Author Topic: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP  (Read 5403 times)

Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
« Reply #25 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.
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

CrazyEnglishTriathlete

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Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
« Reply #26 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'.
Eddington Numbers 122 (imperial), 167 (metric) 511 (furlongs)  110 (nautical miles)

Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
« Reply #27 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 (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. 

Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
« Reply #28 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).

Kim

  • 2nd in the world
Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
« Reply #29 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.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
« Reply #30 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
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Kim

  • 2nd in the world
Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
« Reply #31 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.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
« Reply #32 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. 

Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
« Reply #33 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

Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
« Reply #34 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

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.
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
« Reply #35 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.

Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
« Reply #36 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

Pete Mas

  • Don't Worry 'bout a thing...
Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
« Reply #37 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.
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CrazyEnglishTriathlete

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Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
« Reply #38 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.

Eddington Numbers 122 (imperial), 167 (metric) 511 (furlongs)  110 (nautical miles)

FifeingEejit

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Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
« Reply #39 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...


Kim

  • 2nd in the world
Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
« Reply #40 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.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

wilkyboy

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Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
« Reply #41 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.
RRTY #6 done; #7 aborted and restarted.

Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
« Reply #42 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.
Garry Broad

Redlight

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Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
« Reply #43 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.
Between the Disney abattoir and the chemical refinery

Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
« Reply #44 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.

mmmmartin

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Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
« Reply #45 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.
Besides, it wouldn't be audacious if success were guaranteed.

Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
« Reply #46 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.

Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
« Reply #47 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.
DJR is my 28 year old bike, custom built by Dave Russell & heavily refurbished in 2009. Also, a carbon Beone parts bin special built in 2011. Brompton broken, as was I, and now have Whyte Suffolk

hellymedic

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Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
« Reply #48 on: September 26, 2018, 11:56:33 pm »
Err... without?

Re: Audax and Road Safety was: Re: Mike Hall RIP
« Reply #49 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.