get there.

It's probably also a reason for some groups not to work effectively - if you have riders who have different body clocks they'll have their dozie flatspots at different times - although if they can ride together at least they can look out for each other.

Another thought comes to mind.  On Mille Miglia in 2010, I spent a few hours asleep at the Fausto Coppi museum - as they'd set up some tents there.  Riding along the flat roads of the Po valley back to Milan, we came across a group of 6 riders who had clearly ridden through the night and were doing a convincing impression of riding in 6 different directions on a dead straight road.  Gernot and I were quite concerned that one of them might weave into us as we passed, and took great care as we overtook - if a driver wasn't paying a 100% attention and not given them a wide berth it could have had nasty consequences.